Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 28 March 2012 (my emphasis added):
Government response keeps Murray-Darling in the dark on the Water Act
The Labor government has once again refused to release legal advice on the Water Act in defiance of the recommendations of a Senate inquiry.
Last year, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee found that the provisions of the Water Act create a legal framework where “environmental considerations can be, and are, given substantially more ‘weight’ than social and economic considerations.”
Even the Greens, in their dissenting report, admitted the same stating that “the MDBA and the Minister are required to give environmental considerations precedence in developing the Basin Plan.”
The difference is that the Greens agree with this unbalanced outcome, the Committee recommended the Act be changed to fix it and that all of the government’s legal advice be released.
The Committee’s recommendations were based on legal advice from many sources including an ‘in camera’ briefing from former MDBA chair, Mike Taylor, submissions from Professor George Williams, Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, and Professor John Briscoe of Harvard University.
The government’s response to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s Water Act inquiry has also called into question the validity of the summary legal advice the government has previously released.
So far the government has released just 10 pages of the more than 1000 pages of legal advice they have received on the Water Act.
In its response today, the government claims that the summary legal advice it has made public is “distinguished” from other legal advice because it was prepared on the understanding that it would be made public.
This calls into question whether the summary advice is a full and accurate reflection of the other advice the government has received.
The Murray-Darling is too important for the government to keep it in the dark. It must release all of the legal advice before the basin plan is finalised.
The Murray-Darling is home to 2.1 million Australians, provides water for 1 million others and produces 40 per cent of Australia’s agricultural output, including 9 of every 10 Australian oranges.
Over the past two years, we have seen that the Rudd-Gillard-Swan ALP government has faked GDP, and faked budgets, by becoming adept in the “dark arts” and “using some of what are now the standard tricks“ in order to (in the words of former Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner) “maximise political appearances”.
Now, thanks to Senator Joyce, we see that they will happily fake legal advice as well.
Funnily enough, the ALP and the Greens have recently expressed “confidence” that their
carbon tax CO2 derivatives scam legislation is legally sound, and does not breach the Constitution.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to see their actual legal advice.
The advice they have not released to the public.
What would be even more interesting is to see their legislation challenged in the High Court.
For that, it seems our fate is in the hands of big-promising-non-delivering Coalition State Governments.