RE: 11 February media statement

I have to say that I have some doubts about beating on the Deputy Premier on his supposed abandonment of such a cherished ideal as the separation of the judiciary from the executive, in connection with the administration of youth criminal law justice. (QLS Proctor, 11 February)

I’m not sure I really agree much with what the bloke had to say, but do we really entertain deep concern about adverse effects on the judicial system?

Lots of people in our community are invincibly ignorant about the separation of powers. But many of these are probably right-thinking and respectable members of the community who are legitimately concerned about youth offences, especially those which involve violence.

They expect political leaders to speak plainly about the options for dealing with these troubled youth and protecting the community. Otherwise (the concern is) our political processes are reduced to a lot of flummeries and platitudes which don’t get us very far.

Those who are a bit more sophisticated take it for granted in any event that the judiciary is in fact quite independent in our system, but that judicial officers presumably must of necessity look for certain cues about community expectations as expressed by the political branch of government.

We’re really saying the same old things about the separation of powers in a way which no doubt has significant appeal – and a sort of self-reassurance – for us as lawyers. Fair enough, in a way. But every time, I fear, we’re departing from the serious concerns of ordinary, by and large well intentioned, citizens (even if they may be invincibly ignorant about certain doctrines.

Kevin Johnson, bytherules Conveyancing Pty Ltd

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