Newman supports Bleijie despite spat with QLD judicary
PREMIER Campbell Newman said he fully supported Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie after his latest spat with the Queensland judiciary.
Mr Bleijie has come under fire this week after accusing Court of Appeal president Justice Margaret McMurdo of nepotism.
Justice McMurdo said in a speech last week the LNP Government had an "unconscious bias" against appointing women to judicial positions.
Mr Bleijie hit back revealing a discussion he had with Justice McMurdo on May, 6, 2013, about possible appointments to the Court of Appeal after two vacancies became available.
He claimed of the two names she put forward one was her husband Supreme Court Judge Philip McMurdo and long-time family friend Judge Peter Lyons.
Mr Bleijie said Justice McMurdo did not put any other names forward including the names of any women.
Justice McMurdo denied the allegations but would not reveal her account of the conversation.
Outgoing Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff weighed into the debate penning an opinion piece on Tuesday (Mar 25) saying Mr Bleijie had "prejudiced" his position as the state's top law officer by going public with private talks he had with Justice McMurdo.
"In my opinion, the conduct of Mr Bleijie constitutes a breach of his duty as Attorney-General to keep confidential the content of discussions which were held in confidence," he said.
"It has also prejudiced his capacity to carry out one of the duties of his office.
"Queensland deserves much, much better from its first law officer.
"What is most unfortunate, his conduct has the hint of a nasty schoolboy's snicker in it."
Mr Sofronoff then took to the airwaves calling on Mr Bleijie to be sacked because he "could no longer be trusted."
The situation went the full 360 degrees when Mr Newman took to the airwaves in support of Mr Bleijie
"I totally back him 100 per cent," he said.
"I think he had every right and I support him for having to defend the government. He was attacked, the government was attacked and he needed to respond.
"Everyone should cool down and indeed get back to their day job."
Mr Newman went on to take a veiled swipe at Mr Sofronoff and his role in drafting two of the government's most controversial pieces of legislation.
"I want to thank Walter for the work he has done for this government over the past two years," he said.
"I particularly thank him because he has been the right-hand man for Jarrod Bleijie for many of the laws we have introduced.
"For example our attempts to deal with sex offenders and pedophiles; he is someone who has who has provided a lot of advice.
"Perhaps his most important contribution has been the VLAD laws.
"He himself proposed them to government as a way of dealing with criminal organisations well before the incident in Broadbeach last year."
The Court of Appeal described the government's new sex offender laws last year as not being worth the piece of paper they were written on.
Furthermore, the government's tough new VLAD laws are the subject of a High Court appeal which was lodged last week.
Respected barrister Tony Morris also weighed into the debate saying when a judge decided to move into the political arena like Justice McMurdo has done on two occasions they should then realise the gloves were off.
He said by doing so their "cloak of protection" was removed.
Last year, Justice McMurdo hit the headlines again after she urged new law students to rise up against the Newman Government, insisting the legal profession must fight to "keep the justice in the criminal justice system."
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Bleijie had breached his trust with the legal fraternity.
"No other judicial officer in this state can now sit down with this Attorney-General and have the trust that he will keep their confidence," she said
"We need to have someone who is respected within the legal profession and who Queenslanders can trust."