Prof Gillian Triggs has incurred the wrath of Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton ( and presumably others of his ilk in the Federal Cabinet) for daring to suggest that expansions of ministerial discretionary power are “a growing threat to democracy”.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Mr Dutton accused Professor Triggs of making outrageous and offensive claims that were a “complete disgrace”.
So just who is Gillian Triggs?
Here is a brief summary of her CV
- President of the Australian Human Rights Commission
- Acting Race Discrimination Commissioner from 30 July 2012 to 19 August 2013.
- Emeritus professor at the University of Sydney
- Dean of the Sydney Law School between 2007 and 2012.
- Chair in Law at Melbourne Law School from 1996 to 2005
- Director of the Institute for Comparative and International Law at the University of Melbourne
- Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from July 2005 to September 2007
- Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney
She is what is termed an “eminent jurist”. Someone who really does know what she’s talking about. Particularly when it comes to civil rights and international law.
So when she says something, everybody (including Peter Dutton) should listen.
And just a quick bio on Peter Dutton: an ex-police officer with a Bachelor of Business from the Queensland University of Technology.
We should listen to Gillian Triggs because this legislation that she refers to allows one person, the Minister, to revoke someone’s Australian citizenship on the suspicion that they either are a terrorist or associate with terrorists.
It doesn’t need to be proved in a court of law.
It just needs the Minister to suspect something. There is no legal redress against the Minister’s decision apart from an appeal that he is not followed the procedures that he has laid down in the legislation. No examination of the for veracity of the evidence which means it is no chance for the accused to challenge the basis of the decision.
If this doesn’t constitute a threat to democracy and the rule of law, nothing does.