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Government needs to withdraw Legal Services Direction

The Government needs to withdraw its flawed Legal Services Direction before starting the process to appoint a new Solicitor-General, the Australian Greens say.

"No self-respecting lawyer with the capacity to become Solicitor-General would want to be a lapdog to Attorney-General George Brandis," Greens Justice spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said.

"If we want the best possible field of applicants and the best person to fill the role, we need to make sure that the independence of the office is paramount."

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Resignation of the Solicitor-General

Justin Gleeson SC has been run out of office by a government with no regard for proper process or the rule of law, Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim says.

"Mr Gleeson's resignation letter makes it clear that he is sticking to his guns," Senator McKim said.

"There was no doubt a breakdown in trust between the Solicitor-General and the Attorney-General, but this can be laid squarely at the feet of Senator Brandis."

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Attorney-General Questions Still Unanswered

The Attorney-General's attempt today to justify his conduct was thoroughly unconvincing, Australian Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim says.

"He is relying on a semantic defence to the charge of misleading parliament which leaves significant questions unanswered."

"The Solicitor-General, who gave calm and considered evidence in the face of oafish intimidation from Senators MacDonald and O'Sullivan, made it clear that he regards the Legal Services Direction issued by Senator Brandis as unlawful."

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George Brandis' position looking more untenable by the day

Attorney-General George Brandis' disregard for the rule of law and abuse of process calls into question his suitability for the role, Australian Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim says.

"Senator Brandis has basically been caught out shopping around for politically convenient legal advice on some of the most contentious issues facing the government," Senator McKim said.

"For the Attorney General to have sidelined the Solicitor General when considering the constitutionality of contentious legislation is an extraordinary development."

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Wyatt's excursion could fall foul of counter-terrorism laws

War tourist Wyatt Roy's trip to Iraq could have breached the counter-terrorism laws he helped to pass, Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim says.

"While Mr Roy's excursion to Iraq was reckless, dangerous and stupid, he doesn't deserve to go to jail for up to ten years," Senator McKim said.

"But under the Foreign Fighters amendment to the Criminal Code Act, which Mr Roy voted for, he could soon find himself with very serious questions to answer."

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Intelligence review should encompass entire counter-terrorism framework

A review of intelligence services should be broadened to consider the entirety of Australia’s counter-terrorism framework, Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim says.

“Any review of the role of our intelligence services is welcome, but Australia is long overdue for a broad inquiry into our approach to combatting violent extremism,” Senator McKim said.

“The development of ‘counter-terrorism’ laws has been politicised, ad hoc and almost completely devoid of evidence.”

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Greens to create firefighting capacity within the Australian Defence Force

The Greens have pledged to establish a specialist firefighting unit within the Australian Defence Force and bolster Australia’s aerial firefighting fleet.

Greens Emergency Management spokesperson Nick McKim said the recent fires in Tasmania’s wilderness had shown the increasing fire risk that Australia faces from a warming climate.

“The science is clear - global warming means hotter, drier summers, with more dry lightning strikes, and therefore more bushfires,” Senator McKim said.

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Federal Government Cuts To Legal Assistance Will Hurt Vulnerable Australians

The Government’s decision not to restore cuts to Legal Aid and Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in yesterday’s budget will continue to deny access to justice for some of the most vulnerable members of the community, Greens spokesperson for Justice Nick McKim says.

“Yet again, the Government has ignored those most in need to look after corporations and the very wealthy,” Senator McKim said.

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