Queensland’s chief magistrate Tim Carmody has advised judges to toe the legal line and not get involved in politics of the day.
Queensland’s chief magistrate has warned judges not to undermine the Newman government’s law and order agenda.
Tim Carmody has used an address to warn all three arms of government to respect the separation of powers, and “keep their hands to themselves, and off the others”.
The chief magistrate used a welcome ceremony for two new magistrates to remind the judiciary it must implement laws set by the government, regardless of what they think of them.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, who has been accused of blurring the separation of powers with his tough new bikie laws, was among those present to hear Mr Carmody’s address.
“It is clearly wrong for judges to deliberately frustrate or defeat the policy goals (of the government),” Mr Carmody said on Wednesday.
“The courts will be vulnerable to criticism, for example, if their members use the weight of their office to engage in public debate or make comments about the comparative reality or fairness of laws.”
He said the courts would also be exposed to criticism if they routinely adopted approaches to bail or sentencing practices that were “clearly at odds with legislative or administrative policy intents”.
“They do not have the liberty of allowing curial decisions to be infected by bias or extraneous considerations, such as personal opinions, or ideological political or religious belief,” Mr Carmody said.
“In return for the unfettered independence to make decisions regardless of whether others think them to be right or wrong, judges must not meddle in the administration of enacted laws from the executive and departments of state.
“The paramount rule of democratic government is that parliament is supreme.
“The laws it makes are taken to be valid, and in the overall in the best interest of the state unless or until held otherwise.”
The government’s tough new anti-bikie and sex offender laws were rushed through with minimal consultation late last year.
They impose mandatory sentences on bikies and gave the government power to lock up dangerous sex offenders for life, bypassing the courts.
The sex offender amendments were recently ruled invalid by the High Court.
Mr Newman has repeatedly referenced “community expectations” when his government has been unhappy with the way judges have applied the new laws.