TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT RULE OF LAW IN NAURU
THURSDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2014
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Tanya Plibersek and Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC have called on the Abbott Government to do all it can to support the rule of law in Nauru.
This week the Australian and New Zealand Governments meet for a joint Cabinet in Sydney.
New Zealand has expressed concern about recent actions of the Nauruan Government. The Australian Government should use this meeting to discuss with their New Zealand counterparts how Australia and New Zealand can assist with supporting the rule of law in Nauru.
The rule of law is the foundation stone of functioning democracies around the world.
We are deeply concerned at recent reports that the Nauruan Government is now moving to draft an emergency order, which would give it the power to dismiss the Chief Justice, Geoffrey Eames.
This follows the deportation of Nauru’s only Magistrate, Peter Law, followed by the cancellation of Justice Eames’ visa after he attempted to prevent Mr Law’s deportation.
Labor has serious concerns about the consequences of the Nauruan Government’s actions for the rule of law in Nauru. We encourage the Nauruan Government to ensure a functioning and independent justice system.
Australia has historically had a close legal connection with Nauru.
The High Court of Australia remains the ultimate court of appeal for the Nauruan justice system.
It is not good enough for our Government to excuse its own inaction by claiming these are internal matters for Nauru.
The cancellation of Justice Eames’ visa has led to statements of concern and comments about the importance of the rule of law in Nauru from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the peak legal professional bodies, the Law Council of Australia and the Australian Bar Association.
The International Court of Jurists, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association and the South Pacific Lawyers Association have also expressed their concern about the current situation in Nauru.