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George Brandis' new library means two departments chipping in

EXCLUSIVE

Impressive: George Brandis' bookcase in his former office.

Impressive: George Brandis' bookcase in his former office. Photo: Andrew Meares

A new wing of the monumental ''Brandis Library'' is set to open after two Commonwealth departments agreed to pool their money to buy the Attorney-General a new bookcase.

George Brandis' bibliographic difficulties came to public attention with revelations he spent more than $20,000 of taxpayers' funds on a personal library and a custom-built bookcase that was too big to be moved into his new office when the Coalition won government.

Meeting the Senator's storage needs: Costings are underway to give George Brandis his bookcase.

Meeting the Senator's storage needs: Costings are underway to give George Brandis his bookcase. Photo: Andrew Meares

Senator Brandis' former bookcase - dubbed the Brandis Library by some in Parliament House - is now in the office of Labor senator Stephen Conroy.

Since the election, Senator Brandis has been working without adequate shelf space but newly released information suggests his wait will soon be over. An order has been taken and funding allocated.

The Department of Parliamentary Services has confirmed it ''is developing a cost-effective design that will meet the senator's storage needs''.

The Attorney-General's Department has agreed to meet ''part of the cost'' of the bookcase, a note sent by department secretary Roger Wilkins to Labor senator Joseph Ludwig says. The Department of Parliamentary Services will pay the rest of the bill.

''The Attorney-General has requested shelving being installed, at the lowest cost to the taxpayer,'' Senator Brandis' spokesman said.

Senator Brandis defended, as within his rights, spending almost $13,000 of taxpayers' funds in four years on books and magazines, including cartoons, the thriller The Marmalade Files and Christopher Hitchens' memoir Hitch-22.

But it was his ''working library'' of legal textbooks and reports containing decisions of the High Court of Australia that necessitated the larger shelves, the spokesman said.

He needed new shelves because, as deputy Senate leader, his office could not fit hundreds of volumes of the Commonwealth Law Reports, the spokesman said. All previous attorneys-general had offices with bookcases big enough to store the reports, he added.

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101 comments

  • So whilst every one else is going electronic - cheaper easier more efficient, these dinosaurs in charge are going old school. That $20k could easily have been used for something better. I am pretty sure he could get all of this electronically, just a sign of somebody who wants to show he has the power. Just like the rest of the government Power hungry pigs at a trough of money supplied by the tax payer

    Commenter
    KS
    Location
    WTF
    Date and time
    January 20, 2014, 6:53AM
    • Not only are they dinsosaurs, just shows how they spend taxpayers' money on themselves without regard, and waste money on printed material at the expense of the environment when they could access it all online. Hasn't Bookshelf Brandis heard of austlii? Perhaps he's got some antideluvian text books there which haven't been digitised, and wants to turn back the era of judicial law to medieval times when the pillory was in vogue. Greens and lefties, be very afraid!

      Commenter
      DaveB
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 7:31AM
    • Yes they are making the Departments go 'paperless', what's good for the goose . . .
      - not that electronic is realistic for everything, obviously, but resources like legal reports and textbooks are almost always available online. Does he not have an iPad?

      Commenter
      Mardi
      Location
      Tuggeranong
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 7:36AM
    • Agree with you, KS. It's a vanity thing for Brandis - nothing surer.

      Commenter
      Jump
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 7:39AM
    • Brandis favourite movie quote? "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany."

      Commenter
      Boo
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 8:34AM
    • Even if Ms Brandis wishes to use the hard copy of the Law Review there would be a copy available in the Parliamentary Library just down the hall from his office.

      Commenter
      Peter Stanton
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 9:23AM
    • Why not the parliamentary library down the corridor. Maybe move to the offices of the previous ministers. Which he said did have ample space.

      Seem to recall not many of the books, magazines, etc., he purchased sounded like law books.

      Does not he have access to court records, on that screen that sits on his desk.

      The cost is still the same to the taxpayer, regardless of which office pays it.

      Would have been more impressed. If the money was coming out of his pocket.

      Commenter
      Catching up
      Location
      Central Coast, NSW
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 10:02AM
    • @ Boo

      Best comment of the day, hands down!

      Commenter
      af612
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 10:10AM
    • Oh well....at least he hasn't gone to any weddings lately, so there's a saving...

      Commenter
      Tony
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 11:29AM
    • No doubt about it we have a budget emergency. One that requires the disabled in the community and aid agencies to be depleted of funds yet we can spend money to feed this man's library needs. Disgusting government

      Commenter
      Pollyho
      Date and time
      January 20, 2014, 3:16PM

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