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Jarrod Bleijie distances himself from overturned laws

Date

Amy Remeikis

Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has moved to distance himself from contentious laws which have been overturned.

Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has moved to distance himself from contentious laws which have been overturned. Photo: Michelle Smith

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says it is "for others to determine" if he deserves to be the state's first law officer.

But with one signature law struck down as "invalid", another quietly repealed before it suffered the same fate, and a third facing a massive High Court challenge, Mr Bleijie has distanced himself from being the author of the contentious laws.

Late last year, the Court of Appeal struck down Mr Bleijie's sex offender legislation, which would have given the government the power to overrule court decisions to release designated dangerous offenders, declaring it "invalid". 

On Wednesday night, the government repealed part of its controversial union transparency laws, removing the provision that forced unions and employer groups to ballot members before embarking on any campaign costing more than $10,000.

The government has also been called to defend the VLAD section of its bikie laws in the High Court.

Speaking to 612 ABC Brisbane, Mr Bleijie, who has introduced and seen a prodigious catalogue of laws passed since becoming Attorney-General in early 2012, said he didn't "go around and personally draft legislation".

"We have a department of justice and attorney-general, we have solicitor-generals, we have crown solicitors, we have a cabinet process," he said.

"And the government has taken a very strong stance against sex offenders, because we promised in the 2012 state election to make Queensland the safest place to raise a family.

"Governments, from time to time, will be challenged with their laws and courts will often put set backs.

"The point is, you have to get up again and you have to look to the future and we will certainly be doing that with the child sex offender legislation, which is currently under review and other issues we may face in the future."

Mr Bleijie said the government's anti-gang legislation, which is the subject of an upcoming High Court challenge, was working, claiming "we have seen a reduction in crime, in most areas in Queensland, between 20 and 50 per cent...the sharpest decline in crime reduction across the state in recorded history".

When pressed on what data formed the foundation of his claim, Mr Bleijie said it had been gathered from previous government statements.

"We have seen data, we have looked at previous government statements in relation to crime reduction and we can't find any statements that there has been a 54 per cent reduction in crime," he said.

"I will qualify it with this, in areas, sometimes it has gone down by 4 per cent, sometimes it is 20 per cent but the average crime reduction in the state since our criminal gang laws have been put in place has been over 20 per cent in most jurisdictions.

"...From when we introduced the criminal gang laws in October to April this year, compared to the previous year in the same period, the best we can make of it, the Sunshine Coast for example, there has been a 54 per cent reduction in robberies.

"That is a mixture of things - more police, revitalising frontline services, making Queensland the safest place to raise a family, a strong plan for a brighter future."

Known for his "strut" when debating in parliament, Mr Bleijie had none of his trademark verve as he defended his record on radio.

When asked if he would resign if the VLAD High Court challenge was successful, Mr Bleijie said every move the government had made was "in the interests of Queenslanders".

The union law back down and upcoming High Court challenge followed news in April Mr Bleijie, along with Premier Campbell Newman, had been named in a defamation suit brought by Gold Coast criminal defence lawyer Chris Hannay.

Mr Hannay is suing both senior ministers for $1.2 million in damages, claiming they defamed him when Mr Newman labelled lawyers who defended bikies as "hired guns" who were "part of the criminal gang machine".

In a later press conference, Mr Bleijie, apparently seeking to clarify the Premier's comments, said Mr Newman was speaking about a specific matter.

Mr Hannay had previously advised his motorcycle gang member clients to avoid attending court if it was likely other bikies were there, to ensure they were not breaking the government's anti-association laws.

A date is yet to be set for both the High Court challenge and the defamation matter.

65 comments so far

  • Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says it is "for others to determine" if he deserves to be the state's first law officer.

    Well I determine he should be sacked.

    Pack your bags and go back to the Blue Rinse set up the sunny coast. My choice for replacement - Ros Bates. She deserves a second chance in the Ministry...bah ha haha.

    Commenter
    The Nutbagger
    Date and time
    June 05, 2014, 1:18PM
    • Shows the character of the man. Accept all the glory when it's a success and blame others when it fails. Sorry but you are the AG and the buck stops with you. Can't do the job? Resign.

      Commenter
      enuff
      Location
      QLD
      Date and time
      June 05, 2014, 1:36PM
    • A good result for sex offenders. I'm sure women around Australia will rejoice.

      Commenter
      Stalker
      Date and time
      June 05, 2014, 4:25PM
    • "We have a department of justice and attorney-general, we have solicitor-generals, we have crown solicitors, we have a cabinet process,"

      Which would be fine except he has a reputation of ignoring advice from the legal minds around him. A young kid given the top job who ignores his advisers.

      This one is all on you JB.

      Commenter
      1933
      Date and time
      June 05, 2014, 5:23PM
    • As his rushed laws were thrown into law, bypassing all the normal checks and balances and this was the attorney generals call, backed by the premier.

      For him to walk-away from these laws is totally unacceptable.

      When VLAD goes down due to the same amateurish drafting and rushed implementation and the bikies all walk out onto the street - it will be a case of gross incompetence. The police will be crying. Bikies will sue the government for illegal imprisonment - and the taxpayer will pay for this, it will be mayhem! No winners here.

      Sack the man!

      Commenter
      Stuart
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      June 05, 2014, 7:12PM
    • If he knew what he was doing he would have known that the plural of "Solicitor General" is "Solicitors General". And the reason why there has been a recent plurality of Solicitors General is...what??

      Commenter
      WT
      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 10:34AM
  • Any AG who removes Double Jeopardy, makes association illegal and reverses the onus of proof in criminal matters not only does not 'deserve' to be AG, they should be forced to attend high school legal studies class so someone can explain to them the basic principles of western law....

    Commenter
    dave
    Date and time
    June 05, 2014, 1:28PM
    • Of democracy, of freedom, and of innocent unless proven guilty...

      Commenter
      Jarridiot
      Date and time
      June 05, 2014, 8:19PM
  • He needs to spend more time doing monitored work experience before being given any role that requires adult thinking.

    Commenter
    Rebecca
    Location
    Cairns
    Date and time
    June 05, 2014, 1:28PM
    • That comment has just made my day a little bit better. Well played.

      Commenter
      Undo Cando
      Location
      Here, always here
      Date and time
      June 05, 2014, 2:55PM

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