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Who should pay Dual-Cit. lawyers’ bill?

Who should pay Dual-Cit. lawyers’ bill?

What if the High Court finds against?

If the High Court finds any of the dual-cit. politicians have violated eligibility laws why should taxpayers foot the bill? When you read this article in today’s Australian you are likely to hate government and the system even more.

Taxpayers are forking out more than $130,000 a day on barristers as the government fights to save the political career of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and four other MPs, with legal fees for the High Court hearings expected to exceed $2 million.

Source: News Corp

Taxpayers hit with $2m legal bill in MPs’ citizenship cases

The Turnbull government will pay the legal bills for all parties ­involved in the “citizenship seven” case, bankrolling the cost of 24 barristers appearing in the High Court this week.

The Australian understands taxpayers could pay up to $20,000 a day for Bret Walker SC to argue Mr Joyce should stay in parliament, while also paying up to $25,000 a day for former solicitor-general Justin Gleeson SC and Ron Merkel QC to argue the Deputy Prime Minister should be found ineligible.

MPs yesterday told The Australian the overall legal bill could fall between $2m-$3m, including preparation work by barristers and their teams of solicitors.

Former leading silk Peter Faris QC said the legal fees in the citizenship case would cost “a lot more” than was being estimated.

“I think that (up to $3m) is very underpriced,” he said.

Mr Faris — a criminal lawyer who represented Melbourne underworld figures Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel — said the cost of solicitors per day would be roughly the same as the cost of barristers, with each day of court to cost taxpayers nearly $300,000 on lawyers alone.

He said lawyers would be ­engaged in expensive preparation before the case, which would cost about $100,000 per legal team.

Mr Farris suggested there would be extra public costs for using the High Court everyday, including the services of the full bench of the nation’s highest court, although the seven judges are paid a yearly wage.

“This is a legitimate constitutional issue to be decided; the law is unclear and it is the High Court’s job to make the law clear and I don’t think you can expect people to pay their representation,” he said.

Attorney-General George Brandis refused to comment on the potential legal costs of the case. He has offered to use ­taxpayer funds to pay the costs of all parties to expedite the hearing, while also arguing it is a ­constitutional issue in the public interest.

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett described the case a “lawyers’ picnic” and said taxpayers never should have been given the bill.

“I was amazed that the commonwealth was picking up the expense; these are personal issues that should have been borne by the individuals or the political parties,” Mr Kennett said.

“It sets a terrible precedent for future actions on other cases. When you get the commonwealth paying there is no constraint on the upside of the costs. It is a lawyers’ picnic. It is just ridiculous. If any of these people were being paid by the political parties they would be a lot more stringent in terms of how much they would be allowed to have spent.”

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm said there should have been only one legal team for the government MPs and crossbench senator Nick Xenophon, which would have reduced taxpayers’ burden.

“Some of the MPs, their cases are just so similar that I would have thought they could have had the same lawyers,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“When you look at Matt Canavan’s facts and Fiona Nash’s facts, why do you need your own lawyer?”

Mr Joyce and Senator Nash share a legal team, as do the Greens’ former senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, which is led by former Victorian Greens candidate Brian Walters QC. One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has three barristers led by Robert Newlinds SC at a cost of up to $15,000 a day.

Senator Brandis’s team of four is led by Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue QC, who earns a taxpayer-funded salary of nearly $750,000.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • GTD 12/10/2017, 7:08 am

    You can bet on it being more than $2 to $3 million …
    The blubbering sook Brandyarse will just sign off on all of it.
    Fancy allowing the likes of that prick Windsor to front up with 4 silks and pay their bill..
    Had the MSM, liebor, greens and leftards complaining about $124 million for a plebiscite..
    But they spend millions on this. $120++ million on a fence around piss head house. $36 million yesterday on power rebates.. How much had that backstabbing Bishop given away lately to Pacific islands or some statue in USA or wherever.. Fxck the lying, spineless, USELESS GUTLESS pollies..stuff them all

  • Peter Sandery 12/10/2017, 7:36 am

    In the event that they are found ineligible to hold office would that not be authority for the Australian taxpayers – perhaps in the form of the Commonwealth of Australia, or some other entity, to pursue a claim of compensation for the legal expenses of all those currently before the High Court and whose legal fees are taxpayer funded? After all, it is neither the Australian taxpayers nor the Commonwealth whose oversight created this problem, is it?

    • Tom 12/10/2017, 9:48 am

      It might be fair grounds, but it will NEVER happen.

  • Penguinte 12/10/2017, 7:45 am

    Dock their pay! They should contribute! 10% sounds like a good number!

  • TommyGun 12/10/2017, 7:52 am

    Unbelievable!
    As other readers have said; it was their mistake, it was their oversight (or lies!). They should pay!

    And yet not a peep about this on the MSM.
    Yet we were drilled ad nauseam about the terrible waste of money on the SSM postal vote!
    Stinking hypocrites!
    Get the baseball bat ready for the next election.

    • Graham Richards 12/10/2017, 8:33 am

      TG, my baseball bat is lovingly polished at least once a week!

      • GTD 12/10/2017, 9:48 am

        So is mine.
        Cricket bat too

  • Angry 12/10/2017, 9:25 am

    TAXPAYERS SHOULD NOT BE PAYING FOR THIS !

    LET THE OVERPAID PRICKS PAY THEIR OWN LEGAL BILLS !

    AHOLES!@#!@#

  • Angry 12/10/2017, 9:26 am

    George Brandis ===== DOUCH BAG !

  • Topsy 12/10/2017, 9:41 am

    Disgusting – but then what can you expect from this government? As for Windsor, he makes my flesh crawl and to think he could be a MP again is beyond belief.
    As for the others, there maybe good, bad, competent and otherwise in their ranks, but from my point-of-view they should all go as we desperately need a say on government and this could maybe precipitate that.

  • Graham 12/10/2017, 12:04 pm

    Why do these pollies need all these overpriced, overblown, overfed Barristers and Lawyers to fight their case? Surely it’s not that difficult to determine if they broke the rules?
    And if found to have broken the rules will they be prosecuted for falsifying a Stat Dec?

    • Aktosplatz 12/10/2017, 3:44 pm

      They should have shown some respect and decency and stood themselves down(like the two Greens did), sorted out their citizenship issues (themselves)and stood at the generated by-election for their seat back.

      That’s what would happen in the real world.

      These useless morons have no shred of decency or shame.

  • Biking Voter 12/10/2017, 1:02 pm

    Mr. Farris said,

    “This is a legitimate constitutional issue to be decided; the law is unclear and it is the High Court’s job to make the law clear and I don’t think you can expect people to pay their representation,”

    The law is not unclear at all, in fact it is very clear, it is muck raking, ambulance chasing shysters that are muddying the waters to make them less clear in the hope of bringing about a constitutional change.

    • Albert 12/10/2017, 1:26 pm

      Hear, hear.

    • Aktosplatz 12/10/2017, 3:46 pm

      I really hope they are all disqualified and verbally chastised for staying on in parliament in the interim period.

  • Aktosplatz 12/10/2017, 1:23 pm

    This is totally wrong and unethical! These people have breached the Constitution of Australia.

    They should have all – repeat all – have been stood down immediately and a writ for by elections issued.

    And if they wanted to Appeal then it should be at their expense not ours.

    • TommyGun 12/10/2017, 7:16 pm

      It is definitely a by-election in the case of House of Reps (eg; Joyce) but for the Senate don’t they just take the next name out of the hat for the same party? eg; Bob Day resigned and that African woman (who was the next name on their ticket) simply slotted in.
      Am I right or wrong?
      Help!

      • Aktosplatz 13/10/2017, 9:16 am

        You’re right Tommy G. The Senate just takes the next name on the relevant Party List

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