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flouting the law of the land « Previous | |Next »
October 8, 2005

Another day and another report critical of the culture of Department of Immigration and Multicultural Indigenous Affairs (DIMA). And another denial of ministerial responsibility by the former and current Immigration Ministers Philip Ruddock and Senator Amanda Vanstone:

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Mandatory detention stays despite the wrongful deportation of an Australian citizen (Viven Alvarez Solon was deported to the Philipines) by an Australian government department, which knew what it was doing and attempted to cover its tracks.

A convention of the Westminster system was that, 'in theory, ministers were responsible for the actions of their departments. Even though government departments can be huge bureaucracies with powerful senior staff, the ministers in charge of departments would be held accountable for mistakes of their organizations, even if they were not directly involved.' This convention of ministerial responsibility is now ignored as ministers are now forced to resign only when they become such an embarrassment to their government that they are too much of a political liability to leave in their post.

That means that, though DIMA abuses its power by acting unlawfully, the Minister is not personally liable for the consequences of DIMA officials flouting the law of the land. It is a strange scenario isn't it: government resources have been exploited to sabotage the operation of law. Doesn't that amount to lawlessness in the Canberra buraucracy and the executive?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:27 PM | | Comments (0)
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