Queensland: A Return To The Moonlight State?
Lately there has been a lot made in the media about a war on bikies and the implementation of other new laws, ostensibly designed to meet the expectations of Queenslanders that the government is getting tough on crime.1 Lawyers across the board have condemned the Queensland laws as ill-conceived, rash, hurried, irresponsible, self-serving and dangerous, consistently mentioning attacks on the rule of law, our system of government, and the separation of powers. 2 In response to the critique, Premier Campbell Newman has alleged that lawyers should ‘step out of their ivory towers’.3 While the legal principles at stake may seem overly technical or abstract, history reveals their importance in protecting rights and freedoms of citizens. As a former Chief Justice of the High Court commented:
Judicial independence does not exist to serve the judiciary; nor to serve the interests of the other two branches of government. It exists to serve and protect not the governors but the governed… The reason why judicial independence is of such public importance is that a free society exists only so long as it is governed by the rule of law – the rule which binds the governors and the governed, administered impartially and treating equally all those who seek its remedies or against whom its remedies are sought.4