Federal MP and former Attorney-General Robert McClelland has reportedly applied to be a commissioner of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. McClelland has no shame or equal when it comes to selling out friends or foes. If he was to get the position there would be plenty of fallout not just for the Labor Party but also the Liberal Party.
The report on News.com.au says that McClelland could resign in the next 1 to 2 months if he gets the position which would put pressure on the government for a by-election although it says the government would argue they should wait until the September election. (Click here to read more) It was first reported last Friday and is well worth this site following as it covers the judicial appointment process.
Mr McClelland has been busy planning for life after politics for a while now and started testing the waters in May last year by setting up his own legal practice. (Click here to read more) He must have come to the realisation that there is not much legal calling for a has-been corrupt federal attorney-general and decided to apply for a cushy judicial appointment.
Federal Labor Party
The obvious fallout for Labor is that they would lose one more vote and with both Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson possibly resigning soon, to protect their commonwealth superannuation given their criminal charges, who knows where we will be in few weeks.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and the NSW Liberals
The appointment needs to go to the NSW cabinet for approval. In theory that is true but in practice judicial appointments are decided well before hand. It would be extremely embarrassing for Mr O’Farrell if they did appoint McClelland and most would see it as an attempt to help bring down the federal government. A lot of voters would not take kindly to a state interfering in federal politics like that.
It would also cast a shadow over all judicial appointments in NSW assuming there is not already one with Greg Smith as the NSW Attorney-General.
Tony Abbott and the Federal Liberals
It does not matter what anyone says, if McClelland is appointed a commissioner, a lot of people will think it has Tony Abbott’s and the federal Liberals fingerprints all over it. That could sway some swinging voters to Labor. The upside is that given the recent polls even if the Liberals did look bad and lose a few votes they would still win an election in a landslide.
What is most disgusting is that it is a situation that should never have arisen. We are meant to have a separation of powers that dictates the judiciary is independent of the government. But once again and as per usual we are looking at a clear political appointment, just different circumstances.
If the separation of powers was taken seriously any current or former politician would be ruled out from being appointed to any judicial position. But as the above shows all politicians regard the separation of powers as a joke.
I could have written plenty about Robert McClelland’s corrupt conduct as AG and have in the past and will in the future but I wanted to focus this post on his possible judicial appointment.
If McClelland does get the NSW IRC position or another judicial role in the near future it could be a real game changer for federal politics. But the fallout for both sides of politics and the judiciary will be long-lasting.
McClelland’s tilt at a judicial role for himself shows how the judicial appointment process needs reform both state wise and federally as it is well-known that McClelland was stacking the bench federally with Labor Party boys and girls. Now McClelland sticks his hand up to the Liberals and in effect says “Give me a judicial role and I will help bring down the federal government.”
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