Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge has called on Attorney General Faris Al Rawi to resign for allegedly misleading the Senate during the debate of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) Amendment Bill which ended last Tuesday.
The Bill was passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“During contributions made to both Houses of Parliament on the Strategic Services Agency (Amendment) Bill 2016, and whilst addressing the issue of whether the amendment violated the constitutionally protected right to privacy, the Attorney General in no uncertain terms led the Parliament to believe that our case law was “replete with cases which show that we do not have a right to privacy”.
Whilst wrapping up the debate in the Senate on Tuesday night and in response to the suggestion that there are no decided cases on the issue Attorney General Al Rawi, much to the delight of his colleagues on the Government bench, indicated to the Parliament that there was a case on the issue and referred to the case of Therese Ho, a name which for many would be obscure.
What the Attorney General did not do was refer to the name of the case in full which is Therese Ho versus Lendl Simmonds, a case between two private citizens whose video recorded sexual congress was leaked by one of the parties, a case which had nothing to do with State interference and our constitutionally protected right to privacy.
The Attorney General as chief legal adviser to the government, titular head of the bar and defender of our constitutional rights, instead of conceding the issue, chose to deliberately mislead the Parliament and the country on an issue as important as this and cannot claim to have genuinely misunderstood the case he advanced as an authority for his proposition that there is no right to privacy, a claim which has since been rubbished by the country’s most esteemed jurist Michael de la Bastide.
What is more disturbing is the deafening silence of the normally vocal Law Association who as an independent body has a duty to the public and not the political party supported by its President and Vice President.
It is most disturbing conduct for an Attorney General to seek to mislead the Parliament on the issue of the constitutionally protected right to privacy and the ability of the State to interfere with such a right, conduct which if done by previous Attorneys General would have quite rightly drawn the ire of Al Rawi himself and the now deaf and mute Law Association.
In light of the Attorney General’s conduct, I am of the unflinching view that he should resign from that position, in the alternative, it is incumbent upon the Prime Minister to remove him.”