Okay – so following the Sydney terrorist attack there are questions to be asked. Like why was he out on bail? But today Tony Abbott went further:
TONY Abbott says it “infuriates” him that legal aid resources are being used to challenge laws, amid concern over funding for Man Haron Monis’ High Court challenge over offensive letters he wrote to the families of Australian soldiers killed overseas.
The Prime Minister, when asked about the case, said it was “not right” that taxpayer funds be used to challenge laws in the High Court.
“We have any number of cases going through the courts which appear to be one way or another publicly funded cases and it’s almost like taxpayers are funding attacks on taxpayers and this is not right,” Mr Abbott told Sydney radio 2GB.
“Obviously people are entitled to go to the law but why they are entitled to go to the law with taxpayer-funding when they are essentially attacking public policy — when they are essentially attacking the policy of the elected government — I think is something which again exasperates and sometimes infuriates the public and frankly sometimes infuriates me.”
Abstracting from the actual individual – let’s consider what Abbott is really saying, that legal aid should be abolished. What else are people doing when they go to court? They are challenging a law of the land. Laws usually result from the policies of the elected government. So are we to believe that only rich people should challenge the law of the land? To be sure there is an argument to be made for that position, but I suspect most Australians would be somewhat uncomfortable with that position.
So let’s ask why Man Haron Monis was out on bail. Let’s ask why he wasn’t on a watch-list. Let’s ask how he managed to a get a sawn-off shotgun (how are those gun control laws going)? But let’s not get carried away. If we think legal aid should exist, then it is going to be used for purposes we don’t always agree with, by people we don’t always approve of.