The Labor Party, lefty lawyers, almost everyone who has ever met him and the near entirety of the Australian population are ganging up on poor George Brandis. Managing editor Dave Donovan gallops to the rescue of this brilliant, yet sadly much maligned, Australian freedom fighter.
GEORGE BRANDIS QC is an easy person to make fun of, which is convenient because making fun of him is a very popular national pastime that provides a vast number of people with tremendous satisfaction. But George has been the target of even more barbs than usual lately due to his ongoing stoush with outgoing Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson.
Some think George should step down as Federal attorney-general because he is utterly unfit, while even more say he should go because he is totally unsuitable for the position. Most people, however, say that after being accused of overstepping his authority and lying through his teeth, George Brandis should now do the honourable thing and resign.
We say, fiddlesticks and balderdash!
Why, in a politician, overstepping one’s authority is simply a healthy sign of ambition. And as for a politician lying? Puh-lease!
Anyway, here at IA we have even more good reasons why Gorgeous George should stay exactly where he is.
Seven, in fact — and here they are...
1. He’s really well read
As you may be aware, you need to be a pretty confident reader to be a lawyer — and so being a big reader is seen as a definite advantage in a nation’s chief law officer.
Well, folks, we’re happy to say here and now that readers don’t come much bigger than George “Bookshelves” Brandis!
He’s such a bibliophile, in fact, that he spent $13,000 of his taxpayer funded entitlements over just four years to buy books. Lots and lots and lots and lots of books! More books, it's said, than any other member. So many, that in 2010 he had to build a new $7,000 bookcase to accommodate them all. This case was so massive, though, that after the change of government in 2013, the movers couldn’t squeeze the monstrosity into George's new office.
BREAKING: Brandis, the Luddite, expands bookshelves: "I don't like the Internet & I have no metadata worries here!"— Comrade SQib (@The_SQib) March 23, 2015
So what did they do? Well, what else? They built another gigantic bookcase in his new office, of course, this one worth $15,400. But George had so many books by that time, that this new bookcase wasn’t big enough either. And so then he demanded taxpayers fork out for extra shelves worth another $1,600.
Well, you get the general idea... George loves books! He just loves, loves, loves them! Especially when he doesn’t need to dip into his own pocket to pay for them, which he almost certainly never does. Which means he's smart, too! Another good quality for an A-G to posses, I'm sure you'll agree.
Now, don’t get the misguided impression that just because George likes to surround himself with hundreds and thousands and millions of books in vast, Brobdingnagian bookcases that this doesn't mean he ever reads them. No! He really does sometimes look at what's inside them, too. We know that, because we’ve spotted him in the act.
Accept as proof the following video clip, which shows George contentedly settling down with some classic Australian poetry, while beside him his departmental head is being grilled by a Senate Estimates Committee:
As you do.
2. Looks like an Attorney-General — and Mr Sheen
Being attorney-general is an important job and so Australia deserves someone who looks the part. Fortunately for us, George “Soapy” Brandis does very much look the part (except for his scalp, which hasn’t seen a part in a while).
In a dark suit, George bears an uncanny resemblance to beloved Australian advertising identity and cleaning products tycoon Mr Sheen — as if he could be the polisher's haughty, bilious, big brother.
But don’t think Soapy doesn’t look the part out of suit!
And more than just look the part, George’s instinctive and unerring sense of style and demure elegance has also seen him develop a promising parallel career as an in-demand Paris high fashion model:
3. Super-qualified for the job
Apart from being a stylish, well-read man-about-town, George Brandis is also a lawyer — something most see as a definite plus in senior statutory law officers.
To gain this professional qualification, George initially gained first-class honours in arts and law at the University of Queensland, where his thesis was a reportedly captivating pageturner entitled ‘An interpretation of the ideology of the Liberal Party of Australia.’
After that, eager to broaden his horizons and see the world, curious George won a scholarship to well-known British tertiary educational institution, the University of Oxford. This was no mean feat, given Oxford scholarships are so prestigious even former Prime Minister Tony Abbott struggled to achieve one.
George and Tony at Oxford University on Brandis's graduation day in 1983. (Photo courtesy Senator George Brandis via smh.com.au)
George went on to practice as a barrister for several years before eventually applying to be a queen’s counsel (or silk) in 1997. Sadly, he was knocked back by the Queensland Bar Association at that time. Did this deter George? No, he knew his time would come. Seeing another way, he gave up practicing as a lawyer not long afterwards and entered Federal politics.
George sat in Parliament for six long years before that long awaited day finally arrived. Yes, those canny legal minds in the Queensland Bar Association had been watching George closely and had decided, astutely, that the Senator had never done better legal work since the day he'd stopped doing it completely. George Brandis was duly awarded his cherished QC medallion and store discount card in 2000. Indeed, so impressed was the awarding body with George's not legal work, they even chose to waive their usual fussy requirements about QCs only being awarded to currently practicing barristers who had made that year's Bar Association shortlist.
Now, that's what the respect of one’s peers looks like...
4. Good at the speaking and putting all the words together thing
An attorney-general needs to know the meaning of important words and be able to utilise them in a confident manner, sometimes even in coherent consecutive sentences. Again, no problems there for our boy George.
Such as recently, when George was called before a Senate Inquiry into complaints made by trouble-making junior departmental official Justin Gleeson and condescended to speak for several gripping hours about the precise – or rather, the imprecise – meaning of the word “consult”.
The “unrepresentative swill” on that Senate Committee – some of whom had seemed to not even be aware that George had once been at Oxford University – eventually wore down George's legendary reserves of patience, earning his ire for refusing to accept his obvious authority on that topic (and all other matters).
"When I use a word," said George Brandis, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less." *
As mentioned before, a modern major attorney-general only needs to know the meaning of important words, such as “consult”, or any of those appearing in the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Other trendy new arriviste words, including technical words appearing in legislation the attorney-general may happen to be putting before Parliament, are to be ignored and treated with mild contempt as a strict matter of public policy.
A master of mildly contemptuous ignorance, watch George expertly demonstrate the correct way to not know the meaning of the word “metadata” in the following clip:
5. Loyal to his friends
It’s a dog eat dog world out there and people are only out for themselves these days, right?
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
That is, when it comes to George Brandis it’s wrong. It just couldn’t be more wrong!
Like in the days before this year’s election, when George expressed his genuine gratitude to one of his friends – who just happened to be a Liberal Party donor and criminal lawyer who had once defended his son in court – by appointing him to a trifling $370,000 government job. Naturally, since it was someone George knew, he attended to the appointment himself, without wasting everyone's time tediously advertising the position, engaging in a merit based selection process, or consulting with any of the officials in his department. You see, George is a man of action with no time for pettifogging red tape.
You might think George would be universally commended for so efficiently expediting this appointment, but some have, of course, attempted to cast this kind and thoughtful gesture to a respected friend and sugar-daddy in a dim light. Why Labor and the Greens have taken such umbrage over this trivial appointment is not clear. Especially since it was just one of 76 George made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal without any due process at the same time, in the hours before the caretaker period commenced.
Labor and the Greens barely said a word about those appointments, however, strangely focussing their attention on the nature of the relationship between George and his friend. It is this sort of sanctimonious attitude about important people building agreeable and rewarding connections which is why no-one wants to be friends with the Labor Party.
6. Fighter for freedom
An attorney-general needs to be a fighter for human rights. Luckily – you guessed it – George Brandis totally is!
Well, except for those pertaining to asylum seekers, nosy leftwing journalists and people not wanting to be stalked all day over the internet by ASIO — but, hey, who really cares about those people, right?
No, George is a freedom fighter for the important rights. You know, the rights mentioned in the Government's to do list contained in the Institute of Public Affairs Großartiges Manifest of 75+25 great ideas. Such as repealing that evil, dreaded, freedom killing S18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and … um ... well, that's about about it, I guess.
Anyway, listen to George totally N A I L I T in the following video when speaking about the most important Australian human right of all — the right to be bigots:
Doesn't that just make your bigoted Australian heart swell with pride?
7. Highly responsible go-getter
Last of all, being chief law officer is an important job, so an attorney-general needs to be a responsible and highly motivated individual. And George Brandis is responsible and he is a go-getter. In fact, he loves responsibility and go-getting so much, he spends most of his time going out and getting other people’s responsibilities. But he doesn't do this out of ego, no; he does it because he is the only person he knows who can be trusted to do things exactly the way he wants them to be done.
Like when he was arts minister a few years back and took over the Australia Council’s job of independently granting funds to Australian artists, just so he could make sure taxpayers money was being spent wisely on worthwhile projects and not being wasted. That is, artforms and people of which he approves, such as opera and the ballet, and timid artists specialising, perhaps, in flattering oversized oil paintings of distinguished senior government ministers.
And if you'd like to find out more about George taking on extra responsibilities, just ask Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson. (Or maybe consult him, which ever one George says is the proper usage.)
Anyway, you'd think George would he commended for his keen desire to make sure everything is done properly, to his exacting standards, but apparently not. Can you see a pattern developing?
Like George, I blame Communist troublemakers embedded in our Parliament...
People! George Brandis should not be sacked as Attorney-General. And not just because he's not really an infuriatingly useless, pompous, boorish, accident-prone prig. Well, not that much of one, anyway.
No, he should keep his job because he is a stylish, well-spoken, well-read, Oxford-educated, queen's counsel (which he achieved completely on merit). He should keep his job because, when the attorney-general talks, you ought to listen to him.
But chances are he probably won't and should be long gone by Christmas. What a shame.
* George didn’t quite say this to the Senate, though he came close. It was, of course, a statement made by Attorney-General Humpty Dumpty in that classic Lewis Carroll children's directive, Through the Looking Glass.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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Not only should Brandis resign because he's utterly unfit, but also because he's not a suitable or proper person to be Attorney-General.— Dave Donovan (@davrosz) October 28, 2016