Sunday 16th of May 2021

dealing with the law...

giles

In late February last year, Rebekah Giles, one of Australia’s rising stars of the law, threw a party at Reign, the champagne parlour and bar in Sydney’s landmark Queen Victoria Building.

The occasion celebrated the launch of her boutique law firm, Company (Giles). Author Kathy Lette formally opened the evening as corks popped and toasts were made to Giles, who has overcome extraordinary personal odds, to join the top ranks of the nation’s legal fraternity.

In the past year, she has become the go-to lawyer for anyone of wealth or power whose life has been blown apart by scandal. Among her clients are former federal Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, federal Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, and businessman Mitchell Hooke and his daughter Phoebe, against his former son-in-law Sam Burgess, the ex-South Sydney rugby league captain. Now she has taken on under-fire federal Attorney-General Christian Porter, whose defamation action against the ABC – over historical rape allegations, which he’s strongly denied – is shaping as one of the most keenly watched cases in recent history.

“She’s a star,” says John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee. “She seems to be the go-to girl at the moment.” Coates first met Giles when she worked at global law firm Kennedys. Kennedys partner Patrick George and Giles acted for Coates successfully in defamation proceedings against radio shock jock Alan Jones. “It’s been no surprise to me that she’s gone out on her own and done well,” says Coates. “She’s clearly ambitious. She clearly has ability.”

Giles has cultivated a broad network across Australia, which was evident among the who’s who of 150 guests attending the party. There was restaurant and pub baron Justin Hemmes, Sarah Hanson-Young, Sydney Dance Company artistic director Rafael Bonachela, a handful of GWS Giants players and lobbyist Michael Photios. Former NSW premier Morris Iemma was also among the guests, as were some of the country’s eminent silks, including Bruce McClintock, and businessmen Tony Shepherd and Brian Schwartz, who’ve both worked on boards with Giles.

Sarah Hanson-Young has known Giles for a decade and first met her at Kennedys, where Giles worked for 14 years. Giles made partner at Kennedys at the age of 29, a few years after surviving a near-death experience in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Hanson-Young was seeking a lawyer to act for her in defamation proceedings against men’s magazine Zoo Weekly. Giles fit the bill. Zoo’s owner, Bauer Media, would eventually apologise and settle. Giles later acted for Hanson-Young in her successful defamation proceedings against then fellow Senator David Leyonhjelm. It was found that Leyonhjelm had defamed Hanson-Young in a series of interviews after he told her to “stop shagging men” during a parliamentary debate about women’s safety.

“She always made herself available to me, even just to be a sounding board. And I’ve often used her in that regard,” Hanson-Young says of Giles. “She is one of the most compassionate and empathetic people I’ve dealt with in the business. She can talk through an issue on a level that matches the complexity of the issue with where you’re at emotionally.”

When the pressure of the Leyonhjelm case became too great, Hanson-Young knew she needed to get away for a few days. To her surprise Giles “booked me this beautiful room at a resort”, and said: “‘Just go there and look after yourself’.”


Read more:
https://www.smh.com.au/national/they-re-dealing-with-steel-the-lawyer-defending-christian-porter-20210320-p57cgj.html

At this level of the law, I don't even know if I am allowed to mentioned what some astute lawyers friends said to me. They could be wrong... But according to them it is likely that the Porter versus the ABC court case won't be heard for a while (a year or more), has little chance of success (am I allowed to say this?) and they mentioned that it has possibly been launched to prevent a government inquiry into the matter of allegations against Porter, while making the text of the allegations unavailable to the general public and the media... I trust from the tone of the article in the SMH that Rebekah Giles has the utmost upright legal mind. 
Meanwhile:

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an imagined address...

 

Old Haleian Stephen Saunders imagines addressing Old Boys’ Day of 19 March, to review the Christian Porter imbroglio.   

---------------


DEAR PRINCIPAL, teachers, distinguished guests, old boys and present pupils. I begin by acknowledging the Noongar people, traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today. I pay my respects to their elders past and present.

Finally, I revisit this splendid military memorial hall, having missed Hale’s 2008 sesquicentenary. The invite had a space for a son, not a daughter, to co-attend.

No way can I shirk today’s topic. As the Hale website declares: ‘find your frontier, your son is unique’. The boys’ school that nurtured Christian Porter has taught WA Liberal and Labor premiers. Its Forrests, from Alexander to Andrew, have changed state history. Soldiers, scholars and sportsmen abound. A magnificent focus of prestige and power.  

Unlike me, I’m afraid. In the 1960s, I was an accidental tourist from the wrong end of the Perth rail line. My awesome Armadale Primary teacher, Normia Turner, liked to set her pupils for the private-school scholarships. 

Sure, I debated for Hale. WA artist Robert Juniper switched me on to art. “Monkey” Marshall made me a lifelong Francophile.

Organised Christianity was novel to me. The elders’ talk scarcely predicted their walk. Bullying was common. Corporal punishment, also new to me, was popular.

Luckily, there were boys who shared my love of American culture and I got cut loose from the compulsory cadet corps. Though the school could never fault my academic marks, we remained an awkward fit.

It’s been easy to humorise my Hale years as a bracing sort of political and ethical boot-camp. Lately, I’ve been stung to bitter tears instead. 

This is no direct comment on the worst accusation against the Attorney-General. Hale hasn’t said much either. Although, the alleged offence occurred just weeks after the youth you glorified departed his final school assembly. 

The late 1980s Hale experience seemed to push Porter’s entitlement beyond his enlightenment. At university, his scoffing at women was persistent and unkind. It was as if Germaine Greer and the second wave of feminism had never been.  

Similarly, when the Brittany Higgins scandal broke, Prime Minister Scott Morrison cynically leaned on his wife and daughters. Not for the first time.

Yet the principal claims boys’ schools are particularly “well placed” to educate for respectful relationships.  A recent grad says misogyny persists.

As in Britain, the germ of our ruling class is entitled lads from de luxe schools. Hence, rote apologies must still be trotted out, for bad boys in blazers.

The more Morrison pummels Lady Justice, the more I reject a Parliament led by frat boys. The day of women’s marches for justice, Morrison jeered: we didn’t shoot you. So much for Jenny and the girls. Meanwhile, Porter launched an exquisitely lawyerly defamation suit.

Women and men chanting: enough is enough. Frat boys calculating: we can stare this down.  

That besieged first law officer, what values does he represent? Liberty, equality and fraternity? The rule of law? The school motto of duty?

To me, his stint echoes the Hale I once knew. Do as I say, if not as I do.

His pursuit of East Timor whistle-blowers underscores partisan approaches to law and regulation. His own profession fought his Family Court demolition, for being anti-women. 

The "first justice" is a better role model. Confronted by abuse inside the High Court, Susan Kiefel didn't leave everything to the cops. Instead, a brisk inquiry unstitched Dyson Heydon, the boy from Shore. The Court might become a safer workplace.

Who am I to remonstrate further? For my learned guides, I turn once again to France and America. 

Thomas Piketty’s first and second door-stoppers are among key books of early 21st-Century politics and economics. Be acquainted with them, even if our politicians and economists seem to avoid them.

Senior economists still blame “technological change” for Australia’s low wage growth and rising inequality after the 1970s. That’s debatable.

If you distrust the “leftish” Frenchman, read great American economist Robert Gordon. He shows that many life-transforming tech changes happened from 1870 to 1970. Glittery info-tech developments post-1990 are less transformative than we think.

In Piketty, the burgeoning democratic equality of 1920-75 is anomalous. Brushing off the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and COVID-19, higher inequality is once again the rage, via government policy. Cutting progressive taxes, transferring wealth, from labour back to capital.

What’s the connection to Hale? I like to describe it as a marvellous machine for the generational transmission of wealth, class and family. Through the male line, that is.  

This isn’t news. As Piketty says, it’s routine historically. Feudal or modern, all states have what he calls 'inequality regimes'. Justified by narratives and systems.

A crucial 20th-Century narrative is meritocracy, which American philosopher Michael Sandel skewers as a “tyranny”.

He shows “leftish” leaders like Tony Blair and Barack Obama eagerly embracing the idea that, in the globalised world, you just have to get an education. Then, you can always make it if you try. If you fall short, by implication, it must be your fault.

In rich democracies, as Piketty documents, the “left” parties have come to represent the educated elite. “Right” parties still serve the moneyed elite. 

In Australian terms, left is Labor and Greens, right Liberal and National. The party for everyday workers? Dunno if we still have one. Maybe you boys could work on that.

More likely, you’ll go with the flow. No matter how competitive and successful you are, check your Haleian privilege. Even if there is no god, they may come back to chastise you.

Some closing thoughts on this sumptuous school. For rich families, annual fees up to $27,000 for high-school day-boys are chump change. Other parents move heaven and earth. Meanwhile, Hale scholarships now extend to Indigenous Australians.

Australia’s school campuses show that, by OECD standards, ours is a two-tier schooling system, with church schools as the preferred provider. Disadvantaged students are ever more segregated into disadvantaged schools. Often, these are state schools.

Boys, if your parents claim church schools save taxpayer dollars, look askance. Increasingly, these schools are being government-funded at rates similar to state schools.

Simultaneously, they retain special dispensations. Like uncapped fees, picking and choosing students, and anti-discrimination waivers. Nice gig. 

Yet, Porter pushed the discriminatory Religious Discrimination Bill. It could give your school further dispensations, while protecting its funding status.

Also in 2008, our daughter was offered a high-school place at co-ed Radford, a plush ACT Anglican school. Instead, she chose the local high school. 

Eyebrows went up. The choice, however, was right for her. For all the ensuing Gonski iterations, the Federal Government isn’t making it any easier to choose state schools. So, if Hale plays its cards, its WA dominion may continue.

Your recurrent income is about $40 million privately, mostly from parents, plus $10 million federal and state funds. Your strategic plan urges “authentic” male development, sharing values of integrity, personal excellence, resilience, creativity, service and courage. 

Fine stuff, but the Porter imbroglio is another wake-up call. On what safe grounds would wealthy boys’ schools still make girls the “other”? And be rewarded by governments for doing so?

You, Shore, St Peters and the like are cosy with these governments. They won’t pressure you overmuch. Refresh your social licence for yourselves.

Drawing 90% of its boys-only from the upper-middle and top socio-economic quarters, Hale is no immediate force for progressive equality. What do you do to counter that?  What is your broader social contract?

Unlike state schools, you’re free to take stands on issues. How often would you do that?  

To take just one example, you celebrate WA mining titans like Forrest and Peter Wright. Young Indigenous actor Meyne Wyatt also brings kudos.

But what do you think of the persistent hypocrisies from Forrest and the WA Government, regarding mining royalties and disturbances on Indigenous lands?

You can work ethically, against your students’ wealth and complacency. You’re free to send contemporary justice and politics right into the classroom. A co-ed Hale might place its pupils ahead of the sexual equality curve, not badly adrift like ex-prefect Porter. 

You could teach towards humbler grads, who might want something more generous than the selfish neo-liberal consensus. Who might protect the much-degraded world biodiversity hotspot that is the Noongar heartlands?  

Ironic, isn’t it, boys? Such is the private power of brand-name boys’ schools; it’s left in their own hands to lift their contributions to the public good. Perhaps unfairly, they give the appearance of helping the Federal Government keep women in their place.

Class of 2021, and your partners-to-be, think twice about sending your sons to a boys-only Hale. How would that align with the health and safety standards of 2040 or 2050?

Read more:

https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/on-christian-porter-boys-schools-perpetuate-parliamentary-boys-club-,14899

 

 

advice from solicitor-general stephen donaghue...



Prime Minister Scott Morrison is considering legal advice about Attorney-General Christian Porter in a step that could lead him to move the cabinet minister to a different position while he sues the ABC over its reporting of allegations of rape against him.

Mr Morrison told Parliament on Wednesday he was looking at the ministerial guidelines in relation to Mr Porter’s position, signalling a decision on whether he would remain Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations.


In a remark that offered no praise for Mr Porter, the Prime Minister said he was yet to conclude his assessment of the legal advice, which came from Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue.

“I am considering that advice with my department secretary, in terms of the application against the ministerial guidelines and when I have concluded that assessment, I’ll make a determination and I’ll make an announcement at that time,” Mr Morrison told Question Time.

Coalition MPs interpreted the comment as a sign the Prime Minister could leave Mr Porter to “hang out to dry” as the government grapples with a political backlash from some women over its response to weeks of debate about violence against women.

Mr Porter took leave after a press conference on March 3 when he identified himself as the cabinet minister mentioned in media reports about an alleged rape in 1988. He vehemently denies the historical allegation that he raped a 16-year-old girl while he was a teenager.

“Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened,” he said.

He is due back from leave on March 30 and intends to resume his two portfolios and his position in cabinet, but some of his Coalition colleagues worry his return would further weaken the government as it tries to show women it is hearing their concerns.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds is also tipped to depart the cabinet after spending two nights in hospital in late February over heart trouble when she was under pressure over her handling of the alleged rape of her former adviser, Brittany Higgins.

Senator Reynolds has set a date to return to her job on April 2, which is Good Friday, but some of her colleagues expect her to resign

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/christian-porter-s-job-in-the-balance-while-pm-considers-legal-advice-20210324-p57dpr.html

 

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then she killed herself...

NSW detectives investigating the historical rape allegation against former attorney-general Christian Porter were denied permission to travel to South Australia to interview the complainant by the state's police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson.

Key points:
  • The NSW Deputy Police chief denied the investigators' request to travel to interview Christian Porter's accuser in SA

  • The application for travel was denied over "insufficient detail" to justify why the trip could not be deferred during COVID-19 restrictions

  • The trip was already signed off by the head of the NSW Police Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad

This was despite the trip having been recommended for approval by the head of the NSW Police Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad.

Four Corners can reveal Deputy Commissioner David Hudson declined to approve the trip during the March 2020 COVID restrictions, citing "insufficient detail … to justify why this travel cannot be deferred."

The revelation is included in a new cache of documents provided by NSW Police (NSWP) to the state's parliament, in response to an 'order for papers' in relation to Strike Force Wyndarra, which was set up to investigate the allegation.

The documents contain previously undisclosed details of the actions of NSW Police and their South Australian counterparts during the investigation.

Christian Porter has strenuously denied the allegation and is currently suing the ABC for defamation.

The woman, who had a history of mental illness, took her own life in June last year, the day after she told police "she no longer felt able to proceed with the report [to police]".

Interview process handled between SA and NSW police over several months

The documents show the complainant first contacted SA Police (SAPOL) in November 2019, "seeking information on the process involved in reporting a sexual assault".

She did not want to make a formal statement at this stage but indicated "she may decide to make a formal report to NSWP at a later stage".

SAPOL forwarded the initial information to NSW Police because the alleged incident had occurred in Sydney, one evening during an elite debating competition in 1988.

SAPOL advised, "should the [alleged] victim decide to formally report the matter, that they would again contact the NSWPF to commence an investigation".

Over the following months, SAPOL met or spoke with the complainant several times and continued to provide "victim support".

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-12/nsw-police-denied-travel-interview-christian-porter-accuser/100061776

 

 

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ms giles is going to be busy...

Former Australia Post chief Christine Holgate has engaged a team of leading lawyers, raising the possibility of legal action that could draw in a number of Morrison government ministers.

Holgate has engaged top reputational risk lawyer Rebekah Giles and barrister Arthur Moses, who have invited Australia Post, communications minister Paul Fletcher and finance minister Simon Birmingham to mediation.

 

Holgate is eyeing potential claims beyond the breach of contract she alleges against her employer, including negligence, tortious interference in contractual relations and defamation – although she is seeking a settlement to avoid litigation.

Australia Post denies Holgate’s claim its chair, Lucio di Bartolomeo, unlawfully stood her down from her job, insisting she agreed to stand aside and later resigned over the politically-charged saga surrounding a gift of $20,000 worth of Cartier watches to senior executives.

In addition to blaming di Bartolomeo, Holgate argues she was bullied out of the job by Scott Morrison, who declared in parliament if she did not wish to stand aside voluntarily “she can go”.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/apr/22/christine-holgate-engages-leading-lawyers-over-australia-post-dispute

 

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defence not allowed...

 

Former attorney-general Christian Porter has once again sought to have his side of the story prioritised, with a Federal Court judge agreeing to his lawyer’s demands that sections of the ABC’s defence against his defamation proceedings be kept confidential until a later hearing can determine whether they should be struck out altogether. The dispute relates to three schedules and a paragraph, which Porter’s lawyers suggest are scandalous, vexatious, ambiguous or “otherwise an abuse of the process of the court”, but which the ABC’s counsel suggest constitute “effectively … our entire defence”. The ABC believes its defence should be made public in its entirety. But Porter wants only the ABC’s redacted defence published – along with hisfull reply – and he’s likely to get his way, with Justice Jayne Jagot supporting that approach this morning. Porter, who wanted this case heard in court, has demanded that the ABC prove its claims, but has cried foul over its method of doing so, not wanting its purportedly supporting facts to be considered, or placed on the record. What “scandalous” or “vexatious” details does he not want heard?

The ABC’s defence, we’ve now learnt, will rely both on qualified privilege – suggesting that the allegations against Porter were in the public interest, and reasonable to report in the circumstances – as well as a “substantial truth defence to many of the imputations that have been pleaded”, involving at least 15 witnesses. The contested schedules – which ABC counsel Renee Enbom said were “the substance of the defence” – appear to relate to truth; lawyer Sue Chrysanthou SC, acting for Porter, said the particulars were “not the substance of the defence” and that “the ABC are not pleading truth for most of his case” (Enbom disagreed). The ABC has accused Porter’s team of seeking to “control” how the case is reported, noting that “the principles of open justice … require that the proceedings be reported in a fair and accurate way, not in a one-sided way or a way that suits one party”.

Porter, whose word, mental health and need for “justice” have been elevated by some in the media over that of his accuser at every turn, has now had his right to privacy prioritised too, for the moment at least, even though this is a dispute he wanted heard. As many wrote at the time of his defamation filing, being the plaintiff in a defamation case puts Porter firmly back in control, especially in Australia, where the public interest rules are stacked against the media. Not to mention, as Richard Ackland noted in The Saturday Paper, these trials “frequently hinge on what is left out of the case”, with “lots of the embarrassing bits about the person suing end[ing] up on the cutting-room floor”. What was meant to be “a substitute for the Inquiry We Didn’t Get to Have” (as Jo Dyer, a friend of the deceased accuser, tweeted) will instead be an inquiry in which Porter can contest which details are heard and which are suppressed.

Everyone will now be wondering exactly what is contained in the contested schedules, which will be redacted in any filings that might be made public in the coming week, but it’s obvious they contain “scandalous” details that either do not suit Porter’s claim that he has been unfairly defamed or are deemed legally inadmissible though nevertheless not something he would like made public. Many have suggested that Porter may have instigated defamation proceedings specifically to prevent this disputed information being made public, with new information having been uncovered in the weeks following his coming forward. But whether or not Porter did see that coming, he’s only added to the impression he created the day he launched proceedings: that he is unwilling to have the full detail of allegations against him exposed to the public, or tested in open court.

We don’t know yet whether the temporarily suppressed evidence will be struck out, with Justice Jagot telling the hearing the interim order was only about preventing the (potentially vexatious) information becoming public before she could determine the merits of Porter’s complaint. But there’s no doubt the former attorney-general – backed by some of the best defamation lawyers in the country, and a qualified lawyer himself – knows his way around a courtroom. Prime Minister Scott Morrison repeatedly insisted that no civil inquiry could be held into the allegations against Porter on account of the rule of law. The rules of law may mean that elements of the story will always remain unheard.

 

Read more:

https://www.themonthly.com.au/today/rachel-withers/2021/07/2021/1620361736/porter-s-complaint

 

A similar technique of shutting down possible information seemed to have also been used by AG Porter (representing a corrupt action by the Australian government)  against Witness K... who knows. Meanwhile, anything that can damage the ABC, will be well received by most of the Liberal (CONservative) boffins...

 

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legal professional privilege...

A Federal Court judge has effectively paused hearings in Christian Porter’s defamation case against the ABC while the court decides an application to stop a high-profile Sydney barrister acting for him in the proceedings.

On Wednesday a friend of the woman who accused Mr Porter of rape filed an urgent application in the Federal Court seeking an order to restrain defamation barrister Sue Chrysanthou, SC, from acting for the federal Liberal minister on the basis of a potential conflict of interest.

 

Jo Dyer, who was a debater with the woman in the late 1980s, is seeking an order restraining Ms Chrysanthou from acting in the case on the basis that the defamation silk previously acted for her in a separate matter involving The Australian newspaper.

“The order is necessary to prevent prejudice to the proper administration of justice, and to preserve confidentiality and legal professional privilege,” Ms Dyer’s lawyers say in court documents.

 

On Friday Justice Tom Thawley set down Ms Dyer’s application for a three-day hearing starting on May 24.

Justice Jayne Jagot, who is presiding over the defamation proceedings only, raised the possibility on Friday that the defamation proceedings would need to be stayed, or temporarily halted, pending the resolution of that application.

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/national/barrister-in-porter-defamation-fight-may-need-to-be-quarantined-from-case-20210514-p57rwj.html

 

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