What’s wrong Mr Attorney General? Do you know?

Andrew L. Urban.

How can a man who doesn’t seem to know right from wrong be the Attorney General of an Australian State? I don’t know the answer, but I do believe I have evidence that NSW AG Mark Speakman SC makes decisions that reflect poorly on his moral compass. Here are two key examples. 

The latest example is Speakman’s decision to argue for Bettina Arndt’s 2020 AM award to be cancelled – which it has not been, it was announced last week. “…it was always obvious that I would keep my award,” says Arndt, “given the regulations governing the honours committee. And the long delay was not due to the fact that the committee was conducting a forensic examination of all my alleged wrong-doing. They simply meet only twice a year and the February meeting was cancelled due to Covid. Various media stories with Council officials over recent months made it obvious what the decision would be but the September meeting needed to take place before they could announce it.”

Bettina Arndt AM

Read Bettina Arndt’s full briefing on the matter.

Watch Senator Amanda Stoker’s speech in the Senate supporting Arndt’s award.

In the statement announcing the decision, The Honourable Shane L. Stone AC QC, Chairman of the Council for the Order of Australia, stated: “Unanimous community approval is not a criteria for Council to make a recommendation. Nominations for Awards are from the community. Similarly, individuals are neither qualified nor disqualified on the basis of their political leanings, social views or religious convictions. The Council’s recommendations are not an endorsement of the political, religious or social views of recipients, nor is conferral of an honour an endorsement of the personally held beliefs of recipients. Nor are they directed by governments or influenced by lobbying or public campaigning.”

Mark Speakman SC Attorney General of NSW

Speakman was “one of many prominent people,” writes Arndt, “who chose to buy into the misinformation campaign against me, to the astonishment of renowned Canadian commentator Mark Steyn. Here’s Steyn’s denouncement of Speakman – “Screw you, Mr Attorney-General.” 

Speakman saw fit to insert himself into the mob lynching of Arndt, ignoring the sheer animosity that drove it, preferring to believe allegations against Arndt. Unfounded allegations.

Yet he has refused to act on a matter that is morally, legally and ethically crying out for justice. Speakman can’t be accused of knowing right from wrong …

A man, without a single other legal blemish, convicted of historical sexual abuse of a young girl in his family, 22 years before, believes he could prove his innocence if the NSW Attorney General advised the Governor to act on his petition and referred his case for a judicial review – as it was recently done for Kathleen Folbigg, convicted of murdering her children. But Speakman has refused and has given no reason.

The convicted man has served his time but remains damned by his conviction. He wrote to the Attorney General: “You will understand that I feel strongly that I, too, deserve justice. I note that although Ms Folbigg’s petition was submitted three years ago, it wasn’t until just nine days after an investigation into Ms Folbigg’s case was broadcast by the ABC’s Australian Story, (10 August, 2018), that you announced as follows:

“I have formed the view that an inquiry into Ms Folbigg’s convictions is necessary to ensure public confidence in the administration of justice. Today’s decision is not based on any assessment of Ms Folbigg’s guilt.

“The petition appears to raise a doubt or question …

“I ask for equal access to a review. My petition (also lodged some years ago) also raises very serious doubts – on several issues. The very same sentiments would apply in my case…

“I do not ask you to form a view as to my innocence, only to permit a proper review of my conviction…

“My life has been decimated, my family has been hurt and my confidence in our justice system has been badly damaged …”

I rest my case …

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7 Responses to What’s wrong Mr Attorney General? Do you know?

  1. John S says:

    Typically, all the good ever done by someone like Arndt is quickly forgotten when a political gain can be had from one misrepresented act.

    We seem to be in the grip of a culture war, the likes of which I can’t recall in my lifetime.

    Truth is sadly the first casualty, and well put lies pass for truth. Truth is we could seldom handle the plain truth is it’s never convenient for those with an agenda to push.

  2. Garry Stannus says:

    I’ve been hearing of Bettina Arndt now and then since the 70s. I used to hear her on RN radio from time to time and I knew of her as being supportive of men’s perspectives. Thank you for the link to Bettina Arndt’s ‘full briefing on the matter’. I’ve read quite a bit of it and I’ve also gone to Funnell’s (and Graham’s) Quadrant article, while also trying to look further afield.
    [see: https://www.bettinaarndt.com.au/her-award-and-cancel-culture/ and within that link, Arndt’s submission to the Press Council. Also see: the Funnell and Graham Quadrant article https://newmatilda.com/2020/01/28/psychologist-clinical-psychologist-doctor-or-none-of-the-above-will-the-real-bettina-arndt-am-please-stand-up/%5D

    I never remember Arndt as being presented as a psychologist from those early years or later. ‘Sex therapist’ maybe, but in reality I knew of her as an advocate for the good side of men and perhaps more recently, for exploring some of the grey areas of the gender ‘wars’. At that time (the 70s), Bob Montgomery was also much sought after and, in contrast to Arndt, I recognised him as being a psychologist and as speaking as one. I don’t think that Arndt in her public career has claimed to speak as a psychologist. So she hasn’t bothered to correct every presenter’s lengthy introduction which may have included the word ‘psychologist’ etc. I was surprised in my readings to find that actually, Arndt had in the early 70s [1973], gained a Masters in Psychology [Master in Clinical Psy-chology, UNSW] and, if I understand matters correctly, had been legally entitled to describe herself – if she had then wanted to use that title. In 1989, it seems that registration of psychologists in NSW was introduced but Arndt did not bother applying, since she had moved away from such work, moving firstly to ‘sex therapy’ then to advocacy of men’s issues.

    I can’t claim to have a final view on Bettina Arndt. I don’t know anything of Nina Funnell beyond what I’ve read in the links as per above. There seems to have been in Arndt’s case, an amount of accusation/denunciation against her. For some reason, it brings to my mind Helen Garner’s ‘The First Stone’. Not just questions of denunciation/accusation, but also of an amount of bitterness between members of the women’s movement. [The question of a ‘mens movement’ is not at first sight, mirror image, in my view – perhaps worthy of a comment, somewhere else down the track?]

  3. Bob Moles says:

    Clearly NSW should adopt the new statutory right to a second or further appeal as now exists in SA. Tas, and Vic. Australia did have common appeal rights in all states and territories for 100 years – why not now?
    And whilst we are at it, why not have a Criminal Review Commission like that in the UK. New Zealand has set one up – Canada has one on the way – and more cost-effective than the $8m spent on the Eastman Inquiry – see the article by Michael Kirby on this at http://netk.net.au/Appeals/Appeals8.pdf

  4. Mary Lewis says:

    Any convicted person who has good evidence of his or her innocence should be entitled to a review of their case. Obviously it costs money to provide such a review but if a mistake has been made for any reason, whether a jury has been irrational, evidence was not available at trial, the defence lawyers did not do their job properly, the prosecution was dishonest, perhaps in a judge only trial a judge managed to air-brush substantiated evidence out while at the same time speculating unwarranted theories in, none of this matters if a person is entitled to clear his or her name. It seems to me that Governments and Attorneys General are reluctant to having too many reviews because it might prove that more innocent people are in prison than the official figures show. In other words, it might show that the Justice system is not nearly as Just as it should be and thus confidence in the system would be undermined. It would also show that millions of dollars are being spent unnecessarily on every wrongly convicted person.

    I would contend that the Justice system does not work nearly as well as most people believe it does, nor as it should; and denying convicted people real opportunities to at least clear their names seriously undermines the whole system.

    Every wrongly accused person thinks that the system will work and his or her innocence will be shown through the police investigation. When that fails, and it seems it usually does in sexual assault cases, and the person faces trial, usually together with significant media coverage, then the person believes that Justice will prevail in Court and he or she will be acquitted. If Justice does not prevail, and again in sexual assault cases, the worrying trend seems to be that acquittal does not occur nearly as often as it should, then the person finds himself or herself in prison waiting and waiting, possibly now on Legal Aid, for an Appeal where the grounds of Appeal are very limited. Perhaps a High Court Challenge might ensue, but rarely. What else can an innocent person do except ask for a Judicial Review if he or she has a sustainable case?

    As for Bettina Arndt, no politicians should be seizing cheap media opportunities and trying to influence nominations or awards for various Australian Honours. Bettina Arndt has done a lot of good and successful work for disadvantaged men in sexual assault trials. I am beginning to think that those men who are innocent, and they are many more than the 2% – 6% that the sexual assault lobby would like everyone to believe, should be called “The Stolen Men”. When innocent, whether young on university campus, middle-aged divorce/custody victims or old men suffering from historic sexual assault allegations, they are stolen from their families, they have their reputations stolen, they have their homes or their parents’ homes stolen to pay legal fees, they are awarded maximum security status in prisons which means shackles and handcuffs when transferred within the prison system, with all the difficulties that entails when unable to fasten seat belts in the back of the transfer vehicle, go to the toilet or anything else; or when in hospital causing difficulties in showering, etc. etc. Often they are subjected to abuse from warders and other prisoners.

    Of course anyone wrongly convicted of anything should have the opportunity of review, if their lawyers have provided a detailed and good case for their innocence. This should be a routine referral job for the Attorney General, instead of trying to pretend that there are not serious miscarriages of justice from time to time.

  5. owen allen says:

    Great work Andrew, I may back off and go silent, but we will be reading, as I plan and go forward.
    Australia is stuffed with these wankers trying to run the show.

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