Fool proofing the Attorney General

The Attorney General’s Transparency Branch has a fool proof tactic, straight out of Yes, Minister, to shut down anything it doesn’t want to address. 

Here is how it works: the first response to my polite and respectful submission regarding the benefits of a CCRC structure addressed to the current Attorney General is dismissed by a departmental ‘transparency’ executive without addressing any of the issues I raise. (Full history of the matter)

My reply to that letter points out and itemises the matters in my submission that are not addressed – expanded with examples. I am then dealt the bureaucratic death blow (see below), because I haven’t raised any new issues. See what they did here? It’s a classic public service play: avoid the issues, then if challenged, claim nothing new has been raised, close the conversation. It’s fool proof.

23 July 2021
Dear Mr Urban

Thank you for your correspondence of 7 July 202 (sic) responding to MC21-037638. As it does not appear you have raised any new issues in your email, the Attorney-General’s Department is unable to be of any further assistance to you in this matter. Unless new issues are raised, the Department will not necessarily respond to any future correspondence from you on this matter.

Yours sincerely
Tori Harrington
Director Transparency and Criminal Law Branch

The AG’s department of transparency has clearly done its homework, studying the satirical TV series, Yes, Minister, not as entertainment but as a manual.


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14 Responses to Fool proofing the Attorney General

  1. owen allen says:

    Thanks Andrew, you have stunned me to silence.
    I have to recollect.
    No matter. I have to say, your blog is so great enabling persons to voice.
    You are providing an essential service to persons that need help, and persons that have knowledge and experience that can help. We have to work together.
    Thanks Brother; I am thinking of buying another couple of bikes. 2nd hand.
    Buying bikes is my obsessive compulsive disorder and I live in a humpy.
    I hope we will ride together , and the WA QC, I have the bikes, and Michael Phelan.
    And I am an ex commercial pilot crop duster.
    I just watched the surrender on the USS Missouri and I have stood on the deck in Hobart Tasmania.
    Australia needs awake up call. But Covid has taken over, and that is a wake up to the world.

  2. owen allen says:

    More police lies and planting false evidence resulting in a murder conviction WA.
    QC calls for a Royal Commission WA police… wonder I am depressed;
    no honour and respect in government and bureaucracy in Australia anymore.
    Success the QC had with appeal.
    Joy. What is happening to the human race, or is just the same but media technology makes us more aware.
    To the QC, good work.

  3. David Smith says:

    I have been through a similar experience with Queensland Health and the Health Ombudsman – Corruption is endemic and they both cover up for each other. When presented with Direct Evidence that shows that they have LIED – Response – We made an Incorrect Assumption. Then THE END – Nothing further – We are dealing with a Persons Health – Who Care – Too Bad.
    This appears to be the New Policies of Government Departments – and worse – they get away with it.
    Write to your Local Member and get answers through them. Then again – in Queensland the LNP response – Can’t help you because we are not in Government – with that attitude – they never will.

  4. Fiona Peate says:

    Maybe we can flood Tori’s office with copies of your letter but sent by as many different people as we can get? The nuisance value alone should make one or two brave journo’s take notice.

  5. Owen Allen says:

    I have nothing to say, nothing to contribute this has gone past my level of education and experience; except; I did go as far as meet with Leader of Opposition, who told me the Police Force was too corrupt to do anything about.
    Are we living in reality or is this just a nightmare?

  6. Maris Valentine says:

    Thank you Andrew for what you have been doing for so long. Do you have a headache from banging your head against the proverbial brick wall?

    What are people supposed to do who find themselves on the wrong side of an irrational jury [or judge in a judge-only trial], especially if there has been some negligence/sickness/or other mishap on the part of the person’s own legal team?

    1. Such people find themselves wrongly convicted.

    2. They go through the Appeal process if they have any money left after their expensive trial.

    3. If they don’t have any money left, then they apply for Legal Aid and wait, and wait for their legal team to find time to attend to matters in whatever time is left from attending to higher-paying matters.

    4. Then they find that Legal Aid doesn’t want to allocate sufficient funds for senior counsel to properly prepare and present an Appeal. [Apparently it is normal to expect counsel to constantly do pro bono work to make up the difference.] So, if on Probation, these unfortunate people can wait it out.

    If unfortunate enough to be in prison – well they rot. They do not get adequate medical, dental, optical, psychological or spiritual care and if they are unlucky enough to have been incarcerated during Covid and come from another state from the one in which they have been incarcerated – well, they probably don’t see their family members for a year or more except via AVL.

    5. Finally, they might go to an Appeal. However, if their own legal counsel was in any way remiss at Trial, then it is highly likely that information was not presented that should have been presented – but probably will not be allowed to be presented at Appeal as new evidence, unless the person is very high profile such as Cardinal Pell – and even then, he got knocked back by what can only be described as an “interesting” majority of Judges.

    6. Next step? THERE SHOULD BE A CCRC – but we all know there is not.

    7. Who has the couple of million dollars [or backing of friends to incur debt] to take the matter to the High Court, assuming that it would even agree to hear the matter? Cardinal Pell? Who else? Not many!

    I think the only answer is going to be for everyone who has been adversely affected to come together and storm the steps of every parliament with placards; enlist the aid of journalists; and just keep on and on and on in the public domain with absolutely no let-up at all.

    What do you think, Andrew?

    Would you be willing to co-ordinate something, considering you have access to quite a number of dis-affected people?

    • andrew says:

      You’re right; public pressure is the one thing that works on politicians. It needs the media to champion the cause, and they are not engaged. The subject is too complex for most media. And most media is state focused… it’s a wicked problem.

      • Maris Valentine says:

        Thank you Andrew.

        Obviously I have some experience with the wrongful conviction category of legal outcomes. And I am aware of other folk who have been affected, as well as others whose appearances on Trial is fast approaching. Men I worked with and who my husband worked with, and whom I am absolutely sure could not be guilty [the “Mr. Squeaky-Cleans” of this world] – although I do not actually have proof of their innocence as I do with our own experiences.

        At least one journalist is interested in following matters up either when no further harm can be done by putting matters out in the public forum, or when we start to have some happy outcomes from Appeals – although unfortunately no one is prepared to get too hopeful. I am sure several other thoughtful journalists would also throw their weight behind the cause if they were given the facts of the unjust cases sitting out there with people languishing in prison such as you have drawn to our attention.

        But it does need co-ordination and I am probably too old and too traumatised to do it myself. However, I know people who are prepared to stand on the steps of parliaments [or sit, as some are getting quite old] and I do not believe it is all a lost cause.

        There are just so many types of legal injustice situations that you have drawn to our notice. Those are real people suffering and they all have family and friends. I just think it needs to be co-ordinated.

        It was perhaps easier in past times to draw attention to serious injustices, but a friend and I were instrumental in bringing considerable pressure on the NSW State Government so that eventually public servants who were facing serious criminal charges are no longer suspended without pay, but with pay. I think that was a significant victory. What we are seeing now are even greater injustices and if anything can be done, my friends and I are all “up for it”.

        Take care.

  7. Steven Fennell says:

    Hi Andrew

    I would like to raise a matter with Tori Harrington Director Transparency and Criminal Law Branch can you either post the email address and phone number or reply directly?

    Actually; have you thought about asking your readers / members to take up a question or 2 of there own with Ms Tori Harrington cause how busy can she be as the
    Director Transparency and Criminal Law Branch if they simply fail to respond to basic questions?

  8. Robin Bowles says:

    WOW! How lucky are we to have a Director of TRANSPARENCY guiding the hand of the (latest) Attorney General!!?? I wonder how long Tori has been in the chair. And if she’s one of those ubiquitous people always standing self-effacingly in the background at media stops. Does she come all shiny and new with the new AG, or is she tarnished by the trail of the Porter era?
    Might we hazard a guess that your letter MC21-037638 (sic) was the 37th+ thousandth letter the TRANSPARENCY DEPT has received this year? Quite possible. Since Tori seems to have an ‘off the shelf’ answer to incoming mail that she can deliver at will, she must have been to a very good PR school indeed!

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