Federal leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, has accused Tony Abbott of hypocrisy in his embrace of the Magna Carta, saying the Government’s actions were at odds with the celebrated document of constitutional law.
“As we mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, when the PM himself has called it one of the most important constitutional documents of our time, it is a great injustice that its principles are being ignored,’’ Mr Palmer said.
“Instead of embracing its values of protecting individuals against arbitrary power, the Australian Government seeks to take the law back to before 1215 when citizens had no protection from illegal imprisonment and other injustices,’’ he said.
Mr Palmer said the Abbott Government was ignoring the Magna Carta at its peril on such matters as asylum seeker policy and the erosion of the separation of powers in Australia.
“The Magna Carta says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
“It also stands for the principles that Government is not above the law, and however democratically elected, cannot trash the basic rights that belong to citizens under the Constitution.
“While the Prime Minister has been busy talking up the virtues of the Magna Carta, his actions have been very different in matters as divergent as the treatment of refugees and the bungling of WA Senate election,’’ he said.
“Unfortunately many members of the House of Representatives don’t have a legal background and don’t understand the nature of the Government’s true agenda.
“The Magna Carta’s guarantee of the rule of law is the foundation of a true democracy, something which our Government needs to recognise with actions, not just words,’’ Mr Palmer said.