To say I’m depressed about the current state of Australian politics would be an understatement. But of all the things that depress me, the possibility of a section 44 case against Josh Frydenberg is the most gratuitously awful. If someone had said, ten years ago, that the Australian-born son of a Jewish refugee was ineligible to stand for Parliament because he had failed to secure necessary documents from the neo-fascist government that currently rules Hungary, they would have been laughed at, and rightly so.
Yet, that appears to be the state of the law, as rendered by our appalling High Court. I don’t know what I find worst about this. Is it:
- The gratuitous silliness of the specific rulings in s44 cases ?
- The absurdity of legal literalism, particularly in the context of constitutional law, where unintended implications can only be fixed by referendum ?
- The possibility that the Court will add hypocrisy to stupidity by finding some way of rejecting the case against Frydenberg, thereby showing that there was no need for any of the previous rulings?
- The fact that the case is being
brought by a defeated Labor candidate,cheered on by lots of Twitter users, most of whom are apparently on the left?
The only consolation is that, as in all previous cases of MHRs (but not Senators) found ineligible, Frydenberg will be able to fix things up (wasting time and effort that might better be spent running the country) and win the unnecessary by-election created by our finest legal minds.