Thursday, November 18, 2004

A criticism too far

The war between the government and the Supreme Court really has gone to far this time, with Trevor Mallard saying that it wasa pity that they were not appointed on merit. He is undermining the credibility and independence of the judiciary, and for what? So he has an "amusing" line in a talk at a business breakfast? As a senior Cabinet Minister, Mallard should be more responsible than that.

Yes, he has a point, in that the blind promotion of those already enjoying seniority probably overlooked others of greater talent. But lest anyone forget, this process was forced on the government by the right, who prevented a wider net being case by raising the spectre of political appointments - and will no doubt be using Mallard's comments to raise this issue again, despite being happy with the appointments process at the time (because they conflated existing seniority with merit, in the same way that they conflate wealth with virtue). And at the same time, you really have to wonder what the basis for Mallard's complaint really is. The Supreme Court has heard only two cases so far, and has yet to issue a single ruling. Criticising their ability seems more than a little premature...