Tag Archives: Commonwealth and State

First day in Court for Spencer v. Commonwealth

Based on a submission from Peter this morning, Her Honour allowed a delay in Peter’s opening statement – now to be tomorrow afternoon.
Instead, the second respondent Mr Kirk for the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office made his opening statement this afternoon and the first respondent Mr Lenehan for the Commonwealth Government Solicitor will make his opening statement tomorrow morning…
The most important event today was the opening statement by Mr Kirk, the barrister for the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office.

Two things stand out – BOTH respondents (Commonwealth and State) are flatly denying the existence of any informal agreement or understanding between the Commonwealth and the State beyond the applicable legislation and relevant published intergovernmental agreements. The thrust of the rest of his statement was that the State had the ability to restrict Spencer’s ability to clear timber on his land under legislation that existed before the Commonwealth involvement in native vegetation legislation after Kyoto, and that consequently Clause 51 (XXXI) of the Constitution (Commonwealth must pay just terms compensation for property taken) does not “come into play”…

From what I can see – neither Peter or Alastair McRobert sitting beside Peter were fazed by Kirk’s opening statement.

Picture the scene:

The judge at the front….

On the left – Peter and Alastair McRobert, side by side assisted by Angela Muller and Jeannie Hughes sitting behind…

On the right – two barristers in cloaks and another 8 black clad solicitors from the CGS and NSW Crown Solicitor.

At the back – 10 Spencer supporters and one other (we think) from the NSW Department of the Environment… and NOT a single journalists.  What is going on – isn’t this case important?

A long way to go…. it has just begun……