On Tuesday, Melissa Fyfe tweeted that the Victoria government was seeking the Federal Court to overturn Tony Burke’s decision to disallow cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park. Tom Arup discusses this on his site.
One of the arguments is that the Victorian government claims that the federal environment minister, Tony Burke, should not have used information that was not contained in the referral document. It would seem odd if that were the case – such a requirement would mean that all referrals would have be extremely comprehensive. Where would one stop? The definition of basic English terms? It is hard to argue that the Victorian government’s referral was comprehensive.
The advice to Tony Burke from his department notes “Previously, the Australian Government Solicitor has advised that general pre-existing information of which you are aware or which is held by the department can be used in conjunction with the information in the referral for the purposes of making a ‘clearly unacceptable’ decision”. It seems that the Victorian and federal lawyers disagree with each other. We’ll wait to see what the Federal Court thinks about that and the other arguments.
But as I understand it, even if the Federal Court quashes Tony Burke’s original decision, it will simply mean he has to reconsider his decision; the court won’t tell him what he has to decide.
How much is this costing?