Privacy laws, government transparency, national security laws and discrimination - the hot-button issues of our time - all fall under the remit of Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, and this week has thrown up a few more curly problems. Changes to FOI laws on parliamentary spending and the latest revelations about ASIO clearances for people smugglers living in Australia will come in one way or another to add to the pile on Roxon's desk.
The profile of Nicola Roxon in The Monthly portrays our first female Attorney-General as intelligent, capable and fair-minded.
Given the array of issues on her plate, and the intense pressure on every move the government makes, she'll need to be these things and much more in coming weeks.
"A people-smuggling kingpin allegedly disguised himself as a refugee and travelled by boat to Christmas Island - only to fool immigration authorities and begin direct smuggling ventures from suburban Canberra."
"If the Parliament runs its full term under Julia Gillard, Nicola Roxon will have around 15 months in which to transform the Federal Court system, codify contract law, review digital copyright laws, oversee two referenda, criminalise forced marriages, tighten laws on sex trafficking, review the $1.3 billion legal aid system and modernise security laws – to mention just some of the items on her docket."
"In May this year the Australian Information Commissioner quietly tweaked their Freedom of Information guidelines. There was no press release and no fanfare whatsoever. But this small amendment could entirely change the way that Parliament operates … It’s perhaps the single greatest development in FOI law in Australia, and it was an accident."
"The 8th annual Lowy Institute Poll was released this morning. As usual, it covers a large number of foreign policy issues, but one fascinating set of findings dealt with the perennially controversial issue of migration"
"The US announcement on the weekend that it's going to base most of its navy in the Pacific in future is probably a good thing for Australia … Not necessarily because of any Chinese trends to assertiveness, although that's happening too. But we might need to rely on the US armed forces because of what we are in the process of inflicting on ourselves."