Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
11 June 2020

Piketty n inheritance

It struck [Thomas Piketty] as odd the Australian Government imposed no taxes on those who had been bequeathed multi-million-dollar properties, while governments in the United States and Europe taxed the same gifts at between 40 and 45 per cent. “Japan just raised its top inheritance tax rate from 45 to 55 per cent last year,” Professor Piketty said. “This was under a right-wing government by the way and I don’t hear Angela Merkel or I didn’t hear Cameron in Britain say he wanted to reduce the inheritance tax of 40 per cent to the Australian level of 0 per cent so this [Australia] is very unusual.” The author of the best-selling book Capital in the 21st Century said while small inheritances of 100,000 or 200,000 could remain tax free, it made perfect sense to levy tax on property transfers worth millions of dollars.

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