Solicitor-General resigns over spat with Brandis

ONE of the nation's most senior legal officers has resigned over a long running spat with Attorney-General George Brandis. 

Justin Gleeson and Mr Brandis have been at loggerheads for the past two weeks with a Senate committee set to report by November 8 on whether or not the Attorney-General misled parliament over a communication between the two men. 

Mr Brandis told parliament he had sought advice from Mr Gleeson over a controversial directive telling anyone seeking legal counsel from the solicitor-general to run their request by him first. 

Gleeson denies this happened. 

"In the circumstances, Mr Gleeson's resignation is the proper course of action for him to have taken, as his letter acknowledges," Senator Brandis said via a statement this afternoon. 

"I thank Mr Gleeson for his service as the Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth and wish him well for the future.

"I will immediately take steps to identify and recommend to the Cabinet a suitable person to be the next Solicitor-General. In the meantime, the Government will recommend to His Excellency the Governor-General the appointment of Mr Tom Howe PSM QC as the Acting Solicitor-General."

Mr Gleeson wrote a letter in which he said his resignation did not amount to an admission that he had been consulted over Brandis' alleged move to block access to his advice. 

"My decision does not amount to a withdrawal of any position I have taken in relation to matters of controversy between us (himself and the A-G)," Gleeson wrote in a statement. 

"For the avoidance of any doubt , I also make it perfectly that I reject absolutely each and every attack and insinuation that has been made in recent times upon me personally, or upon my office, by government members of Parliament," he wrote. 

Instead he said he resigned so the country's two most senior officers could work together productively. 

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