New Solicitor-General and Electoral Commissioner appointed

THE legal community has embraced the appointment of two significant Queensland appointments for Solicitor-General and Electoral Commissioner.

Peter Dunning had been appointed to the first role, as a strong advocate and adviser to the Queensland Government, and Walter van de Merwe, who has served in an acting role for the past year, to the latter.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said both roles were extremely important in maintaining and protection of our justice system and democracy.

"Mr Dunning has experience in a range of jurisdictions, including the Supreme and High Court, and he has had a wide scope of private practice, from constitutional to criminal law," he said.

"A barrister since 1992, he has been counsel in numerous commissions of inquiry and inquests, including the Queensland Floods Inquiry and inquests into the Lockhart River air disaster and missing American divers, Tom and Eileen Longeran.

"The legal profession and heads of jurisdiction were consulted during the selection process and they all support Mr Dunning's appointment.

"Mr van der Merwe has an in-depth understanding of our democratic and electoral system and he is currently the Chair of the Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand.

"He has served in senior positions within government departments under both sides of politics for well over a decade and his expertise will be of great benefit as the Government works to modernise and protect Queensland's electoral system."

Queensland Law Society president Ian Brown said Mr Dunning would bring a wealth of legal experience to bear in a role that was important to every Queenslander.

"The Solicitor-General provides the government with legal advice on significant issues such as law reform and major projects," Mr Brown said.

"Mr Dunning has the professional expertise and negotiation skills that will see him serve our state well."

Mr Brown said the Electoral Commissioner role was critical to the fair and accurate administration of core democratic processes.

"Walter van de Merwe is a natural choice for the role having served as Acting Commissioner and operating with great integrity and purpose to ensure transparency and public trust in our election processes," he said.

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