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SA attorney-general comfortable with SC

AAP logoAAP 22/11/2016

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says it was open to judges of the Supreme Court to consider his application to be a senior counsel "ridiculous" and he would have been equally content with the outcome.

Mr Rau's appointment has raised eyebrows in political and legal circles, especially after it was revealed his application was put in late and not subject to the same level of consultation as others.

But the attorney said he left the matter up to the judges of the court who were free to consider him a suitable candidate or not.

"The court could have said 'what a ridiculous idea'," Mr Rau told reports on Wednesday.

"They could have said 'let's put this off until next year', they could have said 'you're not even in the ballpark' or they could have said 'we'll let the matter proceed'.

"All of those are entirely their decision and I would have been entirely comfortable with any."

Mr Rau said, given his 35 years in the legal profession, he believed he was suitably qualified to be a senior counsel, the modern-day version of a Queen's counsel, and may have applied much earlier had he not been in politics.

He saw no reason to "move away" from the court's decision, but said he had no plans to leave politics and intended to recontest his seat at the 2018 state election.

In relation to Mr Rau's application to join the elite legal ranks, Chief Justice Chris Kourakis said dealing with it was "awkward".

But while he excused himself from any discussions, he believed his fellow judges looked at it carefully and conscientiously.

"It is awkward, there's no doubt about that," Justice Kourakis said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Vickie Chapman said Mr Rau's application to be made an SC was "totally inappropriate" and he should have left parliament if he wanted to pursue a higher status in the legal profession.

"The attorney-general must now make a decision. He either gives it back or he gets out," she told reporters.

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