Queensland Law Society

Government Lawyers Conference 2017

Friday 11 August 2017, Law Society House

President's closing speech

Good afternoon. I hope you have all had a great time here today, and that the sessions were thought-provoking and valuable. I haven’t worked in government but am informed by ex-government lawyers here at QLS that the best way to get a feel for what it is like is to simply regard Yes Minister as a documentary.

That suits me, because I have long looked to that show for wisdom, and note the excellent explanation of the difference between ‘under consideration’ and ‘under active consideration’. Apparently "under consideration" means "we've lost the file"; "under active consideration" means "we're trying to find it"; I suspect that might work here at QLS from time to time as well.

I also recall a time when Sir Humphrey was asked for a straight answer, and he responded with this:  I shall say that, as far as we can see, looking at it by and large, taking one thing with another in terms of the average of departments, then in the final analysis it is probably true to say, that at the end of the day, in general terms, you would probably find that, not to put too fine a point on it, there probably wasn't very much in it one way or the other. As far as one can see, at this stage.

If you think that sounds like gibberish, I agree; if it makes sense to you, you have a long career waiting at the Bar. We are all working towards better communities, better friendships, better families, better society, a better world.

Thank you for joining with us on this journey as trusted advisors to our government leaders.

Another way you can join with us, is in supporting our latest step toward a better society – the first Reconciliation Action Plan for the solicitors of Queensland.

Our first RAP was released in July at a launch event attended by Indigenous Elders and state and federal representatives of government and the judiciary.

This plan is a substantial step for the Society and the profession as a whole towards reconciliation in our nation.

It is our goal to improve access to our legal system for budding lawyers who identify as First Nations peoples, along with also supporting our current Indigenous lawyers and Indigenous people who work in the solicitor’s branch of the legal profession.

Our RAP was created by a dedicated working group of solicitors, magistrates, legal students and Indigenous executives, with input from the wider profession.

To my mind, diversity is more than gender and age. It encompasses culture and experience. Diversity and inclusion broadens our vision and strengthens our capabilities, and this underpins a greater community engagement.

I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress, and I encourage you to find ways that you can become involved in reconciliation.

Elder abuse awareness campaign

Another key area we have been working in for the benefit of our community is elder abuse awareness.

On June 15 we recognised World Elder Abuse Awareness Day with the launch of a joint campaign with GPs in Queensland.

Our profession can be leaders in this space. We can start the conversation and bring this scourge into the light.

This trial saw GP clinics provided with collateral and fact sheets that will assist them in identifying the signs of elder abuse. Small business cards will also be handed out to patients identified as potential sufferers of abuse.

Through this campaign, we hope to raise awareness of elder abuse and give a language to those suffering or witnessing these acts; increase reporting figures; and encourage the Government to fund assistance programs for elder abuse sufferers.

Closing

I would like to thank you all for being with us today and I encourage you to stay connected with QLS.

Thank you once again to our exclusive sponsor Law in Order, our Government Lawyers Committee and chair Andrew Harris, and our presenters for their time today.

Please ensure you complete your feedback forms and hand them into the registration desk.

Early in the speech I mentioned the Bar, which is probably where I lost Mr Budden’s attention, but I now ask you to come and join us at a more collegial, less wordy type of bar in our member’s lounge for networking drinks.

Thank you.