Queensland Law Society

President’s update

Christine Smyth

The New Year Profession Drinks last Thursday was a great way to get our 2017 events program under way.

With a record crowd of more than 200 in attendance, the function held in the Gallery at the QEII Courts of Law presented an ideal opportunity to explain my plans for raising the profile of the profession and its value to society, and I would particularly like to thank the many members who gave me positive feedback on this.

It was also an honour and a privilege to address another distinguished audience – the full bench of the Supreme Court of Queensland – at the Banco Court the next day for the ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the Court of Appeal. I was grateful for the opportunity to congratulate the court on its courage, grace and unshakeable commitment to justice, and remind all present that “this court is the ultimate expression of the lawyer’s duty to the administration of justice”.

On Saturday morning I joined a national television debate via the Sunrise program to underline the urgent need for more resources to deal with the causes of domestic violence, a view I was able to reiterate in interviews which appeared in The Guardian and other media.

On Monday afternoon, I appeared at the parliamentary Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee’s public hearing on the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 along with the chair of our Mining and Resources Committee, HopgoodGanim partner Martin Klapper.

In short, we expressed concerns around the retrospective aspect of the legislation, the reversal of the onus of proof, and one’s residence as a potential ground for discrimination. This was consistent with our successful approach to proposed changes in the Vegetation Management Act 1999 last year.

Yesterday I presented opening and closing remarks to a strong cohort of early career lawyers (ECLs) at our Resilience and Strength for ECLs breakfast. Thank you to our Love Law Live Life Working Group and the speakers – HopgoodGanim managing partner Bruce Humphrys, Norton Rose Fulbright senior associate Amelia Williams and Corrs Chambers Westgarth litigation lawyer Catherine Espiritu – for a fabulous and engaging panel discussion ably chaired by QLS government relations principal advisor Matt Dunn.

Tomorrow I am off to the QLS Bundaberg Roadshow, where I am looking forward to meeting our regional members, and Friday I will be back in Brisbane to speak on behalf of Queensland solicitors at the swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Susan Brown.

Christine Smyth

QLS president