Queensland Law Society

President's Update


The two stand-out events from last week were, of course, International Women’s Day and the first Brisbane sitting of the High Court with Chief Justice Kiefel and Justice Edelman.

Part of my role as president is to advocate for good law. Advocacy is more than making submissions to Parliament; it is taking a visible and vocal stand on issues affecting organisations that provide much needed legal services to the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

So, on the morning of International Women’s Day I felt it incumbent upon me to lend my support to Queensland Working Women’s Service, a community service organisation which provides industrial and employment advice to vulnerable working women.

The service has been forced to close due to cuts by the Federal Government to its funding.

These cuts are just the start of the federal funding fiscal cliff that is bearing down on our community legal centres, which provide essential legal services to people in need.

I urge you to support our CLCs by actively exercising your voice with your state MLA or federal MP.

On a more positive note, I hosted an International Women’s Day luncheon at QLS, offering thanks on behalf of members to a representative cross section of the many strong women lawyers who have made significant contributions to law, justice and the profession in Queensland.

From there it was on to Government House for a cocktail event in celebration of the day, where I met an incredible array of highly capable and impressive women from across many industries who are showing great leadership and being fantastic role models.

Speaking of leadership, it was a deep privilege to appear before Australia’s first female Chief Justice of the High Court to welcome her and Justice Edelman at Friday’s ceremonial sitting of the High Court in Brisbane.

I probably shouldn’t admit it, but like many Queensland practitioners, I’m just that little bit parochial when it comes to our state and our profession in being proud of such a wonderful leader of our profession, hailing from Queensland. Of course I think the Queensland profession is the best in Australia, and it truly was an honour to welcome Chief Justice Kiefel to her home state along with Justice Edelman, who despite having the misfortune to be born elsewhere, has served Queensland well in his career.

This week will also be exciting, with our premier event of the year, QLS Symposium 2017, at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on Friday and Saturday.

Its theme, Framing the Future, is especially relevant, given the pace of change within the business of law, and I’m particularly looking forward to hearing our two keynote plenary speakers, Emergent CEO Holly Ransom and futurist Gihan Perea, who will be explaining not only where we’re going but also, and more importantly, how we’re going to get there.

While the tailored program streams are an essential part of Symposium, its other components – including the networking and catching up with colleagues in an inviting environment – make it an all-encompassing event that has long been a ‘must’ in my calendar.

Registrations have closed, but if you are still keen to go, give our events team a call. I look forward to seeing you there.

Christine Smyth

QLS president