Queensland Law Society

President's Update

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Dr Keith Suter lamented, at the Succession Law Conference, that Australians seem obsessed with cooking shows and not so concerned with current affairs and the future of our society. If there is anything that signals the approach of Christmas, even more than the joyous loop of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas played over scratchy speakers in shopping malls, it is the abundance of cooking shows, teaching us how to roast lamb for a Christmas lunch that will be eaten under the shade of a gum tree, in 45 degree heat; well, at least in Queensland!

A hot roast dinner might make more sense in places like Canberra, from where I have just returned, having attended the Annual General Meeting of the Law Council of Australia (LCA). In the middle of summer, it was cold enough in Canberra to wear a cardigan; I didn’t, of course, but you get the picture. And it is bigger picture issues that the LCA address for and on behalf of our profession. The LCA represents the Australian legal profession on national and international issues, on federal law and the operation of federal courts and tribunals; addressing matters of current affairs and their impact on the future of our society. It is made up of 17 constituent member law societies and bar associations (known as ‘Constituent Bodies’). The Queensland Law Society is the third largest of those bodies, and so we are of significance to the LCA.

I have noted in earlier Updates that one of the pleasurable surprises of being the QLS President is the treasured relationships that can come unlooked for, and be most welcome. I am pleased to say that my relationship with the 2017 LCA President, Fiona McLeod SC, is one of these.

I have been able to form a strong and productive relationship with Fiona, in large part because we share a belief in the collegial nature of our profession and a commitment to make things better for our profession and society as a whole. Fiona is unique in that she genuinely cares – and importantly listens – when issues are raised with her, and takes on board what has been raised. In a world where so many people don’t listen when someone else is speaking, and are simply waiting for their turn to deliver a prepared soliloquy about their own agenda, it is refreshing to deal with someone who is interested in what you have to say.

On many occasions throughout the year, I have raised issues with Fiona, as well as proposing solutions. Unlike many in such positions who tend to nod thoughtfully and then put things in the too hard basket, she has put those solutions into action and our profession is the better for it. Working with President McLeod – someone who shares my passion for action and measurable outcomes – has been a true pleasure and I thank her for her professionalism and collegiality.

As Fiona finishes her impressive year and Mr Morrie Bales takes the reins (not the reindeer) as LCA President, I have no doubt QLS will continue to contribute through strong personal relationships for effective representation on the LCA Council.  

Unbelievably, there remains just one more President’s Update for 2017, a year which seems to have passed in the blink of an eye! Of course, the Society’s presence on social media will be maintained, including longer articles and bonus content for Proctor articles on our Law Talk blog. The Society is on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and I am personally on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Christine Smyth

QLS president