Queensland Law Society

New Year Profession Drinks Gold Coast 2019

Wednesday 13 February, Southport Yacht Club

QLS President

Last week I was up in Brisbane – Queensland’s largest city – and spoke in the Supreme Court there to welcome new Judges.

In the past I have done the same thing at the Supreme Court in Cairns (Queensland’s fifth – largest city) and the Supreme Court in Rockhampton (our eighth largest) but I cannot do it here in Queensland’s second – largest (and the nation’s sixth – largest) city.

That is, quite frankly, a disgrace, and the absence of adequate court facilities and resources here is a straight – out denial of justice for the people of the Gold Coast.

We cannot be adequately serviced from Brisbane, simply due to the tyranny of traffic.

As proof, I note that one of my predecessors, Christine Smyth, gave a telephone interview to ABC radio in 2017 about the problem of traffic between here and Brisbane.

She was on her way to Brisbane on the M1 at the time – using her phone hands – free of course! – and the interview lasted fully 10 minutes. If her car moved at all in that time it was probably due to continental drift.

We need a Supreme Court and a Family court – at least – here on the coast, and we need it five years ago, although anytime now would be good. The only way we will get it, of course, is to make our case, consistently and confidently, to government – and we need to do so in numbers; that is where you come in!

We need to harness the power of the 1300 Gold Coast solicitors, and a great way to get involved is to join the DLA here.

I’d also like to see more Gold Coast solicitors joining, and getting involved with, QLS. Despite having 1300 solicitors in our region, I am the only member of council from our area. Townsville has two members of council despite their much lower numbers of solicitors – and they also have a Supreme Court; perhaps there is a connection?

I would love to see some of our local practitioners on QLS council, especially as I don’t know how much longer I’ll be putting my hand up.

I should concentrate on the positives tonight and there are plenty.

They start with all of you – this is a great turnout and evidence of a collegial, local profession, which also knows how to party! I thank everyone here for your support of a great local practising group.

It is times like this that I am very proud and humbled to be able to call myself a gold coast lawyer. We look out for each other almost as well as we look out for our clients, and in doing so we render great service to the Gold Coast community; there is nowhere else I’d rather practise law, and no other group I’d rather do it with.

I am also glad that our society, the Queensland Law Society, puts on functions like this to allow a joyful get together of those of us sworn to uphold the rule of law. That is a heavy burden, and events like this make it easier to bear. Huge thanks to QLS and those staff members who have worked so hard to make it happen; you have done us all proud!