Queensland Law Society

Message from QLS president Christine Smyth


Milo – not the sweet, chocolate, belly warming-beverage, but Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right wing political commentator has garnered significant press recently. He is in Australia to spruik his version of society. His presence has drawn angry, violent crowds both in support and against. It makes for sensational news.

Anger, hate, bad news – it sells. Why? Because numerous studies have demonstrated that humans respond far more readily to the threat of bad things than to the prospect of good things, regardless of what the objective evidence might reveal. Experts contend that our Neanderthal brain has hardwired into us a strong sensitivity to negative triggers, hair triggers if you like, far in excess of positive triggers. Fear kept our ancestors alive; their survival depended on the ability to predict threats and attacks, and we haven’t lost that fight or flight response.

Modern humans remain constantly on alert for bad news. The problem is, bad news produces fear and each time we experience fear, our bodies release stress hormones – cortisol, norepinephrine, adrenalin. We know that stress hormones are bad for you, but there is one that we do tend to like - adrenalin. Adrenalin gives us a buzz, it motivates us, it excites us. We can become addicted to it and quickly find ourselves in a state of permanent negative arousal. That is not good for us. After a prolonged period of exposure, our immune systems begin to break down and we get sick.

As we prepare to overindulge at Christmas, I propose we all go on a diet. One that has us stepping away from the smorgasbord of bad news, and peddlers of anger, hate and fear served up at every turn. Make every calorie count. Choose from the a la carte menu of life, it serves an abundance of peace, kindness and love. You deserve it!

Take the time to reflect on your positive contributions to a better world and contemplate how you can build on them in the New Year. Know that your voice matters and QLS wants to hear it. Whatever the concern, suggestion, or idea might be, write to us and share your views: president@qls.com.au.

Our mission is to serve you, our members.

QLS provides members with many avenues to enrich and progress your careers in ways that are wholly independent, freeing you up to make decisions that suit you best. They are all aimed at reducing the stress. So please take advantage of your member benefits.

Our QLS Ethics Centre is available to guide you in times of complex ethical decisions. Our practice support service provides guidance on practice management. Take advantage of the sage advice of QLS Senior Counsellors – highly experienced lawyers who are here to provide confidential guidance on matter of concern to you. If it is more complex, requiring specialised counselling, our employee assist programme provides confidential counselling across areas from mental health issues through to dietary advice.

You can join our policy committees and help shape legislative development. By serving on a QLS committee you can independently advance your career through interaction with numerous legal specialty fields. Contrary to received wisdom, our specialist committees are always in search of new talent and the perspectives of early career lawyers. Reach out and ask about joining.

As we all near the end of the year, I am pleased to say I finish my term on the positive high with which I started. I am humbled and privileged to have been your president. Throughout my term, you have served me a degustation menu of generosity of spirit, encouragement, and kindness, all marinated in unyielding support. For that I express a heartfelt thank you. You are our future and I am humbled to see so many amazing, talented, spirited, caring members of our noble profession. It is in great hands.

It has been both my pleasure and privilege to represent you and your interests as Society president in 2017 and I look forward to serving you as immediate past president in 2018.

I wish you all a safe, restful and happy Christmas season and New Year. I look forward to seeing you refreshed in 2018.

I’ll have plenty more to talk about in the last edition of QLS Update for 2018. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep up to date with all things QLS via our monthly magazine Proctor or via social media. The Society is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and I am personally on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Christine Smyth

President, Queensland Law Society