Queensland Law Society

President’s update

Christine Smyth

In past editions of my QLS Update column I have thanked various QLS staff for their excellent service. This week I will both draw your attention to the remarkable achievements of a QLS staff member and also seek your support for her.

Pip Harvey Ross, 24, is a law student who works as a legal assistant with the QLS advocacy team. Through her efforts as the founder of Many Shades Inc., a group of young Australians committed to improving the lives of orphaned and abandoned children in Arusha, Tanzania, she has now been nominated as a finalist in The Australian Women’s Weekly Qantas Women of the Future Awards.

The awards include a People’s Choice category, and I hope that you will find Pip worthy of your support through an online vote (which closes at 5pm on 6 September).

Some years ago teenager Pip volunteered to work in an orphanage school program in Tanzania, and began to think of ways in which she could improve the lives of these children. Her first project was to purchase a school bus, saving them hours of walking. Realising that many ended up living on the streets or in large institutions, she founded Many Shades with the hope of providing housing for groups of seven to 10 children and their carers.

Despite the multitude of challenges in building community accommodation in another country – buying land, observing an array of confusing regulations and organising construction – the first of these houses is now under way.

All of us at QLS are proud of Pip and her achievement, and I think you will agree she has earned her nomination in the Women of the Future Awards.

Speaking of charitable endeavours, thank you to those who have heeded our call for unwanted legal titles and editions for donation to the Office of the Public Solicitor in Port Moresby.

We now have some 20 boxes of books ready for shipping. The PNG Office of the Public Solicitor is a constitutional office, established in 1959 to provide legal assistance to all citizens. It employs more than 70 lawyers with offices in 14 provinces and many districts, making it the nation’s largest legal firm.

Continuing donations are welcome.

Meanwhile, my week has been again been busy. Last Wednesday I was delighted to meet with the judges of the High Court following the court’s Brisbane sitting, while on Friday it was a pleasure to welcome attendees to our Government Lawyers Conference 2017.

An interesting and broad-ranging program attracted a full house of both government and private lawyers, who I trust were not disappointed. From the psychology of vexatious litigants and the surprising role of Shakespeare in legal ethics, to the mysteries of electronic contracts and the delicate art of policy-making, there was something for everyone.

I was pleased to note that most attendees were able to stay for the entire program and for a drink and a chat with colleagues afterwards; many thanks to the staff at QLS for putting on a great show, and our members for their wonderful support!

On Sunday I attended the RNA president’s dinner and on Tuesday night I was at the annual dinner of the Australian Institute of International Affairs Queensland, where the Honourable Michael Kirby AC provided some fascinating insights in his address on the more-than-topical issue of ‘Human rights v peace and security: The challenge of North Korea’.

Today and tomorrow I am attending our QLS Roadshow event, Law in the Tropics, in Port Douglas and hope to have the opportunity to catch up with as many members as possible.

Finally, please note that this Saturday marks the opening of Queensland’s Seniors Week, which aims to improve community attitudes towards older people and ageing, facilitate community participation and activity by older people, and enhance community connections and inter-generational relationships.

You will find a variety of local events and activities to support across Queensland.

Christine Smyth

QLS president