It does not speak well of the state of our world that I note—although my presidency is not yet a third of the way through—for the second time I write my President’s Update in the shadow of a terrorist attack. Once again, innocent people were murdered for doing nothing other than expressing their faith, and once again it occurred in a country with a long and proud connection to our own, this time in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka and Australia have strong connections, not the least of which is a love of cricket, but the ties go deeper. While it is not as well-known as perhaps it should be, Sri Lankans fought beside Aussies and Kiwis at Gallipoli, in the form of the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps. They were regarded as genuine ‘cobbers’ by the Aussies, who particularly appreciated their quick clearing out of Turkish snipers in the early hours of the landing.
Indeed, every Anzac Day, a T20 cricket match is played out at Brookfield in Brisbane’s west, to commemorate the famous Shell Green game played to distract attention from the troop withdrawal from Gallipoli. The Brisbane Sri Lankan community caters for the event in the spirit of the strong brotherhood between our two nations, forged in war and celebrated in peace.
Our hearts go out to a wounded but unbowed Sri Lanka, and they know that we stand with them in this time of grief.
In Australia, we have been fortunate that no successful terrorist attack has been carried out, although many have been planned. They have been thwarted by our fine security forces, including the men and women of the thin blue line. In Queensland, that line got a lot stronger recently with the appointment of Katarina Carroll as the new Queensland Police Commissioner.
Ms Carroll is an excellent choice for the job, having served in two branches of our emergency services in Queensland. It is immensely pleasing to note that she is the first female commissioner in the service’s 155-year history. I look forward to working with her on behalf of the Society to build a strong relationship between our two segments of the justice system. I wish her all the best in her new role.
I also note the sterling efforts of her predecessor, Ian Stewart, who brings to an end a 46-year career in the Queensland Police Service, including the last 6 years as our top cop. He has guided the state safely through the G20 and Commonwealth Games, as well as responding to Cyclone Yasi, and the disastrous floods in Toowoomba, Grantham, Brisbane and most recently Townsville. May he enjoy a well-earned rest!
Looking ahead, I note that Law Week is almost upon us, which gives us the chance to celebrate the great things about our profession and hopefully get together for some collegial interaction. QLS Open Day will be held on 16 May. I encourage anyone who wants to get a better idea of what we do and can offer as your professional partner and partner in the profession to come on down and check it out.
The Queensland Legal Walk will also be on during Law Week. The walk raises funds for the vital work of LawRight, which you can read about here. I urge everyone to sign up for the walk and to do what they can to help LawRight continue its vital work. Law Week is overseen by the Department of Justice and the Attorney General, and more details can be found on the Department’s website.
Hopefully, I will see some of you during Law Week and its related events, and if you do see me, by all means, come up and have a chat. I am always keen to hear from members and get new ideas about what we can do to help you to be great (and happy) lawyers.