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Talking Points August 15


It’s gratifying to know that not all politicians reduce one’s perspective to one of relentless cynicism. More power to the Greens, proving to be a force even more formidable for the issues they address outside the sterling environment protection work with which they normally associated. NSW MLC David Shoebridge nailed it when he lashed the Baird Government’s expedient, knee-jerk amendments to the new Bail Act.

Shoebridge didn’t mince words: “Ugly, divisive and uninformed politics has produced the NSW government’s recently announced bail law reforms, which are not founded on evidence, are not supported by key stakeholders and ultimately will not make NSW a safer place.” Need I say any more.


I’m watching with fascination the virtual exile of Rebels motorcycle club president Alex Vella, stranded in his native Malta – banned from returning home to Australia. This case is extraordinary, and unprecedented. Who would have thought the Federal Government could be capable of hardball on this scale? As someone quipped, this Maltese Falcon has been grounded – a Rebel without a set of wings it seems.


Deserved kudos to the NSW Bar Association for launching a childcare scheme to address a worrying attrition rate among barristers. Great to learn that ten full-time places have been reserved for Bar Association members at a childcare centre in Sydney’s CBD. It’s a great step in the right direction, and association president Jane Needham SC should be applauded for promoting a scheme to help those parents among barristers wanting to resume full-time practice.


The legendary crime journo Les Kennedy was a great mate of mine. Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the journalism awards staged in his honour, the third since his untimely death in 2011. His esteemed colleague Janet Fife-Yeomans collected the gong for Outstanding Court Reporting for her coverage of the Royal Commission into institutionalised child sex abuse.

Despite their hard-headed reputations the journos were letting their emotional guard down on this very sentimental occasion. JFY was no exception - revealing scribes "do cry" after all. Janet was referring to the emotional impact she experienced when interviewing the mother of one abuse victim who ended up taking her own life. She allowed herself a tear or two after the interview. It was very moving stuff on another very powerful night.


Talk about a double-take! At first glance I thought this was a photo of an extra from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta! But this was not a cast member of Trial By Jury.

Yes, it’s the NSW Attorney General frocking up for his first formal function to farewell retiring district court chief judge Reg Blanch.

Mr Hazzard was humble enough to admit he was a tad overdressed. “For me as a northern beaches boy, ex-Manly High, ex Manly West Public, and having done a lot of local court work out of Manly it was a long way from there to the ceremonial Banco Court in the Supreme Court, but it was a privilege,” he said.

“It’s not something that I would feel totally comfortable about yet, but I acknowledge that it’s part and parcel of what I have to do,” he added of the 190-year-old tradition.

Australian Criminal Law Specialists

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"He's got a very good tactical mind and is good with strategy ... great advocacy and comes to grips with the evidence."

The Sunday Telegraph, 2013