Wednesday 23 August 2017, Law Society House
Thank you Matt.
“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”
Those words are from the late Zig Ziglar, and I feel apply to each and every one of you here.
Your dedication to our profession and to your Society is a glowing example of what it is to be a solicitor in our great State.
Our profession is a noble one. It also has a long and evolved history.
Our branch of the profession developed several hundred years ago when a handful of people decided to step up and protect the rights of the people.
Sure, the King had his representatives in Barristers, but the people had no one.
First we saw advocacy come into being through those in Roman Times who would assist their friends in cases for free.
They were merely orators trained in rhetoric rather than law.
Further on we saw those known as Juris Consults – a class of legal specialists working under a capped fee.
During the Middle Ages we saw a crucial shift which saw some men practising in canon law as a lifelong profession – they were called Esquires.
Swearing an oath on admission came in during the 11th Century and following that we saw a more organised legal profession.
But prior to this, the people had no one.
No one to protect their rights. No one to stand up and do what was right.
Solicitors stepped into that gap. And we have continued to fill this gap over hundreds of years and many different governments across the world.
We have become the voice of the people. Their representatives in Court, their representatives to the Government, their champions in the community.
Through your Society, we continue to represent the interests of the people. We are the Upper House in essence.
And it is through YOU that we are able to achieve change in our Government, our communities and our nation.
We are here tonight to recognise the excellence of those in this room who have been engaged members of our Society for 25 and 50 years.
More than 20 years of dedication to a profession is admirable. But it is also an anomaly in most industries these days.
We live in a fast-paced world, where we are always moving up, moving on and moving out.
To be able to say that one has been committed to not only a profession but also in supporting their membership body for 25 or even 50 years deserves acknowledgement amongst their peers.
I view it as a privilege to be able to publicly recognise our members’ commitment to our profession and the Society.
The dedication that our members show by their staying power and their commitment to serving our courts, our profession and our communities is to be congratulated.
I will start by speaking about our 25-year pin recipients.
Those who are celebrating 25 years of membership in 2017 became members in 1992, a year that for many of us feels like it was just yesterday…
- Our revered Prime Minister Paul Keating brought us lines such as “unrepresented swill”, “I want to do you slowly” – and of course the popular – “he’s going troppo”.
- Lindy Chamberlain received compensation for wrongful conviction on murder charges.
- The High Court of Australia decided in the case Mabo v Queensland (no 2) which was a landmark decision recognising native title in Australia.
- Justin Bieber had not been born-which is why those getting pins tonight call it ‘the good old days’
- Billy Ray Cyrus released Achy-Breaky Heart and his daughter Miley was born; experts still argue over which one has done more damage to music
- Loose cannon-billionaire Ross Pierot ran for president of the United States; good thing that never happens any more, right?
- New South Wales actually won the state of origin –something else that never happens any more.
Many things have changed over the years, but our pin recipients have weathered the changes, with their continuing practice and commitment making them pillars of their communities and our profession.
Now, what we call “pinnacle practitioners” – a mouthful of alliteration there – your dedication is an extraordinary achievement, and I am sure you have mentored many young colleagues along the way.
“Excellence endures and sustains. It goes beyond motivation into the realms of inspiration.” (Azim Premji – businessman)
Those among us who are celebrating 50 years of membership tonight are indeed inspirations to us all.
The changes in our profession that you would have seen over the decades would astound many of our younger practitioners I’m sure!
You came into our profession during a time when technology was still a blip on the radar for businesses.
And how times have changed! You have evolved and grown you’re your profession and taken the best of both worlds to continue to inspire younger generations.
We applaud you.
Those who are celebrating 50 years of membership in 2017 became members in 1967, a year that I’m sure feels like a different world to the one we are living in now.
- The Vietnam War was still seven years from ceasing fire.
- Our Prime Minister Harold Holt was the first PM to disappear – never to be heard of again! John McEwan then stepped in and was the fourth longest serving member of our Federal Parliament at his retirement in 1971. He was also the first Australian Prime Minister to be unmarried during his term of office.
- Ronald Ryan was the last man was hanged in Australia for the murder of a prison warder.
- Indigenous Australians were given the right to be counted in the national census.
- John Farnham released Sadie the Cleaning Lady.
- The Holden Torana was released.
- Sydney-siders saw brutal underworld killings from rival gangs.
- The first polio immunisation campaign was launched in Australia.
- The first issue of Rolling Stone magazine was released.
- The first person was cryogenically preserved. He is still frozen.
- Popular films were the Dirty Dozen, Casino Royale and the Jungle Book.
- The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Monkees, Elvis Presley and David Bowie were popular musical acts.
- Popular television shows were The Beverly Hillbillies, The Lucy Show, Doctor Who, Hogan’s Heroes and Star Trek.
What a different world we are living in to 1967. And you have all proven that our profession can remain steadfast through the eras.
You have not let technology beat you down but you have embraced it. Just as you have embraced other changes in our society and our profession.
I will now invite acting CEO Matt Dunn on stage to present tonight’s pins.
Thank you Matt.
And thank you again for being with us tonight.
I feel it vital that we take the time to recognise the great work that solicitors carry out in Queensland and across the country.
Events such as tonight provide us with the time to stop, pull our shoulders back and reflect on the difference we make in our society.
I would like to congratulate you once again on your success thus far and wish you the best of luck in your future.
I thank you for your dedication to the Society and for what I’m sure are the countless times you have given of your expertise to assist on committees, in providing feedback, attending one of our events, sitting on Council or even simply engaging with your fellow colleagues.
We appreciate your support and acknowledge that the Society could not be the hub of our profession without you – our noble profession.
I hope that you can join us for a drink, some nibbles and conversation now.