Honourable Ted Mullighan QC


By John Emerson

This is John Emerson on 23 January 2010 interviewing the Honourable Ted Mullighan QC.  Ted, where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born technically at Semaphore.  I’d say technically because the hospital was on the dividing street between Semaphore and Largs Bay. One can never be quite sure whether it is Semaphore or Largs Bay.

I was born on 25 March 1939 and I lived all my pre-marriage years on the Lefevre Peninsula at Port Adelaide - that’s Semaphore and Largs Bay.

What did your father do?

He was an electrician by trade. It’s quite an interesting story. He was born at Port Germein in the far north where his father was a blacksmith and then a town identity.  My father came down to Adelaide, to the building next door which was the School of Mines, at the age of about 14, to begin his trade as an electrician and live away from his family.
Eventually he was apprenticed privately and then went into the Electricity Trust as it became - it was called the Adelaide Electric Supply Company - and then remained with them until his retirement 50 years later.

Did your mother work?

Yes.  Her story is a very interesting one.  She came from Port Victoria which was the second great sailing ship community in South Australia.  Port Germein took the grain from the north and Port Victoria took the grain from Yorke Peninsula. Her parents were very wealthy.
That fortune was lost and at the age of six her family moved from there and those good circumstances, to country towns and suburbs of Adelaide, and lived not an easy life.  Then something quite remarkable, in my opinion, happened.
As a late teenager she developed an interest in the violin and worked hard at it, studied hard as a classical violinist and became a member of the South Australia Symphony Orchestra.
My belief is she commenced when she was about 18 or 19, so it was unusual.  Most people start at a very young age.  Then when the orchestra, just before the war, became a permanent orchestra people like her had to leave because they had families and they couldn’t travel around with the orchestra.
From then on she remained a violinist in the smaller orchestra which was run by the Theatre Royal, so she was still playing high class music but not in the symphony orchestra.

That was at the end of the 1930s?

Yes I would say - I could actually find the date at home I think if it was important.  It is a bit later than the 1930s because when I was born I was one of the reasons she had to leave.  I think it was in the 1940s or just after the war.
She did that all her life until she was no longer able to play.

Did you first go to school in Semaphore?

Yes, we lived first in the Largs Bay area - Jetty Road, Largs Bay -and as soon as I was old enough to go to school I went to the Largs Bay Primary School.  I had an older brother a couple of years older than me at that time.
Almost immediately my parents moved to Semaphore which was another mile or so further south.  But we stayed at that school and so we cycled there, which you could do safely in those days, until I was 11.  My brother had gone to a private school in the city, Pulteney Grammar School, and my parents sent me there in Grade 7.

Do you think that would have been a turning point in your life to go from a school in Semaphore to a school in town like Pulteney?

Yes, I do. I think I was very lucky. I actually won a scholarship after I’d been there a year so I stayed there. Pulteney in those days had a poor academic reputation and when I first went there it didn’t even go to matriculation.  It went to about Intermediate but it added on a year each year.
It was a school that attracted the children of a lot of blue collar workers and, if I can use this expression, ordinary sort of people.  So I learned lots of things there.  One thing that I learned was that favour and privilege doesn’t matter.
Sadly I was a very poor student. I enjoyed the other things at school, but I had a good life there. It sowed the seeds for what I learned which was that you can if you want to.

Who was the principal?

Canon Ray was the Principal. He took over in 1947 and within five years or so there were 1,000 boys there.  It was a school that went from next to nothing, so it was a product in that sense of Australia’s post war growth.
Of course, there wasn’t another Anglican boys' school apart from St Peter’s College.

You went right through to leaving honours?

Yes. I left before the end of leaving honours, fortunately - if I had sat for the exams it would have been a disaster, I think.  But I got a job as an office boy in the Crown Solicitor’s Office.

How did that happen?

There was a bit of nepotism there, I think.  My mother’s brother was Sir Cecil Hincks, who was the Minister of Lands in the Playford Government. My brother had left school and was working, and my sister was still at a private school. I had lost the benefit of my scholarship because it had run out, and I don’t think it was easy for my parents. We decided that if the right thing came along, at the end of the year I would leave and get a job.
At the end of the second term this opportunity arose - my uncle had probably mentioned it to the Attorney General who had mentioned it to his Chief of Staff who had said, oh we have got a position here or something like that, so I went there.
I spent about 15 months as the office boy and the docket clerk.  Then I came to the university as a part time student.

So you hadn’t really thought about law?


It was just pure chance?

Pure chance, yes.

How did you find studying law?

I found it very boring, and I didn’t have any university life.  I used to join in with great enthusiasm in all of the social activities but I didn’t learn any of the culture of the university because I was never here.  I only came here for an hour lecture here and there.

Who were the lecturers, do you remember?

Dick Blackburn was the only professor and he was a splendid man, I thought.  He had one permanent member of staff who was Leo Blair, the subsequent British Prime Minister’s father.  Leo was here for a few years. Dick had been an academic for quite a while I think and he decided that he wanted to go into practice so he did. He went and joined Finlaysons and became a practicing lawyer.
Whilst I was here Norval Morris came here, do you know him?  Have you heard of him?


He was a highly regarded legal academic internationally.  I think Norval was a bit stunned how we had been taught and how little we knew.  He was the one who, I think, started the development of the full time professional staff here. Up until then most of the lecturing was done by practicing lawyers.

Do you remember who they were?

Yes.  Andrew Wells lectured in Property.  Howard Selling lectured in South Australian Constitutional Law.  Roma Mitchell lectured in Family Law.  John Bray lectured in Roman Law.  Bill Forster for a while, he was a Master of the Supreme Court and then went to the Supreme Court in the Northern Territory, he lectured for a while in Criminal Law.  Eb Scarfe, who was the Crown Prosecutor, lectured in Evidence and very little procedure I might add, mainly Evidence.
Who else? Ralph Haigh, I think he lectured here for a while, he might have stopped by then. Yes, that is pretty well it.  You can see it covered quite a lot of subjects.

It was quite a different education system then because you were actually being lectured by people in the profession as opposed to people who worked.

Yes. You could see the difference among the lecturers themselves. Some of them were excellent, some of them weren’t.  Andrew Wells was a Rhodes Scholar, with first class honours at Oxford.  He probably would have done more with an academic life if circumstances had been different for him.  A fantastic man and remained so.  I had contact with him throughout my life, including when I was a judge and he retired. I thought Wells was a positive example in just about every way.  

Then we got a few more before that, at the time up until I left. Horst Lücke came here - have you heard of Horst?

Yes, he still comes here.

Does he? Horst was a fabulous man. He came here and they said to him - he would tell you the accurate story, but it’s something like this - if you want a law degree you will have to do seven subjects and they picked them out for him. So he did them all in one year and taught as well.  Yes, I liked Horst very much.  
Then the next generation started, people like Ivan Shearer, but that is after my time.

When did you finish the actual degree?

I came here in 1957 and I did two subjects a year.  I didn’t do a law degree. There was another system in those days. A law degree, I think, had 17 subjects, two of which were Arts subjects and five of which were not core subjects or compulsory subjects.
Strangely enough, subjects like Federal Constitution Law, Roman Law, Legal History, they were not core subjects although they were part of the degree.  
But if you wanted to do a Final Certificate you could do ten, and they were what I call core subjects for legal practice, like Crime, Torts, Contracts, Property, those sorts of subjects, Mercantile Law, Evidence.
So I did those and then I could stay in the Crown Solicitor’s Office.  Instead of - if you did a degree you had to do two years of articles. One could be done part time and one had to be done full time.
If you did the Final Certificate you had to do four years of articles but they could all be done whilst the subjects were being done.  So I did that and stayed in the Crown.  The only negative thing was that I got paid an articled clerk’s salary, which was £5 a week.
My friends that I had gone to school with who were working as clerks in the insurance companies and so on were all getting about £29 a week.  It was a big difference so I had to live very frugally.

But you would have had an interesting job I think?

Oh yes, I wouldn’t have swapped that.  You see, Andrew Wells was an Assistant Crown Prosecutor.  Ralph Haigh was in the Crown Law Department.  Joe Chamberlain was my Principal.  Eb Scarfe was the Crown Prosecutor. Brian Cox was there for a while.

Reg Kiernan?

Reg Kiernan became my Principal when Joe went to the Bench.  Toby Gordon was a terrific fellow.  Lots of people who would teach you. But I think the thing I learnt there most was the atmosphere and what an important place it was.
This was where people got prosecuted.  This was where the big cases were done for the government and the advising was done for the government.  It was small.  I doubt there were a dozen lawyers there.  It was a small place.
It was really good for me. I found that because I was an articled clerk I was allowed to go into court and do minor prosecutions – like too much fat in the sausages and the Prices Act, they were some prosecutions, and the Road and Railway Transport Act and other departmental legislation.
Some pleas of guilty we were able to do in the Magistrates Court  - the Police Court as it was called then - for drink driving and other minor - if they were pleas they could be done by us.
I learned an enormous amount.

On the job training.

Yes. You actually have to get up and speak in front of a room full of people as an 18 year old…

Did you find it intimidating at first?

Absolutely.  But I found that even then I learned the lesson that I followed all my life - that once you got going, if you had prepared, you were fine. You had to prepare.  You couldn’t just pick up something and expect it to roll off the tongue.  It wouldn’t. You had to prepare everything.
Some magistrates were tough, almost piggish I thought, picking us up on things.  That was all good for me.

How was Joe Chamberlain?

I liked Joe. I didn’t see a lot of him in those days because Joe was the Crown Solicitor and he did big cases.  He prosecuted Stuart even though he wasn’t the Crown Prosecutor.  He represented the Government in the Stuart Royal Commission.  As an articled clerk I was sat at the other side of the bar table for a lot of that, which was a fantastic experience.
Not because I was capable of learning so much - as I said to you earlier, a lot of it went over my head - but I reckon I was a bit like blotting paper.  I was just soaking up stuff.  No one was saying to me, you don’t ask this question - but you would see it all happening.

What was the general tone about whether Stuart was guilty or not guilty - that certainly caused a lot of debate, didn’t it?

Yes.  Just in a word, there were some mistakes made, looking back in the Stuart Commission.  The first was that the little girl’s body was found the day before Christmas Eve, I think, or around about then, and the police went to what was then a fairly remote place of Ceduna and carried out their investigation.  They were back in Adelaide before Christmas Day. Not a good way to investigate a crime like that.
There was very little forensic or scientific evidence in those days, so the consequence was that the alleged confession became the centre point of the prosecution case.  The allegation was that it was obtained with very severe violence.
That is a battle line which was drawn between the defence and the police.  It used to be drawn often in those days. Not so much now because the law has changed so much.  But there was no halfway house.
It was because of the confession - if the confession was good he was guilty, and if the confession was bad, who knows - that was the sort of black and white aspect of the case. There was no doubt in Joe Chamberlain’s mind.  He had prosecuted, he had done the appeals, and he had made public speeches about it.
I didn’t know David O’Sullivan. I had met him but I was only a kid and he died in the next ten years. He defended Stuart.  I knew Helen Devaney but I didn’t have those sorts of conversations with her. She was much older than me of course.
The curious thing - and Australia is a small place - is that Jack Shand appeared for Stuart in the Royal Commission. He was a leading no-holds-barred criminal silk from Sydney where he had plenty of hard, tough stuff and a lot of success.  Sadly, he was suffering from cancer when it started so he left.
But what I am trying to tell you in a round about way, is that many years later my brother married his daughter, so there’s a coincidence.  
Then we got little parts to play in the libel case of Rivett, the News Limited and Rivett.  It was a humorous story for me, which young people would appreciate. By then, Joe Chamberlain was on the bench and Reg Kiernan was running this case. He was instructed he had to brief Leo Travers.  I am not sure he liked that idea.  Not because there was anything wrong with Leo, but it was pulling him back a bit in the case.
I had the privilege of being in one of these conferences with the two of them, and Reg said to me, Leo said you need to have a look at the law on vicarious liability in crime for newspaper for the acts of the editor and what that all means.
Anyway, Reg said to me, look you have a look at that, you go and research the law.  So I said okay. I did it for days and I couldn’t find anything.  I found some things, but I didn’t find the knockout answer of the House of Lords, saying, such and such.
The next time there was a conference and I was there, Leo said, right did you get that stuff on the criminal liability, or responsibility of the newspaper for the work of the editor?  I said, well, this is what I have done, this is what I have, and it seems to me it’s 'a depends'.  It depends on the relationship, it depends on factual matter, on all sorts of things.  Oh, he said, Reg, I’ll look into it.  So I sort of got squashed.
The next time it was discussed at another conference between them and I was there, and Reg said, oh, Leo, did you get that answer on that criminal responsibility question.  He said, yes, well it really depends you see.  So I felt justified.

You were articled to Joe, then he went to the Bench?

He went to the Bench just after the Stuart stuff and before Rivett.

Then you were articled to Reg Kiernan?

Reg, for a while, and then I made a decision. It is amazing how early you have to make these decisions some times. Did I want to be a public lawyer and stay in Crown, or did I want to go into the private profession? I decided on the latter.
I thought the passport was to be a judge’s associate.  I was very friendly with Patrick Alderman, who was Harry Alderman’s son.  I don’t know whether you have heard of Harry Alderman, but he was a leader of the Bar here and subsequently knighted.

 He took an interest and I discussed it with him.  His partner had been Jim Brazel, and Brazel had been Counsel assisting in the Stuart Royal Commission.  So he told me what to do and I wrote a letter to Brazel, not to anybody else, and he took me on as an associate.
Sadly, I was only with him for less than a month when he died.  I apparently said a very stupid thing.  It was in the middle of a trial. I got the message in the morning that he had died and of course the lawyers were in court waiting to resume the trial. It was a big trial. Teubner and Humble was the name of the case.  Teubner was a newspaper photographer and, on Adelaide’s worst night in 20 years or something, he was run over trying to take photographs, so there was this civil action for damages. I went into court and apparently I said, oh I have to tell you that His Honour won’t be sitting today because he’s died - which is all right, but it’s probably better to put it around the other way. It suggested he might be all right tomorrow but not today.  So that got written up in Alderman’s book, I think, a little office book that they published.  
Then I went to Joe, and I had a terrific time with Joe. I liked Joe. He was very good to me.  He explained things. I learned what you have to do. It comes back to work.

Yes, that’s right. You were with him for a year?

I went to the Court in 1961.  Yes, I was with him for about a year. Tony Bishop, who had been with him before me, went to Napier.  
Then it was time to move on, so I got a job with Roma when she had just taken silk.  She had a very large practice. A lot of people don’t know this but she had a large practice, as a family lawyer, but also as a union lawyer.  She had two or three Trade Unions that she acted for and so I went in there because she had to give up all her solicitors’ work. I had three years with her which was fantastic.  She gave me every opportunity, every encouragement, and plenty of work to do, strong discipline.
In the course of that time - I just want to mention one other person - I acted frequently against J K Alderman who was Harry’s brother.  He formerly worked in the Children’s Welfare and Public Release Department getting maintenance out of erring spouses.
He left and set up his own firm, and it became Adelaide’s leading matrimonial lawyer.  He gave me work and encouragement and instruction and so on. I had three people that I always think of who taught me and were very good to me as mentors - Joe Chamberlain, Roma Mitchell and J K Alderman.

They are people whose reputation remains to this day, I think.

The same message came with all of them - you have got to do it yourself, you have got to work hard, you have got to prepare well and the client comes first.  It is the client that matters, not you. I was very lucky.

Were you appearing in the Supreme Court by this stage?

Yes, you could not appear in the Supreme Court unless you were a principal in a firm.  We didn’t have a Bar then. We might have Chris Legoe at that stage, but then later Howard Zelling for a while.
In order for me to be able to go and do the undefended divorces and other work in the Supreme Court, pleas of guilty in the Criminal Court and so on, I had to be a principal of the firm.  So the day I was employed by Roma’s firm I was made a partner for that reason.

You were 23?

Yes, 1962 that was. I was 23. I had all the legal attributes of a partner but that was the only reason it was done.  The other big thing that happened to me was, as I was getting going, Roma was appointed to the Bench.
We expected everything to collapse, at least I did.  But it didn’t.  I stayed in practice with the other partners until the early 1970s when I went off on my own.

What was the firm called once Roma left?

When she was there it was Mitchell, Haese, Davey and Mullighan. That was David Haese, Doreen Davey, who later became a Family Court judge. We had another person there J Sanders who became a magistrate later.  When Roma left her name just came off.
It was called Haese, Davey and Mullighan - unkindly called ‘Crazy Daisy and Hooligan’.

There is always a wit around.

Yes, always, always.

I guess then you will have appeared before Roma?


How did you find that?

It was good.  There were interesting cases before Roma.  Apart from the Salisbury Royal Commission, there was the Court of Disputed Returns.  Do you know about that case that after Dunstan retired, and his seat went up? Do you know Greg Crafter?


Greg stood and lost by a handful of votes and there was a lot of emotion about it in the Labor Party because it was Dunstan’s seat and had been for many, many years.  So they decided to challenge it, to the Court of Disputed Returns.
The Court of Disputed Returns was a Supreme Court judge, and it was Roma.  The case had two aspects to it.
One was polling booth failure in allowing men to take their wives into polling booths. That didn’t go down too well with Roma, I can tell you.  The other was a defamation where Frank Webster’s mother, who was Italian, got some help from a priest who wrote some electoral material and it was signed Il Vostro Deputato and which means, in Italian, Your Member of Parliament.  Il Vostro meaning Your and Deputato meaning Deputy, so House of Deputies, instead of Il Vostro Candidata.
So we had a defamation case. I think what it meant - for some reason I have just forgotten the detail now - is that the defamation was that it was Crafter was saying that he was something that he wasn’t.  Whether Crafter had run as a sitting member or whether he had taken over from Dunstan for a while and run as a sitting member, I just can’t remember. So that was a good case, which we won.  John Doyle appeared with me and he was just fantastic.
I got other cases before Roma, but not big ones like that.

What about the Royal Commission into the Vietnam Moratorium back in about 1970. How did you get involved with it?

That’s an interesting story. What happened was that, depending on who you are talking to, there were either 2,500 people in the intersection down here at North Terrace and King William Street - that is what the police said - or there were 10,000 people - which was what the demonstrators said.
There was a moratorium movement and it was well organised. It had Professor Medlin as its leader, and some of the people that we’ve mentioned were big in it, and a lot of people who would be seen politically to be on the left.
In Victoria, it was probably even better organised and at their demonstration over 100,000 people attended and blocked the whole of Collins Street  - and not an arrest, not an issue.  If you compare that with Adelaide, and all these film we have of coppers going in and hitting people, and arresting them and headlocks, and all sorts of stuff.

Medlin had his ribs broken, I understand?

Yes.  So Dunstan set up this Royal Commission.  Now, one of the great things that happened to me, was that I was briefed as junior counsel and a bloke called Xavier O’Connor, - he has recently, in the last four or five years, died - was a Melbourne silk and he was appointed as senior counsel. We got on extremely well.
I was a member of the Law Society Council at the time but they were going to debate this, so I didn’t go to this meeting. I was told afterwards that they had passed a motion.  Xavier told me they had passed a motion telling him that they regarded his appointment - I can’t think of the word now - not as unfortunate, something a bit stronger than that - regrettable or something.
Maybe it was the sort of bloke he was, very quiet and careful, a patient man, and he just wrote back saying, why? Of course, they didn’t like it because he was a Victorian.  Anyway, I learned a lot from him.
That went for some months. Charlie Bright was the Royal Commissioner and I thought his report was really good. He had an academic working with him - a woman whose name I have just forgotten for the moment - she wrote a chapter on the law and I thought she did that really well.
Then, of course, things changed enormously in the Police Force. It really lifted the spotlight onto the Police Force. It wasn’t long after that - I am not saying it was because of it, but I think it was - there were women in the Police Force, there were women in patrol cars, there were women on the beat. Having been said, no, no, you can’t do that work. Historically, when I came into the law, there were two on the Police Force, both of whom sat in head office and did welfare work.

But then there was [Courage], I think someone in the union movement might have taken the police on industrially, and it all changed.

What sorts of cases were you doing in the 1970s?

I took silk in 1978 so I had that period of 1971 to 1978 where I was practicing alone.  Towards the end I had a few people in the office, lawyers in the office with me as partners.
I had about three and a half years alone.  It was very, very satisfying a lot of the time.  I made a decision then that anyone who tries to do everything is going to make a mess of everything, so I limited myself to three types of work: matrimonial work, criminal work and personal injury work, but not Workers Compensation.  That is what I concentrated on.
But I was getting these briefs in these Royal Commissions.  I think there were six of them in all.  There was one called the Monato Lands Royal Commission where the Government had decided to build a city at Monato, in other words on the other side of the Adelaide Hills, to free up this side of the hills, to be called Monarto. Now it is where the Zoo is.
There was alleged wrongdoing by a senior public servant for personal gain over transactions, so they had a Royal Commission.  Gerry Ward, later Judge Ward, was the Royal Commissioner.  
Then, I think before that, there was a terrible fracas down at the Woodville High School, where the young daughter - who is now a journalist, a lovely kid, was then of a politically active family - took on the headmaster. He expelled her from the school.  It is funny how things can drift.  Now you would have an ombudsman.  Well, then there was an ombudsman called Gordon Combe but he hadn’t been an ombudsman very long and there was so much political fuss about this that they decided to have an inquiry. They appointed Gordon Combe to conduct the inquiry and they appointed me to assist him. Len King was the Attorney General.  It would never have happened if he had been here, but he was overseas at the time. They realised, how were they going to protect Gordon Combe and the people appearing in this Commission, give him powers and all that sort of thing?  So they made him a Royal Commissioner, and we had a Royal Commission about a girl being thrown out of a high school.
Robert Layton appeared for the girl and Derek Boland appeared for the headmaster, and it went on and on.  I thought that was a good inquiry and did some good things.  Teachers started thinking differently about some questions.
What else did I do? I did one for the government. There was a riot in Yatala, a prison, and there were four or five really bad criminals in what was then called D Block.  D Block had ten cells and if you were in D Block, that was the Detention block you were in, and that was the worst part of the worst prison.
They somehow got out and they took someone hostage.  They were allowed into the kitchen to work and they took a prison officer hostage and locked him in the freezer. Anyway he was able to get out of that, and then they ran away and they were all caught within the prison. There was a big fuss about it, so they had a Royal Commission about that.  Laurie Johnson, a Magistrate, was the Royal Commissioner and Jack Elliott was for the prison officers.
I found that fascinating.  They had all the files out on these blokes and every one of them had been dysfunctional as a child.  I never got the full story, of course, but I suspect now that probably they were sexually abused and other things had happened to them. They had been in the system all their lives.

I think that is all I did.

Of course you had the Salisbury one.  Now, when you were appointed silk, did you have to sign to go independent at that point?

It is very important you mention that actually. Now, when did Bray retire?


So, Len King became Chief Justice in that same year and I was President of the Law Society.  I became a silk not long after the Salisbury Royal Commission.  I wasn’t a silk at the beginning of the Salisbury Royal Commission, or at the end of it.
I think we got appointed around about September or October, and I think the Salisbury Royal Commission was over by then.  In 1978, in September, I became president of the Law Society.
One of the early things that Len King did in office was to say silks should be available to everybody, so if you want to be a silk you have got to sign an undertaking.
Well, the Law Society went off about that, for the very good reason that they identified that they liked to have silks in the firms. Here was I as a silk in a firm, only just appointed, and I had an articled clerk and a young junior practitioner.
I got sent down by the Law Society to make representations to the Chief Justice to get rid of this for them. What a waste of time.  He said, no, sorry, I won’t - you know what Len is like - you can say to me whatever you want to say.
So I did -  I put it all down. I went away and I thought about it, and I thought, am I being a hypocrite?  Here am I in the firm - because he had always said, it doesn’t affect people who are already QCs. People like Ken McCarthy who was always in a firm and others.  

I was asked to go and see him again, so I went and saw him again, and had the same response.  I think that’s twice I went.
Anyway I did see him twice and on the second occasion, I said, well I think I need to raise with you my personal position.  He said it doesn’t apply to you, you are already a silk; you do what you like.  
I still felt very uncomfortable about it, so I waited till the articled clerk got admitted and these two were settled in the practice, and in 1981 I left and went into chambers.  Not because of any problems I had in the firm but I thought if that is the culture now in the state, that is what I should be doing.

I think you were one of the foundation members of Jeffcott?

No, Jeffcott started in 1981 at the beginning of the year, and I just didn’t think I could go when I had this young lad.  In the talk leading up to it I had said I couldn’t do it.  I had been asked to go and join another set of chambers, a few times that happened, and I said, no, I can’t do that.
But then one of the young people in Jeffcott Chambers left and there was a vacancy so I applied - that was later in 1981.  I stayed there until I went to the Bench.

How do you find that leaving?  Did that change much for you?

No, because I had only been doing the work of senior counsel since 1978.  In my own firm, people in my firm had taken over my files and I just did what came in, either from them or from outside.  I  made a firm rule that if an outside firm or solicitor briefed me as senior counsel, then no one in my firm could ever act for that client in the future, because that was one of the problems that was happening.
Some of these older practitioners who were silks had been doing that. A very major client in Adelaide briefed a silk because he was the best for them, and then the firm that briefed him lost the client. The client stayed with his firm, and that was wrong.  

 There were other things that were wrong. Len King was absolutely right in everything he said about silks being independent.  I am disturbed to read - sometimes I see the Telegraph in London, and they have a section on the law every Wednesday, or they used to, about silks in partnership having arrangements with firms.

Well yes, that is actually going backwards I suspect?

But the English tradition is that they were two separate and distinct professions; the solicitors’ profession and the Bar.  Ours has been quite the opposite. It is one profession and still is, largely, although the Bar is growing. 
I really enjoyed my time as a silk in Jeffcott Chambers. The other thing that happened to me, is that once I took silk I started getting a much wider spread of work than I had ever had before.  The bushfires is a very good example - they happened in 1983, the fires, and I got that brief for the landowners and each of the fires. I don’t think I would have got that if I’d still been regarded as a family lawyer or criminal lawyer.  
Then I started getting other sorts of work from people who knew me, even a building case where I showed my true colours - it was the theatre at Mt Gambier. The cladding on the building had failed and they had a crane and a bucket for me to get into to go up and look at it - I said, that was a job for junior counsel.

Wisely so.

Yes, so poor old Richard Ross-Smith had to go up in a bucket and come down and tell me about it.  
I harken back to those lessons from those three highly successful lawyers of Joe Chamberlain, Roma Mitchell and J K Alderman: You have got to work.  You have got to prepare.  You have got to spend what Len King used to call reflective time.   

 You have got to be reflective, when you are not actually physically working at something. The pennies drop and solutions come and things happen. I took the view that - let me put it this way - it didn’t suit me to have an active non-legal-work life.  I had the law and I had my family and that is what I did.

Well, also you were President of the Law Society from 1978 to 1980.  What did you achieve during that time?

The big things that happened in those years were the loss of legal aid to the Legal Services Commission, and all the work was done for the 1981 Legal Practitioner’s Act - the combined trust account of the discipline was set up differently - but the background to it all was that from the time that I came into the profession, and no doubt before that, the legal profession in South Australia was really quite unique.  In the older days there was a tradition that every person charged with murder had to be represented by a silk and they took it in turns.  Sometimes they didn’t have the best people doing it but at least it was a good tradition.
I wrote about it in a chapter I wrote about Roma. I can’t remember the detail now, I should have looked it up, but there was some sort of legal aid scheme that was running for a while under some legislation, it the Poor Person’s Legal Assistance Act or something like that. It was very unsatisfactory, not enough people involved.
By the time I came into it all, the “legal profession” had taken over legal aid and had set up its own Legal Assistance Committee and its own assignment system. It provided legal assistance by the right sort of lawyers, and I had better clarify that too - people who worked in those jurisdictions mainly; in all areas but mainly in Crime and Family Law - they were the two big areas.
It was all done on an entirely voluntary basis except that when costs were recovered they would go into the scheme or there would be a government grant of some sort, not very much and it would go into the scheme.
If you did Crime and you were fortunate you might get 16 cents on the dollar as a fee.  If it was Family Law, because there was more money recovered, you probably got up to about 19 cents in the dollar at one stage. Now that varied.  

 But when I say the profession did that - and I think it is right that I be accurate about this - the vast majority of the profession didn’t do legal aid work at all.  No, I don’t do Crime, I don’t do Family work, and they could reflect in that great reputation that the legal profession had here, created by people who did do that sort of work.
Now, I will give you an example.  If you sat on the Legal Aid Committee, on Friday night you would take home a big bag of files and you would be at a meeting at 9 o’clock, or 8 o’clock or whatever, on Monday morning and you had to report about all those files: grant aid, not grant aid, reasons, you know, letters, all sorts of thing. Now that was all voluntary, and the relevant members of the legal profession made an enormous contribution. That conditioned me a lot because I saw Alderman and Mitchell doing that sort of stuff as well.
Then Len King became Attorney General in 1970, and he said this is ridiculous, so he made a grant and every person was to get 85 cents in the dollar, and the recovery activities that we were going to undertake - some clients would have to make instalment payments. We had been building it up and building it up, the profession had. Anyway Len brought this in.  We would underwrite it up to 85 cents in the dollar and nobody actually had to put any money in. Eventually here was South Australia running it.
It was not known anywhere else in the world. Everyone else had public defenders and official solicitors and all this sort of stuff. 

 Now, I'm not speaking very well chronologically but Lionel Murphy decided in 1971 - the Whitlam years, that'd be right? Seventy one?

Seventy, just before, like say Whitlam was…

No, no, Whitlam was sacked in '72 I think.

He was sacked in '75 and got in in '73.

Re-elected. So was he - when did he - was he elected twice or once?

He was elected in '72.

Okay. Well it's at that time when Lionel Murphy was his Attorney-General and from what I understand, typical this was of Murphy, he had an idea, it's a good one, bang, implement it without thinking it through.
And he couldn't believe what was going on about Legal Aid in South Australia so he said there will be an ALAO, an Australian Legal Aid Office, Commonwealth office. We'll do this, we'll do that. We said hang on, we're doing it. Oh well, you know. So we had to struggle with that.
He set up an office here, an Australian Legal Aid Office and that caused a lot of problems for us but anyway, we worked, we managed, we worked reasonably well.
Murphy also established a Legal Aid Review Committee. I was put on it and it included people from the eastern states and [unclear] me. I can't remember about Western Australia. I don't think so.
And for a couple of years we met once a month and we went through all of this. Ronny Sackville got on it. The Commonwealth had a big Poverty Commission - the Henderson Poverty Commission - and part of it became Legal Aid for people who weren't getting legal aid. Ronny Sackville got mixed up in that and again, didn't consult us, and laid down all these recommendations.
So that's where we were when Len had gone – 1975, is that right?


And did the Liberals come in for a while then or…

No, not until [unclear].

Anyway, Peter Duncan was the Attorney-General and he decides to form the Legal Services Commission and it was a bit hard to resist that conceptually because he was going to have non-lawyers on this Commission as well as us, you know, broaden it out, put a few million in, put money in, have salaried services. 
There were lots of fights about that. This really started after I became president. We were attacked - the Commission was set up then and we got let down because we had agreed that there should be nine commissioners. One would be the chair who would be a lawyer. Four would be nominated by the Law Society and four nominated by the Government. All agreed. When the legislation came in, there were nine commissioners, three nominated by the Law Society, the rest nominated by Government, and I thought that was a breach of faith. But anyway, what can you do? So, there's that background.
The next background I'm giving you is that the Dunstan Government a little earlier had decided to abolish workers' comp as we knew it. A large section of the legal profession in Adelaide made their living out of workers' comp cases, and I think there was a bit of merit in what the Government wanted to do but they couldn't have done it in a worse way because they took it out of a litigious system and they created WorkCover, and you can see the result of that now. As long as you left it in a litigious system then Parliament could control it better.
I'll just tell you this story because I had the opportunity of talking to him a bit during the Salisbury Royal Commission - that was Tom Playford. Now, Tom Playford's view was he wouldn't allow anyone to underwrite general insurance in South Australia unless they were registered or licensed, and he wouldn't licence them unless they underwrote workers' comp and third party personal injury on the road.
His attitude was a very pragmatic and simple one. If they want to make all these fortunes out of house insurance and other types of insurance then they can chip in on this stuff. Then you had the courts that would run it and control it.
Well, the Government got rid of all of that. So there's workers' comp, Legal Aid, and then the third thing is that they brought over a fellow from New Zealand called Woodhouse, Woodward, some name like that and he went round parts of Australia trying to design a no fault personal injury system. Privately I think that's a good idea. I think it's stupid to be arguing about whether the traffic light was red or green, or this one's doing the speed or this one's doing that speed. 

They were the three big issues that hit the legal profession in my time as president. I think in those two years there were eight general meetings, nearly all of which were requisitioned by the profession. The anger and the emotion at those meetings, we'll lose this, we'll lose that, we'll lose something else. They were very difficult times and during those years we were also negotiating a Legal Practitioners' Act which brought in the guarantee fund and took discipline away from the Law Society. 

The Government wanted, as it should, to require banks to pay interest on trust accounts. Why should the banks get that money for nothing? Tens of millions of dollars. The banks went spare when this all started. I can't remember whether I was president or not, it might have been just before, but I moved a motion that we support that. Well, I think we were lucky to get out alive with a lot of people. Chris Sumner was the Attorney-General, so it might even be after I was president. Somebody moved a motion that my motion be adjourned and deferred and I said no. I won't accept that. I want my motion put - I've moved it, I want to put - and I lost. Sumner came up to me after and he said, you're no politician are you? And I said no, I know I'm not, but why? He said, you could have seen your interim deferring. Let people think about it, let people move and talk and bring it on again, and you'll probably win.


Good lesson wasn't it?

Yes, yes.

Anyway, eventually the Act was negotiated. The legal profession in South Australia owes an enormous debt of gratitude to David Wicks who had been Treasurer for a while and was then a Vice President of the Law Society and former partner of Trevor Griffin. The Liberals had come in, right?


And they negotiated it - he negotiated it brilliantly. And others all did their bit, you know, Maurice O’Loughlin and John Von Doussa and so on. But that was the atmosphere when you say what happened in the times when I was president.

 e had eight - I think it was eight - special general meetings.

It was a pretty lively era. [Laughs]

I went to the Minister for Labor, Jack Wright, and took David Wicks with me who was an expert on workers' comp. [Unclear] he said, let me tell you something, there'll be no lawyers in workers' comp.
And of course there were. There always had been and always will be. But we got nowhere. I went back to the Premier, Des Corcoran, explained it all to him. He wasn't Premier for long but just after Dunstan had gone. 
Legal Aid had gone. There was no no-fault system and the easy money went out of workers' comp. They were big times for the profession. I think the profession was very lucky to have had a hierarchy in the Law Society of the calibre that it did. The people whose names I've just mentioned to you.

Were you there when articles was changed to a graduate diploma?

No, I was on the bench then. I bitterly opposed that and the reason was that even if your articles were bad you were in the profession, you were knocking around, you were seeing things happen.
And you know what you were doing, which I always say is the most important thing to learn from another practitioner who's good, is you see how they get out of trouble.


When they're overworked, over pressured and things are starting to go wrong, how do they handle that? That's the big thing to learn. So anyway, it was all taken away, and of course the legal profession, to their shame, rejoiced, most of them because they didn't have to take on that burden of having an articled clerk.
And that means all those kids from the law schools never got that chance of a pretty intense year or two with a practitioner and I don't care, you can publish that as much as you like, I still feel very strongly about that.

So coming up to 1989, you were having a very enjoyable life as a Queen's Counsel in Jeffcott Chambers. I suppose someone must have given you a phone call at some stage.

Yes I don't think I'll tell you - well there's just one part that I think should be kept - I don't mind you knowing but it should be kept away from others. It wasn't the first time that I'd been asked and I had to make pretty serious decisions. I had five children in private school and I didn't want to leave this life.
Eventually I felt the edge coming off of me. I'd had a hard time in litigation. I'd done some major criminal stuff and the bushfires and some other big school cases. I was a poor organiser of my private time. I didn't take regular holidays and those sorts of things.

So I took it and my family didn't approve. But anyway, I did it.
And I did it with great trepidation. I had such a high opinion of the judiciary that I thought, oh I can't do that.
Anyway, I did it, and that turned out to be a really good part of my life too.

Yes. What was the change like?

Oh, fantastic.


Fantastic. You know what the big difference was? Sunday nights.

Oh yes?

Yes. When you're a busy Silk, what do you think you're doing on Sunday night?

Getting ready for Monday morning.

Exactly. Putting the finishing touches to your argument or working out am I going to call this evidence or I'm not, how am I going to cross-examine, what about the offer of settlement. As a judge, your day starts on Monday morning.

 hat was one big thing. The second big change in my life was that I found myself having a drink each night with my wife. I was going home. I was home by half past six or seven, you know, those sorts of hours rather than not being home at all.

So you got your family life back?


So the family disapproved, they weren't supportive of you joining the bench?

They didn't think I should. I think they - well some of them were a bit young but the older ones, no, you don't want to do that.

 And they were right. I didn't really want to do it. I had a really - I mean what I'm trying to say to you, John, is that - and you're probably picking this up - I've had a fantastic life.

Yes, oh yes.

If I can just throw in one other thing. We can all landmark parts of our lives, can't we? Being admitted to the Bar, coming to the university - oh I'll never pass anything. Getting admitted to the Bar - what am I going to do, I don't have a father or an uncle or anyone else. 
Going into practice was terrifying. Going off on my own was the same. Taking Silk. In fact one bloke said to me, that I'd known for years - he was actually one of Harry Alderman's sons and it had just been announced and I was having a drink with one of the Aldermans - Graham walked in and was told the news. He said, you'll bloody starve.


That's awful, isn't it? You'll starve.

Your parents - how long did they live? Did they see you get silk?

Yes, they lived long lives. My mother actually saw me sworn in as a judge. Came to the sitting. She died at 96. My father died at 85. He saw me get Silk.

I suppose as an electrician he may not have predicted that.

No, I don't know what he thought, but he said to me once, you'll be a Supreme Court judge one day and I said, oh yes. So parents do harbour these little thoughts, don't they?

Yes. As a judge, no-one really teaches you that, it's something presumably you pick up as a barrister - so did you find that a challenge?

That's a very perceptive question of yours. I can explain part of it by telling you something that on the face of it is amusing, until you think about it. When I put my backside on the bench for the first time I thought, what am I going to do with these objections to evidence? What I found was this: I'd be listening to some evidence, I object, in most cases the questioner would say, yes I understand the point, I'm sorry I'll withdraw the question.
What I quickly taught myself was to not allow a discussion or row at the bar table but, yes, thank you, what's the grounds of the objection, and it would be explained. They would say, oh well I see that point, right, I'll put it a different way. See, and it would go away.
It nearly all went away when you gave people the opportunity of thinking about things. Then when you had a full scale disagreement, I object, argument, always make sure you sit down, you put your argument, no, no, you put your argument, none of this banter. If it didn't go away, then make a ruling.
And you tell me of any case that you've ever seen that has been decided on appeal on whether a ruling on a question was right or wrong.

It doesn't. But once I learnt that and developed my technique for handling it. I used the things that I'd seen the good judges do. One person taught me at a time. Simple things, respect, being prepared. I want an adjournment, why, there'll be no adjournments, none of that stuff, why, okay, well I'll give you an adjournment, come back at 2:15. All that sort of stuff, and people respond.

Do you remember your first jury trial?

Yes I was presented my commission at 9:30 and started a murder trial at 2:15.

[Laughs] Alright, so that was jumping off the deep end a bit.

I don't remember the name of it. Two young kids who were lovers and I had no doubt were decent people. She broke it off and he went round there and shot her. Well, that was the Crown allegation. Some issue about whether there was a struggle, whether the gun went off accidentally, and the jury found him guilty of manslaughter.

I loved the jury. I used to say - as I got older and more experienced and new judges came along - I said you do it however you like of course but my advice to you is be very careful about how you treat the jury. Include them in everything. Make out that one of the women on the jury is your mother, decent, honest, terrified person who wants to get it right, and if you treat the jury like that you'll be surprised.

And be composed. I liked the jury. I liked it all, but I liked the jury particularly because it works.

Yes, I think that's just been shown even this week.

It wouldn't matter whether that lad was technically guilty of manslaughter, they weren't going to fit him up with that, were they?


I always remember Jack Elliott saying to me once, he said the great thing about - I never gave a direction on what's called a merciful verdict. I just think that's silly to talk like that. Appeal courts don't like them. They're - well it might be a merciful verdict.
Ross James, the pathologist, a brilliant witness, brilliant pathologist, did all the post-mortems and gave evidence a lot - he said to me one day, he said you know, the jury look around, behind us sometimes and they let people off.

That's what Jack Elliott was saying to me was that no person can be found guilty of a major crime unless twelve ordinary people say so, and that's a big safeguard in our society, isn't it?

Yes, I agree. So eventually you got to the point where you yourself became a Royal Commissioner?

Yes, I'll tell you that story. That's interesting. I'd been a judge for a bit over 15 years and once again it was happening to me. I just started to feel that although I was still doing my work, I just thought the edge was coming off a bit. I was 65.

I had planned to retire at the age of 67 because I was very impressed by what happened to a number of judges when I was young. Charlie Abbott retired and died. So-and-so’s father retired and died. Some of them didn't get there.

All I'd seemed to have done in my life was work, so I thought, I'll do what Charlie Bright did. I was a great admirer of Charlie Bright. Charlie was the most organised man. His courts ran beautifully and his mind was well organised and quite brilliant. He retired at 67 and died in his early seventies.

His son, David - you'd probably know David, do you? Doesn't he come down here and do a bit of lecturing?

I couldn't say.

Anyway, it's been reported to me that he said it was good for Charlie, because he had some years and he wrote a few books, historical books, travelled and composed himself and died. I thought that sounds good to me.
After these Royal Commissions - I'm interrupting myself again - when Len King became Chief Justice he opposed judges being members of the executive, which of course a Royal Commissioner is. The Government decided to have an inquiry and they approached me. I thought about it, and not for long, because I realised how important it could be to have an inquiry like this if it was done reasonably well.
So I said, yes, I'm prepared to do it but we've got a problem with the Chief Justice, I think. King had gone but I think Doyle felt the same.

I went to John, he was our Chief, and his attitude is always much the same. That is, if you want to do something and it's alright to do it then you can, but anyway he thought about it. He said he wanted to think about it. Then he came to back to me and said no, he didn't think I should as a judge. Judges shouldn't do that. He'd discussed it with

Len, and Len took that view. So I resigned.

Anyway, I told the Government and the Minister said - he ran into me in the market and he said, oh I just want to run a few names past you. What do you think about this name and that name? I said oh yes, I'm not commenting about names. He said, you wouldn't retire would you and do it? So I went home and the answer was yes. I thought it would take 12 months.

It took a little longer I think.

Yes, it took us - we actually started sitting at the beginning of December 2004 and the reports were handed in in 2008. So it took about three years of hearing time and about three or four months of other time.

Did you have the same nervousness or trepidation when you jumped from Supreme Court Judge to Royal Commissioner?

None of us knew anything about it. I don't know about you but I didn't know anything about this stuff.

No, when I borrowed this from the library, the first time was a few weeks ago, and I read your preface which really summed up how it affected you. Then in just the last few days I actually dared to go a bit further.

You settle. When you take on something big - I mean the bushfires is one example, a long criminal trial that I did was another example - you settle, it becomes a way of life, and you've got to try and exclude everything else from it.
Having created this opportunity for people to come and tell their stories in a very appropriate atmosphere - it was appropriate in that the staff were professional, we had all the assistance we would need like psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors. It was this sort of setting to take the evidence, not sitting around a table, not a court room.


You could see people developing confidence as they went along. I found all of that a privilege. That is the way that I'd put it really. 

One of the investigators, Megan Philpot, who was - they were all very good but she did a fantastic job - we were talking about these splurges of interest that would come during these years and Megan said, every time you go on television we feel it here. There's another lot of people, and off they come. And what that meant I think was, well he's prepared to take it seriously and he was a judge. It's two years now that I've been thinking about it. I've now got the confidence in myself, confidence in the Commission.
Every other inquiry that I looked at had not done it like that. Even the well regarded Bringing Them Home report, that was all over in three months.


People were giving evidence mainly off documents, and I think that's wrong.

You had the budget to keep going? You didn't have any problems with that?

No. I'm pleased to say that we finished within time and under budget.


The other thing I was very lucky about is that I had almost complete support of the media and both sides of Parliament. I wasn't getting any of that sniping or snapping that you see other long inquiries take. It could have gone on, for another couple of years, but I think if you let those things go on too long they lose their credibility so I was the one who brought it to an end. The terms of reference of course were very limited when they were closely analysed. 

I'm pleased I did it. It wasn't easy but I'm pleased I did. I still get people ringing me and stopping me in the street, you know.

Yes, I'm sure you would. It had a huge impact and I think it was a turning point in South Australia's history really.

Do you? Yes.

To open up a can of worms - well I'm sure other states and other societies have got the same dark layers, I'm hoping we're not alone in having that.

Oh no.

But finally after a hundred years, I would have thought that belonged to the nineteenth century.

Yes, it's interesting, isn't it. I'll just give you a couple of statistics which I accepted based on very sound survey work by very sound experts in England and America and Canada. I accepted that at least one child in every five will be sexually abused before the age of 16. 

I said that in a speech to a women's group and they said, no you're wrong, our experience is it's one in three, but I couldn't rely on that because their survey work wasn't as extensive or as professional as what had been done by experts including the use of universities in England and America.

Now if that's true every time you walk into a room…

Yes, you just need 10 people and you've got three.

And if you're a hopeless arithmetician as I am, and you call the population of Australia 20 million because you can work it out easily, one in five is four million.


And it says ‘not less than’.

That's pretty well all the population of Melbourne or Sydney.

Of course the people who want to tackle those sorts of statistics say, oh no look, it all depends on what you mean by sexual abuse, and I said of course. Of course it does. But the point is the victims were identifying themselves as having been sexually abused. You can't get a better definition than that, in my opinion.

That's correct.

The other thing I learnt from that, is that you cannot take on something like that and do it without really good assistance. People who really know what they're doing and really work hard and that's what I had. They are not acknowledged in there because they didn't want to be, which I think is interesting. I can see the point. I didn't want them getting phone calls at two or three o'clock in the morning.
Of course the other thing that is not dealt with in there because it wasn't part of our terms of reference was this fowl undercurrent of paedophilia that's organised and going on all the time.

That has been going on for decades. As far back as the witnesses could remember who came to me. At least a major paedophile party every week.

I'd not experienced anything like that and I hadn't heard anyone talking about it.

No, we'd like it to be unthinkable. Then you understand that it actually was the reality, possibly still, I don't know. 
But anyway, so now, since you finished the Royal Commission have you retired as such?

Yes. I am prepared to say this to you. Most people who go into retirement from my observation in the law have a wind down time. I gave the second of my reports to the Governor on the 30th of May and we were gone. There was no wind down time.
What I did for the rest of 2008 and 2009 was still a lot of speeches and a lot of events. Then I decided to stop it because I don't find speech making easy. So I've stopped that. 

Then I thought once I started to settle and get my sleep back and I've got a few little things I do now, I started to think why would I want to be setting up some sort of new activity? 

I've rejoined the Folio Society. Do you know about them?

I've read the name.

They're English and they publish books.

Yes, that's right.

They're better searchers for books than I can be. I've been buying some of those and reading them and there's a book on - I couldn't help it, I bought this book on - it's called not After Dinner Speaking but Speeches after Dinner, and there's a difference.
There are some wonderful speeches in this book. Of course they don't come across very well like they did when they were given. But one story that you'd like, I think, wasn’t anything to do with after dinner, it was just the author couldn't help but put it in his book. You've probably been into the war cabinets underground room in Whitehall in London, have you?


No, well it's worth looking at. It's where Churchill lived and…

Yes I know about it, yes, and I still haven't been there.

Anyway, one day he's sitting on the lavatory doing what you do - what would he be called, the Lord something of the Privy-Seal or the Lord Privy of the something Seal or something like that, turns up and he said, I demand to see the Prime Minister. They said, well he's busy. Oh, I demand. Anyway, eventually he overwhelms this bloke and goes to Churchill and says terribly sorry Mr Churchill but the Lord of the Privy-Seal is here and he demands to see you and I just can't get rid of him.
He said right, you give him a message from me. He said, you tell him that I am sealed on to my own privy and I can only handle one shit at a time. [Laughs]

[Laughs] Oh dear. Oh, well, thank you, Ted.

I just wanted to say one other thing if I could, because I thought you were going to talk to me about the Law Society. I saw the development of the legal profession from the mid fifties onwards, the growth of the profession and the growth of the work and the change in the types of work and the growth of this place, the law school, the growth of the Law Society and I think it's been handled really well in South Australia.

I think the people who've managed the Law Society, who've regulated the profession, who've educated the profession, have really done it very well. I've told you some of those incidents in my time but we had only one criminal court. Now there are 15, and it's not all due to population explosion, it's actually due to Len King who made it all efficient and got it moving.
When I came here to the law school there were 29 in our class for the year, one of whom was a woman. I think the legal profession can take a good deal of pride in the way that it's adjusted and developed, but there is a real danger that it is going to become polarised or fragmented into people who want to work in the business of law and people who want to be legal practitioners and they're not the same. That's what's worrying me.

The Law Society's current challenge is the Federal Government move. You hear much about that?

A little bit, yes. Jan Martin was telling me that no-one's allowed to be called a client anymore, they have to be called a customer and I said to her, well I would be reacting with a certain type of digital response if the Government spoke to me like that. You've got to stand up. And what's the Federal Government offering? What's it going to do? Nothing I suspect.

But here the profession is still doing pro bono work, still doing work being underpaid, still trying to look after people who haven't got the means. I think that's not done elsewhere.

That's what a real profession did. I think it was the tradition that goes back centuries.

That's right.

Barristers wouldn't discuss the fees, they were paid if they were, and if they weren't well they did the case first and that was how it worked.

I like the two counsel rule. I never appeared without a junior. I think it was good for the profession and therefore good for the public because I know how much I learnt as a junior.

That's sort of the higher level apprenticeship, I suppose?

Oh, absolutely. You're there in a big trial and you're on your feet as a junior taking a witness or doing something with everybody focused on you. It's a very tight discipline, I can tell you.

We're not doing enough to educate the kids. I like the kids. I haven't talked about the advocacy training that I was involved in, but I learnt that the kids are really good, the law students, the law graduates. I'm sure, given a chance, they'll take the legal profession back to where it should be, where it was.