Victorian Bar’s ‘act of solidarity’ after homophobic notice pasted in chambers

Barristers in the prestigious Owen Dixon Chambers East were outraged last week when an as-yet-unidentified party pasted a fake notice in a lift in the building.

It purported to notify barristers of the establishment of the “LGBTQMS” committee, on a letterhead carrying the Victorian Bar logo.

Bar president Matt Collins, QC, condemned the “bigoted” message.Credit:Eddie Jim

Someone clearly went to a lot of effort to make the joke – undoubtedly in poor taste and offensive to many at the Bar – a convincing parody of a legitimate announcement, albeit with a clearly illegitimate purpose.

CBD, which reported briefly on the vile note last week, isn’t going to quote the slurs and insinuations that were conveyed in the poster, but they don’t deviate considerably from your run-of-the-mill homophobic abuse, based on opinions that should have been exiled from modern society.

With a VicBar investigation reviewing CCTV across more than a dozen floors of the chambers, “a spontaneous act of solidarity” with the Bar’s LGBTQI community was held on Friday and attended by 200 to 300 barristers, those present say.

Sources say popular silk Liz Ruddle, QC, attended to give support, as did Judge Amanda Chambers, previously president of the Children’s Court of Victoria and now serving on the Victorian County Court.

Justice David Beach, from the Victorian Court of Appeal, was also present.

Australian Bar Association president Dr Matt Collins, QC, spoke at the event, thanking people for attending and condemning the “bigoted”, “homophobic” message.

Collins told CBD he was struck by the strong response the incident elicited from some at the Bar.

“I thought it was pathetic and cowardly, but was struck by many of my colleagues, how upsetting they found it that these views were being harboured at all in a modern professional environment,” he told CBD on Tuesday.

“The fact that anyone would go to that trouble demonstrates the extent to which progress has been made because it’s a backlash against modernisation and the drive towards greater diversity.”

With the office covered in cameras, one would predict the offending party will soon be tracked down. However, the stolen cigarette case still evades recovery.

BOARD MEETINGS

Anyone taking a peek at Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson’s Instagram account – Senatorsurfer – would be green with envy.

Surf’s up for Whish-Wilson.Credit:Shakespeare

After the federal election, the 54-year-old was on the road until the first sitting of federal parliament in late July. Travelling with his wife and two children, he headed to the Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island and Lake Eyre, a “chance to connect with Country” and his family, he says, before heading back to Melbourne for the Greens national conference.

There the party handed out portfolios: his included agriculture, waste and healthy oceans (taking in the Great Barrier Reef). Which seemed a good reason to head to the reef to dive it for the first time in five years, with a pitstop in Queensland for a party room conference, on a road trip he paid for rather than “jetting about at the taxpayer’s expense.”

Next up was Splendour in the Grass, where he took the opportunity to speak to muddy young voters about another one of his cause celebres – to free Julian Assange. “It is only an hour south of Mount Tamborine where we had our party room meeting,” said the senator.

“I got to Fraser Island and saw some of the best waves of my life but couldn’t go in because of all the sharks, it was torture,” added the surfing senator, who in the past has told CBD he often attends “board meetings” with fellow surfers.

“If you can’t have a holiday after an election, when can you have one?” said the Launceston-based senator, who estimates he has had barely more than 16 days off in a row in the decade since he replaced Bob Brown as a Tasmanian senator.

He recommends all pollies “should hang up their shirt and tie” and get out of the Canberra bubble for their own mental health, and for the health of the nation.

HOT TOPIC

You won’t catch Premier Daniel Andrews receiving emails to his personal Hotmail account, which landed recently rebranded Opposition Leader Matthew “Matt” Guy in some trouble this month after leaked emails showed his former chief of staff Mitch Catlin sought donations to his private company.

Turns out, Andrews doesn’t even have a private email. “We can go through the list if you want, Gmail, Hotmail, I don’t [have one]. No, I don’t,” he said.

Does he even exist as a private citizen? How does he do his online shopping?

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he doesn’t have a private email account.Credit:Paul Jeffers

“I think it’d be fair to say that Cath does most of the online shopping in our house,” he told reporters at Spring Street on Monday. “That’s not a criticism, just in case anyone misinterpreted that. I’ve got a household of teenagers, they can usually get things done.

“I’m not here to answer questions for people that have got Hotmail accounts. They can do that themselves, and perhaps they should.”

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article