Brisbane notebook
Friday, August 8, 2014
Justinian in Bar Association of Queensland, City Desk, Lord Eldon, MMargaret McMurdo, Paul de Jersey, Supreme Court of Queensland, Tim Carmody, Walter Sofronoff

Judges bite back at criticisms from The Government Gazette ... Shane Doyle wins prize for most complicated high-dive at Knock-About's welcome ... Someone messing with the Cossack's air machine ... Lord Eldon calls for chiro help ... Bizarre attack on Fitzgerald and Margaret McMurdo ... Lawn Order Week 

What a time it has been in Pineapple Land. 

You could tell things were starting to smoulder on Thursday (July 31) when The Government Gazette (aka The Bowen Hills Bugle, aka The Courier Mail) came out with a page one screamer Bench Warfare - Exclusive - How Qld's top judges are trying to blast the new Chief Justice out of his job

Justices David Boddice, Philip McMurdo and Martin Daubney were named as backing Justice John Muir "in an extraordinary revolt against Justice Carmody". 

"The Courier-Mail has learned the push against Justice Carmody will continue relentlessly with his opponents determined he must quit." 

No sources were named, it all came from an anonymous "senior judicial officer". 

This was accompanied by a thundering editorial endorsing Chief Justice Knock-About and declaring: "His critics are yet to produce evidence to show his decisions have been at fault." 

The editorial scribblers obviously haven't been keeping up with reports about Timbo's clumsy and error prone Perkins Paste style of judgment assembly. 

See: Court offside by Chief Justice Tim Carmody  

See: The story of Timbo and the paste pot 
See: News from the QE11 cauldron 

Prof Allen: favourite rent-a-quote for Rupe's reptiles

Sure enough, Queensland's brainy Prof James Allen was enthusiastically quoted. He's always to go-to man for various Daily Ruperts [if they can't get hold of Prof Mirko (Torture) Bagaric]. Prof Allen said he doesn't want judges to be too brainy. 

"I want them to to be taking the legal texts whether enacted by the democratically elected legislature, I want them to give it its plain meaning. 

I don't want them off doing some sort of very creative job where they feel they have their fingers on the pulse of changing social values and all this basically anti-democratic stuff." 

Boddice, McMurdo and Daubney responded, with a rare burst of activity from the Supreme Court's PR department, saying that the allegations in the Government Gazette were "completely false" 

"It is a matter of grave concern that The Courier Mail published these false statements without referring them to us for comment before publication."  

*   *   *

Two days after his installation as Governor of Queensland, Daphnis de Jersey had an attack of relevance deprivation and announced to an adoring public that the right to silence in criminal cases was old hat and should be scrapped. 

He urged the Law Reform Commission to get on board. 

Surely, there is no further need for more job-application statements. Daphnis had already flagged this exciting idea in March last year, prior to an appreciative government sending him to Fernberg. 

See: CJ's opinions collide with the law 

Terry O'Gorman, vice-prez of Qld Civil Liberties, was fast out of the blocks with a media release, saying that Daphnis had lost the plot.  

Two Wigs was being political and had "adopted a completely wrong and improper stance". 

*   *   *

Knock-About: off to court

Excitement was barely contained for Friday's (Aug. 1) Supreme Court welcome ceremony for CJ Knock-About and new Supremo Peter Flanagan
Who would be there, would nice things be said and, more importantly, who wouldn't be there? 

In the end, Flanas solved the problem by asking all other Supremos to stay away. He didn't want people unable to welcome him because they didn't feel supportive of Carmody. 

You can see the other big wigs who were there, because Carmody thoughtfully named most of them in his speech.  

Again, the CJ was inspired by ditzy chick-lit scribbler Nikki Gemmell, who has been giving him guidance on the importance and challenge of "change". 

"Change is a gift. It moves us forward, always." 

Gemmell: provides inspirational thoughts for the chief justice

He has produced uplifting quotes from Nikki's mine of original thoughts in each of his two previous speeches, here and here

Bar prez Shane Doyle won the prize for the best high dive with double twist and pike. 

"In the discharge of your office as Chief Justice, you will have the support and respect of the Bar Association and its members, a significant number of whom are present here today. 

Chief Justice, you have recorded a wish to be judged by the people of this State on your performance in the discharge of the office, and you have set a challenge to carry out the performance of this high office to the best of your abilities so as to leave a legacy of which you can be proud. 

In the discharge of your office as Chief Justice, you will have the support and respect of the Bar Association and its members, a significant number of whom are present here today." 

These occasions invariably have assembled wigs inwardly wincing, and this one was no exception. 

It was only five weeks earlier that the council of the bar 'n grill urged Carmody to give up on his dream of grasping the orb of office.  

CJ: welcome

Doyle reminded everyone why he was now being so courteous to Timbo: 

"As far as the Bar Association is concerned, you have the pivotal role to play of selecting those barristers to be appointed Queen's Counsel in this state - a role Your Honour will be called on to perform in the near future." 

There were other important official duties, such as turning-up to bar conferences and dinners. 

He went onto say very nice things about Flanas work as a "first class silk [and] having the rare advantages of good taste, an enviable singing voice and musical ability". 

In the overflow room the curious watched proceedings on closed circuit TV. The sound went dead just as the CJ was saying: "The keen-eyed among you may have noticed that there are fewer judges sitting up here 
than some might have expected ..." 

A journalist was told by the Conveyancer General's office that it's "not unusual" that no other Supreme Court judges would attend a welcome ceremony, because it's not a swearing-in. 

When asked for an on-the-record statement, Jiving Jarrod's flack merchant went quiet. 

*   *   *

Toowoomba: Tiger Moth down

On Saturday (Aug. 2) a De Havilland Tiger Moth piloted by former solicitor general Walter Sofronoff QC crashed on takeoff at Toowoomba Airport.  

The Cossack has been a well-argued critic of Carmody's appointment. 

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services officer Tony Guse said that Sofronoff, "self-exited" from the aircraft and appeared to be a bit shaken but quite okay. He added:

"Any crash you can walk away from should be a good one." 

Could anyone have tinkered with Walter's engine? 

*   *   *

Monday (Aug. 4) saw the media brimming with news and views. 

The ABC reported a timely leak from Bleijie HQ, "Government research suggests growing support for bikie crackdown". 
Apparently, surveys of 1,200 people in June showed an increasing number of people would support even bigger and better restrictions on bikie gangs. 

Sixth-five percent agreed that additional anti-gang measures would be a great idea, up from 57 percent in the previous survey. 

There was no lift in support for special bikie prisons or pink jumpsuits. 

The copper in charge of rounding-up bikies, Mick Niland, warned the High Court that a successful challenge to the VLAD law would be a "serious impediment" to his vital work. 

The Bowen Hills Bugle reported that according to corruption buster, Tony Fitzgerald, the premier and other ministers would continue to attack him if he kept up his criticism of the government. 

He should have no concerns about the government, because the Bugle and Lord Eldon are already doing a dedicated job of attacking him. 

*   *   *

Eldon: Carmody is ahead of McMurdo

Monday's biggest treat was the bizarre rant in the Bugle from Eldon
By now His Lordship must have some sort of neck injury after all his swivelling on the Carmody issue. 

The most recent effusion had him saying that Carmo starts in the job with "far great advantages" than appeals' president Margaret McMurdo ever did. 

He climbed into Fitzgerald because the corruption fighter didn't criticise McMurdo's appointment to the Court of Appeal, even though Carmody is "streets ahead of where McMurdo was at the time of her elevation to the state's second-highest judicial office". 

Further, Knock-About's five years on the Family Court is double Fitzgerald's time as a Federal Court judge and as for criticising the youthfulness of the brilliant Conveyancer General, why ... Fitz was about the same age as the AG when he was appointed "the state's (then) youngest-ever QC". 

He then turned on the defenceless McMurdo who, unlike Carmody, at the time of her appointment as CA prez: had never been a silk, had no opportunities to conduct complex civil cases, hadn't any responsibility for heading a court, had never been a meat packer or a "sworn officer" of the Qld Police Service. 

They did have one thing in common, both received the Centenary Media in 2003. 

There's also another difference, that he forgot to mention. McMurdo does not appear to have the same hair-raising record of judicial errors and self-plagiarism as Chief Justice Paste Pot. 

Again, here are the references ... 

See: Court offside by Chief Justice Tim Carmody  

See: The story of Timbo and the paste pot  

See: News from the QE11 Cauldron  

He concluded: 

"One can feel optimistic he will confound his critics, as McMurdo has done. He deserves the chance to do so. It will be better for everyone concerned if that happens without sniping from the sidelines, even on the part of the most distinguished of has-beens." 

McMurdo: no meat-packing skillsIt's hard to keep up with Eldon. On June 12 the government announced Carmody's appointment as CJ. The same day Eldon withdrew from a committee that had been planning the bar's next conference. In an email to then bar prez Peter Davis, he said

"Given that the committee (at my suggestion) decided some time ago that the new Chief Justice should be a keynote speaker, I regret that I feel quite incapable of representing the Bar Association with the level of civility owed to the holder of that high office."  

A day later, June 13, he sent another email to Davis, congratulating him on his "heroic stance" in resigning over the corrupted process that resulted in Carmody's appointment. 
Six days later it was a different story on ABC radio, where he told the listeners

"I don't think anyone doubts that Tim Carmody is capable of doing the job." 

For more details see: Carmody of errors 
These various positions surely can be reconciled, it's just that we don't have the resources to undertake that task. 

Could it be that his opinion article in the Bugle was by way of an application to fill John Muir's vacancy on the court of appeal, where he could sit alongside Margaret McMurdo, who is completely lacking in meat-packing skills. 

Eldon's knowledge of and respect for pecking orders and seniority is surely a beautiful thing, as you can see here

In Queensland, law schools are setting exam questions for students, along the lines: 

The chief justice's main qualification for the job is that he is a crony of Jarrod Bleijie and adored by Can-Do. Please discuss. 

*   *   *

Queenslanders had no sooner wrapped-up an exciting Jobs Week than they hurtled into Lawn Order Week.

You can see why with announcements on vandals cleaning up graffiti, citizens feeling overjoyed about the VLAD law, newly designed motorcycles and another helicopter for the coppers, more CCTV cameras, etc.  

People throughout the Pineapple belt couldn't be safer or happier. 

Lawn Order Week

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (
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