Shake, rattle and roll 
Friday, November 21, 2014
Justinian in Goings On ..., High Court, ICAC, Michael Kirby, Susan Crennan, Tim Carmody

Rose Bay real estate ... Brilliant suggestions for the High Court ... ICAC's special memories ... WCC appointment ... Knock About's liberal sprinkling of Gemmellisms 

Trophy couple seek buyer

Master bedroom at Casa Kirby

The Kirbster and Johan are still trying to downsize and shift to inner-city digs. 

They've dropped the price of their Rose Bay harbourside hacienda by around $2 million in the hope of offloading the Neville Gruzman designed spread by Christmas. 

The sale is described in the SMH's property section as heading "an impressive line-up of trophy properties this week as Sydney's power brokers hope to cash in on the stronger market ...". 

It's a snip at $10 million. Laing+Simmons Double Bay is handling the sale and the marketing attractions even includes a photo of Michael Kirbs' bedroom.  

That should clinch it. 

Go Guy

Crennan: at the point of arrival

As expected, Kirbs' former High Court colleague Susan Crennan is stepping down after the summer vacation. 

A farewell ceremony in Sydney took place last Friday (Nov. 14).  

Ken Hayne goes in June and already the punditry has commenced. 

Chris Merritt, legal affairs scribbler for The National Rupert, has come up with a list of starters: 

It's great that Guy Reynolds has not been forgotten - he would have to be a hot favourite. 

But why overlook lunar-right, flat-earther Prof. James Allan? He's a Queenslander, like Brandis, and ideologically as sound as a Cory Bernardi. Surely, Jimbo cannot be discounted as an Abbott government favourite. 

Moore please 

Parliamentary swimming team

ICAC is barely out of the news these days.

The DPP has initiated proceedings against two former NSW politicians, Obeid and Macdonald, against whom the commission made findings of corruption.  

There is the ongoing stoush involving NSW deputy senior crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen, and the commission's reports on the political slush fund investigations are expected in the New Year. 

Important bits of historical memory are prone to get lost in this flurry of activity. 

One such is the role played by NSW's current attorney general, Brad Hazzard, in one of ICAC's early scalps - that of the then Liberal premier, Nick Greiner. 

ICAC's findings against Greiner were made in June 1992 and arose from what is known as the Terry Metherell affair. 

Among other things Metherell, a Liberal MP, had been accused of swimming naked in the parliamentary pool. Subsequently, he left the Liberal Party and sat as an Independent. The minority Greiner government was desperate to claw back Metherell's seat. 

Hazzard had heard that the naked member was interested in a job as a director of the new Environmental Protection Authority. 

It was Brad who stitched up a meeting with Greiner and the then Liberal minister for the environment Tim Moore, now Senior Commissioner Moore of the Parks & Gardens Court and son of the former president of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, Sir John Moore. 

They agreed that Metherall should be offered the job, which he accepted and resigned from parliament - whereupon the Liberals took back his seat at the by-election. 

ICAC commissioner Ian Temby concluded that while Greiner had not acted criminally and had not set out to be corrupt, he would be seen "by a notional jury as conducting himself contrary to known and recognised standards of honesty and integrity". 

The commission did not recommend action against Moore, but along with Greiner he resigned his portfolio, while Metherell never took-up the job he was offered. 

The kindly Labor attorney general John Hatzistergos in 2009 offered Moore the job as senior commissioner at the Land & Environment Court. Later Hatz did some nice work for the Liberals in strangling the reformed Bail Act. Last month attorney general Hazzard appointed Hatzistergos to the NSW District Court


Hazzardous appointment

While in Hazzard-Land, it's worth mentioning that the NSW Workers Compensation Commission announced on November 4 that Judge Greg Keating gets another seven year term as president of the commission. 

Bravo Greg. 

The announcement was sent out by Rod Parsons, registrar at the WCC, who said to members and staff: 

"It is with pleasure that I inform you that the Attorney General, the Hon Brad Hazzard MP, has reappointed Judge Greg Keating as President of the Workers Compensation Commission for a seven year term expiring on 4 November 2021. 

I am sure you will join me in extending congratulations and best wishes to the President on his reappointment." 

There's one tiny problem. Brad Hazzard has no power to appoint the president or other members of the WCC. 

Under the relevant legislation that happy duty falls to the Minister for Finance, the Hon Dom Perrottet. 

See: s.368(2) of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 

I hope that doesn't mean that Greg's rulings are invalid. 


Gemmell: CJ's muse

Queensland CJ Timbo (Knock About) Carmody continues to be inspired by chick-lit and mummy writer, Nikki Gemmell. 

Nikki scribbles profundities for The Weekend Australian Australian Magazine, bringing us treats like a list of what mothers should be allowed to do without fear of censure: 

Somehow Nikki's dazzling insights have caught the imagination of CJ Knock About, and he's an adoring fan. He  trots out her trite musings at the drop of an official occasion. 

In September, at one of the admission ceremonies, he attributed to Nikki, and not for the first time, the insightful observation that "change is a gift" - something that La Gemmell threw into a column last July.   

When you're on a good thing stick to it, because "change is a gift" is really an idea that has fascinated Timbo for some time. 

He also shoved the concept down the throats of QUT law graduates in a mid-year oration 

"You will have to try and predict what practising the law is likely to look like in five, 10 or 20 years' time, and do what it takes to adapt to a dramatically changing career environment and altered market conditions.

Though a little daunting this is not something to be feared or avoided. Change is a gift. It moves us forward – always. (Nikki Gemmell, Weekend Australian Magazine, July 12-13, 2014)." 

He even trotted it out at the ceremony to mark his appointment as CJ 

"As the great American legal educator Dean Roscoe Pound, said: 'Law must be stable and yet it cannot stand still'.

In other words, unless it changes to meet new challenges, conditions and circumstances it will gradually lose its social relevance, centrality and authority.

Change is a gift. It moves us forward, always.8 

Footnote 8. Nikki Gemmell, Weekend Australian Magazine, July 12-13, 2014."

At a July Supreme Court admissions ceremony Carmody regurgitated an exciting, different thought from his muse: 

"It is important to strive to achieve career goals but do not waste time - or too much of it at least - dwelling on those not reached. As feature writer, Nikki Gemmell, recently reminded us, failure is no bad thing. It humbles us and eventually we learn to laugh at our failures and to learn the lessons of them. The only true failure is in doing nothing." 

Here's hoping he can insert a few Gemmellisms into his judgments. 

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (
See website for complete article licensing information.