Former Commonwealth attack dog makes good 
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Justinian in Alan Wilson, George Brandis, High Court of Australia, Michelle Gordon, Procrustes

Procrustes roams the waterfront ... Lifestyle choices ... Gushes of enthusiasm greet Michelle Gordon's appointment ... Brandis blinkered, again ... Banana Benders impasse ... Memories of Julian Salomons and Piddington ... And for uncomfortable viewing go and see Leviathan  

LIFESTYLE choices that the rest of us can't be expected to support. It was no more than standard issue Abbott: letting loose the dog whistle of war, as he banged about with his boot in a bucket, clutching at his support (is there any other explanation for Warren Truss?).

But one part of Oz froze: they'd been rumbled. How could Adelaidians avoid the charge? More than a million of the blighters camping out within an hour's drive of some of the best vineyards in the world. Their choice and thanks to federal fiscal imbalance, the rest of us get to pay for it.

The rest of us at least make money. They apparently produce nothing except hooch in SA: just look over the canoe shop at the Australian Shipbuilding Corporation.

Unlike the late and unlamented Minister for Defence, the PM survived, as all and sundry assumed he was showing his empathy with the indigenous. Adelaide dodged a bullet yet again.

But in a week that saw John Toohey pass and Sir Anthony Mason turn 90 (happy birthday to "The Ancient", as scribbler David Marr habitually refers to him), AG George Brandis gave us another lesson in Abbott Cabinet speak, and the lesson was that judicial concern for the proprieties of government, let alone judicial activism (mouth-wash, quickly) was dead, buried, cremated and its ashes scattered at sea. 

The Haynes - family court appointments

We were introduced to our next High Court justice, Mrs Ken Hayne, in a gush of enthusiasm for her advocacy at the bar representing enormous amounts of money.

This was quite blinkered of George, as the fragrant Michelle did sterling work as a Commonwealth attack dog in extradition litigation, and she was better than nifty on tax. Well rounded really.

While Bars all over the nation sent bouquets and plaudits for la Gordon's ascension, another appointment rumbled further into runaway disaster.

A retiring Queensland Supreme, name of Wilson, decided to tip the entire bucket on the loveable CJ, Tim Carmody. Prominent amongst the stinking prawn shells was Carmody's plain legal ineptitude, coupled with his sloth, made obvious by his own listing habits.

Salomons: not soundTypical of Banana Benders to get into this sort of impasse. Other chaps know when to walk. 

One can only admire the finesse (from all parties) of Sir Julian Salomons throwing in the towel as CJ NSW after a week, when confronted with Sir William Windeyer saying: He's not sound. 

The claim is made, boldly, that this was not an anti-Semitic remark, but reflected on Salomons' tendency to overwork and consequent need for rest cures.

That was the 1880s. A quarter century later Albert Bathurst Piddington stepped off the High Court before he'd even sat on it, after being challenged as to his telegraphic exchange before nomination with Billy Hughes re preference for the Commonwealth in litigation. 

Oh dear. Telegrams went through the hands of so many clerks. At least emails are private to sender and recipient (and the NSA, GCHQ, ASIO, ASIS and friends - please sing to the tune of Widdicombe Fair, lustily).

And if you want to see where entropy will finally deposit us, go and see Leviathan for a reminder of what a corrupt State can do. Filmed in unremitting dark grey against the backdrop of the Barents Sea, this is uncomfortable but important viewing.

Sent from Procrustes iPhone

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