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    "One of the reasons I'm enthusiastic about Boris Johnson's prime ministership is because if there was ever a cometh-the-hour, cometh-the-man moment in the recent history of this country, this is it and he is that person."    

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    « Green Book: not all black and white | Main | Radical social change »
    Wednesday
    Feb062019

    Richard Beasley SC

    Richard Beasley SC is On The Couch ... Novelist and silk ... Until now he was ankle deep in the Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission, which reported on January 29 ... Last meal on death row ... Playing with a horse jigger ... Thoughts on water and life  

    Beasley SC: one last bite

    Richard Beasley was Senior Counsel Assisting the Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission throughout 2018. He has been a member of the NSW Bar since 1997, and through what many think was one of the world's longest typographical errors, he was appointed a "silk" in 2011.  

    Richard is the author of five novels, the first being Hell Has Harbour Views (which was adapted for ABC Television in 2005). Hell, which was re-released in print in January, has been hailed as a "penetrating biography of our firm" by countless young lawyers around the globe.

    It remains an uncredited resource for members of the Australian judiciary when giving speeches lamenting the scandalous expense of legal services, a matter that strangely failed to trouble many of them during the course of their careers pre-elevation to the bench. It, and Beasley's subsequent thrillers, are shortly to be made compulsory reading for any law graduate seeking a practicing certificate in any jurisdiction. 

    Richard's other novels are The Ambulance Chaser, Me and Rory Macbeath, and his Peter Tanner thrillers, Cyanide Games and The Burden of Lies. He is currently working on his third Peter Tanner novel.

    While his publisher insists the plot should not be given away, the novel commences with the mysterious disappearance of the entire executive teams of the National Irrigators Council, the NSW Irrigators Council, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, several bureaucrats from the Department of Water and Agriculture, and the entire Commonwealth Parliamentary team of the National Party.

    Who has kidnapped them? Are they alive? If they're dead, have they gone straight to hell? If they've gone straight to hell, is it the worst part of hell? If it's the worst part of hell, is it hotter there than it's going to be in the Murray Darling Basin because of climate change? These are the big questions that this major work will explore.

    Beasley has squeezed us in on the couch ... 


    Describe yourself in three words.

    Angry. Pessimistic. Single.

    What are you currently reading?

    "Fifty Shades of Grey," by EL James. I'm trying to cheer myself up.

    What is your favourite film? 

    "Some Like it Hot." It's the first film that dealt with cross dressing, sexism, and the LNP's attitude to climate change.

    Who has been the most influential person in your life?  

    Che Guevara. He really knew how to ensure a just, quick and cheap trial for right-wingers, well before s.56 of the Civil Procedure Act.

    What makes you frightened? 

    Australia becoming a fair dinkum country, where if you have a go, you get a go.

    Who do you most admire professionally?

    Bret Walker SC.

    What is your favourite piece of music?

    "Strawberry Fields Forever."  

    Why were you selected to be counsel assisting the MDBRC? 

    1.I'm cheap. 2. I'm good company. 3.Irrigators don't scare me.

    What is your favourite passage in the Royal Commission's final report? 

    Grant Rigney, Ngarrindjeri Nation (owners of the Lower Murray), taken from the transcript of his evidence: 

    "We want to reset these biodiversities and the ecologies in our country. We want to see our fish spawning as they once were, our animals coming back down to drink. Fresh quality water out of the Coorong, not this super saline stuff that we're living in today's environment. It's slowly dying. You can smell the impact of what's happening in the Coorong and people in the city don't get to see that. They live within their four walls and not seeing what degradation is happening to country. What happens to country happens to you. 

    To me as a person, as a Ngarrindjeri, I am that tree, I am that rock, I am that plant. I cannot be separated from it. It is me and I am it. This is the difference in our societies; we don't see what others are seeing. Unfortunately, we have to live in this world where it's about capitalism, it's about economics. We are forced into that process. Yes, they are mechanisms that they tried to assimilate. We know the history, but we don't teach the history, we don't teach the truth in this country. We like to hide it. We like to keep it away. What we are trying to do is build our agency to build that truth. We have this process in Australia called reconciliation. What the hell is that? 

    Me as a Ngarrindjeri, I don't need to reconcile with no person in this country. It's about non-Indigenous people reconciling with the First Peoples of this land. It's about telling the truth. Then we can actually have reconciliation as a people moving forward. We believe we have a pathway. If we have allocation of water we can reset the processes for our people. We can reset history for our people and this is what we're about, this is why we fight for it, because it's not just about Ngarrindjeri, it's about our community, and we know white fellas are never going to go away. How do we live in synergy with each other to have happiness? How do we live with our country and have happiness? We believe we have pathways to do that. We want to be recognised for our rights, our human rights, and we want to be recognised as Ngarrindjeri." 

    Why does the word "Jesus" appear in the transcript? 

    The Commissioner had interrupted me again. On this occasion, I had been allowed to ask the witness their name, but did not get to the part about their area of scientific expertise when he took over. I believe this may have been muttered under my breath about two and a half hours later. At least I haven't blamed the junior. 

    What impact do you think the report will have? 

    Can I get back to you after the March and May elections?

    The politicians from Cockies Corner don't seem anxious to embrace the recommendations. How deeply are they in the pockets of the big irrigators? 

    Apart from big irrigators, would anyone be foolish enough to make a large donation to them?

    The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: "Of course I care about the fish, but can I be honest? I care more about people." Where do you stand on the fish versus people equation? 

    The Premier is a much nicer person than I am. I prefer fish. Apart from Carp. Similarly, I much prefer the company of my dog to any human being. I've made this really clear on my Tinder profile.

    If you were on death row what would you request for your last meal? 

    Barnaby Joyce's testicles.

    Do you have another book in the pipeline? 

    I have a contract. Delivery to my publisher is due on 28 February. There is as much chance of that happening, as there is of the Murray Darling Basin Authority acting in accordance with the Commonwealth Water Act.

    How do you manage the law-writing imbalance?  

    I don't. See my answer to your first question.

    You are also the Principal Member of the Racing Appeal Panel. Has that been an eye-opening experience? 

    I took a 'jigger' (illegal electronic device) home once that was an exhibit. We had a lot of fun with it, but they should not be used on horses.

    What would you change about Australia? 

    The Prime Minister. Weekly. Until we get the right one.

    What would your epitaph say? 

    4,500 GL.

    What comes to mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word "law"? 

    Civilization. Just and proportionate punishment – which takes me to my last meal, and Barnaby Joyce's testicles.

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