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Baby Barristers
5 July, 2009  
What I learned from Malcolm

When life goes Turnbull-shaped all is not lost. A young barrister can pick-up valuable tips from the way Mr 18 Percent handles things

imageOf utes and moles and life and things, a young barrister can learn a lot from Malcolm.

Like perspective.

Life at the bottom of the barristerial food chain certainly has its moments.

One second all is well. The next, your punter is being dragged to the cells after the magistrate didn’t listen to your sentencing submissions with quite the same enthusiasm as your dog.

Your instructor is mightily unimpressed and the phone goes eerily quiet.

Thankfully there’s now a tonic.

Bar Care can do away with all its counselling and kind words and simply show a photo of Malcolm Turnbull to every distressed young barrister who fronts up for a chat and a refill on their prescription.

Because no matter how bad things are for you right now, at least you’re not Malcolm.

Yes, dear reader, I do realise that my brief for this column is the trials and tribulations (no pun intended) of junior barrister life and within those constraints there’s not much scope for political opinion. But, hear me out, there’s a link.

First the elementary one. Turnbull = former barrister. Junior Junior = current barrister.

Not exactly watertight but then again, that hasn’t been a central characteristic of much that has gone on in the last 14-days.

Legal angle? Easy. Did you not see Philip Ruddock jump to his feet to take Robert McClelland to task for alleged “improper release of information” about moleman Godwin Grech?

He finished his rousing call to arms with, “What is the role of the presumption of innocence concerning Mr Grech?”.

Yes, Fabulous Phil Ruddock. He who himself was AG in the government which elected to deport Dr Haneef with little to no regard for pesky concepts of guilt, innocence or proof regarding allegations of assisting terrorists.

Brazen cheek is what got this colourful personality where he is today.

So there’s enough of a legal feel about this whole debacle to sneak this post past the ed.

Specially when you consider the lessons a wee barrister can learn from the Turnbull saga.

First up, it’s a salutary reminder to make sure one’s documents are what, and from whom, they say they are.

Secondly, if you’re going to coach witnesses prior to a Senate estimates hearing (or any other hearing really), it’s probably going to go better if they don’t end up looking like this.

Thirdly, case strategy is everything. Why go for an all or nothing no-case submission (akin to trying to bring down both the PM and Treasurer in one fell swoop) when you can take your time and have a good chance of a win on the actual evidence (i.e. stick to bashing up Swannie, a much easier tack)?

Finally, no matter how dismal my diary looks for the next few days, it’s not as bad as a 19 percent drop in approval ratings.

Even if it is, there’s always hope for a bounce in the polls, if only of the dead cat variety …


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