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On the Couch
7 September, 2009  
Sandy Street

Barrister … Commander … Constitutional swordsman … Sculler … Swimmer … Elvis fan


imageAlexander Whistler Street SC is part of an endless line of lawyers.

His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all chief justices of NSW.

His sister Sylvia is a federal magistrate and his other sister, Sarah, is a solicitor turned head-hunter with Carmichael Fisher.

His son, Charles, is studying law and is indentured to Smuts McKenzie and his niece Isabella is a UTS student and para-legal at Gadens.

His brother-in-law, Arthur Emmett, is a judge of the Federal Court while Sandy Street’s nephew, James Emmett, is a prospering junior on 12 Wentworth.

So many lawyers from one clan is scarcely enough.

Of course, his grandmother was the indomitable human rights campaigner Jesse Street.

Sandy Street plies his trade from Seven Wentworth – with particular interest in maritime, aviation and trade law.

He’s a commander in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve and his wife, Sally, apart from being a lawyer, has a promising career as a chanteuse. One Bite of the Cherry is her recently released album.

In constitutional cases he first came to prominence in Street v The Bar Association of Queensland and Barristers’ Board where he successfully appealed the decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal rejecting his application to be admitted to the Queensland bar.

The outcome was the collapse of the dingo fence, which Brisbane barristers had carefully erected to protect themselves from interstate rivals.

Last month he was spectacularly triumphant in Lane v Morrison.

He acted for the “teabagging” naval rating Brian Lane in a case which challenged the constitutionality of the Australian Military Court.

Street is also the treasurer of the NSW Bar ‘n’ Grill.

He found a moment to lie back on Justinian’s couch and free associate.

Describe yourself in three words.
Happy, hungry, hyperbaric.

What are you currently reading?
Dreams from my Father; A story of race and inheritance”, by Barak Obama – for a third time, knowing these reflect dreams for us all.

What’s your favourite film?
A Fish called Wanda” or “Chariots of Fire”. It’s like two bowls of rhubarb, I can’t decide on a favourite.

Whom or what do you fantasise about?
Elvis Presley’s pyjama pool parties and the “Black Book of Admiralty”.

What stimulants do you recommend?
The zing of sculling on a glass river in the hour of dawn or running in the rain.

What is your most recognised talent?
Unstable genius.

What is your greatest fear?
The failure of humanity, in the quest for peace, equality, respect and dignity, to overcome fear of peoples’ differences.

What words or phrases do you overuse?
Chapter III” ... [and] “Sally do you want to go parking”?

What is your greatest regret?
The inability to harness time.

Whom do you envy and why?
Elvis Presley and R.B.S. Macfarlan JA – because I can’t sing.

What is your most disturbing personal obsession?
To beat Justin Gleeson in the swimming pool.

What’s your most glamorous feature?
My mistress, to whom I’m married.

If you were a foodstuff, what would you be?
A Balaenoptera Musculus, being a blue whale with twin blow holes – with the hope I might ply the seas (without imagebeing eaten).

What human quality do you most distrust?
Ignorance.

What would you change about Australia?
To teach human rights and Aboriginal history and culture as compulsory subjects from kindergarten to the end of secondary education.

Whom or what do you consider overrated?
Aging and abstinence.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Smile.

How would you like to die?
With all my faculties firing.

What would your epitaph say?
I’m still here”.

What comes into your mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word “law”?
Themis.