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Barry Lane
11 June, 2003  
Melbourne movements

The juicy jobs of Chief Justice and Solicitor General are up for contention in Yarraville. Of course the talent pool is deep and the speculation wide

Still no announcement on who will be Yarraville’s new Solicitor General, while the buzz on the future Chief Justice is getting louder.

Both jobs were advertised in the tissues by Attorney General Rob “Fuckin” Hulls.

Fuckin’ wants a prominent woman for the CJ’s job once John Harber-Bridge Phillips retires later this year. The name Sue Crennan QC is on a lot of lips and it would shock if she did not get to put on the scarlet dressing gown. She has been a silk since 1989 and among other important tasks was counsel assisting the Tricontinental Royal Commission.

Fuckin’ also was keen on the idea of the Family Law Court’s Sally Brown being CJ. He unsuccessfully attempted to get a Bill through parliament last year that would have permitted federal judges to keep their perks and benefits if they schlepped across to the State sphere.

Where does that leave glamorous Labor-connected silks like Chris Maxwell and Mark Dreyfus? While technically not women, a small nip and tuck here and there would see them as most attractive possibilities.

However, it’s likely we’ll find one or other of those two settling for the Solicitor General’s job now that we know Peter Hanks QC, who has been a sort of de facto SC in recent months, has declined the invitation.

Maxwell is long time toiler for the Labor cause, having worked on the staff of the tantrum prone Gareth (“Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time”) Evans. If talent counted for anything in the ALP he should have been in federal parliament as the member for Melbourne Ports and by now would be ensconced on the front bench.

However, turf accountants are quoting strong odds on Mark Dreyfus being SG. He produced a report on the ALP’s administrative arrangements in Victoria and is well connected to the government and the AG.

Maybe Maxwell will have to wait for a puisne position on the Supremo. The most recent appointment there was wunderkind Stuart Morris who as a silk looked after the interests of the seriously rich developer class. Some time ago he missed out on an ALP berth in the Legislative Council.

Stu takes over the job as president of VCAT from Murray Kellam J.

While we’re at it, what of the Vic ALP resolution calling on the faithful who are QCs to turn in their gongs and in lieu affix the more modern post-nominal of SC?

At last count Brother J.H. Kennan handed in his old commission and has adopted the more nylonish alternative. Felicity Hampel and Dyson Hore-Lacy did the same, although there is no evidence those two carry the party’s card.

It’s funny, that all those once and current members of the battlers’ party feel so much more at home in the royal bosom.

Barry Lane