Yesterday (Wed, July 19) Peter Lyons quit as president of the Queensland Bar n’ Grill. He had no choice as the council clung to the tattered line that when it comes to judicial appointments outsiders should not be poaching on barristers’ turf.
What with Lyons sticking-up for the appointment to the bench of his wife, a solicitor, he had nowhere to go but out. Naturally, his act of gallantry did involve a few awkward twists with pike.
You can have a look here at the thin-lipped little missive put out by the Bar n’ Grill last night and a “memorandum to members” from Lyons.
Vice-president Martin Daubney has slipped into the president’s chair. This is the same Daubney whose speech at Ann Lyons’ swearing-in was described by Peter Lyons as, “an inexcusable act that discredited and disparaged the integrity of the courts and the judiciary”.
What is interesting is that the council passed a resolution yesterday rejecting Lyons criticism of Daubney and further that the letter the then president sent members on Tuesday (see my report, Bloodlines on the bench) was written without notice to the bar council.
But what of Daubney’s ungenerous comments last week at the swearing-in and later to The Bowen Hills Bugle? We have to assume that his mealy-mouthed remarks were approved by council. If so, what an ungracious and self-interested bunch of berks they appear.
Really the whole bar council should resign. If you consider that the main job of the outfit is to promote its members onto the bench so other members can move up the food chain, then it has been a spectacular failure.
None of the last four judicial appointments in Queensland have come from the bar. Of the two most recent Federal Court appointments Andrew Greenwood was a solicitor and Berna Collier an academic. Ann Lyons was a solicitor who headed the Guardianship and Administrative Tribunal and Fleur Kingham, who has just gone to the District Court, was another rank outsider.
Where will the rot stop?
Of course, the bar council has long been pretty lame. Just cast your mind back to the time when my colleague Sir Johannes was running the place and giving the rule of law a bit of a tickle-up.
Where was your bar council then? Dithering.