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With All Due Respect: Strange bedfellows

Every Issue

Cite as: (2009) 83(04) LIJ, p.88

A funny thing happened over bacon and eggs at the Legal Laneway Breakfast on 3 February, part of the Opening of the Legal Year festivities.

Entry to the annual event was gratis but those who attended were asked to buy a $5 raffle ticket for a local charity.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who is a former state Liberal leader, purchased what was to become a prize-winning ticket in the raffle to support the Women’s Legal Service Victoria.

However, proving in this case that the Lord Mayoral “Right Honourable” moniker is not just window dressing, he asked that the prize be drawn again for another lucky recipient.

Attorney-General Rob Hulls, who drew the ticket and played the role of barrel person beautifully, jokingly expressed some disappointment that the pair could not share the prize.

Well, we hope it was tongue-in-cheek because the bounty was overnight accommodation for two at The Sebel, Melbourne, followed by a romantic breakfast in its Treasury Restaurant.

For the record, the prize eventually went to an employee of PILCH’s Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic.

Speaking of eggs, the Chester (England) College of Law has some on its face after advising students they had failed every one of their first round papers miserably.

The problem, however, was not the students’ aptitude but the College’s data entry, according to a legal newsletter.

Students who logged on to the College of Law’s intranet discovered they had failed most components of the course, meaning their training contracts would be withdrawn.

Unsurprisingly, the College’s phone system went into meltdown handling inquiries, but when students did get through, they were forced to play a Get Smart-esque spy game.

If they had passed they were told that while they could not be given specific grades over the phone, they had, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, nothing to worry about.

However, if they had failed, they were told to come in to the College.

And while attempting to continue the culinary segue between items this month, how about beefcake?

Or the apparent lack of it among the ranks of single male Lawyers across this broad, brown land we call Australia.

That’s right. It seems women’s fashion magazine Cleo searched high and wide for a broad-chested gent but was unable to find a “suitable” practitioner to nominate for its Bachelor of the Year competition.

For anyone looking to put in the hard yards for the 2010 edition of the competition, Cleo is always on the lookout for “straight, single, charismatic and good-looking” Lawyers.

Cleo editor Sarah Oakes said that while the magazine likes to have a variety of occupations represented among the 50 competitors, they had struggled to find someone from the legal profession this year.

We here at WADR have been impressed by the Victorian legal stocks, from Mildura to Portland and Lakes Entrance to Shepparton and Melbourne, and believe the Cleo judges were simply not looking hard enough.

Enjoy laughing at the failings, foibles and faux pas of others? Of course you do. Then why not contribute tot WADR? By email to, by fax on 9607 9451, by mail C/- The LIJ, 470 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 3000.

Miss Demeanour’s guide to life, love, law and disorder

Dear Miss Demeanour
I’m at the pub on Saturday night, propped up against the bar. All is well with the world: cold beer, free peanuts, a row of TVs all tuned to sports and my girlfriend within arm’s reach.

I then notice a bloke starting to try some moves on my good lady. He was a slick stick of you-know-what: pinstripe trousers, overpriced (and overtailored) shirt and Italian loafers, so I’ve clued on to the fact that he’s a senior associate at one of the big six.

Thinking I’ll talk his language, I try a little alternative dispute resolution with a friendly “care to step outside?” So that was that.

Surely there’s got to be a few rules about this most un-Australian practice of cutting in?

Regards, Alpha Male

Dear Alpha Male
It may come as a surprise that our elected representatives share your abhorrence but, as yet, they’ve restricted it to the cut and thrust of the commercial world.

It’s called the Takeovers Panel. According to its website, it’s the primary forum for resolving disputes that arise when one company makes a move on another. Its main power is to declare that there are unacceptable circumstances about a takeover bid and to protect the target (in this case, your good lady).

In a perfect world, you’d claim unacceptable circumstances (I think “she’s mine” is probably the way you’d style your submissions) and the panel tells the other bloke to try it on with someone else.

Of course, if the Parliament ever saw fit to expand the panel’s jurisdiction, the first thing would be to update the panel members. Don’t really need a bunch of Lawyers, accountants and economists, however learned and venerable they may be. Miss Demeanour can think of a suitable chair, but modesty prevents her from saying anything further.


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