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From the president : An Institute to be proud of

Every Issue

Cite as: (2002) 76(11) LIJ, p.4

There has been no shortage of issues through the year and I have endeavoured, through this page, to provide an individual perspective on some of them.

I am proud of the achievements of the Institute this year. In John Cain we have found an absolutely first-rate CEO to replace a first-rate CEO in Ian Dunn. Personally, it was wonderful working with Ian and I would like to thank him for the encouragement I received from him to stand as president.

John Cain has brought “generational change”. He has already stamped his mark on the Institute and completed an operational review. The financial management has been reworked so that we can look forward to returning a modest profit. Sadly, some of the changes introduced this year have come at a cost. We have seen the closure of the Snail ’n Bottle restaurant. There have been organisational changes at the Institute and we have lost, in some cases, some long-standing staff members. I would, in particular, like to extend my personal thanks and best wishes to Martin Smith who has made a valuable contribution to the Institute.

The issues confronting the Institute, the profession and indeed the wider community have been numerous and varied. We strenuously opposed Senator Heffernan’s attack on Justice Kirby. We have continued our discussions with government in relation to the Legal Practice Act review but remain frustrated by the fact that some two years after the process was commenced, no decision has been made about the future of legal regulation.

That said, we have continued an excellent dialogue with the state Attorney-General Rob Hulls and representatives from the Department of Justice. We have also reinvented our relationship with the Shadow Attorneys-General, Dr Robert Dean and now Victor Perton.

While the Institute offers a wide variety of membership services, perhaps one of its most important functions is that of lobbyist. It is important for firms, mega and small, to understand and appreciate the work that we do in this area on a state and federal level.

I am proud of the commitment of Institute members who have given their time so freely in assisting with our Legal Aid Taskforce.

We have dealt extensively with the consequences of September 11 and now Bali. We have made extensive submissions to government in relation to the ASIO legislation. We have made important contributions to the national practice debate. We have dealt with a host of state-based and national issues, and I believe the Institute has responded appropriately at all times.

I have endeavoured to increase the media and public profile of the Institute. I believe that we have “kicked a few goals” during the course of the year and I would like to thank our media adviser Paul Conroy for his assistance.

At the time of going to print we are facing a state election. I hope that we will have a state government that has recommitted itself to improving access to justice and enhancing and protecting the rights and freedoms of the individual for the benefit of the community. Despite the commonwealth/state divide on legal aid, I hope that the elected government has by now committed the necessary funds to redress the outrageous imbalance in legal aid funding that has existed for the better part of the past decade. I look forward to the newly-elected government making a commitment to take the Legal Practice Act review to an appropriate end. In my view there is absolutely no doubt that the Institute is best placed to properly regulate members of the profession.

I would like to thank John Cain for his guidance and assistance throughout the year. I extend my sincere thanks to members of the Executive and Council for their assistance, input and wise counsel. I would like to formally acknowledge the extraordinary work undertaken by the staff at the Institute. I would like to thank my partners Ian Ritchie and Tim Davies for agreeing to allow me to undertake this work on behalf of the Institute and I am indebted to them for their forbearance and encouragement. Few have had the opportunity to be president of this organisation from a regional base and it has been an amazing and rewarding experience.

Finally, without the support of my wife Mandy and my family my year at the Institute would not have been possible. It was a position that I approached with some trepidation, however, I can honestly say that I have had a wonderful time this year. Hopefully we got most things right. I have no doubt that Bill O’Shea will be an excellent president and I wish him all the best for his term. It has been a great honour to be your president.

DAVID FARAM

president@liv.asn.au

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