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Every Issue

Cite as: Jan/Feb 2015 89 (1/2) LIJ, p.85

A year to remember

My LIV presidential year 1974-75 was a wonderful experience for Judith and I. We went to Fiji for a south west Pacific law conference soon after the constitution for democratic government in that racially divided country was established.

In 1975 at Easter we went to a conference in New Zealand where we heard about the recently established injury compensation scheme of which I have become critical because no information is collected in relation to occurrence of injuries for which compensation is claimed. No record is made for any injury prevention action to be taken. I found on my trip there last year this situation prevails.

1975 was, as we have all been recently reminded, the last year of the Whitlam government. There was a significant intervention in the field of government funded legal aid. The almost expired system of providing assistance for returned servicemen was rejuvenated and expanded with suburban offices set up. I was invited to attend these openings. I made reports to the Council where there was no discussion of the matter.

The Council members opposed to this federal government move into legal aid were so incensed that they took the steps of organising a requisitioned general meeting of the members calling on the LIV Council to take proceedings to stop the government from carrying on legal aid offices. The well attended meeting at Dallas Brookes Hall at the Masonic Centre called for a poll of members to vote in favour of the motion. Proceedings were instituted but discontinued when the government showed no intention of further supporting the legal aid offices after the dismissal.

The picture of the chairman’s table at that meeting is published here with permission of The Age.

There was a move in the Council to make the position of LIV secretary, which had been Arthur Heymanson’s title since he took the position after his return from war service, chief executive. The vice-president John Richards was very keen that we should be more active in providing services for members rather than just keeping members compliant with the regulations. We persuaded Arthur to take his overdue retirement and after due process the Council appointed Gordon Lewis, a solicitor from Hamilton, to be the new chief executive of the LIV at the closing stages of the year.

My career took a change when Judith and I bought a farm and moved there in the 1980s. I was then active in agri politics, particularly in aspects of farm safety.

JOHN DAWSON AM is an LIV life member.


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