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With all due respect?

Every Issue

Cite as: March 2011 85(3) LIJ, p.82

Room for one more?

Lawyers, fairly or not, have the indignity of perennially being found towards the bottom in surveys ranking the public assessment of professions’ respectability and trustworthiness.

Lawyers often score very poorly, along with company executives, used car salespersons, politicians, taxi drivers, telemarketers and, yes, journalists.

So it is with no real joy that WADR wishes to inform readers that even the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) thinks the same way.

It seems that when a person needs to prove their identity for commonwealth electoral enrolment, they must show the appropriate identification documentation (such as a birth certificate, firearms licence, student or security guard ID) to any person who works within one of 39 occupations listed by the AEC, some of which are no-brainers.

They include doctors, dentists, police and armed forces personnel, Justices of the Peace, accountants, bank officers, vets, teachers, pharmacists, physiotherapists, “persons employed as a remote resource centre visitor”, clerks, sheriffs, court bailiffs, diplomatic officers, pilots, surveyors and lawyers.

Hang about, our mistake – lawyers don’t actually make the list.

Some of the other occupations that do are “airline passenger carrier ground staff”, bank officers, politicians or a staffer, liquor licence holders (must be current), merchant vessel masters, prison officers, marriage celebrants, marriage counsellors and real estate agents.

WADR stormed to the AEC to discover the precise thinking behind such a slap in the face for the legal profession and demand that lawyers become the 40th occupation.

“I really, really don’t know why they are not included, but it is probably written in the legislation somewhere,” an AEC officer said.

Fair enough. All we need to do now is find a lawyer to locate said legislation and help re-write it.

While we wait for the AEC to come to their senses, we will further the case for lawyers’ inclusion by highlighting examples of how lawyers have helped humanity.

Take US advocate Marc Carey.

The North Kentuckian spends a lot of his time away from the office thinking about private parts. He became so miffed by strict full body scanning at airports that he created scanner-proof undies and t-shirts.

We are not talking medieval chainmail but comfy cotton.

According to news reports, Mr Carey came to the logical – but hitherto untested – conclusion that the privates could remain so if logos were strategically placed on the undergarments.

It does not really matter what is written with the special ink as long as it covers the naughty bits.

“They’re designed to be a reasonable compromise for travellers to allow the [security]to do their job, but allow people to travel without a great deal of inconvenience and preserve their dignity,” the website quotes Mr Carey as saying.

(Editor’s note: Yes, we understand this is a humour page but, no, we are not kidding.)

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


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