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Judges behaving badly ... Global round-up of judicial misbehaviour ... The USA, Canada, Nigeria, UK and Brazil ... Judges indicted, expelled and sent to the star chamber ... Money, sex and stupidity the main cause of judicial ruin ... Read more ... 

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Justinian Columnists

Wot's going on? ... Theresa May on Boris Johnson ... IPSO rules on headscarf journalism ... Exploding child sex inquiry ... Tory paedo scares ... Leverhulme's London Calling ... Read more ... 


Mental as anything ... Pleb-O-Cite ... Same sex marriage ... The debate has already attracted some pretty nasty and hurtful comments ... But media lawyer Graham Hryce argues that using the mental health argument to close off discussion is a step too far ... Read more ... 

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    "I want to be at pains to emphasise to you, none of this ... had in any way affected the cordially [sic], professional relationship between me and the second law officer... The fact is, the ordinary relationship between Mr Gleeson and me as two senior professional lawyers has not been compromised or affected." 

    George Brandis on solicitor general Justin Gleeson's senate submission alleging that the attorney general had misled parliament. SkyNews. October 6, 2016 ... READ MORE >>

    Justinian Featurettes

    David Lemmings ... On The Couch with Professor David Lemmings ... Exploring the life and times of the English bar in the eighteenth century ... He has also studied the early role of the press in reporting criminal trials and the part it played in forming public opinion about justice and the courts ... Read more ... 

    Justinian's archive

    Joe Cinque's death, diminished responsibility and the moral compass ... From Justinian's archive ... 2005 ... Evan Whitton recalls Anu Singh's murder trial ... Timely, as Helen Garner's book Joe Cinque's Consolation is now playing on the big screen ... Read more ... 


    « Retrospective: Te Muna Road Pinot | Main | Wendler in Bordeaux »

    Mark Dreyfus

    Mark Dreyfus talks films, books and music ... The weather nut confides the contents of his refrigerator and other important lifestyle details ... The Commonwealth Attorney General is lured onto Justinian's couch 

    Dreyfus: three top priorities as AG

    ATTORNEY GENERAL Mark Alfred Dreyfus QC is an escapee from Western Australia, fleeing with his parents to Melbourne where he was schooled at Scotch College and then the University of Melbourne. 

    His father is the famous composer George Dreyfus, who came to Australia as a refugee from Nazi Germany. 

    Among George's signature works are the themes for TV triumphs Rush, Dimboola and The Fringe Dwellers

    He was also a bassoonist in the J.C. Williamson touring orchestra. 

    As a relatively young lad Mark was on the staff of Victorian Attorney General and Minister for Planning Jim Kennan, where he devolved a taste for planning law. For a time was the legal editor of the Victorian Planning Reports. 

    He also co-wrote the contract chapter in Butterworths' Court Forms, Precedents and Pleadings, Victoria.

    Fo the Labor Party he was the author of the Dreyfus Report on how to combat branch stacking, many of whose proposals were substantially implemented. 

    Probably he was most widely recognised for his work as a barrister acting for Victoria's biggest media companies. 

    He was also a big wheel on the Victorian Bar Council and the Law Council of Australia. 

    He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and shortly afterwards was appointed chairman of the House legal and constitutional affairs committee. 

    In September 2010, he became a cabinet secretary as well as the king of low cardon as Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in the second Gillard ministry.

    Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation was later added to his quiver of duties.

    He became attorney general on February 2 on the resignation of Nicola Roxon. 

    Now, he's strapped on Justinian's couch - trying to answer our questions ...  

    Describe yourself in three words

    Energetic, optimistic, busy. 

    What are you currently reading?

     Nate Silver, "The Signal and The Noise"; and Thomas Kenneally, "The Daughters of Mars".  

    What's your favourite film?

    "Ten Canoes." 

    Who has been the most influential person in your life?

    My wife Deborah Chemke. 

    Dreyfus: the long arm of the lawWhat is your favourite piece of music?   

    Tchaikovsky - "Violin Concerto in D"; and Eric Clapton - "Layla". 

    What is in your refrigerator?

    Avocados, papaya, Crown Lager. 

    What is your favourite website?

    Bureau of Meteorology

    What do you recommend as a hangover cure?


    What words or phrases do you overuse?

    "Indeed" and "When I was ..."

    What is your greatest weakness?

    I'm fairly talkative. 

    What have been your most celebrated cases as a barrister?

    Cubillo and Gunner v The Commonwealth (Stolen Generations case); Lange v ABCTheophanous v Herald and Weekly Times Ltd

    Why did you want to be a lawyer?

    In my first job out of uni, I worked in the Northern Territory for the Northern Land Council on land and sea claims for Indigenous people. I sat in the dust explaining titles and deeds to people who didn't read English. I realised the law could be deeply practical, giving opportunities and protection to people who need it most.

    What would like to have done had you not been a lawyer and a politician?  

    I would have been a park ranger in the Alpine National Park.

    As Attorney General what are your three top priorities? 

    • Ensure our national values of fairness and equality are reflected in Australian law;
    • To make the legal system more accessible;
    • To make excellent appointments to courts and tribunals.

    What's your most glamorous feature?  

    My wife, my children and my kelpie. 

    If you were a foodstuff, what would you be?

    You cannot be serious.

    What human quality do you most distrust?


    Whom or what do you consider overrated?

    Tony Abbott, sushi, sleep. 

    What would your epitaph say?

    "What's next?" 

    What comes into your mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word "law"? 

     A living thing. 

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