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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS



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SUPREME COURT OF THE

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MURRELL

MR G. RAMSAY, ATTORNEY-GENERAL

MR K.J. ARCHER, PRESIDENT OF THE BAR ASSOCIATION

MS S. AVERY, PRESIDENT OF THE ACT LAW SOCIETY

CEREMONIAL SITTING FOR ASSOCIATE JUSTICE McWILLIAM

9.35 AM, MONDAY, 26 JUNE 2017

McWILLIAM AJ: Chief Justice, I have the honour to announce that I have been appointed a Master of this court. I present to you my commission of appointment.


MURRELL CJ: Thank you. Thank you, Associate Justice. Please sit while the commission is read. Madam Registrar, please read the commission.
REGISTRAR: Commission. The Australian Capital Territory Executive under section 40 of the Supreme Court Act 1933 appoints Verity Alexandra McWilliam to be a Master of the Supreme Court commencing on 26 June 2017. Dated 8 June 2017 and signed by the Attorney-General, Mr Gordon Ramsay, and Ms Avery.
MURRELL CJ: Madam Sheriff, pleased hand me the Oath of Office and the Bible. Associate Justice McWilliam, I invite you to take the Oath of Office under the Supreme Court Act.
McWILLIAM AJ: I, Verity Alexandra McWilliam, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs and successors in the office of Master of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and that I will do right to all manner of people according to law without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God.
MURRELL CJ: Thank you. Please sit and subscribe the Oath and I will witness it. I direct the Registrar to take this document and enter it in the records of the court. Associate Justice McWilliam, on behalf of the judges of the Supreme Court and, indeed, on behalf of the staff of the Supreme Court, I welcome you to the court and your colleagues assure you of their goodwill and support. Mr Attorney?
MR RAMSAY: May it please the court. In any new beginning, it is vital that we have a sense of our heritage because it is in the awareness of our heritage that our future is given meaning and so today I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land that we are meeting on, the Ngunnawal people. I acknowledge their elders past, present and emerging. I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the ongoing contribution that they make to this city and to this region. I also acknowledge and welcome any other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are with us today and I commit myself to ongoing acts of reconciliation with our nation’s first people.
Chief Justice Murrell, Chief Magistrate Walker, judges, magistrates, distinguished members of the legal profession, ladies and gentlemen and, of course, Associate Justice McWilliam, I would also like to acknowledge and to welcome members of your Honour’s family who are here today, including your parents, Andrew and Felicity, who live in Canberra, your partner, Ian, and your extended family and friends. There is a strong sense of homecoming in your Honour’s appointment as associate judge of the ACT Supreme Court due to your longstanding connections to Canberra.
Your Honour attended Canberra Girls’ Grammar School and I understand that your Honour retains a connection to that school through alumni events. In your school days, your Honour was already demonstrating the talent for clear communication for which you have become known and, of course, without any intention whatsoever of embarrassing your Honour, I am reliably informed that you received merit awards for both poetry and prose in the 1994 Canberra Times Young Writers’ competition.
I am further advised that your Honour’s communication was not limited to being spoken and written but that there is a strong history of participation in Canberra choirs and an involvement in what I am reliably informed is still a very popular CD recording which features on ABC Classic FM. Your Honour continued your education in Canberra at the Australian National University where you completed Bachelor Degrees in Arts and Law. In addition to your academic achievements, you served as President of the ANU Women’s Hockey Club in 1997 and 1998. That is a passion which you have retained and to which I will return in a moment.
Following the completion of your undergraduate degrees, you worked as an associate to Justice Finn at the Family Court of Australia and have since then enjoyed a diverse and distinguished legal career away from Canberra. After starting your career working for commercial law firms in London and Sydney, you served as Legal Associate to Justice Madgwick and Justice Beaumont of the Federal Court of Australia. After practising as a solicitor in the New South Wales Crown Solicitor’s office, your Honour was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 2006.
Since then, you have worked on cases and in various areas of law, including administrative law, commercial law, criminal law, employment law and environmental planning law and have appeared in a wide range of courts and tribunals in the New South Wales and the Federal jurisdictions and yet starting legal practice did not mean a stop to your hockey practice. Your Honour continued your achievements on the hockey field, showing some fine form on the wing to help the New South Wales Bar hockey team break an eight-year losing streak against the Victorian Bench and Bar hockey team. Perhaps some members of the Victorian Bar will be especially pleased to hear of this appointment as you will no longer be eligible for the New South Wales Bar hockey team.
Whilst working as a barrister, your Honour has also made a contribution to educating the next generation of legal professionals. Your Honour has served as a member of the Board of Directors in the Commercial Law Association of Australia whose mission is to develop knowledge and understanding of law usages and practices in Australia and overseas. You have worked as an adjunct lecturer in public law, constitutional law and litigation at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales and you have presented a number of seminars, including at the College of Law.
As an author, your Honour has lived up to the potential that the Canberra Times Young Writers’ competition saw in you, most particularly as the author of the Administrative Law chapter of the book, Court Forms, Precedents and Pleadings New South Wales as well as several articles on subjects such as mutual trust and confidence in employment contracts. Following such a distinguished legal career, your Honour’s appointment as associate judge is most well deserved. I am very confident that you will make a valuable contribution to the ACT Supreme Court. I don’t know personally if your Honour intends to continue your hockey career here in Canberra. I wonder if we will soon see a new tradition of judiciary versus profession hockey games or, alternatively, whether there will be the occasional sung judgment or potentially a local version of Trial by Jury.
The Canberra legal community has welcomed your appointment as associate judge. You have built strong working relationships with other members of the legal profession who clearly hold you in high esteem. Without wishing to steal the words of the President today, I note that the ACT Bar Association has already described you as a popular and well respected member of the New South Wales legal profession with a very good legal mind and a developed sense of fairness. The Canberra community as a whole will benefit greatly from these qualities.
Whilst your Honour’s appointment was based solely on merit, I am pleased that your appointment brings gender equality to the permanent bench of the ACT Supreme Court. According to the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, as of March 2017, only 28 per cent of judicial officers around Australia are women. However, with your appointment, women now make up 50 per cent of the permanent bench of the ACT Supreme Court. That fact itself is extra cause for celebration during today’s ceremonial sitting. Women also make up the majority of the permanent bench of the ACT Magistrates Court and we are also proud that the ACT Chief Justice and Chief Magistrate are both women, held in extremely high esteem.
The ACT is taking the lead in working towards gender equality in its judiciary and, your Honour, I am sure that you will be a strong role model for young women in the ACT in your new role. I trust that your Honour will enjoy returning to your home town in Canberra. To quote William Shakespeare, “People usually are the happiest at home”. I am confident that you will have many happy years to come serving your home town community as associate judge. I wish you all the best in your new position. May it please the court.
MURRELL CJ: Thank you, Mr Attorney. Mr Archer, President of the Bar Association.
MR ARCHER: May it please the court. I too acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their elders past, present and future. On behalf of the ACT Bar, I rise to welcome your Honour and to offer the Bar’s warmest congratulations on your appointment as an associate judge of the Supreme Court. Your Honour, I acknowledge the presence of members of your family, many magistrates, judges past and present and many colleagues from the New South Wales Bar who are present in court today.
Your Honour’s appointment is a recognition of your enormous personal and professional capabilities, both in practice as a barrister in a wide range of jurisdictions, including appellate work in the High Court, and as an academic of the University of New South Wales specialising in public law, federal constitutional law and litigation. The Attorney has already spoken of your career and I won’t repeat everything his Honour said but I note too that by birth and education, you are one of our own, educated in the ACT at Girls’ Grammar and it is obvious that your Honour thrived there.
A love of music, the music captain I am told, playing both oboe and piano. As the Attorney has noted, a great singer. Your Honour sang in numerous school choirs, including The Resonance, one of the great and lasting choral performing groups in the ACT. A prefect in year 12, a recognition of your leadership amongst your peers. I am also told by my informant that your Honour was awarded the prize as the best all-round girl in year 12.
You auditioned for the role of Toad in Toad of Toad Hall but instead were cast as the usher of the court. Now, this may be prescient. For those who can’t remember the detail, the usher was something akin to the DPP today and was often heard to be exhorting the judge to mete out stiffer and stiffer sentences. In Act 3 of Toad of Toad Hall, the case against Toad is put, the offences, taking a car, speeding and failing the attitude test with the arresting police officer and this passage appears.
Usher: Well, my Lord, some people would consider that stealing a valuable motor car was the worst offence and so it is but cheeking the police carries the severest penalty and so it ought. Suppose you were to say a year for the theft which is mild, and three years for the furious driving which is lenient and 15 years for the cheek which is purely nominal. Those figures added together correctly tote up to 19 years.
Judge: First rate.
Usher: So you had better make it a round 20 and be on the safe side.
So for those behind me who are going to appear before her Honour in the criminal jurisdiction of this court, beware.
At the ANU, you were a high achieving student: prizes in essay writing; the winner of an Honours Scholarship and First Class Honours in the Arts. As his Honour has observed, you were a good sportsperson, for a time President of the ANU Women’s Hockey Club. You supported yourself through your degree by working as a paralegal at Sneddon Hall & Gallop from 1995 to 2000. You were an associate to her Honour, Mary Finn. Paul Brereton SC was a regular in her Honour’s court and something of an inspiration for you as an advocate.
An associate to Justices Beaumont and Madgwick in 2004 and 2005 and in the context, particularly of his Honour Justice Madgwick’s appearances in court in the ACT, you were a regular visitor to Canberra. As we all know, his Honour presided over quite regularly criminal trials in the ACT. Your Honour joined the Bar in 2006 and read with John Hennessy and Justin Smith, aspiring to a practice in intellectual property. I am told your Honour has never been briefed in an IP case. Such are the ways of the Bar but nonetheless, a varied practice developed over the years.
You appeared on your own in many courts and tribunals and as a junior to Leading Silks in a range of matters before the Court of Appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court. This included junioring the recently appointed Judge Wass. Something of a specialist in administrative law, your Honour has appeared for the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs regularly - there is the operation of a cab rank woman - as well as appearances for the New South Wales A-G, the New South Wales Land and Housing Corporation, the Minister for Lands.
More recently your Honour has fought the fight on behalf of local councils resisting amalgamation and juniored Peter Neil SC for the Crown in the Obeid matter which is presently before the court. Arthur Moses told me on the weekend that you juniored him recently in proceedings involving an appeal from the Federal Circuit Court on behalf of the Fair Work Ombudsman. In 2006, your Honour was appointed to the Criminal Appellate Panel for the Legal Aid Commission. Clearly, your Honour has enjoyed a varied and successful practice at the Bar in New South Wales.
Outside work, I am told your Honour is a “foodie” and a keen gardener. My Google research has suggested that the Highlife magazine no less ran an article in December 2014 regarding your Honour falling in love with one of the Polo Cottages at Burradoo attracted, no doubt, by the picture postcard garden.
Now, those who don’t know your Honour personally and who are likely to appear in your court may be interested to know what your Honour is like and how you may run your court so I went to Facebook and unlike many of my clients, you had all the lockdowns in place so that gave me nothing so I sought out some people who knew you. Everyone - and I mean everyone - speaks highly of your Honour’s personal qualities. Two readers in my chambers spoke of having met you in the context of the recent New South Wales Bar Readers’ course. Lovely, generous, gregarious, helpful were the words used to describe you. Bubbly is another expression used by my sources. Social is another. The life of the party is another descriptor.
Is it something more than word association when sometimes you have mistakenly been called Penfold in court? I see her Honour is not here today but you can imagine it, joint judgments, Justices Penfold and McWilliam. Typographical errors won’t be seen in the same way. Mentions of your Honour’s red hair have commonly come up. I gather that some Facebook posts - and they are reported, I didn’t see them - from certain judicial officers made mention of your ascendancy to the judicial redheads club when your Honour’s appointment was announced.
In seeking an impression of somebody, there are many and varied eminent positions in New South Wales legal circles who know you. I thought perhaps in seeking out information that may assist those who are about to appear in front of you that I would seek out some information from somebody who had suffered at your hands at university. This is what they wrote to me:
Verity was an awesome lecturer. She truly inspired me. A woman who is so successful, highly intelligent, passionate about what she does and so enthusiastic about sharing her experiences and advice with all of us. She is an example of the kind of lawyer I would like to become. I think the best part about her lecturing was the way she interacted with all of us. Her lectures were never boring. She brought her own unique sense of humour and manner to every lecture. She was able to adapt her approach to each student from gently making fun of students like myself to encouraging those who were a bit quieter and more unsure of themselves.
She incorporated different activities into our learning from normal group exercises to a mock commission on human rights where all we had to do was make submissions to the committee, to creating ads for the pros and cons of a referendum. Overall, we all loved Verity and looked forward to her classes. I was dreading public law and ended up absolutely loving the course. I was sad to hear she was leaving. It is a real loss to the academic world. Verity will be perfect as a judge. I have spent the last eight years in court giving evidence as a professional witness and could see she was suited to the bench from our first lecture.
I asked this same student whether he knew anything remotely capable of causing your Honour some embarrassment. This is the reply:
I am not sure I can really give you any scandals other than being 15 minutes late to every lecture and telling us that all her dinner parties involved discussion of Brexit and Pokémon Go.
The same student did say this about your Honour though:
I think the funniest thing about Verity is her complete lack of technical prowess. From our first lecture, the IT staff had to come in every time and set up the computer for her. It took her eight weeks to figure out how to animate PowerPoint slides in order to make one line of text appear per mouse clip and she never quite got the hang of returning to previous slides without exiting the slideshow. She regularly bartered class participation marks in return for somebody to help her with an IT problem, e.g., link to video not working, et cetera. She promised for weeks to send us her assignment feedback on Moodle, the student system. I am not sure what happened but eventually we got it in hard copy. I have never seen her so proud of herself as in one of our last lectures when she managed to use Google to find a picture of something relevant to our discussions and copied it into PowerPoint. It only took her the whole half hour we had to prepare our group work.
The student finished:
Look after our Verity. She’s a good one.
My researches otherwise came up with little that was compromising. A penchant for pink champagne but perhaps that was in another time. A story was told of your Honour forgetting Justice Madgwick’s robes on one trip to Canberra. Instead of ‘fessing up, your Honour borrowed somebody else’s robes and maintained a straight face when his Honour complained about his bar jacket suddenly and inexplicably becoming smaller.
Your Honour, your friends and colleagues, apart from being very discreet, hold you in the highest regard and are thrilled with and for you in relation to your employment. Your predecessor in this job sits on the bench and he too is not here today. His shoes will be hard to fill. Everything said of you says that you will do that even, as I suspect, with a different but no doubt equally effective courtroom style. On behalf of the ACT Bar, I again extend the Bar’s warmest congratulations on your appointment and wish you well in the years to come. May it please the court.
MURRELL CJ: Thank you, Mr Archer. Ms Avery, President of the ACT Law Society.
MS AVERY: May it please the court. I would also like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people on whose land we meet today and I pay my respects to their elders past and present and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. I am privileged today on behalf of the ACT’s solicitors to welcome Justice Verity McWilliam to the ACT Supreme Court. Being called to the bench is a high honour indeed.
As the previous speakers have noted, you are the first woman to hold the title of Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of the ACT. Your predecessors, be they Associate Judges or Masters, were all men. They say that a rising tide lifts all boats and the legal profession welcomes the fact that your elevation to the bench is another step towards real equality for all genders in the Australian Capital Territory but, your Honour, you are here because of your hard work and your commitment to the law. The previous speakers have spoken of your past, your impressive record as a barrister and your service to the next generation of lawyers as a university lecturer. I would like to look to your future working beside your fellow judges and with the broader Canberra legal community to help uphold the rule of law here in the ACT.
The profession congratulates you on your appointment. We welcome you back to Canberra and we look forward to appearing before you and to continuing the collegiate, productive and collaborative relationship outside of the courtroom that we share with the other judges of this honourable court. Associate Judge McWilliam, welcome. May it please the court.
MURRELL CJ: Thank you, Ms Avery. Associate Justice McWilliam.
McWILLIAM AJ: Chief Justice, your Honours, Mr Attorney, Mr Archer, Ms Avery, members of the profession, family and friends. Thank you for your generous addresses. It is clear there has been a great deal of research taking place recently. I feel that I have no secrets, however, I will tell you I thought I was a fabulous Usher in the play. I do have a secret. I almost did not take this path. In my second week at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal working in litigation, miserable, sleep-deprived and overwhelmed, I rang home to declare that after years of study, I had realised I had made a terrible mistake and a life in the law was not for me. My mother said to me, “Darling, I agree with you. It seems all too stressful. I think you should give it away and take up publishing”. Well, perhaps it was reverse psychology for I found myself continuing to practise although I have probably remained sleep-deprived and overwhelmed for the past 15 years.
As I look around this room, I see people who have travelled, some great distances, who have semi-spontaneously decided to visit relatives in Canberra or in Cooma and no doubt those who are interested to see me in person for the first time. That I am presently adopting the dispassionate judicial façade belies the fact that I am, in fact, greatly moved by your attendance today and I mean that, all of you. I really do appreciate it. This room that I also see is particularly appropriate as it is the courtroom that contains the red cedar donated by the State of New South Wales.
The commingling this of Territory and the State of New South Wales has been a feature of my life for many years. It is a great honour to have been entrusted with the appointment as Master and it will be a real privilege to work with the members of this Court. I am truly delighted to be able to serve in my home town. It is not just the ACT community that I see myself serving but the justice system as a whole and I take that responsibility very seriously as the success of the justice system and the respect for, dare I say it, the rule of law depends in part upon the quality of service by those who are part of it. I include in that solicitors and barristers of the profession.
May I say that although I have been most recently a barrister, I take with me to this Court the experience of also having been a solicitor as do many judicial officers who are appointed from the Bar. My experience has been that, in fact, the vast majority of those who come to the Bar these days have practised as solicitors first and that is no doubt because of the different and valuable skill set involved. I well appreciate the contribution that solicitors make, although you may seek to refresh my memory if I propose to set unreasonable timeframes for the filing of evidence.
In the short space of time between when this appointment was announced and today, I have discovered that many people feel it is the opportune time to give me advice on how not to “muck it up”, to quote the third golden rule of litigation of the late, great Justice Hely. I do not propose to set out here a mission statement of the type of judicial officer I hope to be other than to say what one of the members of the Tenth Floor last week urged upon me: that when parties have appeared before me, they genuinely feel that they have been listened to, and that they have been heard. Those who know me socially may be inhaling sharply, given that speaking rather than listening has always been my forte. Although my aim is to be a listening associate judge, I hope you will understand if I revert to type for a few minutes.
For me, the most important part of this address is to publicly acknowledge those who have supported me on my journey here today. When I started at the Bar in 2006, I was fortunate to read with Justin Smith, Senior Counsel of the Seventh Floor, now Judge Smith of the Federal Circuit Court and John Hennessy, now a Senior Counsel of the Tenth Floor. Well, I can only say that they were the best tutors ever, particularly well suited to getting me out of scrapes and I consider each as a close friend. Just this morning when the place that I was staying at ran out of hot water, my dear tutor, Judge Smith, came to the rescue and allowed me to shower at Hotel Hotel. It is an ongoing relationship, this tutor/reader relationship. Actually, I credit Justin with teaching me how to write. You might assess his teaching when you read my decisions in due course. I stress that he is not responsible for my failings. My sporadic billing of the work that I had done on a matter is something that I am pleased to be leaving behind.
I have enjoyed being a licensee or member of a number of chambers and as it happens, on each, I found informal mentors to supplement my tutors. Honestly, I would not have remained at the Bar without them. I can only single out a few. Ian Hemmings of Senior Counsel and Peter Tomasetti of Senior Counsel at Martin Place Chambers who each invested in me, taking me through the learning curve of the Land and Environment Court jurisdiction. They showed me how to read plans and saving me from myself when I assumed a circle on a piece of paper was a tree when, in fact, it was a staircase – and no, it was not inside a house.
Penny Wass of Senior Counsel, now Judge Wass of the District Court of New South Wales, must share significant responsibility in my path to this Court. I will not embarrass her Honour by revealing our many adventures together. Suffice to say that every time I was leaving the Bar, which was an annual conversation from 2007 to date, Penny was good enough to drag me back to focus on my career. It was a great joy to have her lead me in the Court of Criminal Appeal before she was appointed. On the Tenth Floor, I have worked with Geoffrey Kennett of Senior Counsel in a number of cases including, as you have heard, on the council amalgamation cases. He was a delight to work with, long-suffering awaiting drafts from me, low maintenance in his requirements of me and an inspiration on his feet.
I also owe a huge debt to Julian Sexton of Senior Counsel of the Tenth Floor. We bonded over a beverage or two at a Bench and Bar dinner and his fate as a guiding light in my life was sealed. I know he appears in this Court regularly and I hope his apprentice becoming Master makes him proud, even if I am deciding cases against his client. In fact, there are too many on the Tenth Floor to name individually. It is a testament to the camaraderie and support that the Tenth Floor accords its members that so many have travelled or delayed travel in order to be here. Thank you.
I said to the floor members last week how pleased I was to be part of a chambers that achieves excellence without arrogance, with some exceptions (and they know who they are). Some of you may not be aware of the significant connection between the Tenth Floor and this Court. Indeed, I was not aware of it until our floor leader, Malcolm Oakes of Senior Counsel, drew it to my attention. The Tenth Floor has been the source of a Chief Justice in Russell Fox, resident judge Sir John Kerr and six additional judges holding a concurrent Federal Court commission. They were Trevor Morling QC, Bryan Beaumont QC (for whom I worked), Anthony Whitlam QC, Marcus Einfeld, Roger Gyles QC and Brian Tamberlin QC.
Speaking of judges, I am greatly gratified to see both Rodney Madgwick QC (formerly of the Federal Court of Australia) and Mary Finn (formerly of the Family Court of Australia) here today. They have been influential on my career and inspired me and encouraged me to go to the Bar. I am also gratified to see a number of clerks in my jury box. For 14 years, Di Strathdee has been the Clerk of the Tenth Floor. What a woman. Di is everything a clerk should be, organised, reliable, resourceful, discreet and I am so pleased that my former clerk at Martin Place Chambers, Michele Kearns, was also able to attend today. Nick Tiffin, former clerk of the Seventh Floor unfortunately could not be here today but he knows how much his support has meant to me, both while I was on the Seventh Floor and in the remainder of my career at the Bar.
Life at the Bar can be solitary and it often is. Making it bearable are the friends and colleagues who are living the same life. I had terrific friends. I should say I have terrific friends and I see many of you here today, even up the back - Mr Neil, thank you for coming. Forgive me if I do not single you out but there are three SITOCs - see in time of crisis. Sophie Callan, who saw fit to both live and work with me, and yet is still a friend. Nick Kabilafkas who, along with my father, drew my attention in January to the advertisement for the Associate Judge of the ACT Supreme Court - take it up with him in years to come - and our partner in crime, Anna Mitchelmore. Oh, she could tell you some stories. Thanks to a timely trip to Hawaii, some of my calamity moments remain under wraps. For me, the best part of my final case in the Court of Criminal Appeal three weeks ago was having Anna seated at the Bar table with me.
Can I direct your attention to the jury box of love and pride? It houses my parents, uncles, aunts, sister, brother, in-laws, niece and old friends. Although they may be feeling proud of me today, I cannot express how proud I am of them. I am not going to single them all out as I suspect I am overstaying my welcome. However, my parents in particular have witnessed firsthand the sacrifices that come with a career in the law. Many a family holiday has started with them waiting for me to finish written submissions and they reminded me last night of the point one Sunday when I had committed to vacating my home for tenants and at the same time travelling to Bathurst for a three-day hearing with my leader, Mr Hemmings SC.
Finally accepting that I could never achieve the two, I enlisted my parents who, although in Canberra, were on a plane within the hour and they proceeded to pack up and move my belongings, pausing only for an 11 pm dinner at McDonalds. The ones who love you help you move. The ones who really love you do it in your absence. I have asked too much of my parents but they have always been there and I thank them.
You may have noticed the white Bible that I used today to swear my oath. That was given to me by my Godmother, Auntie Jude, when I was six months old. I am very pleased to see that she is here today along with my other Godmother, my Fairy Godmother, Charmaine. Dimity, my sister, and closest companion. I have moved away from you to Canberra but you know better than most how to manage and master a long distance relationship. I know this won’t change a thing.
Lastly, Ian Denham. I cannot imagine my life without him. He is the calm in my storm. He is the zest in my day and the class in our double act. He is perhaps making the greatest sacrifice going forward, supporting me in the decision to come home even though it comes at a cost to us. I thank him in advance for sharing this journey with me.
Although I am, like the timber in this room, donated from New South Wales, I really do feel that I have come home and I hope that I love being a part of the ACT Supreme Court. Thank you all for attending today and I look forward to seeing you at morning tea.
MURRELL CJ: Everybody is invited to the morning tea that will follow. The court will now adjourn.
MATTER ADJOURNED AT 10.19 AM ACCORDINGLY


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