Victorian Bar News, unlike Twitter, Facebook status updates and the 24 hour news cycle, takes some time to arrive, hitting your chambers about each six months or so, on something like a 4,500 hour news cycle.
With varying distance between the news and events it covers, Bar News offers the benefit of hindsight as well as describing the march of progress. We thank you for your patience for this (err ... overdue ... sorry) issue, which will be the final one from us as editors.
Bar News relies entirely upon the participation of its members for content, with occasional contributions from those outside the Bar. For some of our authors writing is clearly a vocation (quite apart from the writing they do as barristers or judges) and the copy arrives in a steady stream. They include Julian Burnside, Stephen Charles, Peter Heerey, Cliff Pannam, the late James Merralls, Ed Heerey and Siobhan Ryan. In many respects their contributions have been the backbone of Bar News under our editorship and we thank them for that. Others write when they are inspired by a particular topic or event or because we have coerced them to do so. Writing for publication is never an easy task, and we hope that those who have provided contributions have found the process a rewarding one.
So much goes on in the life of the Bar and as we have said before, Bar News is an important record of our collective pursuits. We consider it particularly important to record the appointments, retirements and deaths of our members. As the Bar grows in size, this task has become increasingly challenging.
Long ago, Cicero said that eloquence is the lamp of reason. To write eloquently is one of the skills that we all hope to acquire as barristers. Bar News offers each of you an opportunity to hone those skills and to focus them on something other than a legal argument. We encourage you to continue to support this wonderful publication by contributing your written words.
In addition to our contributors, we extend our thanks to the Bar News committee members, particularly our past and present Deputy Editors Anthony Strahan, Annette Charak, Justin Whelehan and Maree Norton, to Natalie Hickey who might be considered to be our “staff writer” and to our reliably excellent sub-editors: Jesse Rudd and Brad Barr. We thank the staff of the Bar Office, including Denise Bennett who now assists us remotely from Byron Bay and Sarah Fregon. We also thank past and present Presidents who have (for the most part) left us to our own devices.
We must also thank Guy Shield of the Slattery Media Group, who has been responsible for the design and layout of each of the issues that we have edited. His wonderful illustrations have lent the Bar News under our editorship a unique character.
One thing that we will particularly miss is choosing the pictures of our colleagues for Around Town. Barristers can be a glamorous lot (when we try) and we think that some of our spreads have rivalled those of Vanity Fair. In this issue, for instance, the photographs of the Bar Dinner fairly dazzle the eye, as do the photographs of the event at which Bill Henson’s photographic portrait of the Hon Kenneth Hayne AC QC was unveiled. The portrait itself, which we have reproduced on the cover of this issue, is we think, a masterpiece.
We wish you all happy reading now and well into the future.