Home > Uncategorized > Lesbian Replaces Gay on Australia’s Highest Court

Lesbian Replaces Gay on Australia’s Highest Court

Great News in Australia for Gays and Lesbians.  With the recent retirement of Justice Michael Kirby from Australia’s High Court it is pleasing to note that our sole gay man on the court has been replaced with a Lesbian.  Read “The Australian” article below:

AS the last of Virginia Bell’s fellow judges left her swearing-out ceremony in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday, the silence was disturbed by gales of laughter — from the judges themselves.

The large crowd sensed Justice Bell might have delivered one of her famous one-liners — off-camera — after a rousing celebration of her appointment this week as Australia’s 48th High Court judge.
Her recent invitation to be an ambassador for Seniors’ Week, her idealism as a young solicitor and the vagaries of defamation law were all comic fodder for the former TV barrel girl who trained in the theatre.
But it was her contribution to the life of the court that was the focus of Chief Justice James Spigelman, who declared her a “wonderful companion” and “someone who simply lights up your life”.

He added Justice Bell, 57, had brought to her work “a high level of social consciousness, compassion for the unfortunate and a strong sense of justice” — traits she honed in her six years at the Redfern Legal Centre from 1978.

The president of the NSW Law Society, Hugh Macken, recalled a visit by her mother, Mary: “Your only pair of shoes had worn through, there was no food in the fridge, yet you were more concerned about helping those worse off than yourself.”

Justice Bell still lives in the inner-city with her partner, a female barrister, and yesterday didn’t forget those early-career times with a special tribute to “the dedication of solicitors in legal aid service”.

Justice Bell acknowledged her “limited acquaintance” with constitutional law and conceded her focus on criminal law meant she did not have the diverse experience of “old school” judges.

“Inevitably the legal profession is becoming more specialised and judges like myself reflect that fact with all its limitations,” she said.

However, Chief Justice Spigelman assured her — and the assembled crowd, which included High Court judge Bill Gummow and the man she will replace, Michael Kirby — “this is not a weakness but a strength”.
“If the High Court is to have judges with real experience of criminal trials, then contemporary appointees will all have a background that is significantly specialised in that field.”

It didn’t mean the Chief Justice could avoid one last dig, with Justice Bell noting that he liked to describe the court as “a broad church”.

“It’s a remark he seems to find necessary to make when I am in the near vicinity,” she noted.

[Link: Original Article]

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