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Dawe, Bryan --- "Thoughts on the new millionarium: Sir Murray Rivers QC" [2000] AltLawJl 32; (2000) 25(2) Alternative Law Journal 82

Thoughts on the New Millionarium

Sir Murray Rivers QC[*]

May I say unto you the reader of this very fine magazine [fill in name of magazine] that you are indeed extremely fortunate, privileged and indeed honoured to have invited me to prepare an article for your edification.

Recently the Prime Minister John Howard travelled the colony’s rural sectors highlighting our deep and abiding commitment to not only the rural sector but also to the bush, the country regions and many of the provincial areas as well. And it is in this same spirit that this article is written to you, members of the Bush, people who live in the sticks and other potential voters who surely to God must see through …who hopefully will appreciate what we have to offer. The reason for writing this is part of the Government’s determination to serve All Australians, white and white alike.

Because the result in the recent state election in Victoria is any indication — if what the polls in Victoria are telling us — or for that matter, what we’re hearing from the Italians and the Greeks, it appears that there are one or two members of the general populace who have some serious concerns about the ability of the Howard Economic Miracle[1] to sustain us through the new Millionarium.[2] And to those doubters throughout the colony, let me say to you: that we in Government have heard your concerns, we hear what you are saying, and let me make it very, very clear — we have your names and addresses.

Let me now address some of those concerns.

Mandatory sentencing

One of the major issues which seems to occupy the minds of the prattling class at the moment is this mandatory sentencing business. Now, over the years as a Judge of the Supreme Court I’ve put away a great deal of wine … of young offenders, so I speak with some experience on these matters.

Firstly this idea that mandatory sentencing should be abolished and more efforts should be put to diverting young people from the criminal justice system. What a lot of balderdash. This would affect a great deal of innocent people if this were to happen. Particularly lawyers! As a former distinguished QC, I ask the question, where the hell’s the sustainable growth for lawyers in diverting the young from crime? God almighty, it’s absurd. Think of our young! They need a future! Is this the sort of legacy we are leaving the next generation of lawyers — no client base? How the hell can a young lawyer actively plan for the future if at the same time they are advising and helping prospective clients like the young offender not to offend! Ridiculous. If you ran a supermarket or an accountancy firm like that you you’d be out of business in a week. Anyway, what are those down South suggesting we do with these young villains? Give them an ice-cream and a yoyo and sit them in a room in a circle, holding hands with a couple of tree-hugging wallopers from the Police Cautioning Program … while some facilitating geni from the Juvenile Justice branch preaches a lot of codswallop about addressing the context of the offender and pro-social adult role- modelling? Tell ‘em they’re dreaming!

And on top of this, these ‘Crusader Rabbits’ want to give these young thugs Legal Aid. Good God! It costs the state a bloody fortune already housing their parents — let alone having to fork out for the kids as well. They need to go out and get a paper round or something. I did when I was young. (Well, I didn’t actually do the paper round myself — my father owned the newspaper, I had someone else do my round for me, but you catch my drift).

Anyway, mandatory sentencing has been with us for a long time in this colony. Three strikes and you’re out operates here in various areas. In the Corporate world, for example, if you have an original idea. Get an original idea in business in this colony, they are onto you quick smart. No messing around. Three good ideas and you’re sent packing. Had a chap the other night suggest a new business to me. I said to him. ‘How dare you suggest such a good idea to me. And in front of my wife. You disgusting little creative!’ I don’t stand for any nonsense. Neither should the courts. After all, if these young offenders weren’t guilty, why were the police bringing them to court. Police are not going to waste their time and public money bring young offenders to court unless they’re guilty. They’re not entirely stupid. Most of them. A few of them.


Another area of concern is the rapid changes to our colony being brought about by Globalisation.[3] There are many examples of that rapid change and how it is working very well. On the other hand, one has to acknowledge that not all change is good. One only needs to look, for example, at my own profession, the Legal profession, and the disastrous attempts at reform in that sector. As Chairman of the No Barrister in Poverty by the Year 2004 Committee, I know what I’m talking about in this regard. I’m speaking about these outrageous experiments by these half-wit legal reformers to drag the legal system screaming and shouting into the 19th century! Have no doubts! If these reforms continue at the current rate of knots there won’t be such a thing as lawyers in the future. And this attack on our distinguished and noble profession coming at a time, ladies and gentlemen, when this country is poised, poised splendidly I suggest, to become the litigation capital of the world.

One only needs to look at one particular growth area of litigation in Australia to see that this is true — that of marital breakdown. Here we have in this colony the fastest growing divorce rate in the Western world! Something, I think you’ll all agree, as a colony, we can all be very proud of. Very proud indeed! But I ask! How on earth can the divorce rate in this country keep going through the roof the way it is, if we don’t have experienced lawyers out there egging the parties on … advising the parties in a thoroughly professional, mature and responsible manner! And if we don’t have lawyers, what are the peasants … ordinary people supposed to do? Are we suggesting that these poor uneducated, ignorant and socially un-acceptable …unconnected devils conduct their own divorces? Good heavens, these people couldn’t manage a marriage properly, so its hardly likely that they’ll make much of a success out of their divorce! Who then one must ask is causing this reformist zeal within the our most noble of professions. There are two areas I think we can point the bone at.

Firstly, these young upstart lawyers, in particular these young solicitors they’re letting into the profession. These members of the legal B team, these tiresome little scriveners who think they know it all. What do these young louts know about the law! Nothing. How could they. They’re too busy sitting around all day in these river-side cafes with a couple of mobile telephones stuck in each ear, sucking on imported salmon, trying to impress the pants off some little, blonde Futures trader from Westpac! Disgrace to the profession. Anyway, who’d trust a solicitor. Wouldn’t trust a solicitor to iron my shirt. Launder it perhaps, but not to iron it!

Women and the law

The reformist group in my opinion who are possibly causing most of the problems in the Legal profession today are of course these young feminist lawyers we’re allowing to enter the profession.

Because it is not, I suggest, persons of the masculine faith, by and large, who bleat about reform and change! No! It is not the baritones who sing loudest in the chorus of reform in the legal profession today — it’s the bloody sopranos ! It’s these women who are the problem. And the way things are going, if we don’t put a stop to them, they’ll be running the bloody country! And then we’ll know all about it!

As my good friend and fellow Judge Sir Rodger Darling said to me recently. ‘We let the women get a stranglehold in the profession, Rivers, they’ll end up putting a fatwah out on the old fellow!’ They’ll start setting up a Royal Commission into Men! Or a Royal Commission into justice and fairness! All they ever go on about these women, justice and fairness! Call me old fashioned if you will, but justice and fairness? How the hell can you have both? Good Lord! When I was on the bench you couldn’t have either!

Seriously, if we don’t stop these femitits feminists soon, in a few more years, men won’t be living in homes. The entire male population of this country will be in men’s refuges, crushed and broken, talking about reclaiming the night, but too bloody scared of their own shadows to go outside and do anything about it! Having said that, don’t get me wrong. This is not to suggest that I am in any way a misogamist! I’m not at all! I like a lot of woman … I like women a lot!

I’m actually married to a woman!

My mother — she was a woman!

And I’m sure that many of you who read this article have mothers who are women also. I have a daughter, Sue. She’s one. She’s a woman. Well, now! Hasn’t always been, of course — but we won’t wake that one up! Late at night of course, I like to dress up as … it’s late at night and I digress. What I am saying is: my criticisms of these lady-types should not lead people to think that men in the legal world are not ‘genitally aware’!

We are ‘genitally aware’!

Course we are! Good Lord, males in the Legal sector, the ones I know at least, are some of the most ‘genitally aware’ men in all of Christendom! Ask their wives! Or their girlfriends. Or both! Still, I don’t think we should discuss this matter further. This is after all: secret men’s business, traditionally discussed by men, in private, down at the Club, and I am aware, that there are one or two women who might read this article.


One of the fiercest criticisms we have received of recent times is that this Government is not doing enough, or caring enough about the rustics and the yokels out there in the Rural sector. That is a lot of rubbish. Of course we’re concerned with the interests of the clodhoppers and hillbillies out in rural Australia. Because the Howard Government — perhaps more than any other Australian Government around the world at this present time—is one which prides itself on being in touch with the day to day concerns of the ordinary butler … ordinary battler. I know for a fact that John Howard has a profound regard for all matters agro agro… agree… aggra… agreepunctural. That is why he’s been out in the bush recently patronising … trying to re-assure the farmers that we are on their side. In fact I know that John Howard is very fond of these places … you know these places with the big paddocks and the sheds and all the animals running around? What are they called — farms? Farms!

And as for this bloody nonsense that he is not concerned about the Youth in the bush! This Government is very concerned about the Youth in the bush. Deeply concerned. Extremely concerned. Now, we accept that we don’t know who the Youth in the bush is, nor how the lad got there in the first place, or for that matter what he’s doing in the bush, but we are deeply concerned, for Christ’s sake there’s a bloody helicopter with a crew from ‘A Current Affair’ out looking for him, those buggers get their hands on him the lad’s life will be in real danger! So I think I speak for everyone in the Government when I say that our hearts go out to his parents at this very difficult time.

The entrovironment[4]

One of the policy areas in which we believe we have had truly outstanding success has been the entrovironment … entreevitronment … you know, the land and the sea and the air, the water, and all the fluffy little animals running around the place, the sanility of the Rivers, that sort of thing. Which is why we are surprised that the pissants …some people question our record in this area. We have a proud record in this area, especially our efforts in regards to these hydrophonic gasses and the way they are destroying the rezone layers up there in the outer astrophere!! One only needs to look at the statistics … if not the facts. Australia, for example, leads the world in Greenhouse Gas Emmisions! Leads the world, Madam Deputy Speaker! No-one comes within coo-ee of us when it comes to the emmision of Greenhouse Gasses.

We are Numero Uno.

But we’re not going to stay number one, Madam Deputy Acting Speaker, we’re not going to stay Numero Uno, if these doped out dropkicks — these intellectually-challenged greenies[5] on the other side of the house who are clearly not very high up the food chain…if these Greenie types don’t climb back up the gum-trees where they belong, Acting Mad Deputy Speaker, and stop harrassing us. And what better example of our deep commitment than the Timber industry. I’m slightly involved in the Timber business myself — to the tune of the odd mill or two. I can’t tell you which mills, they’re not supposed to be there … however, let me say I do know a thing or two about these matters. In particular, in the area of woodchipping. Look at what these Moonstruck Pixies are suggesting about the woodchipping. These people are seriously saying that we shouldn’t be chopping down these trees! Good Lord! Look, I’m not an expert in Florestry matters, but I ask these fools: how the hell are we supposed to get at the woodchip, if we don’t chop the bloody trees down? I hate to break this to these fossil free tooth fairies — but woodchip doesn’t grow on trees, it grows inside the bloody trees! The woodchip is deeply embedded inside the tree! One has to cut the bloody tree down to get at it!

And we are, after all, being responsible in the way we do things. For a start, it’s not as if we’re cutting down new trees. We’re not entirely stupid. The trees we’re cutting down are over five hundred years old. We’re talking about very decrepit, very decayed, moth eaten, obsolete, hoary old bloody trees here! Some of these trees have got ‘use-by-date’ stickers on them that go back to the Peasant Uprising of 1482! Five hundred years they’ve been sitting there, some of these withered old trees. No-one has ever wanted them! They’re just sitting there … growing! Well what a bloody luxury that is in this day and age! Long term unemployed, bloody trees — that’s what they are! Dole bludging, parasitic lumps of non revenue raising wood, in my opinion!

And another bit of tripe and poppycock from these jabbering primitives. This rot that cutting down these old trees will wipe out the habidasheries of all the fluffy little animals wandering around the place. You know, the Crimson Freckled Duck and the White Bellied Crested Tree Frog, the Western Districts Root Rat, or the Red Faced Mattress Thrasher or whatever they’re called! What the hell are these basket-weavers going on about? Destroy their haberdasheries! Look, I’ll be honest, ladies and gentlemen! Putting aside the current Minister for Workplace Relations, I don’t pretend to know a hell of a lot about the behaviour of feral animals! I don’t! But I can tell you this! If one of those Freckle-necked Titlarks or a Western District Root Rat, or a Red Faced Mattress Thrasher sees a five hundred year old Jarrah tree coming down on top of them — they’re not going to be hanging around underneath it discussing the Balance of bloody Trade figures!

Finally, my friends let me say that the next two years will be a great challenge. But we believe that this Government is up to that challenge. One always likes to leave on a hopeful note. May I leave you with the words of my former Latin master at Melbourne Grammar, the late Prof. Duncan Woods. For it was Prof Woods who once said many years ago, that it was in the following words that the secret to being a good politician was to be found. Exemplum de simia, quae, quando plus ascendit, plus apparent posteriora eius. (He doth like the ape, that the higher he climbs, the more he shows his arse). What on earth that was supposed to mean has alluded me for most of my life. Sadly, Duncan died in a tragic drinking accident shortly before he could explain this to us. I should perhaps leave you with a more accessible saying of Duncan’s. In some ways it precedes this Government’s attitude to the GST by 40 years.

He said: Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuumsaxum immane mittam. (I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head).

On that note I will take my leave.

God bless you all and everyone who sails in you.


[*] Sir Murray Rivers QC is a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria and acts as adviser to both state and federal governments. Most recently he has advised the Prime Minister on Race Relations and other matters concerning the Racing industry. He is also a creation of political satirist Bryan Dawe.

[1] See Treasurer Costello for further details.

[2] See Bankers Salaries and Packages.

[3] Globalisation; means by which the Filthy Rich produce goods in poor countries then flog to the rich countries at 50 times the cost. See B. Clinton and World Trade Organisation.

[4] The Land and the Sea and the Air etc etc…

[5] See Tasmanian Senators.

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