Political Connections


When I started at my present job 2 years ago, there were 5 lawyers, including my boss. There are now 5 lawyers but only my boss and I remain. The other 3 are “new”.

The only female member of the team then left less than a year ago. We had a contractor fill the role for a few months and earlier this year, another senior lawyer took over the position. She didn’t last long either, as the constant tailspins made the work environment unsteady and often, slightly tumultuous. She left some 2 months ago.

We currently have another contractor, who is one of the most gentle and nicest female lawyers I have come across here in Melbourne.

Laura took a day off yesterday. She said she was going to Canberra. She must have assumed I knew who she was. I didn’t. I do now. Laura is Laura Smyth. When she started, I thought that name sounded familiar but did not investigate further. Laura Smyth was the ALP member for La Trobe. In the last election the Liberals won it back. She held it for a term. She was also prominent for a while, for backing Kevin Rudd to return as leader for the ALP, shortly before the last election.

I have for a long time now, suspected most if not all members of the legal department are on the left of politics. I suspect they are Labor voters, Greens even. One of them – a very likeable bloke towering well over six feet – may be the son of Peter Reith the former Liberal frontbencher and a stalwart of the Howard government but I can’t be sure he (the son) is of similar political persuasion. I understand his father is estranged from his mother and for all you know he might have chosen to cross the floor.

We rarely if ever, talk politics in office or when we’re out having lunch or coffee or drinks so I don’t know for sure and frankly, I care less about political persuasion than about principles, beliefs and practices. The former may well influence and affect the latter but there need not be a causal link between the two.

But there you go – in a legal department of 5, there are 2 connections to the politically prominent.

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