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Trust, Truth, Integrity & Accountability OR Easy Lies and Influence
Members' Lunch with Fiona McLeod AO SC
Dr Helen Sykes AM
September 1, 2021 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pmFree – $20.00
Fiona McLeod is a Senior Counsel at the independent Bar in Australia practising in the areas of commercial and public law matters. She represented the Commonwealth of Australia in major cases including leading the legal team in the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Queensland Floods Commission and the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse.
Fiona is a leader of the national and international legal profession having led the Law Council of Australia, Australian Bar Association, Victorian Bar and Australian Women Lawyers. She is the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council and an officer of the Bar Issues Committee of the International Bar Association and a member of the Council of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. Fiona is the Chair of the Accountability Round Table and a former Chair of Transparency International Australia and the Open Government Forum.
Fiona has received numerous awards, including for her contribution to the advancement of women and human rights issues, particularly human trafficking. She has been acknowledged as an ‘Outstanding Advocate and Leader of the Profession’ (The Advocate Award) and one of Melbourne’s most “influential, inspirational, provocative and creative individuals” (The Age). In 2017 she devised and, with the support of a Steering Committee, led the Justice Project, a landmark research project undertaken by the Law Council into access to justice impacts on vulnerable groups in Australia.
Easy Lies and Influence
In Australia, corruption spends public funds in pursuit of power, rewards favour, and strips support from worthy programs. It silences journalists and those charged with upholding standards of integrity by depriving them of funding. Grift and stacking are commonplace as those chasing influence infiltrate the structures of power. Corruption rewards loyalty through appointments to office and by preferencing those within the favoured network ahead of others of equal or greater talent. It conceals itself through unfit-for-purpose access to information laws and processes, vague budget commitments, the assertion of unchecked executive discretion, a quick media cycle and overburdened parliamentary committees. It undermines trust in government at a time when trust is vital to keeping us safe. Corruption allows mistrust to fester, offers nourishment to conspiracy theories, and engenders civil unrest. In Easy Lies & Influence, Fiona McLeod, a practising Senior Counsel and Chair of the Accountability Round Table, tells us what corruption can do, and why it’s imperative that we address it. After all, if citizens can’t see a way of bolstering the pillars of democracy — trust, truth, integrity and accountability — what chance is there of restoring decency and the prioritisation of community interests in public office?
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