The former President of the New South Wales Bar Association, Mr Phillip Boulten SC, will tonight deliver the key note speech at the annual Jeff Shaw memorial lecture in Sydney’s Trades Hall.

The lecture is held in memory of the Hon. Jeff Shaw QC, who was the NSW Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations (1995 – 2000) and a judge of the Supreme Court of NSW.

At the event Mr Boulten will honour the life and career of Jeff Shaw who worked tirelessly in defence of workers and their right to fair wages, a safe workplace and freedom from discrimination.

“Jeff Shaw was a politician who believed in the rule of law and the central position of the courts in our system of justice,” Mr Boulten said.

“He did nothing to promote the parallel justice system that has appeared over the last 20 years that seems to have set up a form of competition to the real criminal courts, those investigative bodies that are permanent, standing inquiries like the Crime Commissions, the Police Integrity Commission and the ICAC.

Mr Boulten will speak about the impact of these bodies that he said: “look and sound like courts and make findings – not of guilt or innocence – but of a more subtle, but often equally devastating variety.”

“In ICAC’s case, they declare that people have engaged in corrupt conduct.  An ICAC pronouncement that someone acted corruptly has many of the characteristics of a judgment of a real court of law. It not just affects the person’s reputation; it can cause problems for their ability to maintain employment.  It can lead to their disqualification from a political party.  It ends political careers.

“But this all occurs in a forum that does not have the long cherished and time tested safeguards of our criminal courts.”

Unions NSW and Australian Super will be hosting the event. More than 200 people are expected to attend. The lecture will commence at 6.00pm, entry via 377 Sussex Street, ground floor, Trades Hall, Sydney. 

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