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Holders of the office of Parliamentary Counsel
Five people have held the statutory office of Queensland Parliamentary Counsel under the Legislative Standards Act 1992 since it was established in June 1992. To be eligible for appointment, a person must be an Australian lawyer and have been so for at least 7 years.
15 October 2018–current
Tony Keyes was appointed Queensland Parliamentary Counsel on 15 October 2018.
Tony studied law and arts at the University of Queensland and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1990. Tony has had a long and varied legal career, including private and community-sector practice, policy and investigative work at the Criminal Justice Commission, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Law Reform Commission, and law and justice policy work for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Tony served for almost 10 years as Senior Deputy Crown Solicitor at Crown Law.
January 2016–June 2018
Annette O’Callaghan was appointed Queensland Parliamentary Counsel in January 2016.
As Parliamentary Counsel, Annette oversaw the delivery of significant IT projects for the office including the QuILLS legislative drafting and publishing system and the new (and current) Queensland Legislation website. Annette also implemented a range of knowledge management and sharing initiatives within the office and promoted a culture of collaboration, innovation and learning and development for all staff within the office.
Annette began her legal career at Crown Law and first joined OQPC in 1993. She also undertook senior drafting and leadership roles in the Victorian and New South Wales drafting offices. Annette returned to OQPC in 2010 as Deputy Parliamentary Counsel, during which time she also had a leadership role in relation to OQPC’s information systems and the eLegislation project (developing QuILLS and the new legislation website).
Annette left OQPC in June 2018 to take up the position of Parliamentary Counsel in New South Wales.
26 February 2010–January 2016
Theresa Johnson was appointed Queensland Parliamentary Counsel on 25 February 2010 and was the first woman to hold this position.
Theresa began her legislative drafting career in 1986 with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in Canberra before joining Queensland's drafting office in 1991—a crucial time in the establishment of OQPC as a statutory body. Theresa's submissions were referenced extensively by the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission in its Report on Review of the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel in 1991, which recommended OQPC's establishment as an independent statutory body. Theresa was closely involved in the development of the policy and legislation that established OQPC.
Throughout Theresa's drafting career, she drafted significant legislation and contributed to the reform of Queensland drafting practice. As Parliamentary Counsel, Theresa was responsible for several significant changes in the office including the renewal of OQPC's workforce and the introduction of important IT systems that transformed not only the way the office worked but also the way the public accessed legislation and legislative information.
Before joining the office, Theresa was a tenured lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology for constitutional law and administrative law.
Theresa left OQPC in January 2016 to take up the position of Law Draftsman of Hong Kong, heading up the Law Drafting Division of the Hong Kong Department of Justice.
6 November 1997–February 2010
Peter Drew was appointed Queensland Parliamentary Counsel on 6 November 1997.
Peter made an extensive contribution to Queensland's statute book as a legislative drafter. As Parliamentary Counsel, he championed the continuing improvement of drafting standards, precedents and procedures to further the office’s commitment to improved access to justice through clearly drafted legislative rights and obligations. Legislation was first published in electronic form freely and directly to the public during Peter's tenure as Parliamentary Counsel, including through the launch of the first version of the Queensland Legislation website (www.legislation.qld.gov.au) in May 1998.
Peter entered the Queensland Public Service in 1972 while studying law at the University of Queensland. He was admitted to the Queensland Bar in 1974 and then worked as a Crown Prosecutor in the Solicitor-General’s Office and as a senior lawyer in the Constitutional and Legislation Branch of the Solicitor-General’s Office. Peter gained significant experience as counsel appearing before various courts, including the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. He joined Queensland's drafting office in 1983.
Peter retired from the position of Parliamentary Counsel in late February 2010. He continued to work part-time as an Associate Parliamentary Counsel until early 2016.
Peter was awarded the Public Service Medal on 26 January 2011 for outstanding public service as the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.
4 June 1992–31 July 1996
John Leahy was Parliamentary Counsel when OQPC was established by Act of the Queensland Parliament on 1 June 1992 and on 4 June became the first person appointed to hold the statutory office of Queensland Parliamentary Counsel. John was initially appointed as Parliamentary Counsel on 25 September 1990. Before his appointment as Parliamentary Counsel, John held senior drafting positions in the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in Canberra and was responsible for drafting a wide range of Commonwealth legislation.
John spearheaded significant change to Queensland drafting and publishing standards in pursuit of OQPC's function of ensuring the statute book is of the highest standard. Under John's leadership, all Queensland legislation was reviewed, the myriad of types of subordinate legislation were rationalised, obsolete legislation was repealed, all current legislation was reprinted, and modern plain English drafting standards were implemented. John also oversaw the computerisation of the office, which enabled a database of Queensland legislation to be developed and the production time for Queensland legislation to be significantly reduced.
John left OQPC in 1996 and subsequently held senior roles as Commonwealth Principal Legislative Counsel (twice) and as ACT Parliamentary Counsel. He also worked as legislative counsel in the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.
John was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2004 for outstanding public service, particularly for his contribution to ACT public law through the implementation of the public access to legislation (PAL) project, and in the area of legislative drafting services. John was appointed Senior Counsel for the Australian Capital Territory in 2006.
Parliamentary Counsel before the passage of the Legislative Standards Act 1992
Before the passage of the Legislative Standards Act 1992, the position of the Parliamentary Counsel for Queensland and the drafting office were established administratively, as part of the public service.
John Leahy SC PSM
September 1990–May 1992
John Leahy was first appointed Parliamentary Counsel on 25 September 1990 when the Parliamentary Counsel's Office was attached to the Department of the Premier, Economic and Trade Development.
March 1989–September 1990
Kevin Martin was appointed Parliamentary Counsel on 2 March 1989.
Kevin had an extensive career in the Queensland Public Service, holding a number of leadership roles in the justice sector before and after his term as Parliamentary Counsel. While Kevin was Parliamentary Counsel, the office took on the responsibility for drafting subordinate legislation; a function previously performed by Crown Law.
Kevin left the role of Parliamentary Counsel in September 1990 when he was appointed as the Public Trustee of Queensland. He held this role until 1996. During his tenure as Public Trustee, the Queensland Law Reform Commission reviewed the laws relating to decision-making for adults with impaired decision-making capacity. The role of the Public Trustee featured heavily in the review and, as Public Trustee, Mr Martin liaised extensively with the commission.
Kevin Martin held office as Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney General from 1996 to 1998. In this role, he was able to continue work to reform the law relating to assisted and substituted decision-making. In particular, he oversaw the preparation of the Powers of Attorney Act 1998 that introduced enduring powers of attorney, advanced health care directives and statutory health authorities to Queensland and established the Office of the Adult Guardian to promote and protect the rights and interests of adults with impaired capacity.
In August 2013, Kevin was appointed Adult Guardian. From 1 July 2014, the office changed to the Public Guardian and was expanded to include responsibility for promoting and protecting the rights and interests of particular children, including children connected with the child protection system and those in youth detention.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Laws from the University of Queensland and is admitted as a Barrister in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
June 1975–February 1989
Leo Murray was appointed Parliamentary Counsel on 9 June 1975.
His 43-year career in the Queensland public service began in 1947 at the Crown Law Office where he worked as a clerk. He was granted leave to attend law lectures at the University of Queensland, was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law in 1951 and served as a Crown Prosecutor for a period starting in 1951.
Leo left his mark on Queensland's criminal law. In 1961, he successfully prosecuted Hendrikus Plomp for murder in the first criminal prosecution in Australia to convict on circumstantial evidence alone. Leo appeared in the appeals before the Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court, which upheld Plomp's conviction (R v Plomp  Qd R 161; Plomp v R (1963) 110 CLR 234).
Leo began his legislative drafting career at Crown Law, drafting subordinate legislation. (Subordinate legislation was drafted at Crown Law until early 1990.) He joined the Office of the Parliamentary Draftsman in 1963 as an Assistant Parliamentary Draftsman.
Leo held office as Parliamentary Counsel during the Fitzgerald Inquiry (1987–89), which ultimately led to the creation of the current Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel as a statutory office under the Legislative Standards Act 1992. Leo continued to contribute to the Queensland Statute Book after his retirement in 1989 when he joined the team implementing the Fitzgerald Inquiry reforms led by Tony Fitzgerald AC QC. In this role, he drafted the Bills that became the Criminal Justice Act 1989 and Electoral and Administrative Review Act 1989.
Leo was appointed Queen's Counsel on 11 November 1980. He was made a Companion of the Order of Bath in the 1986 Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of his public service career.
July 1968–May 1975
James O'Callaghan was appointed Parliamentary Counsel and Draftsman, Office of the Parliamentary Draftsman attached to the Chief Secretary's Department on 1 July 1968. The title was subsequently redesignated to Parliamentary Counsel, Parliamentary Counsel Office attached to the Premier's Department on 10 August 1972.
Mr O'Callaghan had previously been Crown Solicitor from February 1963. He is also acknowledged as a leading contributor to the establishment of legal aid in Queensland. He contributed to the development of the Legal Assistance Act 1965 and subsequently the Legal Aid Act 1978. He was an inaugural member of the Legal Assistance Committee, and was the government nominee on the Legal Aid Commission on its establishment in 1978. (Cohen 2004)
June 1947–June 1968
John Seymour was appointed Acting Parliamentary Counsel and Draftsman in the Chief Secretary's Department on 26 June 1947 during the extended absence of Joseph Broadbent. Mr Seymour was subsequently appointed Parliamentary Counsel and Draftsman on 13 January 1949.
February 1927–October 1946
Joseph Broadbent was appointed Acting Parliamentary Draftsman in the Department of Justice on 10 February 1927. He was subsequently appointed as the first full-time Parliamentary Draftsman on 8 March 1928.
During his tenure as Parliamentary Draftsman, Mr Broadbent was involved in preparing numerous statutory collections and annotations. He was a member of the editorial board for volumes 1–9 of the 1939 consolidation, The Public Acts of Queensland (reprint) and he edited several statute compilations including Labour Laws of Queensland and Queensland Liquor Laws and the Queensland Digest of Case Law 1861–1924. He was also the State's contributor to the Journal of the Society of Comparative Legislation.
In 1932, Mr Broadbent was recognised for his work as Parliamentary Draftsman and in producing collections of the law by being made a Companion of the Imperial Service Order.
April 1899–January 1927
John Laskey Woolcock, a former private secretary to Sir Samuel Griffith as Premier, was appointed Parliamentary Draftsman in the Department of Justice by the Governor in Council on 18 April 1899. He retained the right of private practice. The Queensland Statutes, a five-volume consolidation of Queensland's legislation compiled by John Woolcock and Alfred Pain, was published in 1899. He was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court in January 1927.
There are no records of a Parliamentary Draftsman being appointed between 1870 and 1899. During this period, counsel at the Bar were engaged to draft legislation as required, as noted in a memorandum of the Department of Justice dated 7 April 1899 which showed the amounts paid to counsel for drafting Bills for the period 1895 to February 1899 inclusive (Lack 1960, p. 777).
It was common for other public officials to draft legislation. A notable example is Sir Samuel Griffith, who was Attorney-General and Premier at intervals during this period, and later Chief Justice of Queensland and founding Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. Sir Samuel often drafted Bills after hours, in addition to his political duties and private legal practice. (McKenna 2014)
While Premier, Sir Samuel drafted the Offenders Probation Act of 1886, which introduced the first offender probation scheme in Australia, and the Justices Act of 1886, which is still on Queensland's Statute Book and governs criminal practice in Queensland’s Magistrates Courts. He is well known for drafting the Queensland Criminal Code of 1899, a task he started in 1886 while Chief Justice of Queensland. The Criminal Code Act 1899 remains on the Queensland statute book and continues to state the criminal law of Queensland.
Sir Samuel was also famously a principal contributor to early drafts of the Australian Constitution.
Barrister Sir John Bramston came to Queensland in 1859 as private secretary to the State's first Governor, Sir George Bowen. He was appointed as Queensland's first temporary Parliamentary Draftsman in the Colonial Secretary's Office on 13 September 1860. The appointment was part-time and Sir John was also the Clerk of the Executive Council. In 1863, Sir John was appointed to the Legislative Council and in 1871 was elected to the Legislative Assembly. He served as Attorney-General from 1870 to 1874.
Bannenberg, R. J. N., 'Broadbent, Joseph Edward (1883–1948)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/broadbent-joseph-edward-5363/text9071, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 27 January 2021.
Cohen, K. T., Enhancing Access to Justice: The History of Legal Aid Queensland 1979–2004, Legal Aid Queensland, Brisbane, https://www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/files/assets/public/publications/about-us/laq_history_1979-2004.pdf, published first in hardcopy 2004, accessed online 27 January 2021.
Johnston, W. Ross, 'Woolcock, John Laskey (1861–1929)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/woolcock-john-laskey-9186/text16223, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 27 January 2021.
Joyce, R. B., 'Bramston, Sir John (1832–1921)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bramston-sir-john-3044/text4475, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 27 January 2021.
Joyce, R. B., 'Griffith, Sir Samuel Walker (1845–1920)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/griffith-sir-samuel-walker-445/text11119, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 27 January 2021.
Lack, C. (compiler and editor), Three Decades of Queensland Political History 1929–1960, Brisbane, Government Printer, 1962.
McKenna, J. D., ‘The Griffith Opinion Books’, in J McKenna and H Jeffcoat (eds), Queensland Legal Yearbook 2013, Supreme Court Library Queensland, Brisbane, 2014, pp. 329–344, https://legalheritage.sclqld.org.au/publications/yearbook-2013, accessed online 27 January 2021.