Recently retired Chief of Justice of the Australian Federal Court, the Hon Michael Black AC inspired our graduation audience as he was honored for his contribution to the law.
Graduation is always a special occasion for the Law School. There is, as many of you will recall from your own graduation, the air of excitement in Wilson Hall, lots of photos with proud parents and a mixture of nostalgia and relief as student life is formally brought to a close.
It also provides a significant opportunity for the University and the Law School to recognise outstanding contributions to legal education, practice and more broadly across the profession. This year the University conferred its highest honour, the Doctor of Laws honoris causa on esteemed alumnus and recently retired Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, the Hon Michael Black (LLB 1963).
In accepting his award, the Hon Michael Black said, "To be honoured, as a lawyer, by the University from which one graduated in law, and for which one has great respect and also affection, is a very moving experience. I am deeply grateful." Addressing our 269 graduating students, he called on them to engage both their "intellect and imagination" and to use "creative thought of the highest order" in their practice of law – describing it as "an honourable calling".
"The practice of the law, in whichever of the numerous ways you undertake it, can be – and in my view absolutely should be – a highly creative enterprise. The essence of creativity, in the sense in which I now use it as applied to the law, is the application of imagination to the intellect. It involves being inventive. Intellect is the necessary base, and knowledge must rest on top of that, but for a really