Formal public “oration” can be traced back to at least Classical Greece (approximately 490–322 B.C.), and the times of Aristotle.
Valenzano and Braden in “The Speaker: The Tradition and Practice of Public Speaking“ (2015) say in those days of the Greek city-states, as in modern times in the profession of law, a fundamental tenet of education was “rhetoric, which for them essentially meant the ability to speak well and persuade audiences”.
Indeed, the skill of “oration” was important enough to have its own teachers, known as “sophists”:
“The Greek democratic city-states often called for citizens to make speeches in order to discuss public policy and make cases for clients in the courts. Since no lawyers existed, people prevailed or failed in court and in the assembly purely on their ability to speak well, so some turned a profit from teaching others how to speak well.”
One of the main purposes of the Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association is to provide continuing legal education and the exchange of legal information.
HAL President Mal Varitimos QC said the Association had been privileged to have eminent speakers deliver Orations in past years.
To date, Orations for HAL have been delivered by the following:
- The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG – South Australia, 2017
- The Honourable Patrick Keane AC, Justice of the High Court of Australia – Queensland, 2017
- The Honourable Geoffrey Nettle, Justice of the High Court of Australia – Victoria, 2017
- The Honourable Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia – Queensland, 2016
- The Honourable Justice Melissa Perry – South Australia, 2016
- The Honourable Justice Kyrou – Queensland, 2015
- Mr Michael Abbott AO QC – South Australia, 2015
This year HAL proposes hosting Orations in each of the State and Territory chapters.
Current details of the Orations are:
- 16 March 2018 – Tasmanian Chapter – Sir John Demetrius Morris Oration by The Hon Chris Kourakis, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of South Australia;
- 20 August 2018 – NSW Chapter – Oration by The Hon Justice Stephen Gageler AC, High Court of Australia;
- August 2018 – SA Chapter – The John Perry Oration;
- 21 September 2018 – NT Chapter – Oration by The Hon Michael Grant, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory;
- 27 September 2018 – WA Chapter – Robert French AC Oration by The Hon Justice James Edelman, High Court of Australia;
- 19 October 2018 – Queensland Chapter – Alexander Freeleagus Oration by the Hon Justice Walter Sofronoff, President, Court of Appeal, Queensland;
- 31 October 2018 – Victorian Chapter – Oration by The Hon Justice Chris Maxwell AC, President, Court of Appeal, Victoria.
Attendance at earlier Orations hosted by HAL has been very positive.
Further details on these Orations will be posted on the HAL website closer to the dates, and all members are encouraged to support these events.
Valenzano, Joseph M. III and Braden, Stephen W., “The Speaker: The Tradition and Practice of Public Speaking” (2015). (accessed 24 Feb 2018 at http://ecommons.udayton.edu/cmm_fac_pub/16 )