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24 Mar 2015

Condolence Motion – Hon Trevor Griffin

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:14 ): I rise to add my voice to the tributes of the life of the Hon. Trevor Griffin and to support the condolence motion. I did not have the opportunity to serve with Trevor Griffin in this chamber, but I had the opportunity to enjoy the benefit of his wise and considered counsel, especially when serving on the executive of the Liberal Party. My enduring memory of Trevor Griffin will always be that each time I rang him he was either on his tractor or doing something to the tractor, or tending to his vineyard. After advice was dispensed, the conversation quickly turned to all things farming.

When reflecting on his passing, I too read his maiden speech. I thought it was typical of Trevor Griffin that, in his maiden speech, there was nothing about himself, but he went straight to work commenting at great length on the Local Government Act. He was a man of great integrity and his word was his bond. He was a distinguished attorney-general, and it is these endeavours in this portfolio that I would like to highlight.

As has been mentioned by many honourable members, Trevor Griffin was instrumental in shepherding some of the most important legislation South Australia has had to tackle. I wish to also particularly acknowledge his introduction of new laws to provide victims of domestic violence with greater protection by classifying domestic violence assault as a crime in itself, and introducing domestic violence restraining orders.

I would also like to draw to the chamber’s attention Trevor’s response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. He appointed Aboriginal justice officers to reduce the number of Aboriginal people imprisoned for failure to pay fines. He introduced amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act so that state MPs, judges and local councillors lost their immunity from sexual harassment suits. He said the amendments:

…achieved a balance between respecting parliamentary privilege and ensuring politicians were covered by adequate rules of behaviour.

Trevor sought amendments to electronic surveillance laws to require police to be more accountable for tapping telephones and faxes of suspected criminals in order to provide better protection to the privacy of individuals. He also conducted a comprehensive review of the state’s juvenile justice system to determine its effectiveness in dealing with youth crime.

These are only a few of his accomplishments, and there are many others which have been referred to by other honourable members. During his professional life, Trevor support the work of the Law Society and the Uniting Church, was a long-serving member of a local school council, and, as has been mentioned, served on the board of St Andrew’s Hospital. In my view, it is a measure of the man in that, in coming to this place, he never left or ceased contributing to the community that nurtured him.

After retirement, Trevor continued to serve the community on the Film Classification Review Board, as well as teaching law part-time at Flinders University. He is an example to us all. We are thankful for his life and his contribution to the Legislative Council and to the state of South Australia. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family. I support the motion.

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