Well known Queensland barrister and Queen’s Counsel, Anthony (Tony) Morris, was presented with the inaugural Liberty Award at the 2017 LibertyFest conference in Brisbane. The Liberty Award is presented to an Australian that has significantly moved the liberty movement forward over the preceding year.
In 1992, Tony was appointed as one of Her Majesty’s Counsel at the age of 32, the youngest such appointment in Australia’s legal history, and the youngest QC appointed in any Commonwealth country during the Twentieth Century. He has also served as a director of Queensland Investment Corporation; as a member of the Advisory Council of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music; as a Councillor of the Canine Control Council (Queensland); and as Chair of the Bundaberg Hospital Commission of Inquiry.
In February 2016 QUT Administrative Assistant Cindy Prior sued three QUT students for comments made, or allegedly made, after she evicted them from the computer lab at the university’s Oodgeroo unit in May 2013. On November 4, 2017 Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Jarrett ruled there was no case to answer.
As a result of this litigation the reputation of the Human Rights Commission, together with its then president, Gillian Triggs, was severely damaged; the case against Section 18C of the Human Rights act was re-opened by a Federal Parliamentary Inquiry; Cindy Prior went close to bankruptcy; and three young men had their lives torn apart apart over seemingly innocuous comments. One of those students involved, Calum Thwaites, made an impressive speech about Tony’s pro bono work in extricating him and two other students from the legal minefield they had found themselves in.
For his work in defending those students and for campaigning to reduce legal impediments to free speech, LibertyFest is proud and honoured to have Tony Morris accept the 2017 Liberty Award.