04 November 2010
First Law Officer of the State comes home
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, greets the Deputy Premier and Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, outside the Emily McPherson Building.
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Victoria's Deputy Premier and Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, visited RMIT University's newly re-opened Emily McPherson Building to deliver a public address.
The building, renovated at a cost of $40 million, is the new home of the Graduate School of Business and Law.
Mr Hulls spoke to alumni and students about his career and his ongoing passion for social justice.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said Mr Hulls was one of the University's most eminent alumni.
"He began his career in law at RMIT, completing the Articled Clerks program in 1982, before he was admitted as barrister and solicitor by the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1983," she said.
"In the early 1980s, RMIT's Articled Clerks program was a pathway into the legal profession, and many of its graduates now occupy senior positions in law."
Mr Hulls has been a champion of equal opportunity and the removing of legislation that discriminates against same-sex couples. He also introduced a charter of human rights to Victoria, the first of its kind in Australia.
Many of the reforms have been controversial and attracted criticism, including a move to remove the traditional wigs worn by lawyers and judges in court. Mr Hulls noted: "Wearing horsehair in court is not the sign of a modern judicial system."
He predicted the upcoming Victorian election would focus heavily on a law and order debate, but did not believe policies like mandatory sentencing were effective.
He said such policies gave criminals no incentive to plead guilty if they believed they would be sent to jail for a fixed term. "A true democracy depends on an independent justice system," he said.
In 1993, Mr Hulls became Chief of Staff to the Leader of the State Opposition and in 1996 was elected to the Victorian Parliament as the member for Niddrie.
He was first appointed Attorney-General in 1999 and subsequently in 2002. After the 2006 Victorian election, he was again appointed as Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations and Racing. He was promoted to the position of Deputy Premier in 2007.
Mr Hulls maintains strong links with RMIT, launching the University's Juris Doctor program in 2007 at the old Melbourne Magistrates Court, part of RMIT's City campus.
"An Audience with the Honourable Rob Hulls" was presented by RMIT Alumni Relations.