Law Week 2018 Justice Journeys


Madison spent the day with the Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General

David Mackie is the Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, a department of over 8,000 staff. The Director-General has responsibility for Justice Services including Court Services, Youth Justice, Strategic Policy and Legal Services, Liquor, Gaming and Fair Trading, Corporate Services and Queensland Corrective Services. In addition, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Crown Law, Internal Audit, Ethical Standards, the Office of the Director-General and Executive Services Branch report directly to the Director-General.

Our Justice Journeys student, Madison is in high school with aspirations to work in the social justice field. Madison spent a day with David, gaining a behind-the-scenes look at how his role contributes to Queensland’s Justice system. Madison shares her experience below.

On Thursday the 12th of May I spent a day job-shadowing the incredible Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney General, Mr David Mackie. My day officially begun at 5.30am when I woke up to catch the train into the city. When I arrived, I was signed in as an official visitor. After meeting the staff in Communication Services office, I was taken to meet Mr Mackie. I was so excited and honoured to be given this opportunity of shadowing Mr Mackie who is a very approachable and welcoming member of the law community.

He spent much of the day chatting with me regarding his role and the roles of the various members of the law community. He showed a great interest in my passion for social justice and my future aspirations. Not only was I lucky enough to spend an entire day with Mr Mackie, but he generously structured his schedule, so that I would be able to be introduced to some of the most influential members of the law community.

Our first appointment of the day was at the Supreme Court with Chief Justice Catherine Holmes and Justice John Byrne. There was time for a quick photo before I was whisked away to meet with the Executive Director of the Supreme District and Land Courts Service, Principal Registrar of the Supreme and District Courts and the Registrar of the Planning and Environment Court and the Childrens Court of Queensland, Ms Julie Steel. Not only is Ms Steel’s portfolio incredibly extensive and impressive, she was unbelievably generous in devoting her valuable time to offer me some very helpful advice regarding my desire to have a career in the legal profession and to discuss aspects of the law society.

From left to right: Justice John Byrne, Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, Madison, DJAG Deputy Director-General Jenny Lang and Director-General David Mackie

One lesson that stood out to me was when Ms Steel described how someone once asked her what her most significant mistake was; and her reply was that she could not think of one. She explained to me that it wasn’t that she hadn’t made mistakes, it was that her mistakes weren’t regrettable or significantly memorable because she and those around her learnt and grew from these experiences. After this meeting, I was fortunate enough to be taken on a tour of the Courts with Ms Miriam Moss, Communications Manager of the Supreme Court Library.

Ms Moss described to me the extensive heritage collection the library has, their significance in history and some of the featured artists in the Supreme Court. I learnt about the design of the building and was able to tour the current display in the Court, which is a commemoration of Queensland lawyers who fought in World War I.

The exhibition In Freedom’s Cause: the Queensland Legal Profession and the Great War, curated by the Supreme Court Library, is open to the public Monday to Friday with free entry. Madison said she would strongly recommend visiting the display “it is a beautiful dedication to those who came from legal professions and an inspirational description of their service.” For more information on the exhibition visit the Supreme Court Library website

Mr Mackie took me to visit the Magistrates Court where we witnessed the morning’s proceedings of the callover court. I learnt about the different prosecution officers in the court and the types of proceedings that occur in the Magistrates Court compared to Federal and District Court.

The highlight of my day was when I was given the opportunity to meet with the Hon. Yvette D’Ath, Attorney-General. Not only was I able to meet her, but I was able to discuss my passions and hopes for the future. She was very approachable, very giving of her time and it was much appreciated as it was an incredible experience.

Overall, by participating in Law Week I have been able to gain a further understanding of the roles of individuals in the Law, the influence I can have and the positivity that some of the most influential members spread through our society. I would like to thank those at the DJAG department for offering me this experience as it has been life-changing. I would also like to thank Mr Mackie for inspiring me and sharing his first-hand experiences to help guide me in my future career paths.

If you’re interested in a career with DJAG visit the Queensland Government’s SmartJobs website