An honour for ‘Your Honour’

Published on SBLT Kat Mulheron (author), LSIS Dove Smithett (photographer)

Location(s): Melbourne, VIC

Topic(s): Gold Commendation

(L-R) HMAS Cerberus Command Legal Officer, Lieutenant Commander Joseph Lindsay; Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council, Lieutenant Will Alstergren; Chief Justice Marilyn Warren; Captain John Rush; Commanding Officer HMAS Cerberus, Captain Katherine Richards; and Director Navy Legal Services, Captain Scott Ritchie at the library of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Melbourne. (photo: ABIS Dove Smithett)
(L-R) HMAS Cerberus Command Legal Officer, Lieutenant Commander Joseph Lindsay; Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council, Lieutenant Will Alstergren; Chief Justice Marilyn Warren; Captain John Rush; Commanding Officer HMAS Cerberus, Captain Katherine Richards; and Director Navy Legal Services, Captain Scott Ritchie at the library of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Melbourne.

A remarkable Navy Reserve Lawyer has been recognised for his work, both for Defence and in his civilian endeavours, recently. Captain Jack Rush, RFD, QC, RANR was doubly recognised for his contribution to the legal profession when he was awarded a Chief of Navy Gold Commendation and appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

CAPT Rush was admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1978 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1992. During his illustrious career he appeared in all jurisdictions throughout Australia and specialised in trial and appellate advocacy. Some significant cases in which he has appeared include acting for the Wittenoom miners afflicted with asbestos disease, Australian women suffering injury as a consequence of breast implants both in Australia and the USA, persons contracting HIV due to infected blood supply, Rolah McCabe in the landmark case against British American Tobacco, Lorna Cubillo and Peter Gunner in the Stolen Generation Case, Counsel for unions and victims groups in the James Hardie Commission of Inquiry (NSW).

With such a compelling career foundation it was a natural progression that CAPT Rush was given the distinction of being appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria on 26 November 2013.

Adding to his unique experiences, CAPT Rush enlisted in the Navy Reserves in 1982. He has provided longstanding service to Navy and the Australian Defence Force and has applied his considerable legal expertise with formidable resolve.

CAPT Rush was justly awarded a Chief of Navy Commendation for exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force in the field of military law, particularly as Senior Counsel Assisting the Black Hawk 221 Board of Inquiry and for his service as Head of Panel, Royal Australian Navy Legal Reserve Panel Victoria.

“I was extremely honoured and proud to receive the Chief of Navy Commendation, a highlight of my career. News of the commendation came in the same week that I was appointed to the Supreme Court. It caused me to reflect on how both my civilian and Navy legal experiences have been tied together and how much each has contributed to the other,” CAPT Rush said.

“Joining the Navy Legal Reserve was the best move I ever made. I have loved every minute. Not only because of the great variety of legal work but more particularly it is good for lawyers to be exposed to people. It promotes common sense. I have learned much from the people of the Australian Defence Force who at every level sacrifice so much in the service of their country - it has been a real benefit to me.”

Both CAPT Rush and the ADF Legal Service are determined to continue giving the best of their knowledge and experience to the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.