Robin Roy Speed
24/12/1943 - 05/02/2023

February 2023

Vale Robin Roy Speed, OAM

The Tax Reformer was saddened at the news of the death of Robin Roy Speed OAM, a true Rule of Law warrior.

Judging by the tributes both published and unpublished, many will join with the Tax Reformer in passing condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Robin has quite rightly been described as “a gifted and widely respected Australian lawyer.” Robin founded both the Rule of Law Institute and the Rule of Law Education Centre. The Tax Reformer wishes to be associated with the tribute paid to Robin by Chris Merritt  who said:

On Sunday evening, when Robin Speed finally succumbed after a long battle with cancer, this country lost one of its finest sons – a gentleman whose measured demeanour belied his ferocious defence of the rule of law.

Robin, who was my friend, understood the true nature of this doctrine: it is not rule by lawyers or, even more worrying, a requirement for blind obedience to government dictates. It is the opposite.

It is a set of ideas that moderates state power and enables free societies to guard against the rise of arbitrary rule. It is the real point of distinction between liberal democracy and autocracy. This is the sort of thinking that informed his decision in 2009 to establish the organisations now known as the Rule of Law Institute and the Rule of Law Education Centre.

David Lowy who serves on the governing committee of the Rule of Law Education Centre is quoted as saying “You could rely on him in the trenches.”

“He always stood up for what he believed in. He was principled and always gave very wise and conservative counsel. He truly had his clients’ best interests at heart.

“He was passionate about the rule of law and not allowing it to be eroded. Whilst there are issues, Australia is a bastion of the rule of law and he wanted to keep it that way.

In 2009, the Rule of Law Institute of Australia was formed by Robin Speed and Malcolm Stewart to provide an organisation to publicly advocate upholding the rule of law in Australia.

“Robin created the Rule of Law Education Centre to help foster a greater understanding of the importance of the rule of law to all Australians,” said Stewart who is managing partner of Speed & Stracey.

“To him it [the Rule of Law] was not just a phrase used by politicians, but an ideal that was vital to the correct functioning of our legal system and democracy.

“It had to be sustained by action including education and opposing the arbitrary exercise of coercive powers by government agencies.”

So, it was an honour to have Robin describe The Tax Reformer as “… an excellent initiative and I wish you well”.

Vale Robin.