aroline Quentin was the latest celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing after her Cha Cha Cha failed to impress the judges.
The judges instead chose to save Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez. Smith, 19, was in the dance-off for a second consecutive week, despite wowing the judges on Saturday night.
The former Men Behaving Badly star, 60, raised eyebrows when she licked her professional partner Johannes Radebe’s arm during Saturday night’s routine.
Craig Revel Horwood said that “one couple was outstanding and danced as though their lives depended on it and that couple I would like to save, Maisie and Gorka (Marquez).”
Anton Du Beke, who is standing in for judge Motsi Mabuse, said there were “a couple of mistakes” in Quentin and Radebe’s performance.
Head judge Shirley Ballas said she would have also chosen to save Smith and Marquez.
Quentin said she had enjoyed “the honour and privilege of working with some of the greatest dancers this country has ever known…
“But of course my greatest gift coming on this show is this man,” she said of her dance partner.
On Saturday’s show, Ballas asked of the flirty dance: “Were you licking his arm?” while Revel Horwood quipped that Radebe “could have done without your tongue”.
She said: “I don’t think it has quite changed my life. It hasn’t really changed me physically that much. I am a bit stronger but all the rumours of losing four stone in four days are absolutely untrue.”
Quentin became the fourth celebrity to leave the show after Jacqui Smith, Jason Bell and Max George were prebiously given the boot from Strictly.
Sunday’s results show also featured a musical performance by Billy Ocean.
For the past 14 years, Tidball represented them all as chief executive of the NSW Law Society. Even amid the pandemic, he isn’t a man to let standards slide, dressed in his customary suit and tie at lunch and as he helps lawyers and courts who are doing much of their work online or long distance.
Tidball didn’t really want to talk about himself or his job when we meet for lunch at Azuma, a Japanese restaurant in Chifley Square, a five-minute walk away from Law Society headquarters in the legal district around Phillip Street.
He’s a son of the vicarage. His father was an Anglican clergyman of the old school, which believed humility was a virtue. So it is not surprising that for most of his career, he has preferred a low profile.
But this month he has assumed one of the most influential jobs in Australian public policy − head of the Law Council of Australia —at a time of intense interest in the workings of the courts and the lives of judges. So he knows that it is inevitable he will be a more public presence in debate and reform.
In this new role, Tidball will represent 65,000 lawyers and barristers at a time of huge uncertainty and controversy.
Sexual harassment claims against former High Court judge Dyson Heydon, which he strongly denies, have recently rocked the profession, as has the wave of allegations about a culture of sexual pressure on young women lawyers working for prestige law firms. The coronavirus pandemic and summer bushfires have inevitably made this a time for strong national leadership. The profession wants the Law Council to be a “powerful national voice”.
The Heydon scandal has shaken Tidball, not least because the judge was a familiar face around Phillip Street and is a fellow Turramurra local.
“I’m genuinely shocked,” Tidball says.
“Sexual harassment in the workplace, predatory behaviour by those in positions of power and the culture of silence that has allowed it to go unchecked must be eliminated.”
Tidball says the profession will need to “own the problem” and encourage victims to speak and ensure they get support and justice.
“Those things only work where there is such a chorus of disapproval that it becomes totally acceptable for the victim to feel empowered to speak out and act,” Tidball says.
The legal community is not exempt from the heightened fears around increased rates of mental illness due to COVID-19. Arguably, the virus may even help the Law Society’s efforts to confront a dysfunctional work culture and secrecy around mental illness in the profession. The Society has started a support service for the legion of lawyers who are often prone to work ridiculous hours while drowning under overwhelming workloads.
“The most critical thing has been to have conversations whereby mental health and depression and the struggles that every human being has are not taboo,” Tidball says.
“Openness of conversation means that people feel less inclined to be secretive and more inclined to have the motivation to deal with something that is difficult. I would view the sexual harassment issue in very similar terms.”
Tidball believes that having a more open and accepting culture, along with appropriate support, can empower victims to speak out without fear of being punished.
When it comes to talking about his own accomplishments and aspirations, he’s frankly a little shy.
At the Law Society, the high-profile practitioners who serve a one-year term as president are the “face” of the profession. Not the CEO. “It has been a back of house function.”
Tidball earned his backroom stripes as an adviser in the Greiner and Fahey Liberal governments in the early 1990s.
He says he did think seriously, although briefly, about seeking preselection and as a younger man was active in the Liberal Party on the north shore. But his role as a political staffer also brought him into contact with the other side, Labor, and he enjoyed the experience of being nonpartisan, as laws are often developed with bipartisan input. The trajectory towards preselection lost its shine.
“Ultimately, the idea of attaching myself for my entire career to a particular political party was not something I found particularly appealing,” he said. “The political game for me as an end in itself has never appealed.”
‘The idea of attaching myself for my entire career to a particular political party was not something I found particularly appealing.’
At the Law Society, he has enjoyed working with all political parties and developing a deeper knowledge of lawmaking. He has not been a party member for more than 17 years.
While Tidball didn’t start out as part of the legal fraternity, the NSW Law Society has clearly been reluctant to let him go. He started work for the organisation 20 years ago and has grown its previously compulsory membership of 19,000 to more than 31,000 voluntary members. His political nous and success in managing the large organisation have won him a large fan base.
During his years as a political staffer, Tidball started a law degree twice before the job became too enveloping for him to find enough time to study. He dropped it, thinking it was a qualification he would never need, “then look what’s happened”. But two years ago, he went one better when he completed a masters level graduate diploma in global business at Oxford.
We reach for the hand sanitiser before the food arrives and take stock of life during the pandemic. This restaurant outing and the idea of touching someone else’s cutlery and glasses oddly feels like risky behaviour these days. Our table is a safe social distance away from others, tucked into a mirrored enclave of the noisy restaurant, favoured by people from the big end of town who want to network.
By now, Tidball has revealed that he was supposed to be having lunch with checked-shirt wearing Drinnan, from Allens, today, but bumped him to fit in the lunch with Spectrum. The pair have known each other since the early 1990s, when they both worked as Liberal Party political staffers and have continued their friendship through the legal fraternity. Drinnan is also chair of Law Firms Australia, which represents commercial law firms.
The choice of Japanese restaurant is prompted by Tidball’s abiding love of Asian food and culture that has developed during his role as the head of LawAsia. After five years, he is now stepping down as its secretary-general to focus on his new job in Canberra.
It is time to order, so I invite Tidball to take the lead. His choices are light on kilojoules: Teriyaki salmon, miso soup and green tea. His line of work usually involves a lot of business lunches and travel, so he watches what he eats.
“It’s healthy and it’s efficient,” he says of the chosen meal. “Travel forces one to be careful about diet and all those sorts of things.”
Running six to eight kilometres at a time up to three times a week also helps. That’s despite being a “notorious non-sportsman” during his school years at Barker College on the upper north shore, which he says was “preoccupied with sport”. At a recent “really great lunch”, Tidball and former federal foreign minister and premier Bob Carr bonded over their “mutual contempt for organised sport” before moving on to discuss China.
Mind you, Tidball jokes of Carr that he had “resented him for 25 years”. He lost that early job in politics in 1995 when Carr won the state election for Labor.
When it comes to China, Tidball says Australia’s legal profession “will not shy away from expressing its concern about international human rights issues”. But it will “avoid expressing political partisan or populist viewpoints” and will “address its concerns through constructive and respectful dialogue”.
Tidball says that at Barker he was the “nerdy” student who loved music.He now chairs the board of The Song Company classical vocal ensemble and has played the piano almost every day since he started learning at the age of six.
There has been a grand piano in his longtime Turramurra home, an original farmhouse that was not flashy and which came with its own joys and burdens, such as having to maintain heritage standards. His wife, Debra, has been the faithful custodian of the house, but ahead of their recent move to Canberra, they sold up. Tidball will rent a flat in Canberra and the family will also get a Sydney “bolthole” closer to the CBD. The grand piano, for now, “stays in Sydney”. As will Debra, who will join her husband in Canberra for regular “week-long stints”.
Debra Tidball is an award-winning children’s book author and a social worker, whom Michael met at a dinner hosted by mutual friends when he was working as a political staffer. He says it was “love at first sight” and remembers some strong disagreements over politics, as “her personal politics were way to the left of mine”. But they share a Christian faith, which has formed the basis of a happy marriage that has given them two, now adult, daughters. They have been attending an Anglican church in Kirribilli and for many years have regularly visited St James in King Street, near the supreme court in the city, for its sacred choral music and liturgy.
Then there’s their loved – and spoiled – eight-year-old French bulldog called Archie. Despite his small size, he’s powerful. And he’s very choosy about whom he allows to pat him.
“I remember coming home one night knocking at the door and I asked ‘why does that dog always bark at me and no one else?’ and Deb said, ‘because he thinks you’re his equal, part of the pack’,” says Tidball, clearly amused.
Level 1, 2 Chifley Square, City
Anna Patty is a Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald with a focus on higher education. She is a former Workplace Editor, Education Editor, State Political Reporter and Health Reporter.
New Zealand will remove social distancing requirements after reporting zero active cases of Covid-19, indicating it has achieved its aim of eliminating the virus.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that all remaining restrictions on people and businesses, other than strict border controls to keep the virus out, will be lifted at midnight tonight, paving the way for a resumption of normal life. The South Pacific nation earlier reported that the last of its coronavirus patients has recovered, making it one of the few countries in the world to have successfully eradicated the pathogen.
“We united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus,” Ardern said at a press conference in Wellington. “Our goal was to move out the other side as quickly and as safely as we could.”
New Zealand has pursued an explicit elimination strategy rather than seeking to merely suppress transmission of the virus. It enforced one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, asking everyone to stay at home and allowing only essential services to operate. While this has almost certainly triggered a deep recession, the government says elimination of the virus should allow the economy to recover more rapidly than many of its peers.
The seven-week lockdown ended May 14 and cabinet today decided it was safe to lower the nation’s alert level to 1, which allows the removal of the last remaining restrictions. People will only be asked to keep track of who they’ve met and where they’ve been to aid contact tracing if future cases emerge.
Moving to level 1 “is a statement that we have achieved the goal of eliminating the Covid-19 virus from this country,” said Michael Baker, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago. “This is, however, only the first battle in what will be a long-term war against this virus. The threat from Covid-19 obviously remains while this pandemic continues across the globe.”
New Zealand recorded a total of 1,504 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 and 22 deaths. It hasn’t had a new case for 17 days.