Former High Court Judge, the Hon. Michael Kirby, is one of our top legal minds. His dedication to learning took him from the working-class suburbs to the corridors of power in an era where he felt compelled to hide a part of himself.
Can Anh capture his intellect and compassion?
The eldest of five children from Sydney’s inner west, Michael was a diligent and gifted student who followed his parents’ desire that he use his intellect to build a successful future.
His sense of injustice was sparked during his school days when he was caned for ripping pages from his exercise book following an ink spill. The punishment and lack of opportunity to mount his own defence had a profound impact on Michael.
While studying law at university he began to evaluate his own sexuality, but was taught that homosexuality was amongst the most heinous of crimes in the Crimes Act.
He knew that to live his life as an openly gay man would impede a legal career, so poured all of his efforts into work in order to fill the void. Even many years after meeting his partner Johan, Michael continued to live two separate lives, concealing his relationship publicly while privately he and Johan built a strong , loving partnership that continues today after more than five decades together.
Michael rose through the legal ranks to be appointed Justice of the High Court of Australia in 1996, and later served internationally, leading a Commission of Inquiry for the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is a respected voice in the fight to end discrimination.
While Michael greatly admired his father, he learnt late in life that he had never accepted his sexuality. He hopes that future generations might know greater acceptance.
How will Anh portray a figure of such intellect, compassion and stature?
Production credits: A Screentime Production. Executive Producer Johnny Lowry.
ABC Commissioning Editor Julie Hanna.