Justice Lionel Murphy

A documentary film about the late High Court Judge Mr Justice Lionel Murphy, concentrating in particular on the events and allegations of the last four years of his life — allegations of his supposed misbehaviour. Murphy was at the center of an historic battle to retain his position on the High Court.

This film uses the dramatic story of Lionel Murphy as a vehicle to consider some more fundamental issues about the law, including the problem of police and security surveillance of the individual in Australian society and in particular of prominent political and legal figures. We investigate Murphy’s role in introducing many radical legal and political reforms, such as the Family Law Act, The Trade Practices Act and a proposed Bill of Rights.

The role of the media in ‘the Murphy affair’ is also focussed upon, especially its use of surveillance material from police and security sources, and its depiction of Murphy throughout his career.

The structure is that of the classic dramatic tragedy. Part one provides an introduction to the character betraying elements that could lead to his downfall. Part two provides the detail of his life and sets the stage, revealing the other characters in his life and their interaction with him. And part three provides a climax to the tragedy that affected not only Lionel Murphy but Australian society as a whole.

Critical Response:

“You really should go and see it, it moved me an awful lot…” David Stratton, SBS-TV

“Excellent.” Brisbane Courier Mail

“Daryl Dellora’s eloquent and moving profile of former Attorney-General and High Court judge…” The Sunday Age

Mr Neal is Entitled to be an Agitator DVD cover

Duration: 58mins

Director: Daryl Dellora
Producer: Sue Maslin
Writers: Daryl Dellora, Jenny Hocking, Ian Wansbrough
Director of Photography: Vladimir Osherov
Sound Recordist: Mark Tarpey
Script Editor: David Noakes
Narrator: Ernie Dingo

Featuring: Ernie Dingo as Mr Neal
Appearing in the film: Tony Blackshield, David Brown, Don Dunstan, Jenny Hocking, Michael Kirby, David Lange, Jim McCelland, Bill Murphy, Ingrid Murphy, Jocelynne Scutt, Gough Whitlam, Neville Wran

Best Documentary at Australian Human Rights Awards 1991
Nominated for Best Documentary at AFI Awards - Mr Neal is Entitled to be an Agitator
Official Selection for Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Mr Neal is Entitled to be an Agitator