On meeting Phil Looney QC, one could be accused of being drawn into his warm and gentleman-like character. In one afternoon of learning more about this interesting man, I am pleased to declare that he is as he appears on the surface, a humble and genuine guy from the “other side of the tracks”, who loves his family, travel, dancing and his career choice – being a Barrister at Law. Attending a suburban Catholic School then finishing high school at Gregory Terrace, Phil worked for one of the ‘Big 4” accounting firms around the world, never staying on to be Partner. He defines himself as not being “the big end of town, and never wanted to be. I drive a Mazda not a Mercedes” The thing he loves the most about the Bar is being an advocate; arguing, making judgement calls, persuading the Judge.
As a kid he always wanted to be a lawyer, however, his teenage hospitality jobs led him to want to own a restaurant. So his path was directed to becoming a Chef. He promptly enrolled at Gatton Agricultural College to do its hospitality course. However, before he started this course he realised he needed money to own a restaurant and he thought the quickest way to make some money was to become an Accountant.
He enrolled in Commerce at UQ part-time and got a job with a predecessor firm to KPMG and did that for 14 years becoming a Chartered Accountant, working in Brisbane, Sydney, London and Hong Kong.
In the early 1990s whilst in Hong Kong, he decided to pursue the option of becoming a Barrister. For 4 years he continued working fulltime and sat the Bar Board exams in between Commencing at the Bar in April 1996, this man was and still is, a rarity being a Barrister without a law degree. “You never think that you know what the law is. You are always researching, the law is so vast, you can never know it all”.
For this proud father of 3 children, if he wasn’t working, Phil says he would probably play golf. Arriving in Bribie just over a year ago, he has only played once on the course that his home backs onto, and “given the annual fees, it was a very expensive round of golf”.
Not working would also mean he would be dancing more. As a teenager having been injured while playing Aussie Rules (Phil was born in Melbourne and is a lifelong Richmond supporter) Phil took up dance lessons offered at Gregory Terrace. He and some mates joined the dance classes that also included students from All Hallows and St James’s schools. His interest took him to take up competitive Ballroom Dancing as a sport. Unbeknown to Phil, a young lady that was part of the dance scene back then, would re-enter his life many years later and become his wife. For the last 20 years, they have been doing Latin dancing together.
So why move from Brisbane to Bribie Island? It started as an exercise in looking for an investment property and ended with a visit to the QM Properties land sales office and purchasing a beautiful golf front block. “Bribie is the hidden gem of South East Queensland,” said Phil and his wife Annemarie in unison.
A huge lover of travel, Phil’s most interesting adventure that he has undertaken thus far was visiting the Galapagos Islands. He describes it as “like being in a David Attenborough documentary, with thousands of different birds and animals”. Adventurous travels with Annemarie also led Phil to Vietnam, Machu Picchu, Antarctica, Iguazu, Niagara & Victoria Falls, Cuba, Morocco, Norway and Finland amongst other destinations. Sadly, COVID has stopped their next adventure to Africa to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. My last question: If you could change one thing in this world what would it be? Phil responded, “Embed tolerance in people; allow people to see the value in each other”.