The pursuit of justice

August 27th, 2006

On Friday night along with about 1099 others I made my way to the City Recital hall to a GetUp! gig to hear MAJ Michael Mori speak.


It was fascinating (and refreshing) to hear someone in a US military uniform openly criticise his government and its structures. The Major’s flow chart left us in doubt that David cannot be released from the psychological horror that is Guantanamo bay. The Major was asked how he can keep his energy to defend David from sapping, year after year, against the structurally unfair and overwhelming odds, and he answered simply,

“Justice. Whether I am the prosecuting counsel or the defense counsel, my role is the same – Getting to the truth and being a part of a just outcome”

The most disturbing bit of data that came out of the night was the Major’s answer to the question,

“Given that Tony Blair did not tolerate Britons being kept in Guantanamo bay, do you think that president Bush and Co., if asked by HoWARd, would have released David Hicks?”

“Without a doubt”

The Major is a classic example of American culture for good – loud, brash, and without the slightest hint of timidity. It was no wonder that at the end Australians gave this man a standing ovation.


My opinion is protected…(and so is yours)

August 3rd, 2006

I don’t always get to my The Law Report podcasts in a timely manner. So it was only last night that I was able to listen to the show from 23 May 2006.

A fascinating program, as always, this time with relevence to what I am- opinionated.

It seems, according to the highly experienced Ron Merkel, who had ten years in the Federal Court and 25 years prior to that as a barrister with an extensive practice in public law, my opinion is enshrined in Law.

Damien Carrick: There has of course been quite a history of stoushes between judges and the current Attorney General, who was for many years the Immigration minister. I remember at one point Philip Ruddock, when he was Immigration minister, saying something along the lines of ‘Even when legislation is amended’ (he was talking about migration legislation) ‘the Federal Court judges are always going to try to deal themselves back into the review game’. He was basically saying, (these are my words, not his) ‘You engage in a bit of traditional activism here’.”

Ron Merkel: I suppose the wonderful thing about living in a democracy is everyone, including the Attorney General, is entitled to have an opinion.” (Bold is mine)


Image from here


July 20th, 2006

Yesterday, one of my favourite bloggers alerted me to the story of India banning
Speculation for the reasons for the censorship banning have been linked to the recent bombings in Mumbai.

In less than a week I see that the pressure was such that the Indian government had to retreat from it’s censorship and state that:

“Because of a technological error, the Internet providers went beyond what was expected of them which in turn resulted in the unfortunate blocking of all blogs.” – said the government official.

One domain name and one web site can create the same type of information as a blog.

Bloggers and the blogosphere- too wired, too smart, too many.


Image from here

Just one more chapter

March 11th, 2006

Last night I, along with thousands of other people in Sydney, sat in a theatre at Macquarie University to listen to Dr. Robert Fisk speak.


He is an intense man who delivered an intense experience. His entire body activated and animated by what he has seen and heard- informed by more than three decades of observation, investigation and reporting of conflicts in the Middle East and eastern Europe. The turning of sand into blood.


Dr. Fisk spoke for an hour and a half then took questions from the audience. One such question came from a young woman who timidly prefaced hers with [me paraphrasing] this is a personal question…given that the wars go on and innocent people keep getting killed, how do you keep doing what you do year after year?


He paused and then answered that he feels as though his life is similiar to reading a brilliant historical novel that you can’t put down. He can see the clock in the background and knows that it is getting late and he should put the book down. He finds himself so engrossed in the story, and how it unfolds that he cannot bring himself to stop reading. Just one more chapter. Then, before he knows it, the first crack of dawn is visible through the curtains.

Is it any wonder this man received a standing ovation?


Objectionable objectification or really, really crude

March 4th, 2006

The headline in this news report would suggest that Lara Bingle is behaving unacceptably. See, Lara is a model and Greg Bird is a footballer.

And in one sense she is.  She cannot or will not convince her employer- Priscilla model management, or Greg Bird’s employer- Shark’s Rugby league club to use the words ‘sexual harassment.’  However, this media-savvy woman has now told more people than would have known if the respective employers would have supported her.  

Lara stated that Gregs’s SMS efforts to her were "really, really crude messages." She thought if she did not respond to Bird’s text messages they would stop. Poor Lara, uncomfortable every time a message arrived on her mobile.  As it was, five or six more really, really crude messages did arrive. Lara did send one txt back. What if it read: 

"Greg u r really crude STOP txtg me."

Until women name up sexual harassment for what it is, some men, and their respective employers will think it’s acceptable.

I’ll do it for her. 

"Lara, you are a young, beautiful model and you trade desirability (and orienteering skills).  You are also protected by law from harassing/stalking behaviour.  Ignore all the minimisation (and possibly ‘you asked for it’ advice) and know your instincts about the txts not being ok are right.  You have been stalked and sexually harrassed."

The very fact that I (and hundreds of thousands of others) can read about it in the SMH tells me Lara has taken action.  She knows that she was right to be disgusted by Greg’s txts and won’t be tolerating anybody (not even her boss) telling her

"It’s nothing … this is all just so unbelievably ridiculous – a storm in tea cup."’

Three years before Lara was born the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 came into effect. 

Do I spot another crypto-feminist?