ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
Peppercorn would like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people as the caretakers and owners of the land upon which this publication was written and distributed. We would also like to acknowledge our neighbours: the Gundungurra people to our north, the Ngarigo people to our south, the Yuin people on the south coast and the Wiradjuri people of greater inland New South Wales.
We acknowledge their elders – past, present and future – and First Peoples from all nations across this continent. This was and always will be Aboriginal land; sovereignty was never ceded.
Peppercorn also acknowledges that colonisation is ongoing and racist structures continue to perpetuate the power imbalance inherent within this nation’s cultural, economic, and political institutions. Policies such as the Stolen Generations are not historical, but rather sustained oppression, paternalism and cruelty seen in the continued removal of over a thousand Indigenous children from their homes per year.
As the publication of a Law Student’s Society, we cannot ignore the role that our legal system plays in entrenching systematic failures and injustices to Indigenous peoples. Namely, by incarcerating Indigenous Australians at the highest rate in the world and continued separation of families and communities, the system we live and may work in is continuing a colonial genocide. As law students, we must all undertake to change the racist operation of our legal system and the views within it.
Until an Indigenous voice to speak on their affairs and Country is heard; until there is a treaty; until truth is told and the historical and ongoing pain of those whose land on which we profit from is recognised...
There is no justice in our country.
Aisha Collins -
Art Director - Ella McGrath
Letter From the Editor
Despite its vagueness, it is a weighty word. The churning of your stomach as you count down the minutes for an exam to appear on Wattle. Scrolling through the Course Guide and trying to pick out electives. Waiting for clerkship offers to come in. I can’t help but think back to this time last year, with all the freshness of a new semester, only to be plunged into lockdown mid Australian Public Law lecture wondering what could possibly happen next. Sitting at home, becoming deeply entranced in my classmates’ floating heads on Zoom I begun daydreaming of what life would become. As I grappled with that uncertainty, I found that no matter how much I tried to push away, life has a funny way of constantly plonking a new set of insane circumstances in our lap and demanding ‘what now?’
That feeling of uncertainty is a feeling we must become intimately familiar with in the law school. There is no way to predict the questions on an exam, or to know for certain that the career path you are taking is the right one. At first, this can be a really distressing idea as we feel our feet kicked out from underneath us.
But strangely, there is comfort in knowing that the only person who can decide where you go next – is you.
So amongst all the umming and ahhing and the uncertainty that is Law, we bring you Edition 2 of the Peppercorn for 2022. I am grateful for our amazing content editors, the impeccable work of Magazine Director Aisha Collins, Art Director Ella McGrath and Secretary Maximus Sandler in pulling together this edition. Our talented editors and contributors bring tales of uncertainty, from the first day of law school, to this years’ Federal Election and beyond. We are back with some brilliant features, including jokes, contributions from our incredible academics and some stellar pieces of student scholarship and poetry. It is my hope that you will find time to sit down in the sun of the law courtyard, drinking a coffee from Fellows and soak up all the amazing pieces we have for you in the Peppercorn this edition.
Let’s refresh that Wattle page one more time and embrace uncertainty together.Ava Cadee
On behalf of the ANU Law Students’ Society, welcome to the second edition of Peppercorn for 2022. As the official law student publication at the ANU, Peppercorn is a forum in which we have the privilege of hearing the voices of our community. Fanciful or factual, poetry or prose, in Peppercorn you are sure to find something that tickles your fancy.
The theme of this edition is ‘Uncertain’. It might seem trite to say that the only certainty in life is uncertainty, but I think that it is important to recognise the fundamental role that uncertainty plays in our experiences. Uncertainty is there when you try a new food outlet on campus. It’s there when you open a new book and begin reading. It’s there when you strike up a conversation with someone next to you in a lecture, or hop on a random bus, or pick an elective. Not all of these decisions will turn out the way you expected, or end up with a good result. But as the old saying goes – nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Uncertainty is how you know you’re on the right track to something new; maybe good, maybe bad, but undeniably new. Embracing uncertainty doesn’t mean you can’t plan how you want things to turn out. It just means that we would all do well to remember that sometimes we just have to go with the flow, and see how things turn out.
My thanks to the Peppercorn editorial team for their effort in putting the journal together. Lead by Editor-in-Chief Ava Cadee, the Peppercorn team have been a model of professionalism and dedication to their craft. We also acknowledge the continued support of our corporate sponsors, whose generosity makes the publication of the journal possible.
Thank you for picking up Peppercorn, and we do hope you enjoy this edition. Happy reading!Henry Palmerlee President ANU Law Students’ Society
33 - A TALE OF TWO ELECTION NIGHTS
37 - HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE WHITE PEOPLE: A REVIEW
39 - MYANMAR COUP
42 - I COULDN’T HELP BUT WONDER, WHAT NOW?
47 - IN DISSENT: ANU ACEDEMICS
49- IN LAW: AN INTERVIEW WITH PRUE BINDON
Peppercorn is the official publication of the ANU Law Student Society. The views and opinions expressed are those of their respective author, they do not necessarily reflect Peppercorn’s opinions. Due care has been taken to ensure accuracy; however, feedback is encouraged.
Featured Pepper Grinder:
Getting involved in the ANU Law Students’ Society
Pepper Grinder is a Peppercorn series providing news and reporting relevant to ANU law students via Peppercorn’s Facebook Page and biannual magazine. If you have any interesting stories that you want to share to the ANU Law Community, get in touch!
So, you want to get involved in the ANU Law Students’ Society (‘ANULSS’). Of course, memberships and membership fees are always welcome. It’s easy for a member to sit back and take advantage of the events and benefits on offer. What if you want to get more involved in the ANULSS?
University societies often operate like traditional clubs: there’s an in-group, and an out-group. People in the in-group know how the club system works and may selectively pass this information on to their friends and associates. This certainly makes it hard for those in the out-group, who don’t have any connections to show them the ropes. ANULSS faces this problem, but so do all clubs and societies. It’s why they call excludable goods ‘club goods’ – you can exclude people from using them.
What if you’re in the out-group and want to get involved? Can those in the out-group still gain a leadership position in the ANULSS? Here at Peppercorn, we’ve brought out this Featured Pepper Grinder to find out how you can get involved in the ANULSS.
Before we start , you need to know a bit about how the ANULSS operates. ANULSS is an association incorporated in the ACT. This means that ANULSS must meet certain statutory requirements and its Constitution is binding on the Executive. As you would expect, the ANULSS Constitution isn’t easy to read after years of ad-hoc amendments from an annually-elected executive body.
There are three main categories of involvement in the ANULSS, as specified in its Constitution:
1) Paid membership:
This involves paying a membership fee when required and is your gateway to the other roles. Once you’ve paid your fee, you can seek out these other roles.
2) Directors and Officers:
This includes various roles sitting within specific Portfolios, ranging from Careers Director to the Editor-in-Chief of Peppercorn. These positions are made via appointment by the Executive (you can see why it’s helpful to know someone in the Executive).
There is also an election opportunity for First Year Officer positions. The appointment process follows from the election of the Executive, who have discretion over your application for the role.
This includes the President and many Vice-Presidents. These positions are made via election from members and typically require some experience as a Director or Officer. Vice-Presidents oversee specific Portfolios, ranging from Administration to Social Justice. The President then oversees all Portfolios. This follows from a nomination process, where you submit a formal nomination and candidate statement for each Executive role that you nominate yourself for. You also need to talk directly with the person currently holding the role you’re nominating for prior to nominating yourself. An election is conducted and the results are then published.
If you belong to the out-group, you can see from the three main categories of involvement in the ANULSS that the Executive will choose the Directors and Officers in their Portfolio. This means that you should email or contact existing Directors or Officers to learn about their roles, asking how they got the role and what might be required.
With an annual election, chances are that these Directors and Officers will be next in line for the Executive and can give you some helpful advice on what to look out for in their Portfolio. The emails and names of relevant portfolio heads are provided online at https://www.anulss.com/about/committee/.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple process for those in the out-group to get involved in the ANULSS, except for a paid membership. That being said, you learn many more skills working hard to get involved in a society from the out-group than you would getting a handshake entry through the in-group.
When you don’t have connections and want to join a club, the key is to be proactive and put yourself out there. Ask questions and show that you’re interested and determined to learn more. Engaging with people in a club environment is typically the only way to transition from the out-group to the in-group.
This proactive approach will also teach you valuable relationship-building skills in the legal profession, which is so heavily dependent on building
networks. Try to talk with others, listen to them, or offer to help others to get involved. Not all opportunities are handed to you, but when you actively seek them out you may find someone willing to support you and show you the ropes.
If you currently hold any roles (or will hold them in the future), make yourself available to those unfamiliar students who take a risk and ask you questions about your role. The practice of law is collegial – supporting enthusiastic and proactive people ensures that future leadership positions in law go towards those who work hard to get there and can work with those from all backgrounds, rather than enabling those who simply prop up fellow ingroup connections.
Vice-President (Engagement) : Solution?
For those looking to join ANULSS who don’t have the connections, you may be disappointed to find that getting involved requires many nervous emails and the risk of putting yourself out there. Again, this is a problem inherent in all clubs and societies... they have an in-built tendency towards excludability.
One potential recommendation would be for ANULSS to create a new Vice-President (Engagement). This new position would have a Portfolio remit of increasing participation from members through seeking out new ideas and policies, as well as facilitating ways for interested members to transition into Executive, Director, and Officer roles.
The Engagement Portfolio would overlap with the Careers, Competitions, Education, Equity, Events, and Sponsorship Portfolios to seek out consistent ways of engaging with members and to ensure that students have a direct, fair gateway for getting involved.
Statement from the ANULSS:
To conclude, we sought a statement from the ANULSS for advice to anyone seeking to get involved, and put this idea to them for a new Vice-President (Engagement). Here is the response from Henry Palmerlee, 2022 President of ANULSS:
VP (Engagement): “The LSS has one of the largest student society executives on campus (one President and nine Vice Presidents), and each Vice President is actively involved in engaging the student body with their portfolio’s initiatives. That said, the LSS is a member-run organisation, and welcomes any proposals for constitutional amendment to be submitted to the Vice President (Administration) prior to the OGM.”
Advice to get involved: “Almost all members of the LSS Committee are appointed rather than elected - only Executive members and First Year Officers stand for election. We believe that this lowers the barrier to entry for students, as they are not required to stand publicly or to be able to command a significant amount of votes from other students. For both elected and appointed positions, we recommend keeping a close eye on your student emails and the LSS Facebook account, as the openings are heavily advertised well in advance!”
THE ZOOM REDEMPTION
I still remember when Jeffrey Toobin was suspended from the New Yorker for masturbating on camera during a work-related Zoom call - the internet mocked this veteran legal analyst so hard that no one seemed to care how Zoom had negatively changed our way of working, studying and communicating with others. As an international student who has spent the past two and a half years ‘Zooming’ in for a law degree from the Global North, I can guarantee you that the feeling of being lost in both translation and a stressful virtual learning world is far worse than being publicly humiliated for ‘Zoom Dick’.
One biggest nightmare shared by most Zoom university attendees is the never-ending cycle of exhaustion. Dr Kirmani of Washington University School of Medicine said that “people have to concentrate on pictures and videos and that can cause eye strain and headaches”. This common sense has been repeatedly proved by my own body over the past few years. Besides staring at the computer screens, the complexity of the interpersonal interactions as a result of the specific spatial dynamics taking place in Zoom meetings is another major cause of exhaustion. Nadler argued that in a Zoom call participants were not presented as human actors, but a totality of “third skin” comprising person, background, and technology. By contrast, on-campus or in-person education provides every participant with an equal opportunity to appreciate the existence of real human beings and to listen to the natural sounding voices of one another. Worse than exhaustion and fatigue, researchers suggested that
remaining seated for too long during Zoom sessions would result in loss of blood flow and circulation. However, the cruel reality is that, thanks to COVID, our ever-expanding laziness has enabled us to get fused with a couch for a lifetime.
Health issues arising from online school no doubt concern all students, but the disadvantage of the lack of access to supporting resources are entirely borne by overseas students. For instance, earlier this year, the university announced that it would distribute free rapid antigen tests and masks to students who were back on campus. In other words, overseas students as well as their well-being was left out, or should I say ‘ignored’ by the university’s move. Apart from COVID-related resources, overseas students also have no luck to enjoy the luxury of accessing physical studying materials from the university’s libraries, arranging face-to-face consultation with a course convenor, or forming an offline study group with their new classmates.
So, what can the university do to close in the gap between on-campus education and Zoom meetings attended by overseas students? Given that many students are unable to travel to Australia at the moment, the university may consider devoting money and resources to open overseas study centers for them. The ANU study hubs currently operating in China provide a good model and precedent. Further, cooperating with overseas universities to co-deliver courses and degrees should be considered as well. After all, we can always joke about ‘Zoom Dick’ or the indecency of the Morrison government, but there is nothing fun about ‘poor student experience’.
1 Laura Wagner, ‘New Yorker Suspends Jeffrey Toobin for Masturbating on Zoom Call’, VICE (online, 20 October 2020) <https://www.vice.com/en/article/epdgm4/newyorker-suspends-jeffrey-toobin-for-zoom-dick-incident>.
2 Sara Qalbani, ‘Zoom Fatigue: The Reality of Online Classes’, The University News (Blog Post, 8 September 2020) <https://unewsonline.com/2020/09/zoom-fatigue/>.
3 Robby Nadler, ‘Understanding “Zoom fatigue”: Theorizing spatial dynamics as third skins in computer-mediated communication’ (2020) 58 Computers and Composition 1, 14-5.
5 Madison Glatz, ‘Zoom University is unhealthy for students’, The Crimson White (Blog Post, 11 October 2020) <https://cw.ua.edu/66113/opinion/zoom-university-is-unhealthy-for-students/>.
6 ANU China Study Hubs’, Australian National University (Web Page, accessed 29 June 2022) <https://www. anu.edu.au/about/global-engagement/china-liaison-office/anu-china-study-hubs>.
Expectations VS Reality of Law School As A First Year StudentCharlotte Cheng
It is not Legally Blonde’ is what my friends and I all agreed on when we talked about whether our experience in law school so far meets our expectations. What a disappointment that us first years cannot actually defend someone in court... right?
Because of popular American movies and TV dramas like Legally Blonde, Suits and How To Get Away With Murder, I think the American law school scene pops up in our heads when most of us think of law school. The eristic and snobby students, the intense competition, professors cold calling students out and the glamour of pursuing a law career... While that may be the case in America, the reality is quite different in Australia. No one really dresses up to go to class, most of us are not cut-throat, and professors aren’t as scary as portrayed on television. I have to admit that it is kind of underwhelming- it really is just like studying any other degree... For starters, the myth that law students are extremely studious and do not have as much of a social life than students doing other degrees is completely untrue..
Especially at ANU, I feel that most people have a ‘work hard, play hard’ mindset. It’s reassuring to find that studying law
doesn’t mean sacrificing a social life. I will say though, it has been a bit tricky balancing both for me, especially in first year I think most of us are on the same boat, trying to make as many friends as we can.
Before starting university this semester, I thought I would be overwhelmed by the workload of a law degree as many of us have probably heard. Sure, I’m going to be honest, trying to meet the deadlines was stressful, but I definitely think it was my fault for not managing my time efficiently. I have to say that I was guilty of prioritizing my social life over my studies this semester. Like I said, I had set a goal for myself to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there as much as possible. I was cutting myself some slack academically because I knew it would add more stress to what was already a stressful situation: moving to a new city to start university where I knew absolutely no one.
I think that the workload is definitely manageable if you plan your time wisely and maybe cut down on the procrastination... But overall, I’m pleasantly surprised that the workload (at least so far) is not as bad as I feared it would be. Though I realise it’s probably too soon to say so... fingers crossed that I don’t jinx it.
To be completely honest, I was terrified that I would get cold called in lectures or tutorials and wouldn’t be able to answer the question, embarrassing myself in front of hundreds of students. I had the impression that law professors would be very solemn and have unachievably high expectations of us to have done all our readings and to understand all the content. However, the reality is that professors and tutors are incredibly nice and understanding. In fact, they actually welcome and encourage us to respond with ‘I don’t know’. I’m relieved to find that lectures and tutorial are not as scary as I imagined, and that lecturers and tutors do care about us and want us to perform well. In my experience, they’re always happy to help us.
Finally, I think most of us, especially first years, agree that imposter syndrome is very real among law students.
We all think that one another have it all figured out while we are struggling ourselves. Reading our cohort’s group chat, I realise that the truth is, no one really knows what they’re doing. We’re all just trying our best with what we have and we’re all figuring law school out.
So yes, I guess I am a bit disappointed that law school is nothing like on television. But I’m glad to say that I am enjoying it so far and the biggest takeaway from this semester for me is that balance takes effort but is key to thriving in law school, in university in general. Also, there is no right approach to law school, everyone are in different circumstances so we all have different goals, therefore I believe that there really is no point in comparing yourself with others.
At the end of the day, do what makes you feel fulfilled, take care of yourself because no degree is worth sacrificing your physical and mental health for!
INCARCERATION NATION: COMBATTING INSTITUTIONAL VIOLENCE IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY
Phoebe Tulk, Isabella Keith, Sarah Thompson
This article contains information regarding state violence against First Nations peoples.
At the beginning of semester one, the Law Reform Social Justice Indigenous Reconciliation Project hosted a screening of ‘Incarceration Nation’, a documentary written and directed by Dean Gibson, a Guugu Yimithirr man.
Incarceration Nation is a confronting and emotionally demanding documentary that exposes the continuation of colonial killings and institutional violence in the prison system. The documentary raises numerous factors which contribute to the perpetuation of violence against First Nations peoples, including the denial of First Nations governance and self-determination, the lack of recognition of First Nations sovereignty and the racist assumptions and stereotypes. The documentary incorporates evidence from individuals with lived experience with the prison system and harrowing testimonies of families who have lost loved ones to state violence. As this documentary is deeply distressing, it is primarily intended for non-First Nations people as an educational resource. Despite this, it is relevant to acknowledge that the film only “scrapes the surface of what [First Nations peoples’] reality is”. House mentions that the footage is relatively palatable when compared with the lived experiences of First Nations peoples.
The documentary highlights the problematic nature of characterising the incarceration
of First Nations peoples as being one of ‘over-representation’. Accepting such a narrative fails to recognise the intentional nature of the current colonial structures, which are achieving exactly what they are designed to do - to erase First Nations peoples. As Vicky Roach mentions during the film, addressing First Nations incarceration and deaths in custody does not require fixing the system, but rather dismantling it.
Following the screening, Lillian Ireland led a discussion with Professor Tom Calma AO, Magistrate Louise Taylor and Leah House regarding potential next steps to achieving justice for First Nations peoples. The panellists brought varying perspectives on what future action may look like, however, all agreed that it is crucial that First Nations self determination is at the heart of solving such injustice.
During the panel, the importance and effectiveness of reports as a mechanism to achieving systemic change was raised. There have been countless recommendations to address deaths in custody and colonial violence mentioned within these reports, such as the Indigenous Deaths in Custody.
Despite this, further reports and investigations are still being called for. As Magistrate Taylor said, “the answers are [already] there”. Furthermore, a woman from the audience suggested that the problem is not that there
are insufficient reports, rather there is so little action being done to implement the reports’ recommendations. It seems futile to continue creating reports if they are continuously ignored by the Government. This leads individuals to ask why these reports are not being taken seriously, and given that, what can we do to drive change when the Government appears unwilling to?
WHAT CAN I DO AS A LAW STUDENT?
In the Incarceration Nation documentary, lawyer and Indigenous advocate Teela Reid noted that “We need people to show up. Not just on the front line, but every day in their personal life and in their professional lives to dismantle these legacies of oppression.”
Indeed, these legacies of oppression are perpetuated by lawyers who fail to meaningfully engage with First Nations peoples’ experiences. All non-First Nations lawyers and law students have a role to play to step up and bring a conscious decision to dismantle these legacies into their everyday work and study.
The Incarceration Nation panel, in their discussion, also considered the endless reports and investigations the Australian Government does which don’t end in successful outcomes. Change to these oppressive structures will not happen overnight, and reliance on the government to ‘do something’ is unsatisfactory. We need top-down and bottom-up approaches in order to see real change.
The newly-elected Labor Government’s promised referendum on a constitutionally-entrenched First Nations Voice to Parliament, as requested in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, offers a distinct example of the necessity for bottom-up approaches and the responsibility that non-First Nations lawyers have. To date, there have only been eight successful referenda out of 44. Lawyers and law students, as people with legal knowledge, have a valuable role to play in educating the public during the referendum process on what a First Nations Voice would mean for Australia. As First Nations woman and UNSW Professor Megan Davis has said, “referendums are one occasion that Australians do want to hear the views of lawyers. And this is a serious responsibility for all of us.”
Professor Davis’ statements align with the “movement lawyering” theory, which “involves lawyers working to build the power of communities and movements by using a range of advocacy strategies, including litigation, policy advocacy, strategic use of media and political lobbying.” As law students, we can practise “movement lawyering” through realising our obligations to dismantle these legacies of oppression. Some of the ways that you can practise “movement lawyering” through your studies include:
Enrolling in Law Courses such as “Indigenous Australians and the Law”:
The ANU College of Law offers courses which you can take to further educate yourself on the law as it applies to Indigenous Australians,
and First Nations perspectives on law. “Indigenous Australians and the Law” (LAWS4238) is running in Semester 2 of this year, and you can enrol in it if you have completed Commonwealth Constitutional Law, International Law, and Property Law. “Legal Education for True Justice: Indigenous Perspectives and Deep Listening on Country” (LAWS4307/LAWS6307) ran in Semester 1 of this year and is an intensive course delivered in collaboration with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. It is worth reviewing the elective courses being run each year through the ANU College of Law’s “Course Search” page to make sure you do not miss any opportunities!
Researching First Nations Materials in Compulsory Courses:
If you are early on in your law degree and are not eligible to enrol in electives, or you do not have room in your degree to take some of the electives mentioned above, you can still incorporate First Nations perspectives into your compulsory courses. Many ANU College of Law courses touch on the experiences of Indigenous Australians as they relate to that particular field of law, but it is rarely the focal point of the course. Taking the time to educate yourself and explore additional resources that incorporate First Nations perspectives into your study will help to expand your understanding of that course.
Undertaking an Internship or Pro Bono Work:
As a law student at the ANU, there are various opportunities to intern and volunteer in the Indigenous Justice space.
ANU students can apply for the Kimberley Aboriginal Justice Internship (LAWS4230/ LAWS6230) to work as paralegals with the Kimberley Community Legal Clinic in Broome or Kununurra. You can also sign up to volunteer for the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS). As a practitioner, regardless of where you work, you can undertake pro bono opportunities either organised by your workplace, or by volunteering with the ALS or similar organisations outside of work. Many law firms now offer programs which facilitate their lawyers undertaking pro bono work for Indigenous clients and organisations.
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
The path forward is not directionless and the ways for non-Indigenous people to engage are numerous. Incarceration Nation is certain to be a conversation-starter, and we cannot let the dialogue fade to the background. The reality of the situation is beyond doubt life or death for Indigenous people in custody. Sharing the film furthers the deconstruction of the existing false narrative of Indigenous incarceration and increases recognition of the Indigenous experience at an individual, family, and community level. Incarceration Nation provides various steps non-Indigenous people can take as an individual.
Write to your Member of Parliament: Change the Record (changetherecord.org.au) has created a ready to send email template calling your local representative to take steps towards decarceration.
These include ending mandatory sentencing laws, removing custodial sentences for minor offences, raising the age of criminal responsibility, and investing in local family violence prevention and legal services to stop Indigenous women who have survived family violence from being forced into the criminal justice system.
Purchase directly from Indigneous creatives. Nungala Creative (nungalacreative.com) is an Indigenous owned ‘creative communications agency’ whose online shop includes clothing, jewellery, art prints, stickers and more. Clothing the Gaps (clothingthegaps. com.au) is an Aboriginal ‘social enterprise street wear label’ with various designs that are tagged as ‘Ally Friendly’ and ‘Mob Only’. Wurrumay Collective (wurrumaycollective.com) boasts candles, diffusers, bath and shower products, earrings, scrunchies, art, and much more. Jarin Street (jarinstreet.com.au) caters to all your gymwear needs, including apparel, yoga and exercise mats, and towels. Bush Metal Magic (bushmagicmetal.com) is the home for earrings, bracelets, rings, and necklaces. Haus of Dizzy (hausofdizzy.com) creates bold jewellery with political and social messages. If you can never get enough earrings, visit Bimbi Love (bimbilove.com.au) for wood jewellery that showcases an array of artforms.
‘Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray’ by Anita Heiss (2021), the story of a young girl, based on true events of the 1852 Gundagai flood. ‘Dropbear’ by Evelyn Araluen (2021), a mix of poetry and essays on our colonial history and battle for a decolonial future. ‘This All Come Back Now: An anthology of First Nations speculative fiction’, edited by Mykaela Saunders (2022), is a collection of speculative fiction from emerging Indigenous writers.
‘The Drover’s Wife’, directed by Leah Purcell (2022) is a postcolonial depiction of Henry Lawson’s 1892 short story, and is currently playing at cinemas Australia-wide (including the Dendy and Palace Cinemas in Canberra City). ‘Wrong Kind of Black,’ (2018) created by Boori Monty Pryor, is a short TV series based on Pryor’s life growing up in Melbourne in the 60s and 70s, and is available on Netflix. ‘Top End Wedding’, (2019) directed by Wayne Blair is a classic romantic comedy set in Darwin, and is also featured on Netflix.
Finally, Incarceration Nation is available to watch online for free at the SBS On Demand (https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/movie/ incarceration-nation/1930938947662). It will prompt you to create an SBS account, but you can instead easily log in with your Google or Facebook account. If you have a spare hour and a half, it is absolutely worth the watch.
“ Incarceration Nation reveals the racist systems that continue to harmpeopleIndigenous today. But systems are built by people. And we have the power to change them.”
slow, long moments stretching like old, worn jeans ready to tear, break, at any moment this is how it started, i suppose, but the tension was different, back then a tension of not knowing, not knowing each other, boundaries, not knowing not knowing not— and now, now, the tension is unsaid, unconfrontable it’s not knowing where it went wrong—
but! it didn’t go wrong! you protest! we’re all good ... no! i protest! look at all the things left unsaid ...
so many empty spaces (empty faces, like yours, like i wish mine was) does this sound right?
to me, it does, oh yes, strikes that ringing, singing bell, no, chord-in-my-head-like—
overdramatic, overthinking, over it under it around it there is no way around it should we talk?
there is nothing to talk about should we change?
there is nothing to change
so what nowwww?
me, whinging, nervous (it’s the only way i know) it’s fine, we’re fine (it’s not you, it’s me) (now, that’s a lie, oldest-mouldiest-worstest in the book)
i’ve got other friends anyway
The Love SunGrace Sun
What if the sun were made of love?
Raising our heads, we see a warm, open smile. We feel the envelop of a comforting hug, smell the aroma of our grandmother's apple pie, hear the laughs of our loved ones. And we know – just know – that we are loved. We are not alone.
Light and heat will not be lost, for love shines a magical light, illuminating even the darkest corners of our hearts and dreams, warming the coldest depths of our souls. The Love Sun lights, and keeps alight a constant flame of hope in every human heart, warming us, comforting us, encouraging us, all while it burns infinitely.
And you don’t need to worry about love. Don’t worry about who’ll love you, or how they’ll love you, or when you’ll find love. Love will be the most infinite and effortless presence in this world. Look for it in the tiny crevices of human nature, in the way rosebuds bloom, and in home cooked meals and the smiles of passing strangers. You’ll find it in your music and your jokes, and you’ll find it in the way you always return home for the holidays. Love is every “how are you going”, every “drive safely”, every “have you eaten yet”. Yes, love is all around you, in every moment, in every day, even without the Love Sun. But what the Love Sun will do is help these tiny, quotidian elements shine brighter, so that all around you glows a gleaming light of love. Friend, don’t you worry about love. It will meet you at your best; it will reach you at your worst. Love will always find you. And what impact will love have on cases of depression? Will it be a source of healing for those suffering? With more love to go around, hopefully we will be inspired and encouraged to love and care for others. To love and to be loved.
We are more human when we love. Even plants will grow stronger and healthier as they listen to the Love Sun’s whispers of “I love you” and sense the gentle caresses of the love rays – definitely not scientifically proven that speaking to a plant will help it grow.
But... will we really appreciate the love if it surrounds us all the time? What does love mean to us when there is no loneliness? Will we all begin to fear the dark, when the sun sets, and the constancy of love is lost?
Maybe we will occasionally forget to appreciate the love we have. We often don’t realise the value of something until we lose it. When we have it in abundance, we take it for granted. With a Love Sun, some may indeed begin to take love for granted, but at least everyone is given equal opportunity to attain happiness. And remember, happiness only truly settles in grateful hearts.
And when darkness settles in, as the sun leaves and the moon takes its place, when the flame of hope in our hearts begins to diminish, will we only learn to fear darkness, or will it be our chance to learn the value of love?
I say, the space it leaves is now our room to grow. Let its absence become its presence, and steal from the day what night has stolen from you...
Think of it this way:
The moon shows up every night, Yet the sun sets at its every sight. What’s this but unconditional love and light. Just wait and watch it happen again. Tonight.
With so much space in our hearts, I don’t think we can ever have too much love. Unless... the sun was not made of love, but instead, something we love. Then, our love could become obsessive and damaging. But with love shining down upon us every day, I hope those who otherwise are missing love are all able to see the bright smile of a loved one, feel the warming embrace of a lost one, smell the familiar laundry detergent of a forgotten one, and hear the laughs and loving whispers of the one. Whether we have deep wounds, grief or pangs of loneliness, the Love Sun shall heal us,
igniting our soul with an ever-burning flame of hope. It will teach us love, forgiveness, and compassion, healing us of wounds and karma, creating miracles. And when you heal yourself, you heal the world.
Love is the key to saving our world. Love is the highest form of revolt: when we love, we revolt against our fears, against our experiences, and against society and its rumours. Love for yourself, love for others, love for this world. Love is all there is.
If the sun were made of love, the condition of love would be so strong it holds all celestial objects in their heavenly positions, just as it wraps around us like a second skin, fuelling the flow of burning blood in our veins.
... look up you are not alone the sun loves you with all its grace.
LAUGH, PRONOUNCED ‘LAW’: A COLLECTION OF LEGAL JOKES
Second editionCallum Florance
Corps Law Student
OMG! Peppercorn readers, something amazing happened to me today!
>be corps law student
>in law library on campus
>dark winter night
>see fresh meat
>10/10 postgrad, beefy, brainy
>corps law textbook on their desk
>I ask for notes
>they bend over with glistening arms
>they pull out big notebook from backpack
>I see food
>smells so good
>they smile at me and I smile back
>they ask if I want a bite
>I can’t believe it
>my dreams coming true
>I giggle a bit
>I say yes
>they reach over to me
>I bite a chunk of their arm
>be a corpse law student
The Many Faces of Salomon
We all know Salomon the person was distinct from Salomon the member and director of A Salomon & Co Ltd...
But, did you know Salomon wore fake moustaches when acting as a director? Weird, hey? He also wore strange outfits during directors’ and shareholders’ meetings; a clown costume one day, a town mascot of a shrimp the next. Salomon even played tricks on the local townsfolk, wandering in and out of shops proclaiming to be different people and ordering things he’d never end up paying for. Reflecting on the separate legal personality doctrine, Salomon went too far.
AV Dicey the Gambler
They say AV Dicey had a knack for picking dice rolls. His fellow academics called him King of the Dice around Oxford, and The Diceman at the London School of Economics.
One day, a young law student challenged him:
“Professor Dicey, you can’t possibly predict every dice role. It’s supposed to be luck!”
“Of course I can,” Dicey scoffed.
The student took out a pair of dice and threw them at Dicey’s feet. Dicey perked up and threw himself to the ground, rolling about on the floor just like the dice. “Four and six,” Dicey called out, still rolling about on the floor.
Sure enough, the dice landed on four and six.
“By gosh,” the student said, dumbfounded. “How do you do that?”
“Well,” Dicey rose, dusting himself off. “When Dicey roll he control the dice roll.”
People know conversion experts as these spiritual people with a lot of love to give – converting people at their worst and giving them something new to believe in.
But, have you heard of these lesser known conversion experts? The ones that take things from you and promise to take care of them, but never end up returning them?
I certainly have...
Rodney the Conversion King of Canberra, if you’re reading this: it has been eight months now, please give me back my iPhone.
Maitland the Corporation SoleBuster
What do you call it when you are possessed by an evil ghost? Adverse possession.
What do you call it when you are possessed by an older ghost? Prior possession.
What do you call your possessed ghost’s name? Possessory title.
There are many stories about Maitland’s antics as a corporation sole catcher. He even owned a business called SoleBusters.
One holiday, Maitland drove his SoleBusters van to a haunted cabin, as he was told there was a corporation sole called the Director of National Parks haunting the bushland around the cabin. Arriving at the haunted cabin at night, Maitland unpacked his bags and decided to get a proper rest in the cabin’s comfortable, quilted bed. Whilst asleep, Maitland was startled awake by a presence nearby. He opened his eyes to see the Director floating above the bed.
Maitland pulled the quilt up to his chin and called out, “Please, I beg of you, do not hurt me!”
“Alright,” the Director responded, “I will make you a deal: I will leave you be if you can guess this riddle.”
Maitland paused for a moment, “Okay, but if I guess your riddle correctly, you have to guess my riddle correctly. If you don’t guess the correct answer to my riddle, you have to be wound up.”
The Director agreed, smirking: “When I die, my enemy blossoms; I both fall and obligate. What am I?”
Maitland thought for a moment. He scratched his chin, suddenly perking up with an answer: “Trust!”
The Director nodded, solemnly, “You are correct.”
Maitland smiled and sat up in the bed, asking “What do you call it when your friend makes your cordial stronger than you asked for?”
The Director paused for a moment, stuttering “I am not sure, a sweet surprise?”
Maitland smirked, saying “unjust enrichment”.
As the Director went to flee, Maitland stood up to reveal his SoleBusters uniform and sole catching pack. Maitland the SoleBuster was back in business.
High Court Justice Aptronyms
You may not know, but many High Court Justices have names that evoke attributes... This is one of the selection criteria for Justices to keep the public interested in the law. All law students are subliminally trained to know these attributes, but no one talks about it enough. Unfortunately, the one surviving list is hidden in a secret corridor of the High Court under lock and key, never to be revealed. Don’t worry though, I’m here to give you my best guess on what some of those attributes are:
Rich is wealthy, Knox is tough, Starke is barren, Webb is tricky, Fullagar is hungry, Kitto is sporty, Windeyer is breezy, Gibbs is sausage, Mason is handy, Aickin is sore, Brennan is Brendan, Toohey is drinky, Gaudron is squadron, Callinan is call a nan, Kirby is hitting curbs, Gummow is sticky, Hayne is hayyyyyy, Nettle is prickly, Bell is ring.
Law Student Latin Maxims
There is a crusty old book of law student Latin maxims in the ANU Law Library, which no one had touched for some time. After borrowing it, I came across a few interesting ones...
De jure readicio, de facto lecturatores – focus on readings for the law, and attend lectures for the facts
Nonintoxicatur non potest delegare – the delegated sober driver cannot appoint another
Fridgeat emptor – beware of an empty fridge in a stranger’s kitchen
Ignorantia facti excusat, non textus readreceipt sed textus nonreadreceipt – ignoring a text without read receipts may be an excuse, but ignoring a text with read receipts is not
Inclusio friendontripus est exclusion alterius
– including one friend on your trip away is the exclusion of another
Lex scholum reprobate moram non excusio – the law school doesn’t like it when you hand assignments in late without excuse
Mootus est evitandus – mooting is to be avoided
Nemo est gratum movum – Finding Nemo was a great movie
POLITICS AND SOCIETY
A TALE OF TWO ELECTION NIGHTS Anonymous
A couple of Oreo McFlurries melt on the coffee table in front of the television. The ice from the silos of Coca-Cola lay untouched, with water dripping down like tears. A voice breaks the stagnant silence – a man concedes an election everyone thought he would win. The sense of national humiliation hung heavy.
On the 18th May 2019, I had anticipated a victory. Hoping for a celebration, it had ended up feeling more like a poorly catered wake. When Morrison rose to the stage, standing before an enormous Australian flag, he looked like he might have been swallowed up in a sea of deep blue. “I have always believed in miracles” he had said. At least his came true.
Earlier this year on May 21, 2022, a different result arose. Morrison had been unceremoniously and unscrupulously dumped, with all the grace deserving of a piece of rotten fruit. The night began much like the one before. By 8:30 pm that very night the ABC declared that a new parliament had formed and the room for which a very similar election-party had been held erupted with hope and excitement.
There was a sense of euphoria in the air as this election meant something different. The cynics among us might say that we’re all young chardonnay socialists who can afford to be idealistic, tory-hating brats and that therefore of course we would delight in the violent overthrow of a conservative government. But I think it runs deeper than that. Sometimes we are lucky enough bear witness to something that we will actually remember. Sometimes the mood matches the moment.
The End and the Beginning – Why this Election Matters
Most elections pass through time like leaves down the gutter. Most are unnoteworthy, uninteresting and insignificant.
But every few decades or so, an election comes along which turns politics upside down, ushering in a new political-economic structure, changing the country in the process. In 1949 Australia voted down the nationalisation of the banks backed by the post-war Labor government and put the Liberal Party in office for the first time since its creation in 1944. In 1972, Australia voted for universal healthcare, equal pay for women and improved social services. In 1996, Australia voted for a home-grown middle-class populist, firing the gun on almost three decades of culture wars.
Each time, the people voted for a government that would define their future and determine the shape and the social fabric of the country in which they lived. Some were more important than others. Some were more enduring than others. But every time, they changed the country. The 2022 election is such a moment in our history. Behind all the noise, all the graphs and all the numbers are two crucial lessons which will come to define Australia’s new political-economic structure for this generation and the next.
Lesson 1. Bad Governments Lose (Eventually)
This should be obvious. But very recent political history suggests that even the most aimless, redundant and self-destructive regimes have the ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat just in time. In 2019, a government with little policy ambition and vision managed to defy the expectations of many. The result was palpable and shaped the manner in which the recent election was viewed. For example, on the night of the election where despite a clear 10-point lead, noone dared to call the election for the opposition.
Changing a government is never easy, but the recent election has proven that when the national body makes up its mind, results follow.
Good governments, even mediocre governments, seem to be frequently re-elected in Australia, despite their own self-destruction, think 1969, 1980, even 2010 and especially 2019. But the curtain falls on bad governments with all the grace and civility of a bloody guillotine. Even though the 2016-2019 parliament bore the brunt of an energy crisis, an election of Trump and humiliation of the passing of Medivac laws, there was little movement in the House of Representatives. The Australian body failed to move.
This time, Australia moved. As the country was set on fire in the Black Summer, bushfires, COVID-19 plagued the nation and #MeToo landed in Australia, the Morrison Government came to be defined by inaction, spite and spin. Whilst Morrison’s image was splayed in various photo-ops and blamegames were exercised to a phenomenal degree, the lack of accepting personal responsibility ended up being his Achille’s heel. The image finally cracked and the Australian people realised that he was nothing more than a parading adman papering over the cracks of a crumbling nation with a slogan.
If the ultimate test of good governance is vision and competence, the Morrison government was found wanting on both counts.
Lesson 2. Australia Divided
While the curtain fell hard on the Morrison Government, the national swing tells a slightly different story and a cautionary tale for the new government. The 2022 election demonstrated that safe seats cannot be depended upon. Much in the same way that it was revealed that the Emperor had no clothes, the Liberal Party was revealed to have no base.
The so-called “jewels in the Liberal crown” were firmly dislodged in every major capital city wherever there was a viable alternative, with the richest Australians now voting for Labor, the Teal Independents or the Greens. The Liberals lost every single seat on Sydney. The Treasurer even lost the seat of Kooyong in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs, once held by Robert Menzies himself.
The election of 2022 tells two stories. This time, it wasn’t the outer-suburbs and the regions that decided the election, but the inner-cities, something which hasn’t happened in Australia since 1972. Of the 10 seats that Labor won from the government, only one was outside of the capital cities. In Queensland, the state that delivered both Kevin Rudd and Scott Morrison victory in 2007 and 2019, Labor did not win a single seat. In Tasmania, the state with one of the most marginal seats in the country, the government achieved a swing towards it, almost winning the regional seat of Lyons from the Labor Party.
These results clearly demonstrate that the majority of voters crave a transparent and progressive government. Even in a country firmly divided by geography and class, the principles of democracy unite us. Voters are increasingly elastic, with the political and environmental upheaval of recent years triggering a sharp change in voting behaviour.
Despite the patchy nature of its victory, this election was a genuine cry for big, progressive government from a tired and jaded electorate. In 2022, those who profited the most from Howard’s neoliberal middle-class welfare state have now voted for the parties of social liberalism, social democracy and democratic socialism in the Teals, Labor and the Greens. Australians want their government to do the big things, to solve the big problems and to lead the nation into the future. They voted for parties who have made their reputation implementing those seemingly infeasible reforms which later become the pillars of our political-economic architecture. The history of the Labor Party suggests that this lesson will not be lost on the Albanese Government. It must show the people of Australia that that their government can work for them, if they only give it a chance.
Who Cares Wins
This said, in three years’ time there may be some spectacular catastrophe may envelop the new government and render them unelectable. Despite this, the Australian electorate is aware of the political and economic challenges they face in getting their government to act.
No doubt many articles like this will be written about the 2022 election. It will be interpreted and reinterpreted ad nauseum until 2025 and beyond. Many individuals will spend their professional lives working through its many mysteries, trying to found out what it all meant. But perhaps, nothing and no one can ever explain it better than the people who came to embody the result itself. I think the last word belongs to Monique Ryan, who in her victory speech, perhaps subconsciously, perfectly summarised the political moment which would bring her to the House of Representatives:
“Our government wasn’t listening to us. So we’ve changed the government ”.
‘HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE WHITE PEOPLE’ A Review:Georgette Mouawad
Most would not refer to conversations of racism as ‘funny’, but when Antoinette Lattouf confronts readers with the stark reality of a racist Australia and the statistics to prove it, what is there left to do but laugh?
Beneath a veneer of witty Arab catchphrases, Lattouf assembles a treacherous Australian landscape of racist institutions and friendships lost to perfidy. This is a landscape that is easy for one to lose themselves within unless they arm themselves with the tangible action items Lattouf collates in her book ‘How To Lose Friends and Influence White People’ (HTLFIWP).
Inherent to every chapter of HTLFIWP is the theme of Australia’s hypocrisy. Lattouf undermines Australia’s self-appointed title as a successful multicultural democracy by revealing the exhauswting burdens Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) are saddled with every day in white interactions. Though beautiful as an Australia that is “For those who’ve come across the seas” with “boundless plains to share”, this version of Australia is not real. Each chapter extracts the complexities of exclusionary diversity, fake friends and increasing cynicism consequent to an unrelenting system. Lattouf not only explores racial relations but optimistically concentrates on what one ought to do to champion equality by providing examples of successful allyship.
While many texts cater for audiences in need of accessible critical race theory content, Lattouf’s book is uniquely Australian and specific to the media industry. Lattouf does not lie to her readers in presenting her text as a one-stop-shop but celebrates diverse voices on race relations in the Australian context. While it has become routine for more privileged authors to regurgitate the labour of other BIPOC, Lattouf directs readers to prominent scholars. As a testimony to her complete faith and support of other BIPOC, Lattouf reminds readers of her privilege and does not conflate her experiences with that of every BIPOC. She talks openly of the fact that she faces completely different hardships to,
for example, First Nations people who face staggering incarcerations rates and concerning health prospects. Readers must own up to their privilege just as Lattouf has when she admits to the high socio-educational and socio-economic afforded to her young family or as she reflects on her privilege as a settler on stolen lands.
The author’s flow of information from personal stories to data infused academia informed a holistic understanding of an interconnected world where no nuanced scenario is ever truly devoid of objective wrong. In doing so, readers are forced to face the reality of modern Australia and take responsibility. In understanding how our beliefs and experiences interact with social issues at all levels, we can do nothing else but deconstruct our own contributions to racist constructs or refute the term ally. While some might become numb in the face of concerning statistics, we are given permission to take racism personally and fight it in ways that are productive. Readers who stick through the unsettling though honest depictions of Australia are rewarded with tasks one can find on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ page at the end of each chapter.
In HTLFIWP, Lattouf invites readers of all backgrounds to engage with gutty activism and some hard truths that the average Australian might struggle to digest. While Lattouf fully acknowledges that activism might come at the cost of friendships or family members’ ease, we can be assured that the outcome is worth it. After all, who shouldn’t want a less racist Australia? Lattouf’s challenge to readers is not only admirable but credible. For every instance she demands readers to act, she provides examples of when she, too, was forced to make difficult decisions. Her exploration of the fallout that followed her confrontations
with loved ones is likely familiar to many students in the digital age. In the age of information and infographics, ignorance is no longer an option for those in our classrooms. Yet, I can guarantee that all POC students can point to someone on campus who has engaged in inappropriate behaviour (yes, even those who have shared an infographic or two). Worse still, I can guarantee that all BIPOC students can name mutual friends of these racists who privately agreed with our condemnations and then did nothing to denounce said behaviour. For those of you who are too uncomfortable to stand up to your racist friends (or ‘friend who said something racist’ if that’s easier to swallow), I can only ask that you read Lattouf’s manifesto and action her instructions. If Lattouf can, you can too.
Not all value in HTLFWWP is derived from lessons to be learned, but the healing that comes with feeling heard. Never before had anyone captured the costs of not being Arab or white enough in an Australian context. The balancing act is near impossible when one aims to please their family, who often exist on the outskirts of white Australia, while striving to succeed in a community that is the antithesis of their values. To tear ourselves up for a white Australia is a betrayal to not only our heritage but to intersectionality. The idea of Australia that we concede to is one built without the sovereignty of First Nations people. Loyalty cannot be promised to a deceiving state- a country conceived of deception from the moment ‘terra nullius’ was first uttered. Moreover, readers who share a similar background to Lattouf and I should feel empowered. We are not to be compartmentalised. Lattouf’s personal story confirms that the facade of switching between acceptable personas fractures any chance of a genuine and fulfilled self. The dismissal of our mixed identity, as ‘Australian’ and ‘other’, should not and cannot degrade our self-identity.
MYANMAR COUPEmily Keane
Since Myanmar’s historic 2021 election, the nation has been held hostage through a hostile coup d’état by the Myanmar Military. Consequently, demonstrating an arbitrary abuse of power that even a year following the suppression of democracy, remains held in limbo. Myanmar, having held its first democratic, multi-party election back in 2015, offered an initially hopeful glance into the shift towards democracy within SouthEast Asia. This hope and its subsequent demise, however, in many ways demonstrates the failures and uncertainties international politics create in real-world scenarios.
Whilst it may be true to say that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has contributed significantly to the legitimising of SouthEast Asia within the modern political sphere, the failure to enact a concrete response to the Myanmar coup appears to demonstrate a fundamental weakness. ASEAN is significant in that it was established in 1967 with the key aim to advance the economic and social growth through collaboration with Southeast Asian nations, nations which had previously been overlooked in the international community. Within ASEAN’s goals, it lists both “non-interference in the internal affairs of one another” and “accelerating the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region”. Whilst individually these may seem admirable or applicable to cultural differences that remain prevalent in the region, it should be said that in the case of Myanmar, the two statements cannot coexist. In regard to economic growth, as a result of the coup in February 2021, Myanmar’s economy has significantly shrunk. Beyond inhibiting the nation’s growth, this factor presents a legitimate issue to the wellbeing of the people in the area. To allow for non-interference is to willingly become bystanders to tragedy. All this being said, the design of ASEAN is in itself still in the preliminary stages of bringing democracy and stability to Southeast Asia after enduring centuries of turbulence caused by harmful colonialist attitudes.
The organisation walks an impossible line of both attempting to guide nations to the future and, at the same time, trying not to alienate states from the process. In a 21st century Western context, much of the inability for ASEAN to act appears to be a failure of the organisation. This view neglects to consider the fact that progress of this kind is slow and taxing, especially for the people of Myanmar who remain vulnerable as no concrete action is taken. In every situation where this tragedy is examined, there are innocent people experiencing the ramifications of inaction from the international community.
The question then is how one can remedy the situation. To ask for Western involvement, whether through Australia, as a geographically close nation, the United Nations, an organisation with far more resources to facilitate democracy, or any other foreign actor, has both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, having more stable nations facilitating free and fair elections or providing aid to the people would allow citizens of Myanmar to have relief in the short term. The long term effects, however, present the risk that Western interference will lead to another form of colonial influence on these nations. The reality of the situation is that the long term consequences of this conflict, whether influenced by outside nations or not, remains uncertain.
What is certain is that the Western media has failed to continue coverage of the continuing situation. So long as tyrannical acts that suppress democracy and harm citizens exist and persist without criticism or comment, we have failed and become bystanders to tragedy.
The ongoing jump from news piece to news piece has rendered much of modern media to become a wall of white noise catering to the latest in global tragedy. What happens when the coverage dies down? We allow for tyranny to remain. The key takeaway in this scenario is to support causes that you believe in. The Instagram infographic has become sensationalised as a tool for misinformation - this ignores the fact that it is an approachable means to take the sharing of information into the hands of the people, people who care about issues past their time in the spotlight. Share news from reputable sources. Support news providers that cover issues you care about. Think critically about what news you access.
I Couldn’t Help But Wonder What Now?!Stella Slack
Not all people with uteruses are mothers and not all mothers have uteruses. The words woman and female are used throughout this article to capture the author’s personal connections and experiences.
The nature of Sex and the City in the early 2000s seemed novel beyond belief. For the first time in television history were the conversations of middle aged women surrounding relationships, sex and the inevitability of aging, set unabashedly against the backdrop of a perpetually youthful and energetic city. That is, New York, the city which never sleeps.
Yet, the four main characters always seemed to reside almost ‘above’ and somewhat incongruently with the reality of living in a 2004 New York borough. They lived solely in their predilected glamorous world, skipping from expensive bar to speakeasy to lavish bodegas near Fifth. Looking back now, it only really made sense for Miranda [the attorney] to be able afford this activity. This is in spite of her character written to be naturally against living beyond one’s means and the art of succumbing to the promise of success and luxury the city of New York offers. A promise which New York hastily makes with any traveller or resident of the city.
In spite of some of the inherent structural issues in the writing and the leniency with which the showrunners exhibited the characters’ evinced tropes of queerphobia or implicit racism, the fortuity of the show rested upon the distinctively female connections developed.
The bodega breakfasts were a homely base: a lovely return from Carries’ failed attempts to entrap Big or a recap of a wild Saturday night as recounted by the beloved, sex positive Sam (arguably the least problematic character on the show, bar her window pail incident). Indeed, the nature of Carrie’s sex column and the construction of the episodes to hinge upon and begin with the ‘I couldn’t help but wonder’, comfortably allowed for topics such as polygamy, interracial relationships and masturbation to be explicitly discussed and normalised in a non-judgemental and inclusive manner. This, prima facie, can be construed as starkly feminist. I willingly stand by the fact that Sex and the City has and will continue to be a blueprint for sincere connection and sexual liberation, albeit the blinking limitations and constraints posed by Hollywood strategy.
Therefore, it was only right that in the shocking overturn of Roe v Wade just weeks ago, I stumbled across and returned to the show; truly seeking comfort in the nostalgia and the distinct representation of adult female empowerment in an age gone past, against what is a universally shared modern experience of a very conservative, male narrative of American socio-politics.
This visceral ‘stripping of constitutional rights’ evinces sentiment elucidated in a hallmark Atwood novel, thereby irrevocably inking in history a court-enshrined penchant to question the bodily autonomy of American women.
For indeed, this ruling serves as blinking reminder of the bleeding, divisive effect the Trump administration had on the ensuant operability of American judicial review. Questions now emanating from Washington go directly to whether this shameful precedent has the ability to render chaos in recently progressive decisions, say the liberation of same-sex marriage or even more chaotically, the legality of birth control. At least presently, the federal judges who are seemingly so far removed from the practicalities of receiving an abortion by the very base fact that they are men, engender more power than that of the pregnant women themselves residing in the fortified Republican states most of which sport reserves of trigger abortion laws ready at the helm.
Considering this 2022 reality, I recognise the fact that the romance of Sex and City which has been a hearth away from a home, may over time unequivocally and irrevocably die. The disparity in experience of young women in the 2020s versus that of the female experience felt at the turn of the century, will I think become too chasmic for the show to be able to retain its untenable relevancy in feminist popular culture. That being said, I endeavoured to write this article because the show immutably pushed forward with a singular episode; that’s right, the episode of Carrie’s abortion, ‘Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda’ (S4, E11).
Within this episode, Carrie takes a definite step into adulthood, previously unimaginable to her character arc; a character arc predicated on overt frivolity and social climbing. Carrie was by no means perfect. However, by confessing her abortion [had at 22] to her beau Aidan, whilst drinking beer on the streets of Manhattan, we are able to witness a very human and intimate insight into Carrie’s acceptance of her penumbral past (that is, its not made apparent to viewers of the show). Of course, the episode runs due course by enabling Carrie to try and reconnect with the boyfriend she had the time of the abortion and her realisation (much to her shock) of the differing socio-economic statuses of their lives. However, there was still peace engendered in the fact that Carrie chooses not to broach the subject with the sought out past boyfriend and in this, we are met with a resounding representation of Carrie’s invocation of her right to privacy. An invocation of autonomy and confidentiality now no longer afforded to the women of 2022 America.
Here, Carrie’s story of abortion is both constructive and constructed. In complete contrast to this, it is overwhelmingly evident that the overturn of Roe v Wade can in no way be deemed constructive. Indeed, it was designed and constructed to be as pervasive and indiscriminate as possible. For the impact of this recent overturn will not be limited to just the lives of white female staffers populating Washington nor the elite lining the Upper East Side of New York. Rather, the ban on abortion will wreak most havoc on marginalised communities of low income, victims of rape or
domestic violence and women of colour residing in fortified Republican states.
This havoc will show up in the fact that abortions will continue to occur, though irregulated and because of this decision, dangerously. Women will, and have always found a way to survive. To these particular communities, rescinding the opportunity for an abortion would just epitomise another issue within the pastiche of concerns surrounding a general lack of accessibility to healthcare, a privilege which women celebrate and enjoy in Australia.
Ultimately the sentiment addressed earlier, of the disparity between Sex and the City and that of our current political reality, can actually be connected to the disparity in experience shared by the judges with that of half of American citizenry body. There is literally no possibility here for a viable excuse. It was a direct attack on the capability of all women to make decisions, a decision which is inherently life or death. And inevitably by extension, women of colour, as addressed in the preceding paragraph, will ultimately receive the harshest blow.
Reviewing the tome-like 213-page judgement, the decision hinged primarily on the connection between that of the U.S Constitution and the distinct act of abortion. Justice Alito explicitly states that in the fact that ‘the Constitution makes no direct reference to abortion’ renders the reliance on the Due Process Clause, a tactic employed by dissenters, inherently invalid.
For the Due Process clause in the 14th amendment reads as follows: nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law’.
The wide ambit of rights attached to this clause was duly minimised by Alito who scathingly iterates that while the 14th Amendment has in the past protected rights not included in the Constitution, those rights were ordained as ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history or tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty’. Something which the right to bodily autonomy for a woman apparently is not. For the 1973 decision to legalise abortion was not far enough in proximity for it to be rendered an entrenched and protected Constitutional right. Rather, the Court relied on an analysis that history within the original decision was ‘ignored’ and the evidence that most states had historically criminalised abortion was unfairly neglected by the 1973 bench.
Finally, for all the progressiveness which America has espoused and its general tendency to instil a protectionist sense of freedom within all aspects of its interventionist politics, this decision is and will continue to be downright regressive. The pervasive effect of populism seen within the Trump administration is evidently still capable of wreaking unforeseen havoc on American society and the rights of women. The question now is, where do we go from here? How do we continue to protect women’s right to choose? How do we fight? For despite the lack of reality which Sex and the City engendered within the show, one thing remains clear. We will find a way.
IN DISSENT: ANU ACADEMICS EDITION Callum Florance
The ‘In Dissent’ Peppercorn series explores buried dissenting opinions that deserve an honourable mention.
This special edition of ‘In Dissent’ contains contributions from valued members of the ANU Legal Community: our current academics. I asked what their favourite dissenting opinion is and why, including any quotes or sections.
After receiving these contributions, I was unsurprisingly forced to reflect on the importance of dissenting opinions as a means of countering a perceived injustice or flaw in the majority judgment’s legal reasoning. Dissent can often feel like a by-product of an archaic mode of thinking, but these contributions show how powerful they can be.
Professor Desmond Manderson is teaching Leviathan, Art, and Law: Constituting the Body Politic and Beyond Chaos in 2022.
In Chester v Waverley Municipal Council (1939), the majority decided that a mother could not claim nervous shock for witnessing the discovery of the drowned body of her seven-year-old son after he fell in an unfenced trench left by the council, which filled with heavy rain. In the words of Latham, “Death is not an infrequent event, and even violent and distressing deaths are not uncommon. It is, however, not a common experience of mankind that the spectacle, even of the sudden and distressing death of a child, produces any consequence of more than a temporary nature...” Evatt’s dissent is incandescent with rage.
His use of literature to make his case was unusual and compelling. His remarks drip with contempt for the arrogance and emotional immaturity of the majority. “So far as the argument rests upon the contention that no other parents would have suffered shock and illness from the ordeal undergone by Mrs. Chester, I think this is a mere assertion and is contradicted by all human experience. I think that only “the most indurate heart” could have gone through the experience without serious physical consequences.” Evatt’s dissent compelled the NSW Parliament to take immediate legislative action to overturn the principle established in the case; the decision was eventually overruled in Jaensch v Coffey (1984). Sometimes the effects of a dissent are slow and deep.
Associate Professor Ron Levy is teaching Australian Public Law, Commonwealth Constitutional Law, and Contemporary Issues in Constitutional Law in 2022 .
Kingswell v The Queen (1985) 159 CLR 264
In this case about the right to a jury for federal indicatable offences, the High Court reaffirmed that it is the Commonwealth Parliament itself that gets to decide the all-important question of which offences are considered ‘indictable’. Now, those who have heard from me in class may remember that I am a little wary of written-down rights; these often tend to backfire, and to diminish real-world rights, in places including the US that make extensive use of written rights. Nevertheless, I think that Deane J’s dissent in this case, in which he argued forcefully for a more robust protection of the right to a jury, is compelling
He looked deeply into the history of the common law to discern why it is that we have a jury system in the first place. And he made the very sensible point, in my view, that if the Constitution grants certain protections, then it should not be within the power of the Parliament to evade those guarantees by clever legislative drafting. Here is some of what Deane J had to say: The insertion of jury protections into the Constitution ‘reflected a deep-seated conviction of free men and women about the way in which justice should be administered’. The common law jury is a ‘bulwark against the tyranny of arbitrary punishment’. We should use this common law assumption, Magna Carta and the long history of criminal law in our system to interpret the jury provision (s 80) to protect the right to a jury.
Professor Jolyon Ford is teaching Torts, Business, Human Rights, and Corporate Responsibility, and International Commercial Arbitration in 2022.
My favourite dissent is Gleeson CJ in RTA v Dederer... Why? Both the majority (led by Gummow J) and the minority (Kirby J) engage in contrasting and persuasive attempts to rationalise what constituted ‘reasonable care’ in warnings or barriers by a public authority to kids known to jump regularly off a road bridge into a waterhole.
Yet Gleeson CJ does what I think a judge should do: step back, think clearly. His dissent was simple: if we are to avoid speculative appeal litigation, it is not the role of a final appeal court to second-guess what was ‘reasonable’ in breach of duty of care cases. Reasonable people can reasonably disagree on what is ‘reasonable’. This is unavoidable. In this way, to me Gleeson CJ best honours the legacy of Mason J in Wyong Shire Council v Shirt, our landmark breach of duty case.
IN LAW : AN INTERVIEW WITH PRUE BINDON
In Law is a series that features an interview with a member of the ANU legal community practicing law.
For this edition, I have the pleasure of interviewing Prue Bindon. Prue was a high-achieving ANU law student who won the University Medal in Law, became an associate to a High Court justice, and received a Bachelor of Civil Law from Oxford University. Prue had a decade-long career working in law firms in Australia and Hong Kong, including King & Wood Mallesons and Linklaters. Prue then joined the Bar in 2016 and mainly works on briefs for commercial, employment, industrial, discrimination, professional discipline, planning and administrative law across ACT, NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
Prue is currently an associate lecturer at the ANU law school, including teaching Commercial Law and Legal Framework of Regulation.
Q1: What do you credit as the reason why you decided to pursue a career in law?
Initially I studied Arts/Law because I wanted a good “generalist” degree. I had no idea whether I would want to become a lawyer. I had no family members who were lawyers and so no real insight into what it involved. Once I began studying law, I realised that I loved it and did want to be a lawyer. I particularly liked the focus on written English and problem-solving at law school – these have become the aspects of being a lawyer that I enjoy the most.
Q2: What was your law school experience like, and do you have any fond recollections of your time at law school?
Law school was wonderful and I can’t really think of any part of it that I didn’t like. I lived on campus and had the full ‘on-campus-student-life’ experience that makes it such an intense and exciting time of life. Fond memories are the terrible coffees and food dished up by the (in)famous “Caterinas” café (out the back of the law school), brutal Friday 8am legal history lectures in first year delivered by Professor Ian Holloway, using physical law reports from physical library shelves, and that feeling of finishing exams and heading over to the beer garden at University House – gold!
Q3: What opportunities would you recommend that law students should seek out, including ones that you experienced/wish you experienced in hindsight? I would definitely recommend seeking out opportunities for mooting and debating – I never did any of this when I was a law student, and in hindsight my entry into the world of being a barrister probably would have been smoother if I had done some! Even if you don’t know whether you’d be interested in advocacy, it is worth testing it out with mooting and debating while you’re a law student.
I also think that volunteering at a community legal centre is an essential thing to do, and again – I never did this when I was a law student and I wish I had done so. Of course, everything is a balancing act and one reason why I did not do many of these things was that I was busy enjoying College life and also waitressing to supplement my scholarship and put myself through university. These are also really valuable ‘life’ experiences and need to be factored in. I was completely financially independent while I was a university student and that also felt like a valuable achievement.
Q4: What law societies do you belong to, and what does participation in law societies contribute towards a career in law?
As a barrister, I am a member of Bar Associations (rather than Law Societies, which are generally for solicitors). I am a member of the ACT Bar Association and the NSW Bar Association. I also sit on the governing Council for the ACT Bar Association, which does valuable work in running the Bar in the ACT. I am the Chair of the ACT Bar Association’s Equal Employment Opportunity and we work specifically on diversity initiatives for the ACT Bar. I am also the immediate past president of the ACT Women Lawyers Association and still on that association’s policy sub-committee. Nationally, I am a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Equalising Opportunity Committee and we work on diversity initiatives for the benefit of the legal professional across Australia. All of this is unpaid and takes up your free time but it is so important to do. Firstly, it allows you to network with other members of the profession who you may not otherwise have occasion to meet or get to know (this is very important for broadening your perspective).
Secondly, it allows you to give back to the profession and contribute towards its continuous improvement. In my view, participating in this voluntary work in some way should be part of your duty as a lawyer, not simply optional.
Q5: How have you managed the inherent tension in the legal community between comradery and competition (i.e., placing the court above clients, and vying for positions whilst maintaining friendly connections with your fellow lawyers)?
This tension is perhaps most exquisitely demonstrated in the life of a barrister. By law, barristers are required to be sole traders and are technically all in competition with each other. By that I mean that we are all vying for briefs all of the time and so every other barrister is your competitor. Yet, barristers group together in ‘chambers’ as a means of sharing their operating expenses (rent, photocopiers, clerks etc) and in that sense we are (sort of) business partners, despite being competitors. On top of that, we are all expected to owe each other duties as part of our duties to the court and display highly evolved levels of collegiality! It really is quite a bizarre mix. I discovered the tension to be more theoretical than real when I realised that any barrister achieving good things tends to be good for the barristers around them, and that working respectively with an opponent almost always pays off in spades at a future point when you encounter them again. I can’t say this is necessarily true of working in a law firm, which has faded into a distant memory for me now...
Q6: What are some of your key takeaways from your experience working in law firms, including the best ways to succeed and thrive?
As I say, working in a law firm has started to fade into a distant memory! However, I distinctly recall that I was pretty miserable when I began working in law firms as a brand new lawyer. I tended to be afraid of everyone and felt very ‘out of control’ of my life and the work I was doing – like I didn’t really have a say in it. Then I took a break to be a judge’s associate and study overseas and then I made the decision to move to a law firm in Hong Kong. From that point, everything changed. Yes – I still had long hours and the pressure of partners and clients telling me what to do. But I learned to take things ‘by the horns’ a great deal more and carve out my own space and grow my confidence. Suddenly, I felt more empowered and less at the mercy of the hierarchy and discovered that I really enjoyed the work! I also made a decision to exploit every perk and benefit that the law firm was offering so that I was getting my ‘money’s worth’ from the firm as much as the firm was getting its ‘money’s worth’ from me: I went on all the ‘retreats’, I put my hand up for all the work trips, I organised fun client events (that I particularly wanted to do!), I ordered all the free dinners, I went to all the free seminars and lunches, I used the fancy gym membership and all of the expensive health insurance extras! It sounds a bit exploitative but honestly it changed my whole experience of being in a law firm – and all I had done to bring that about was to adopt a different mindset and outlook. So, I would encourage all lawyers to work on their outlook and mindset from the very beginning, and not wait until years down the track as I did. It can’t necessarily solve the fact of long hours and difficult partners or clients, but it can change how you feel about, and what you get from, those less desirable parts of being a lawyer.
Q7: You have worked across many common law jurisdictions: how does that experience benefit your career in law?
As a lawyer, I have worked in Australia and Hong Kong and I would highly recommend experiencing more than one common law jurisdiction. The great benefit of it is that it encourages you to go ‘back to the basics’ of common law doctrine and to recall the origins of legal principles which you may not have thought about since you sat through first year contracts! Even if the local common law has developed in a different direction than Australian common law, understanding the points of difference or departure deepens your understanding of the common law in both jurisdictions.
Q8: Why did you want to take the leap into becoming a barrister, and were there any challenges you faced in making that transition?
I had wanted to go to the Bar for a long time before I actually went – I felt that I needed to have some money behind me and the early years of child rearing out of the way (my youngest was age 3 when I went to the Bar). Going to the Bar requires a leap of faith and that is a challenge – you have no guarantee of any income, no paid leave, and no certainty of getting any work! In the lead up, you also have to spend many hours studying for the Bar exams and then doing the Bar Readers course in Sydney (for one month, and you’re not permitted to work while you do it). So, it does require a fair bit of ‘life’ organisation or planning, especially if you have children to care for and financial commitments that you need to be able to continue to meet despite not having any income for a while.
All of that can be a bit daunting, but I would encourage anyone interested in being a barrister to look beyond the daunting aspects of it, as it all ‘works itself out’ faster than you can imagine.
Q9: You have maintained a connection with the academic world: should lawyers continue to participate in academia beyond law school? Only if they want to! I think it is an excellent thing to do, and I have always done it because I enjoy the interaction with students (which is a two way, not one way, learning experience). Every year, I learn something new from teaching – even if I am teaching the same course that I have taught for many years. Students tend to come at things with a fresh mindset and I find that very enlightening. It is also a good way, as a practitioner, to keep refreshing your memory on core principles and cases – these can easily be forgotten once you are a practicing lawyer as there is so much about being a lawyer that is not actually “law”!
Q10: If you could change one thing about the Australian legal community as it operates today, what would it be and why?
That is a tough question – as there are so many aspects to the Australian legal community. I don’t think I could narrow it down to one thing. Three issues that I currently see as particularly pressing include: eliminating sexual harassment and bullying in the legal profession, improving the structural and systemic issues in our legal system that perpetuate disadvantage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and improving the transparency of judicial appointments (especially at the Federal level).
Peppercorn is grateful to the following artists and photographers who made their work available to publication on the following pages:
Alessandro Sacchi: 2, 23
Daniel Morton: 5, 51
Harry Burk: 8, Egor Myznik: 12
Pawel Czerwinski: 13-14, 37-38, 49-50
Dwi Agus Prasetiyo: 24
Lara Milton: 27, 32
Luis Dalvan: 41
Andy Wang: 46
The British Library Image database: 3-4, 17-18, 19-20, 33, 35-36, 39-40
The State Library of Victoria Image database: 10
McGill Library Image database: 47
“A peppercorn does not cease to be good consideration if it is established that the promisee does not like pepper and will throw away the corn”.
- Chappell & Co Ltd v Nestle Co Ltd ( AC 87)