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PURELY DICTA 2009 Vol. 2 Sept/Oct

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE YOUTH OF OUR GENERATION Travel: Europe extravaganza A tribute to Michael JacKSon: KING OF POP Eat Drink Melbourne

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... and another thing from the editorettes

It’s September going into October as we write this, and Melbourne is at its bloomin’ best. Well, no, not really, but any prospect of relief from the inevitable dreary gloominess that is Melbourne winter is a legitimate topic of conversation. Speaking of legitimate, we’re pretty sure that most of the parental-guidancerecommended content in our beloved magazine toes the precarious border between legal (by legal we mean accurate) and not-so-much: sweeping generalisations are rife, as are unsubstantiated claims about nearly everything that is wrong with the world. But to take those articles out of this publication would be to suppress the voice of the law students, the most opinionated of them all! In spite of the splendidly naff styles of our peers, we still feel blessed to have discovered the treasure trove of the talent that we always knew existed in the Law School, and our articles this edition reflect this delightful find. From an ‘Open letter to the youth of our generation’ in the style of a young Hunter S. Thompson (of ‘Fear and loathing in Las Vegas’ fame) to insightful commentaries on the everyday dilemmas plaguing our student lives - the seasonal clerkship mania, the overbearing (or not) presence of the LSS, the fear of leaving the university incubator - to a sensitive tribute to the late King of Pop Michael Jackson, we are pants-off impressed by every one of our contributors. Mad props! This edition has been organised into neat sections, much like the OCD-ly arranged class notes of some individuals among us: current affairs, student life, features, eat drink melbourne, travel, and ‘life outside the law school’, a scary name for a not-too-scary poke into what curious events and curiouser people could lie ahead for us post Law School. We do so hope Purely Dicta presents some sort of solace in the idea that You Are Not Alone, and uni life will always be with you, in the form of punchy reminders of your youth in a collectable goofy magazine.

Maria & Taruna FRONT AND BACK COVER Front and back cover art is ‘Bella’ by Frankie Barbour; inside front cover art is by Mary Shamaly Both works were entries into the LSS Art Competition 2009, we’d like to thank both Frankie and Mary for the permission to reproduce their works in Purely Dicta. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We would like to thank all our contributors without whom this edition would be, well, blank and boring. Thank yew to Tarang Chawla, Trina Malone, Matthew Taylor, Rahul Thyagarajan, Julian Cleary, Su-Vien Tan, Mali Cornish, John Hall, Delphine Tan, Harry Hookey, Daniel Kinsey, Ashley Goldberg, Meng He, Qiao-Lin Cheong, Madeleine Karipidis, Daniel Coombes, Preethi Vergis, Vince Chadwick and Sarah Capper. Additional thanks to our fellow LLS members who have supplied us with software, support and gentle supervision throughout the gestation of this publication. Disclaimer: All the opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual contributor/s and do not reflect the views of the LSS, its sponsors or the University of Melbourne.


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CONTENTS PURELY DICTA EDITORS 2009 Maria Shi and Taruna Arora Purely Dicta welcomes submissions from all law students studying at the University of Melbourne, please contact the Eds at


4 An artist in his own skin: Michael Jackson tribute 7 Is Kyle’s on-air blunder a symptom of a greater social ill? FEATURES

P 18 Matthew Taylor’s Letter to the Youth of Our Generation


8 A student’s life for me (forever) 10 The David Copperfield Project 11 HAUTE CULTURE 12 Melchior Wankowicz’s oral law exam 14 Is it cool to hate the LSS? 16 The Seasonal Clerkship Application Mania (SCAM): the truth


18 Matthew Taylor’s Open Letter to the Youth of Our Generation 20 Julian Cleary’s experience at the Aurora Project Intership 24 Su-Vien Tan explores homelessness in Melbourne TRAVEL

34 Absinthe, didn’t your mother tell you not to play with fire? 36 Meng’s euroblog on Italy 38 What they don’t tell you about Europe 40 Much ado about nothing in Malaysia EAT DRINK MELBOURNE

26 Breakfast reviews 28 Pizza wars on Brunswick Street 30 A definitive guide to coffee around Law School

42 40 days of global activism 44 A different kind of traineeship with Fitzroy Legal Centre

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An artist in his own skin: How In November 1982, Epic Records released Thriller by Michael Jackson. The rest, as they say, is history. Thriller remains the highest selling album of all time with in excess of 110 million copies sold worldwide. Yet finding his feet atop the music world for Jackson was not nearly as straightforward as he made the moonwalk look. Following his death on June 25 earlier this year, we are reminded of the media scan-

dal that has long surrounded him. That doesn’t concern us. Tarang Chawla uncovers how Michael, through tireless dedication and perseverance, honed his inner instincts to shake away his child-star status to be regarded as an artist in his own skin.

Encino, California (early 1981) Michael Jackson is in his home studio recording the follow-up album to his acclaimed breakthrough Off The Wall. Whilst recording “Billie Jean”, Jackson leans into the microphone, his left-hand clutching the monitor headphones to his ears, his right pointing to the console as he instructs, “More kick and stuff in the ‘phones … I need … uh, more bottom and kick in the ‘phones”. The bass was not sounding right for twenty-two year old Michael, who was adamant that he couldn’t make the same mistakes as he did on his debut. Yet by this point in his career Jackson was already hot property in the music business. He had enormous success with the Jackson 5 under his belt and only three years earlier Off The Wall received immense critical recognition. Rolling Stone praised Jackson’s newfound vocal and melodic maturity and likened his transition into a slick, sophisticated R&B musician to maestro Stevie Wonder. Melody Maker wrote that at the time Jackson was “probably the best singer in the world in terms of style and technique.” Fans were similarly giddy with excitement. Biographer and longtime friend of Jackson, J. Randy Taraborrelli recalls that fans had not heard Michael sing with such joy and abandon since the early Jackson 5 days.


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Michael Jackson became the Thriller The album won Jackson a Grammy in 1980 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (for “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”). Rolling Stone were of the opinion that his breathless, dreamy stutter and daringly used falsetto made the track undeniably sexy. Michael Jackson cemented himself as a blindingly gifted vocalist among critics. To date, worldwide sales of Off The Wall exceed 20 million and the album went 7 times Multi-Platinum in the US. Yet despite its commercial success, Jackson was disappointed and felt he was yet to fully prove himself. Ironically Michael’s history with the Jackson 5 was partly to blame. Jackson achieved fame early, he was five years old when he began performing and by his ninth birthday, his father had signed him and his brothers to Motown Records. As part of the Jackson 5, Michael had little involvement in the song-writing process. Although the child prodigy sang with genuine emotion the lyrics he sang were often not his own. It has been written elsewhere that Jackson eagerly wanted to understand the “anatomy” of music. Taraborrelli thinks it was an obsession for Jackson – ‘he needed to know what made music “tick”, how it “worked”’. But what did understanding music’s anatomy mean for young Michael? Jackson spent hours alone listening to the great composers or quietly watching on as masters worked. The sounds of Tchaikovsky became his night companion, while the daytime was spent closely observing Stevie Wonder recording Songs In The Key Of Life. The effect of Jackson’s obsession was profound, patiently waiting to claim the throne. He mastered his own method of creating music. He would beat-box rhythms into a tape recorder, layering percussion and melodies one over the

other. Clips on the Internet show Jackson’s commitment to the song-writing process, tinkering with a sound until it was just right, until it gave him goosebumps and he knew he was onto something special. When following his natural rhythms, Jackson wrote dazzlingly infectious music – “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” was penned after he hummed the tune in the kitchen. Such became Jackson’s immersion in his art that once he was working on the bass line to “Billie Jean” in the back of his car without realising that the rear of it had caught on fire. Jackson worked on perfected his dance steps too. He was inspired by the energy of James Brown and the grace of Fred Astaire, who in the twilight of his career referred to Jackson as “the most wonderful mover he had seen”. Jackson’s choreographed routines were only enhanced by his spontaneity — the internal rhythms he channelled to craft his songs helped make him a natural dancer. Michael did not hesitate to look for guidance when he needed it. Quincy Jones, co-producer on Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad was a large contributor to Jackson’s success as an artist. In many respects, Jones was the father figure Jackson had longed for, however one man is often omitted from the Michael Jackson story. That man is Bruce Swedien — a mild-mannered, warm and friendly Scandinavian fellow with a round frame and bold moustache; Swedien had more than just an ear for sound. He had synaesthesia, a rare genetic condition that prompted him to recognise musical sounds as a flurry of colours in his brain. He knew when something was good because he would “see the right colours”. Naturally Jackson loved working with him.

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PURELY DICTA CURRENT AFFAIRS Swedien is due to release a book titled In The Studio With Michael Jackson in the near future. In it he elucidates how Jackson recorded in complete darkness, always dancing as he sang and then moving away from the microphone, only to return at the precise moment to utter the next note. In their time together, Swedien recalls that Jackson never once sang with sheets — the lyrics were committed to memory and he had an uncanny ability of nailing vocals in one-take. The pair trusted in one another’s natural ability. So in the studio when Jackson asked for more bottom and kick to help make his track stick, Swedien went to work to give Michael exactly what he wanted. He devised a special zippered enclosure to house the microphone connected to the bass drum. To make that distinctive throbbing all the more recognisable, Swedien elevated the drum kit from the floor. Precisely eight inches. A homemade plywood deck, sans varnish not because there wasn’t some lying around, but because Michael and Swedien realised that without any extra coating on the timber, the drum was dampened just the right amount. They added the bass guitar — that bass line — and what started as layers of percussion and melodies in Jackson’s head became the track that changed the course of music history. “Billie Jean” paved the way for black artists on MTV and Michael Jackson the artist had finally emerged. Stating the numbers here is not my purpose — the unparalleled album sales that followed, the amount of television airtime, sold-out concerts, awards won and records bro


ken — as much as these facts matter Michael’s genuine feats came from a more pristine temperament. In an unguarded interview he gave to Jet in the 1990s, Michael told then editor Robert E. Johnson: “Deep inside I feel that this world we live in is really a big, huge, monumental symphonic orchestra. I believe that in its primordial form all of creation is sound and that it’s not just random sound, that it’s music.” At his most comfortable when pushing the boundaries of creativity with his mind alive and spirits high, Michael Jackson found a way to make music feel like magic.

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By Trina Malone


was no real moral story to be told to the people, searching for and no one is intending on leaving the colthe words as osseum. There is still a profit to be made in I read the the currency of meanness and it will continue now infa- (though perhaps with a little less flair than mous quote Kyle gave to it). offered by Kyle Sanders to a 14-year old girl who had experienced rape. I knew there was In a different era we might have been apa reason beyond my feeling that commercial palled at Gordon Ramsey’s flagrant abuse talkback radio was like a hamster on a wheel of his no-doubt underpaid staff; or felt un- never going anywhere and with a pretty comfortable when we heard Ian ‘Dicko’ Dicklow IQ; and a reason that I son taunt a clearly socially avoided it like the bubonic marginalised, if not slightly plague. “[Kyle and Jackie O] are the mentally ill, contestant who product of a ‘Big Brother’ had probably opened one of The reason for my avoidthose Reagan-esque style ance is that radio is, in all era, in which we have con- ‘Power Within’ books and the simplicity that language fused the virtues of honesty decided to take the phrase, can offer, that it is simply ‘you have the power to do mean. It reinforces a cul- and truthful with simply anything you want’ a litture of meanness in soci- turning off the frontal lobe.” tle too seriously. Today the ety, that like so many other mockery of those people is maladies, has no definitive what we savour most; and according to the start point but you can feel it lingering in ask and thou shalt receive principle, this is the electrical currents of modern technology, only perpetuated by us. seeping into your thinking. But out of the whole debacle, what I enjoyed In all fairness, it was not entirely Kyle and most was a quote by a children’s counsellor Jackie O’s fault. They are the product of a that suggested Kyle and Jackie O should be ‘Big Brother’ era, in which we have confused given ‘sensitivity training’, as if human dethe virtues of honesty and truthfulness, with cency has suddenly become a difficult consimply turning off the frontal lobe and letting cept for somebody on a million dollar a year it rip (read: sweeping statements that start contract to grasp. with “it’s not that I’m racist but…”). And in a way, I suppose it has. Kyle and Jackie O’s short-lived banishment (after serving 40 days in the commercial desert, they are being reintegrated back into society) is reminiscent of the foot stamping of the crowds of the colosseum, who have turned on a once favoured gladiator. There is

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The Student Experience

by Mali Cornish

Student life is one of those

things that, like our parents, we are told we will one day look back on with affection. In this distant future, there is little doubt that law school will appear in reminiscences as a golden age, a time when life was complicated only by the arbitrary whims of student centre staff and the often terrifying service at Porta Via. My father constantly tells me to appreciate the law school experience more, that when I am in my mid-forties burdened by children and mortgage repayments, I will ache for the days when I subsisted almost exclusively on coffee and the the mercy of my lecturers, real estate agent, and housemates. My concern is that, with the introduction of the Melbourne JD (and thus a minimum study period of 6 years) many of us (myself included) are having too much of a good thing. Perhaps as perpetual students, living in state of arrested development, we are dragging out what should be a relatively brief period or exaggerated poverty and government dependence for too long. Arguably, the typical student time-line goes something like this: During first year students attend classes regularly. They go out a lot. They drink a lot. They do not learn the course materials.


They attempt to compensate, both in essays and exams with the use of elaborate prose, the rationale being that the bored PhD student marking their work will be so overwhelmed by their description of a particular historical figure or political movement that they will fail to realise the French Revolution did not

“ Another issue with being at university for too long is the one can suddenly find oneself acting the caricature of a mature aged student without even a hint of irony.” in fact occur in 1917 and that President Bartlet’s handling of the situation in the Middle East, while pragmatic and skilful, was ultimately not real. The enthusiasm for ‘winging it’ during the assessment period, making out with inappropriate people and drinking cask wine has usually diminished somewhat by second year. By third year, students are usually well and truly done with the local scene and instead saving up to do the same sort of thing overseas. The difficulty with coming from a three year degree (plus potential honours) into the Melbourne

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JD is that students have already had the full ‘student lifestyle’ experience. The only thing left to do it to repeat it. This is problematic for a number of reasons. Perhaps most importantly, as you grow older, friends, family and bosses are less inclined to forgive you for the crazy drunken hijinxs which see you turn up late (or not at all) for events, having spent the previous night consuming embarrassing drinks, revealing inappropriate crushes and being convinced to do stupid and ultimately humiliating things. As you move into your twenties, having big nights, particularly on Wednesdays and Thursdays, becomes a little sad. There are also only so many years in which you can work menial, tedious and ultimately humiliating part-time jobs before you begin to identify closely with the bitter administrative staff who hold court in some of the more frequented areas of the university. Being forced to interact with the general public (particularly a general public that is unwilling to end a phone conversation or take out an ear phone to acknowledge your existence) gradually becomes extremely emotionally taxing. This can lead

PURELY DICTA STUDENT LIFE to displays of extraordinary pettiness. I can personally vouch for this, having take delight in inflexibly exercising my employer’s refund policy when a customer accidentally purchased the wrong product (to the value of $6.90). Another issue with being at university for too long is the one can suddenly find oneself acting the caricature of a mature aged student without even a hint of irony. This may include but is not limited to: delivering impromptu lectures during class on your Honours thesis subject; wearing leggings coupled with sensible shoes and thick rimmed spectacles; holding opinions on everything (and expressing them with vigour). Parental, indeed, familial respect in general, also tends to diminish with the number of years spent studying. When you are 24 and can only respond to ‘what are you doing with your life?’ with ‘still studying’, your stock (as the child to brag about to friends and neighbours) tends to plummet. Loved ones become suspicious about your prolonged interest in academia, and concerned that you may decide to become (gulp) an academic. Consequently, they begin to suggest alternate career paths, such as an electrician’s apprentice or miner. That said, there are some advantages to having been at university for so long. Amongst the lessons I have learned, the most important have included: • You are unlikely to enjoy a reasoned political debate with ANYONE from the Socialist

• •

• •

Alternative or Socialist Alliance. It is inadvisable to join either of these student organisations unless your immediate life goals include being heckled in the Bourke St Mall and having no friends outside of the ‘delusional hippy’ demographic. The people that put the most effort into sounding smart are often the stupidest. A similar argument can be made for those that are most vocal in class. Arguing with the lecturer is generally more indicative of agenda pushing, narcissism or an inferiority complex than actual brain power. At college, relationships are all about proximity and ease of access. Your lecturer/student centre staff/uni counsellor has already heard every possible excuse under the sun for late submission of work or failure of assessment. The best that you can hope is that by refreshing the details, you give your reason a veneer of authenticity. I have been informed by male friends that ‘I am questioning my sexuality’ tends to be the most effective for them. For women, stick with the classics: pregnancy and eating disorders. Your boss will only buy the ‘I have the flu’ excuse on a Friday morning twice before you stop getting offered shifts. When members of the PIRATES society feel entitled to make jokes about your drinking, it is time to assume the role of ‘sober friend’ for a while. The essays/pracs/exams you put the least amount of ef-

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fort into will inevitably be the ones that you receive the best results for. • The people that indiscriminately criticise right wing politicians, the United States and chain stores are often just as dangerous as members of the Young Liberal Party because they have an added assumption of intellectual superiority. At some stage in life it must be accepted that just because a person has an opinion that is different to yours does not (unfortunately) mean that they are stupid, or uninformed. Indeed, there are many people in the world that are intelligent, well informed and impeccably researched and yet still absolute pricks. 9


The David Copperfield Project by John Hall and Delphine Tan A post-modern expression of the struggle and torment faced by young lawyers as they search for meaning in an increasingly corporatized and competitive world devoid of all humanity.

Act IV – The Secret The pirate rated Essvee a 6.5 out of 10 on her physical appearance at Cho Gao in Melbourne Central. Little did he know he was just judging her pastry. He assumed within the pastry Act I – The Shepherd was lamb or some other cut of meat. Or at the “I like you less, okay? Officially less,” Essvee very least, low quality minced meat. But he said as she gazed off knowingly into the dis- was wrong. tance. In the distance was a shepherd baking a pie. It was not a shepherds’ pie however. It Act V - The Ship was a simple meat pie. The meat was lamb. The The pirate took Essvee on his ship. He had lamb was once part of his flock, and was now problems with depth perception because he part of his pie. Such was Essvee’s life. It was wore an eye patch. Essvee didn’t mind the eye akin to a pie; pastry on the outside with a meat patch. In fact, she found it endearing. It exand gravy filling. cited her. The pirate had his fun while it lasted. The eye patch caused their death when he misAct II- The Pastry judged the distance of an iceberg. He was sure The pastry concealed what was within. It was they were well clear of it. As the ship sunk, Esthe beautiful buttery crust that melted in your svee uttered “I like you less, okay? Officially mouth, hiding the poison filling; the poison less.” meaty core. And everyday, Essvee would coat herself in egg wash to give herself a glazed apPoison Meat Pie Recipe pearance. Some Meat Act III– The Filling Some Pastry Her filling was poison. In fact, it wasn’t even Poison real meat. It was old newspapers soaked in whisky and rum. And boy was it sweet rum. 1. Add poison to meat. Combine well. Sweet…sweet… rum. 2. Wrap poison meat up with pastry. 3. Bake for 21 years. Intermission – 20 minutes 10

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Haute Culture

by Harry Hookey

Culture is the art of seeming. The following 10 steps are a guide to seeming and seeming well. 1. VOCABULARY. Culture is largely the shit you say. A good vocabulary is important. This will take some practice and a thesaurus is crucial. I.e. “Culture is inherently comprised of the words that one uses. A handsome vocabulary is indispensable. This will take diligence on the part of those engaging in cultural betterment and to this end, a thesaurus is the utmost essential means.” 2. $ IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY $ When dealing with most consumables, food, wine, prostitutes, price is your best guide. I.e. The more you pay for a bottle of wine, the more cultured you will seem drinking it. There are a number of exceptions to this rule. Exhaustive list is as follows: • Books about how to get cultured. • Inflatable objects of any variety. • Tattoos. • T-shirts that say any variation of “I’m with stupid”. • Do it yourself guides. 3. FORBIDDEN FRUITS. You may not like any of the following. If you do, you treat it as if it was an addiction to pornography. I.e. Look but no tell. • Professional Wrestling. • Country music. • Music from any artist during their “born again” phase. • America. 4. QUENTIN TARANTINO AND THE PAST MASTERS. You must see all Quentin Tarantino films. You must hate or like, but never love. AND ALWAYS hold him to his earlier work (i.e. compare everything to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction). This PAST MASTERS RULE applies to Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Robert De Niro, and especially Woody Allen.

did you, like me, find they were no patch on the National Gallery of Prague?” • “Do you follow politics?” into “Who’s your tip for the Presidential race in Slovenia because I’m feeling a really pro Danilo Türk vibe at the moment. Who’d have thought someone like me wouldn’t be a Borut Pahor man?!” As you may be aware, the answers to these questions are not as important as the questions themselves. A cultured question has no answer. 6. COMIC SANS IS EVIL. This is the most important rule of all. Comic Sans is OUT OF BOUNDS. Like Voldemort in Harry Potter. 7. THE PREFERENTIAL RULE. Things may be good, but there is always something better out there. Culture is about raising the stakes. If someone says they loved New York in the winter, you say it’s not a patch on New York in the spring. If they say they found Administrative Law hard, you say it looks easy when you’re studying Advanced Tax. If they say that helping needy African children is a worthy cause, you say that aid to the children of East Timor is a more worthy cause. You get the picture. 8. PARIS, FRANCE. You love nothing more than Paris. When you are not in Paris, you want to be. You pine for Paris. If you haven’t gone to Paris, you lament never having been. Paris is the root of all culture plain and simple. Don’t complain to me, it’s not my fault. If you can’t dig it, go to Queensland.

5. QUESTIONS. General questions are easy tells that one is not cultured. The more specific the question, the more cultured you will seem. Examples: • “What’s you favourite film?” into “What’s your favourite Fellini film?” • “Did you go to any museums when you were overseas?” into “Did you go to the Musée D’Orsay or Le Louvre, and

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9. TRAPPINGS OF WOE. Clothing is an essential projection of one’s culture. The general rule is, if it is comfortable and it fits well, then it is OUT. Fashion is about pain. Again, this is a lesson in culture, not living well. Non-functional skinny scarves are also good. 10. VOLUNTEERISM IS SO PASSÉ. Never volunteer for anything. You’ll never get anywhere saying yes. Passive is the new active. Stay aloof at all costs. 11



From Melchior Wańkowicz, This Way and That (Tędy i Owędy) (1961), translated into English by Daniel Kinsey

I scrambled into Warsaw’s Temple of Themida, hm… how should I say this… somewhat through the kitchen. I arrived for Spring 1922 to pass what would be my almost final law exams, ‘almost’ because I had left the last, but greatest, obstacle for autumn: the exam for the long and boring subject of civil procedure, requiring huge amounts of memorising. Every time (sitting at my brother’s in the Poznanskiem county, where I was cramming) I glanced at those seven hundred pages of text, I grew cold, but I cheered myself that over the course of the three months of summer I would wade through them. For now, I had to pass lighter examinations, amongst them criminal law with Professor Makowski. Standing fourth in the queue in front of the door of his study, I saw that in the queue on the other side of the corridor their stood already only one final student. ‘What exam is that?’ ‘Civil procedure with Professor Dynowski.’ ‘That’s my final exam in autumn. Does he fail many?’ ‘It depends. You can never tell how it will go. He has an obsession on the point of students being able to think independently, so he can argue with them.’ ‘So he can argue with them?’ I felt a jolt of discovery. ‘And if you don’t pass?’ ‘Then you can repeat the subject again in autumn, my friend.’


With one stride I stood at the door of Professor Dynowski. I knew one thing: I must on some point disagree – leaving the rest in the hands of providence. I had barely come to a standstill when the freshly operated-upon came out. ‘How did it go?’ ‘Failed me, damn it…’ Behind the desk sat an old man. Professor Dynowski had for many years been a professor of the Petersburg University. He looked deathly tired with the spectacle of unlearning that had wound its way in front of him so many times in the course of the a past couple of exam hours. He thought that that one had been the last already… Not raising his head, not looking at me, he said: ‘Have a seat, sir. Will there be anyone after you, sir?’ ‘No, I am the last,’ I replied brightly. This meant: “You won’t have to tire yourself out any longer, just let me go with a pass and we’ll both be happy.” Professor Dynowski did not acknowledge my joyous communicativeness; still not raising his gaze, he asked: ‘What do you know about trial by jury, sir?’ What do I know? Very straightforward that I know nothing except that that I am to argue with the professor at his first question, or else he will realise at that first question that before him has appeared today’s king of the asses.

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PURELY DICTA STUDENT LIFE ‘I do not agree with the institution of trial by jury.’ The Professor raised his head. From baggy eyes appeared a watery gaze with a spark of interest. ‘Why?’ Ba, I’d like to know why myself. I began to feverishly lie through my teeth, as I said each sentence I prayed zealously for the next: ‘Trial by jury was a reaction to absolute rule. The French Revolution introduced the principle of the co-rule of the citizens. This gave the rigid rules of law greater flexibility.’ ‘And so?’ Ba, I’d like to know, myself. ‘Hm… but during the course of the 19th century the principle of judicial independence became permanent, once judges received a greater margin of leeway, it was not necessary to rely on jurors to achieve this flexibility, while the latter were prey to demagoguery and the exploitative rhetoric of advocates.’ Here the reader may say: ‘You can lie to them, but not to us… It’s apparent you tasted a little of those texts, Mr Wankowicz…’ But actually, no. I tasted a little, but from the School of Political Science, which I completed just before the war. The Professor took out an enormous “turnip”, looked at the pocket-watch, and said: ‘Well, a lot can be said pro and contra on this subject, but I cannot deny that you think independently.’ I jumped out with a high distinction and still managed to make my place in the queue for criminal law.

Professor Makowski shot me down on the first question. I shrugged my shoulder impatiently, which was supposed to mean, how could I know such a thing, but I ask: ‘Can I deduce it, Professor?’ He smiled into his raven-black beard: ‘No, you had better not deduce, sir.’ But he was mercifully entertained, and let me out with a pass. A few days later I received the magnificent diploma of a Master of Laws. About the author Melchior Wańkowicz (pron. Mel-HEEor VahynKO-vich) was born into a landed Polish family near Minsk in 1892. He completed high school in Warsaw, where he first became involved in pro-Polish conspiratorial activities. He served in the Polish infantry during World War I and during the Polish-Soviet War. After taking degrees in political science (at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków) and law (Warsaw) he became a writer, journalist, and publisher; as an advertising copywriter he coined several iconic slogans. Wańkowicz was most famous for his service as war correspondent in the Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II, writing an authoritative account of the bloody Battle of Monte Cassino. This book was never published in full until after the fall of communist government in Poland – Wańkowicz’s outspokenness against government censorship resulted in his being convicted for slandering Poland and ‘spreading anti-Polish propaganda abroad’, although the sentence was never carried out and he posthumously rehabilitated. Wankowicz’s memoirs, This Way and That, recall his early life in tones both elegiac and hilarious, rendered all the more amusing through his idiosyncratic colloquialisms and willingness to bend the facts if they were getting in the way of a good story.

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It’s cool to hate the By an anonymous LSS committee member

Ahhh... the Melbourne University Law Stu-

dents’ Society…the LSS … what a bunch of cliquish, try-hard, no-good résumé builders who wouldn’t know how to run a mooting competition if it bit them in the ass.


the ones that delete the LSS Newsletter winging that it clogs their email. “Damn LSS spam!”

Yet these same people, these same cynics, are the ones lining up for free food and drinks at our BBQs… the ones demanding that the SeaI would not be surprised if you, the reader of sonal Clerkship Guide, that we publish from this edition of Purely Dicta, thought that of the scratch, be released on time without any leeLSS. In fact, I’m actually surprised you’re even way… the ones sucking up to the Mallesons reading this at all, considering it’s an LSS pub- and Freehills HR at the Meet The Profession lication that isn’t the Seasonal Clerkship Guide. Cocktail evening we organise… the ones attending our Law Ball which far cheaper than Yes, some of the past LSSs have given off a cli- Monash’s…the ones attending the student- run quish vibe, and yes unfortunately some (not tutorials that we pay for… the ones taking adall!) LSS committee members have been on vantage of the VAST ARRAY of law competisolely for their résumé, hoping it’ll get them a tions we offer compared to other LSSs around graduate job at a top tier law firm (news flash, the country. I could go on and on, but I don’t you ain’t getting gifted a clerkship for putting want to list every LSS initiative we run as I’ve been given a strict word limit for this rant and I “Careers VP” on your résumé). want to make the most of it. Nonetheless, somewhere down the line, within the Melbourne Law School it became cool to hate the LSS, or at least complain about it. And no, this has nothing to do with the JDs, as this hatred for the LSS dates back a couple of years before the Melbourne Model was implemented. In fact, some may argue it’s the 2009 cohort of JDs keeping LSS social events afloat this year. Some of the reactions to students lecture bashing during the recent LSS elections for the 2010 committee is a perfect example of the instant reaction to look down on the LSS. “How dare these idiots come into class and take up my time during the 10 minute break blabbering about how they want to help the law school!? I wanted to talk to my friend right next to me, and now they’ve ruined it.” You know the kind, 14

The Melbourne Law Students’ Society in 1953

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Yes I’m a committee member, so I’m obvi- weeks later we receive complaints about the ously biased, but through my time on and election procedures which are enshrined in off the committee, I have noticed just how the LSS Constitution! unappreciated the LSS is. For example, all you LLBs complain about how badly you It’s common knowledge that the culture of are being treated, yet when we organise a the Melbourne Law School has changed. It chance for students to speak directly to the will never be as dynamic as it was five years Dean, and voice their gripes, about ten of ago, and it’s silly to try and get that feeling you show up. You all forget that it’s the back. Education VPs that are the ones yelling at faculty when your optional subjects are be- However the LSS is doing all it can to be ining cut. Media Law was only run in 2009 novative and ensure a student community because the LSS lobbied and harassed fac- still exists. Are we fighting a losing battle? ulty for it to be offered, otherwise Law/Me- Perhaps, but I hope in two years time the dia Communications students would have LSS committee isn’t in a situation where it’s been royally screwed, not struggling to fill positions being able to do Media because no one wants to “The LSS is doing all it can Law in either of their defulfil a role on top of their grees. No one remembers to be innovative and ensure intense study routine bethat of course. What is re- a student community still cause all the position will membered is the fact that exists. Are we fighting a los- entail is you organising we can’t change the date events which no one will ing battle? Perhaps. “ of your witness examinacome to because they’d tion round because we’re rather have coffee at Porta unable to find a replacement judge, or be- Via and bitch to their friends about the LSS, cause the opposition team dropped out last the JD, the lack of optional subjects, their minute. “Bloody LSS!” unreasonable 24 hour take-home exam, the greyness of the Law Building, their crappy We even get blamed for shoving corporate timetable clashes and all the other things law down your throats and sucking up to the LSS tries to fix to ensure the Law School our sponsors. Yet when we hold our Beyond is a better place to be at. Collins St Seminars, or organise for Legal Aid, Teach for Australia, PILCH and other not-for-profit organisations to come present to you about career opportunities, about four of you bother to rock up. We hold an SGM and give students the opportunity to propose amendments to the LSS structure, and there are zero replies and we barely make quorum at the meeting. Yet a few

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The Seasonal Clerkship Application Mania (SCAM): by Mr and Mr Anonymous The Truth So… what is the SCAM? It was traditionally seen as the law students’ ideal and hands-on way of seeing how law firms billed their clients for photocopying. However, with changing times, it has evolved into the premier opportunity to see how the firms bill their clients for photocopying, phone calls, emails, letters, faxes etc. (collectively known as “high-quality work” for “big clients”).

So… what does it take to be part of the SCAM? The succinct statement of one HR representative from a prominent law firm is perhaps the most accurate way of answering this question: “We’re looking for good communication, we’re looking for solid results, we’re looking for work experience, we’re looking for leadership skills, we’re looking for initiative, we’re looking for teamwork skills, we’re looking for innovation, we’re looking for commercial awareness [and, more relevantly, we’re looking for high-profile daddies]” (lots of emphasis added) Do you need straight H1s? No – just make sure that you have “experience to back up your results”. Specifically, make sure you try to join Legal Aid, or do some kind of volunteer work, just so you can win the firm some government work (congratulations if you do in fact have a soul, but it is an irrelevant consideration for present purposes). It naturally follows that at your interview, should you be lucky enough to get one, you ask as many questions as you can about the firm’s alleged pro bono program.

So… what do people who have been part of the SCAM, say about it? Well, there is usually only one thing you ever hear from other students about their experience: “yeah, the people were really nice.” You may also hear, on occasion: “it was pretty laid back” or “everyone was really supportive.” In the end, just be yourself… with, where applicable, fake tan, spadeloads of fake sincerity, a 500 watt smile and lion-choking handshake, and you’re on your way to becoming a hot shot lawyer. The only warning we would make is that Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day and Night” (Off the Wall) may become your favourite song, and your friends will shun you for the corporate clone you have become. 16

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Ms Nearlyalawyer HR Consultant Lewiston and Lewiston [Insert skyscraper address] Dear Ms Nearlyalawyer, Please accept my application for a seasonal clerkship at Lewiston and Lewiston. I am greatly interested in working for your firm because my father, Rupert Megarich, often tells me how the professionalism and commitment that your firm recently demonstrated was able to assist his company, Unho Lyinstitution, in a takeover. For this reason, I am interested in takeovers, which is an area of law that your firm specialises in. I am also keen to work for a firm that looks after its team by providing daily fresh fruit, sandwiches which go untouched and which are thrown out wholesale at the end of the day, and a nifty Nespresso coffee machine. I have demonstrated my capacity to earn government work for your firm by volunteering at the local lost dogs shelter. Furthermore, I have refined my leadership skills by coordinating nude streaks throughout the University lecture theatres during the annual “Prosh Week”, scaring as many first years as possible and encouraging the lost art of public nudity. My academic results have been consistent and solid. In addition, I scored first-class honours in Taxation, which is an area of law that I have especially enjoyed – assisted by my group of ‘study friends’ who I don’t see outside of scamming notes close to exams– and in which your firm excels. A position as a Sales Processing Assistant (read: check-out chick) at a major supermarket has helped me develop the initiative necessary to deal with a wide variety of customers. This was exemplified by my swift actions of putting out the yellow “Slippery” sign after an angry customer smashed a bottle of olive oil, which directly prevented a potential negligence claim against the supermarket, one of the major clients of your firm. I learnt a great deal about team dynamics and resolving conflicts after several employees attempted to mop up the mess as quickly as possible. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me on mobile at 04GI MME JOB. Yours truly, Daddy’s Little Girl

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Open Letter to the Youth

Hunter S. Thompson was just eighteen when he wrote Open Letter to th essay which called for America’s youth to “hark-en the call of the future years later, we address the youth of our generation, for whom it seems n D-Generation, For once in your life, stop and Listen! It’s not your fault: you choose not to know better. And that’s not your fault either. Oh informed but imprudent youth, step away from the keyboard and un-swathe thyself from your cocoon of denial. Don’t let it be the immediacy of death that rouses you from indolence. Cock your ear – what is that sound? How often you hear, but does it ever resound? You use them interchangeably, but there is an important distinction between Information and Knowledge. I need not ask stupid questions. Do you realise this... do you realise that…? No, I will not beg the question! You know the inconvenient truth of global warming. You know that terrorism is a ticking time-bomb – the new ‘communism’ – which is less a creeping scourge than an all-pervasive venom. You know the inevitable price-tag of stimulating the flaccid global economy. Yes, these problems seem terminal, but do not shy away from the fact that they are anthropogenic! Therefore, your burden is beyond reasonable doubt. The inexorable truth – my friends, my brothers – is that the survival of the world and generations to come is yoked to your shoulders. And so duty-bound, you respond how? There are three types of people populating this decaying planet. First, there are those who deny that we face consequences: ‘It’s not a financial crisis if I still get my bonus.’ Then there are those who deny their ability to ‘right’ the course of their future: ‘I am but one person – what can I do?’ Little can be done for these people, for denial is a potent analgesic. But, worst of all, there are those people who are aware of the facts, the options, and the choices that must be made, yet find it more convenient to ignore them. In other words, you! No doubt, you retort, ‘But I take action!’ Yes, you exercised your right to vote, you signed that university petition, you joined that Facebook group (or, if truly impassioned, you created that Facebook group). Your rationalisations are most convenient! You’ve convinced yourselves that, with such token gestures, you have discharged your duty of care to the world. Sartre LOLs in his grave – bad faith, bad faith, bad faith! You talk about change rather than institute it, you coffee shop conversationalists. Springchickens of the new millennium, change for you is dogmatic but catatonic. The truth stares you in the eye like a Gorgon: you’ve either averted your eyes or turned to stone. But I understand why you act as you do. Trust me, I do. Social commentators have labelled you the ‘choice’ generation, and what could be more fitting? You have so much choice that you choose not to choose and procrastinate instead. The time has come for you to realise your independence. Dispense with your hedonistic propensities and work until you are eighty-five. No longer can you take for granted that someone will make the tough decisions for you. They are just as scared as you are! There is simply no time for adjournment. If you’ve managed to read this far, I am surprised by your resolve. You have grown so accustomed to skim-reading, podcast-listening and headline-surfing that reading properly substantiated and critical thought has become a chore. You are overstimulated! You feed on the sensationalist media, and assume its malformed opinions and


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of Our Generation

PURELY DICTA FEATURE By Matthew Taylor & Rahul Thyagarajan

he Youth of Our Nation (1955), a vitriolic satirical e” by taking responsibility in the present. Fifty-four not much has changed. biases. And, in doing so, you digest the inherent laziness of the press. Wait, let me guess. You are reading this just to usurp my opinions! I can see you now, sipping your soy Chai latte between classes, fingering the pages of this magazine looking for something to entertain you. God help us if something were to educate you. But you aren’t entertained. In fact, I overhear you: ‘Fuck this article, and most importantly fuck its opinions about me! It may apply to others, but certainly not me!’ You hold yourselves in such high esteem that even the mildest criticism poses a great challenge to your complacency. Despite your surface esteem, you are so quick to anxiety and melancholy. Happiness is always one excuse away. Yes, law school is five years of masochism. But don’t forget that you, like me, continue to re-enrol. You are never satisfied with where you are: school was just a means to study; study is just a means to a career; but what is that career a means to? Thus, in spite of your extraordinary competence, you feel most inadequate. Your exemplary achievements are unfulfilling, yet your ‘failings’ feel catastrophic. Within you is a morbid, self-indulgent attraction to suffering. You adore tension and conflict; in the absence of either, you succumb to Boredom. Self-medicating perfectionists, apply yourselves and your infinite faculties: carpe vitam, caniculae! So has this letter riled you? Good, I tailored it to you. Don’t hate me or the printed word. If you hate this article, you hate something in it that is part of yourself. Because, as Herman Hesse said, ‘What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.’ Wake up and think! What are you prepared to sacrifice for your personal sense of security? Are you honestly working to guarantee the future? Are you in denial or do you act in bad faith? Or does the panoply of choices and opportunities paralyse you? Are you content for someone else to think and act on your behalf? Enough questions? You can enjoy the present without destroying the future. Yes you can. Anxiously and shamefully yours, M R Righteous-Hypocrite

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The experience of a lifetime: the Aurora Project T

he prospect of a seasonal clerkship in a nondescript Collins Street office space has never appealed to me. Early in the academic year the frantic and onerous application process for such clerkships seems to dominate the conversations (and imaginations?) of most of my law school peers, and for that reason, did provide a catalyst for exploring what other options for practical legal experience exist outside of the corporate realm… I wanted to do the diametrically opposite end of the law school experience. Three months later I found myself under the most incredibly star lit sky, hundreds of kilometres from any city, in the lead up to a community meeting four weeks into my placement in Central Australia. I rolled out my swag was happy to have looked a little farther afield.

The Aurora Project Aurora is the collective name for a number of programs that are involved in valuable work throughout Australia with Indigenous communities and organisations. One aspect of this work is the coordination of legal internships with Native Title Representative Bodies, Native Title Service Providers and in Indigenous policy. Having applied for an internship through Aurora I was offered a placement with the Central Land Council in Alice Springs. The prospect of venturing to a part of Australia about which, frankly, I knew very little seemed to me a wonderful opportunity. And yet, I had no idea what to expect. From the media coverage of the ‘NT Intervention’; the dire reports from the Alice Springs town camps and the statistics about violence I must admit I was a touch apprehensive about the whole thing. After six weeks in and around Alice Springs what I feel I have learnt, above all else, is that I have a lot to learn: about indigenous Australia, the history of white settlement, the characterisation of issues and the role the law plays in all of the above.

The Central Land Council (CLC) The CLC is very strongly tied to the history of the struggle for Aboriginal land rights in Australia. Many of the Indigenous voices in the early days of the land rights movement are, or have in the past been, actively involved in the diverse work of the Land Council. Though I can only speak from my own experience, I feel this is a struggle about which too little is taught in our schools. Whilst, for example, the African-American civil rights movement receives significant coverage, the hard fought battle for recognition by the first peoples of our country of their connection to the land continues to be neglected in our schools and universities. It is not my intention to diminish the importance of the civil rights movement but rather to draw attention to the fact that if asked about the role of Vincent Lingiari most would stare blankly. If asked the same question of Martin Luther King Jr… well, which name do you recognise?

An important moment in Australian History In 1966, the same year the civil rights movement took its message to the north of the United States, the Gurundji stockmen walked off the Wave Hill cattle station in the Northern Territory in protest. For almost 100 years the Gurundji, like many other Indigenous peoples, had laboured for little more than rations whilst


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t internship

By Julian Cleary

making British pastoralists like Lord Vesty ever richer. The strike was, however, about more than merely work conditions. It soon became clear that this was the beginning of a struggle to have the land acknowledged as rightfully that of the Gurundji people and returned to them. Together with other events, including the Yirrkala people’s presentation to the government of a bark petition in 1963, the eight year strike that followed marked the beginning of a widespread national struggle for recognition of Aboriginal land rights and culminated in the Whitlam Government’s 1973 royal commission. It was then, on the basis of Justice Woodward’s report, that the Central and Northern Land Councils came to be established in the Northern Territory as bodies to consult with, and advocate for, Indigenous land interests, among other things. Since the establishment of the two Land Councils, a great deal of progress has been made in recognising the connection of Traditional Owners to country. At the same time a great deal of powerful opposition to this recognition has ensured that the CLC constantly has to fight tooth and nail alongside those they represent. What I came across at the CLC was an extremely dedicated group of people who are constantly in the firing line: tackling policy imposed from afar, local prejudice and an often hostile Northern Territory government. The work I was involved in was fascinating, challenging and diverse.

Land Rights and Native Title Under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (‘ALRA’) inalienable freehold has been granted to a substantial proportion of the Northern Territory such that Indigenous people have stronger protection of their interests than exists under the Native Title Act 1993 (‘NTA’). This protection, which includes the right to deny mineral exploration and extraction on Aboriginal land, provides a stark contrast to the native title regime. When the ALRA was contemplated by the Whitlam government it was hoped to be a pilot for the recognition and protection of Aboriginal land rights across the country. Subsequent governments have yielded to the strength of the mining and pastoralist lobbies in the intervening years. The contrast between ALRA and NTA protection was demonstrated to me most vividly when at a meeting about mining with Traditional Owners one group had to be explained that over part of their ancestral lands a right to deny exploration existed, whereas over the rest the government had the final say, such that the only way to protect sacred sites effectively would be to consent to mining and seek to introduce terms and conditions. The immensely foreign ‘whitefella’ law must appear confused and arbitrary indeed to this group.

Impressions Growing up on the east coast of Australia has given me a skewed impression of this country. Both in terms of the physical and cultural landscape, Central Australia feels like a different world in many ways. It is a world that fascinates and frustrates. It is beyond question that there are serious issues that face many of the Indigenous peoples of Central Australia and that these need to be addressed. The time I spent in remote communities drew my attention first and foremost to the fact that Indigenous Central Australians do things – everything – differently. If people speak English at all it might be as a fourth or fifth language.

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PURELY DICTA FEATURE If people live in Western style houses, chances are they sleep in the yard or under the balcony and use the house primarily for storage. People have strong customs and laws that might seem as foreign to us as western law seems to them. Most importantly it became all the more clear to me that people have a right to do things differently. Few deny such a right in a multicultural city like Melbourne, and in this setting, there is an even stronger reason to acknowledge it in the case of Indigenous peoples who never consented to the imposition of ‘our’ ways. Accordingly, any measures to address such issues that undoubtedly exist should recognise the right to difference.

The Intervention Without getting too deeply immersed in a discussion of the Northern Territory ‘Intervention’ I want to make a few observations. The authors of the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ Report upon which the intervention was said to be based summarised their views in the following way: What is required is a determined, coordinated effort to break the cycle and provide the necessary strength, power and appropriate support and services to local communities, so they can lead themselves out of the malaise: in a word, empowerment! Their first recommendation highlighted the need for extensive consultation with communities and ‘ownership’ of the solutions. There was no widespread consultation with communities; legislation was rushed through parliament; the recommendations of the report were taken up selectively and the authors of the report have subsequently said that they felt ‘betrayed and disappointed…and pretty pissed off’ by the way their report was used. A collective of bodies known as the Combined Aboriginal Organisations wrote a detailed submission to the government in late 2007 stating that they strongly supported measures being taken to address abuse and violence and that they wanted to be involved and to help provide guidance on past failings. They also highlighted the paramount importance of working closely with communities. In his 2007 Social Justice Report, Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma said that the failure to consult and develop partnerships to tackle violence and abuse is one of the main legacies and ‘significant failures’ of the Howard government’s intervention and that a major challenge for the incoming government would be to rebuild trust and partnerships. The 2008 review commissioned by the Rudd government called, among other things, for a more integrated approach and a re-engagement between government and Aboriginal people. Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin rhetorically supported this finding but has in practice continued the paternalistic top-down approach of the former government and ignored key recommendations of the review. It is undeniable there have been Indigenous voices speaking in favour of some of the measures introduced as part of the intervention. A 2008 CLC report based on research and interviews in communities throughout Cen-


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PURELY DICTA FEATURE -tral Australia confirmed that the measures are neither universally condemned nor supported but that the lack of consultation and participation of Aboriginal groups has led to a strong sense of disempowerment: given the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report writers’ comments (quoted above) this alone speaks strongly of failure. Furthermore the CLC report concluded, importantly, that ‘the impact of most [intervention] measures is modest and that the deeper social issues in communities remain unaddressed.’ If this is so it is even harder to justify such drastic measures as the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to consider these issues at the ground level; without the influence of political and media spin of what continues to be an important issue both in terms of (dis)empowerment and of Australia’s international reputation.

Conclusion I recognise that there has been nothing linear about this article. I have sought primarily to give an impression of some of my experiences in a very different part of Australia. The exciting thing about an internship with Aurora is that you could end up working anywhere in the country. One of the impressive lawyers I worked alongside at the CLC began his involvement with Indigenous affairs by way of a placement through Aurora in the Torres Straight. Another I know worked alongside Noel Pearson in the Top End. For anyone who is seeking alternatives to practical legal experience in the corporate world or an insight into the interaction between the law and Indigenous issues I would highly recommend an internship through Aurora. Personally it was both a challenge and a healthy dose of perspective, perhaps shedding a glimmer of light on the path forward. For further information on the Aurora Native Title Internship Program, please refer the website at

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Homeless in Melbourne Robert Saunders sits in a corner of

Lygon Street and shivers in the cold. Beside him, a torn piece of paper reads ‘Just trying to get some milk and bread, may God bless you.’ He has drawn intricate tattoos of hearts, skulls and roses for sale, but the coins in his can add only to a few meager dollars. Like many others who are homeless, Robert is unable to find employment. Life with a job would be different, he reckons. “People think that I shouldn’t be sitting down here and doing nothing, that I should be working, but they don’t know how hard I’ve tried to get a job,” he says. According to the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), there are at least 15,000 homeless people in Melbourne. In Victoria, the numbers add easily to 24,000. This is a 14 per cent increase in the homeless population since 1996. But while it is easy to spot a homeless person on the well-paved streets of Melbourne, it is difficult for many to look beyond their scruffy faces. A 2006 survey conducted by Hanover Welfare services revealed that 79per cent of Australians had no compassion for the homeless. In the minds of most, the homeless person was an alcoholic who had driven himself to the path of self-destruction. On the flip side, those who have had close contact with the homeless know this is the opposite of the situation. David Wright-Howie, Policy Officer of CHP, says, “Individual factors can


contribute to homelessness, but there are other uncontrollable elements that must be considered in the equation.” These factors can include a low income, retrenchment, relationship breakdowns and mental health problems. Often, women and children who have experienced domestic abuse are also potential homeless victims, says David.

“Currently, 34 per cent of homeless people live temporarily with friends or relatives while eight per cent reside by improvised dwellings.” Matt Searle, a social worker of Wesley Welfare Services agrees. “When people are facing two or three of these issues simultaneously, it is very difficult for them to maintain housing,” he says. “For example, a low-income worker with mental health problems will have to worry about medical expenses. A lot of the times, homelessness results because they can’t afford to support themselves.” For Les, it was simply a matter of bad luck. Having left school at the tender age of 13, Les possesses few skills to survive in today’s competitive workforce. He is able to read, write and work out simple calculations, but cannot tackle complex business issues or understand technical jargon. At 55, age finally caught up with his graying knowledge, casting him to an early but unprepared retirement.

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By Su-Vien Tan

To say the least, life without money was tough. Les fought hard to recover his dwindling assets, but ended up living on the couch of a close friend. Job- hunting was also a problem, and Les soon become familiar with rejection. “People did not want to hire me because of my age, they wanted younger workers who were faster and quicker,” he says. Thankfully, Les had a staple group of friends who were able to rescue him from the ill-comforts of the streets. His story is testimony to a hidden group of homeless people who have escaped the public eye. According to Matt, this is one of the reasons why the issue of homelessness has not received much coverage. “A homeless person can be anybody who is lacking a conventional form of accommodation. He is commonly known as the guy on the streets, but he can also be the guy who constantly shifts from one friend’s house to the other,” says Matt. Currently, 34 per cent of homeless people live temporarily with friends or relatives while eight per cent reside by improvised dwellings. Meanwhile, those who live on the streets fall victims to abuse and assault.

PURELY DICTA FEATURE “At least once a week, you get people go off at you,” says Robert Saunders. He adds, “You can’t do anything when it happens, you just go to the hospital after, get bandaged, and hope to recover.” It is difficult to imagine how Robert’s scrawny frame can endure the cold and the hunger, much less the fights in which he seldom retaliates. He has a scar on his left leg he says he got a few years back. When asked who did it, Robert only confesses, “I had to get my leg plastered for that one.”

launched a nationwide donation drive on the 19th to 20th May to raise funds to combat the problem of homelessness. Captain Pickens says, “The public has a basic standard of what and how a person should be. But the homeless person has no basic standard, and

“All services that are trying to provide support are so under-staffed that there is a waiting list for homeless persons to get help,” he says. He adds that there should be more public awareness of how bad the problem is so that it can be brought forward to the political agenda.

As a Big Issue vendor at Melbourne University, Les has also experienced some form of unkindness. “Generally, the people are very good. It’s only sometimes you get those who think they’re smart. They say things to you and it can be very hurtful,” he says. “You say hi to them, but they just give you the cold shoulder and refuse to look you in the face.” Les adds, “It makes me feel sad, angry and very disappointed. I regret that they don’t recognize me as better than them. Obviously they have no opinion of me.” Captain Simon Pickens, Salvation Army Officer at the Flagstaff Centre for Homelessness, says that discrimination can compound the problems of homeless people. This makes it extremely difficult for them to develop relationships with others. “I know a guy who smells funny and is quite dirty. He tells me every time he stands in a room, people move away from him and makes him feel like he doesn’t belong,” he says. Turning its attention to discrimination is the Salvation Army Flagstaff Centre for Homelessness. Just recently, it

ment has devoted more than $100 million to assist the homeless. The bulk of this funding is directed to services that provide transitional accommodation for homeless people. This has alleviated part of the problem, with Victoria having the highest proportion of homeless people living in crisis accommodation than other states in Australia. But Matt insists that there is still a shortage in funds to help the homeless.

that’s why they tend to be isolated and singled out from the community. What we hope to do is to devote our resources to help the homeless integrate into society. When we can provide them with some temporary housing, it is much easier for them to break out of the cycle.”

Les is an exception to the predicament of most homeless persons. Two years ago, he secured a job with The Big Issue when chatting casually to one of its vendors. The job keeps him happy. He has made friends with some customers and feels better about himself. Most of all, Les is now able to afford a stable home. “I think we all make mistakes in life, we all do things incorrectly or fail in whatever you might, and you can’t succeed in everything in life,” he says. The important thing, he says, is to be given a second chance.

Currently, the private market takes care of the majority of housing in Melbourne. According to Captain Pickens, homeless people often have trouble with renting private apartments because they lack a reputable history. In turn, the Victorian Govern-

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by Madeleine Karipidis

Dieticians love to tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and they make a good point. For one thing, eating a solid meal in the morning aids concentration which means you won’t fall asleep on your laptop in your 9am seminars only to awake to a document 90,000 pages long entirely composed of (A*&SF^SF213J2^**((@QHSL text. Secondly, breakfast people are skinnier people. Studies have shown that those who skip breakfast are more inclined to binge on high-calorie foods throughout the day than those who eat upon waking from their slumber. Thirdly, people that don’t habitually eat breakfast are statistically more likely to be in a shittier mood by midday. Finally, Melbourne has a rich breakfast culture alive in both the CBD and its surrounding suburbs. Listed below is a small selection of quality breakfast destinations that deserve to be explored, each with their own unique vibe and charm.


300 Smith St, Collingwood With its understated, minimalist interior, Cavallero is somewhat of an anomaly to grungy old Smith street with its questionable characters and two-dollar shops. A stag sits perched above the stark white walls and watches you as you devour your organic oats served with vanilla poached pears, roasted rhubarb and muscovado sugar or a three-egg omelette with fresh chorizo and roasted tomatoes on a toasted bannette (especially good in times of hangover). The menu comes printed on fully recycled paper and requires the knowledge of Neil Perry to decipher: the menu items are anything but basic, covering an exotic palette of ingredients. As an added bonus, the staff at Cavallero are a particularly attractive group; if you are a breakfast-goer of the staring kind then a visit to this European-style café is a must.

recipe to the hollandaise sauce should guard it with their life - it’s the condiment equivalent to KFC’s twelve secret spices. If you’re particularly hungry, the Apte big breakfast is ideal: eggs on toast however you like them with generous servings of bacon, slow-roasted tomatoes, sausages, spinach, mushrooms and Apte’s own tomato relish. The vegeterian version of the big breakfast is equally pleasing. Other highlights include the hotcakes, oozing with ricotta, honey and poached fruit. Oh, and if you like the lovely artwork on the walls – they’re for sale.

A Minor Place

103 Albion St, Brunswick Nestled away in lovely little Albion street, A Minor Place is no minor breakfast joint. Filled with interesting breakastgoers who spill out onto the street (milk crates make excelApte lent seating, although note they do leave indentions on one’s 538 Heidelberg Rd, Alphington ass), A Minor Place has an ineffable sort of charm; an aura If you can’t stand families, you may not like Apte. At any one time, that makes you happy to simply be there in amongst breakit is positively bursting with patrons with children. Nevertheless, the food is amazing. One forkful of perfectly poached organic eggs with a divinely buttery hollandaise sauce will transcend your mind into breakfast paradise, far, far away from the cries of irritating children. Quite seriously, whoever owns the 26

fast action. Highlights on the menu include white beans with garlic and rosemary served with dukkah and crusty toast and the hearty ‘Brazilian Breakfast’. Next time you visit your ethnic grandparents down Brunswick way, make sure you schedule a stop-over at A Minor Place.

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180 Williams Street, Melbourne Ilia is not the sort of place I’d go to for a relaxing weekday brunch but this being a publication for law students and all, mentioning it is a must: Ilia is smack-bang in the middle of the legal district, just next to the Supreme Court. The clientele is naturally, then, composed of lawyers and barristers fuelling-up on well-brewed coffee and scrambled eggs before going into the bloodbath that is the courtroom. The menu options aren’t revolutionary but they are certainly of a high quality. The French toast here is particularly decadent.

Mixed Business

486 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill Like your coffee? Of course you do, you’re a law student. Get ready for one of Melbourne’s smoothest lattes; the coffee at Mixed Business is so good you will not stop at one and probably overload on caffeine to the extent that you go into cardiac arrest. The chalkboard menu is filled with a good variety of breakfast options: poached eggs with crumbly feta and roasted tomatoes, hot rolls with an array of fillings to choose from and, if you’re up for something sweet, caramelised banana split, served with walnuts, yoghurt and brioche. While you experience your coffeegasm, do appreciate the retro furnishings that surround you. For those who like to dine al fresco, there is a quaint little courtyard out back where one can admire lemon trees and other suburban florae.


253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne If Journal were personified, she would be a sexy librarian in a tweed pencil skirt with charming tortoiseshell spectacles. Journal sits directly next to the City Library and runs with the book-theme: above the large communal tables sit bookshelves filled with all sorts of tomes and magazines. Don’t expect an elaborate menu; it’s quite bare and changes all the time. Journal is a great place to read a book and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee or a glass of red later in the day (or morning, depending on how bad a week it has been). If you lack textual entertainment, simply listen in on the conversations around you; Journal attracts a lot of creative types and foreigners chatting away in their exotic native tongues.

Mr Tulk

328 Swanston Street, Melbourne (inside the State Library) By now you’ve surely realised I’m a nerd who gravitates towards libraries. Mr Tulk is basically within the State Library, just next to the lockers you’re forced to go to when the security guard busts you for trying to take in a bag larger than the size of your iPhone onto the premises. Mr Tulk attracts all tribes of people, from the flouncy RMIT design student to strangely penguin-ish white-collar workers which makes for a varied clientele. I advise you to try the house muesli, served with poached pears and rhubarb and milk that comes in a retro little glass bottle I’m always tempted to steal when the (oh so good-looking) waiters aren’t watching. If oats aren’t really your thing, try the spinach puree and pancetta baked eggs.

Now go forth and breakfast

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! 27


I had a mate’s 25th birthday dinner recently

and it was decided that the ‘ultra-cool Fitzroy haunt’1 Bimbos Deluxe would be our venue owing to their generously priced and well received $4 Pizza’s (as always the fine print can ruin you – Pizza’s are only $4 from noon-4pm and 7pm -11pm excluding Friday night… You will never remember these details exactly so don’t even try. Just put in your head that if you go to this place for lunch or dinner that the pizzas generally cost $4 and just pretend that they don’t even open on Fridays. The pizzas mysteriously jump a few dollars in price outside these times). Some would question how business could be profitable with these ridiculously good prices? The answer is that a visit to Bimbo’s isn’t as cheap as it would appear at the outset. Waits of over an hour are not unusual in which money put over the bar inevitably erodes money saved on dinner and battle scars from fighting for table space with other patrons can be long lasting. Finding somewhere to consume your pizza can be thirsty work, emotionally confronting and very time consuming for the timid. I have decided to provide a few tips to keeping your Bimbos experience as relaxing as possible should you decide to brave the masses next time you head out for a meal.


For dinner, it is best to arrive at or before 6.30pm. This will provide ample time to find your ideal seating spot. While you wait the 30 minutes for the pizzas to magically reduce in price by a few dollars you can peruse the lengthy pizza menu and celebrate your good seats with a few drinks. Getting to Bimbo’s early will enable you to sit cosily, while you watch the hordes pile in at 7pm to fight over the limited seating, a somewhat perversely satisfying experience.





If it’s a warm day or night head straight upstairs to the beer garden where there is a nearby bar and pizzas can be ordered with ease. This is without doubt the best place to enjoy your pizza and beer if weather permits. Remember to bring a pair of sunglasses if you’re going for lunch or an early dinner – lacking this necessity could potentially ruin your pizza as you jealously eye off your friends’ chic and practical eyewear. Sunglasses envy is horrible for everyone. If it’s cold stay close to the pizza kitchen downstairs where there is a limited number of tables – an old wives’ tale has it that you will receive your pizza faster if you sit here. This is not true. However it is definitely your best option for a cold night - close proximity to the bar and a flat practical surface to consume your pizza/s. If both these options are taken the last two plays available are the igloo and the couches. Couches are a shocking place to enjoy your pizza, as you have to bend down a long way to eat off the coffee tables and communication is made extremely difficult by the loud trance music that is generally playing close by. Not enjoyable. The Igloo (has many names but is essentially an egg with seats that hug the curved inner walls and a central communal rounded table inside it) is at the back right of the ground floor when you enter and is good fun and has novelty factor if table seating is not available. Be careful of gossiping to your friends however as the walls can talk…

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by Tom Oldfield

Topping choice

There are quite a few choices on the pizza menu and I would advise sharing! The pizzas are overpowering and you rarely want to finish a whole pizza of the one flavour (I attempted to do this with the Gorgonzola and finished up having head spins two slices in). Ideally you would have a quarter of four different pizzas… If you’re in a group just pick a few pizzas and try a bit of each.

When timing and seating go wrong…

Visits to Bimbo’s do not always run like clockwork. On my most recent visit our group of four waited for over an hour hovering around full tables like seagulls waiting to pounce at any sign of a group departing. A relaxing and jovial night 60 minutes earlier had led to a verbal altercation with a lady over the top of other patrons who were still dining. We were fighting about who had dibs on the table once they had left. My daring friend Nick had bravely approached the table earlier and asked politely if we could reserve their table for when they left. However there are no rules in pizza table warfare and we eventually lost out to a pushier group who sat four people on the end of their table on two chairs in wait… Very awkward and seemingly rude for the novices of pizza battles. Our recipe for success involved the girl in our group politely asking a table if we could use their table later on in the night when they had finished and then spending the next 45 minutes chatting over a few drinks directly in front of their table. A somewhat uncomfortable experience for everyone. A group had apparently tried this same tactic on the table earlier however we had won out in this pizza

battle, as we were apparently deemed ‘nicer’ – in this case ‘nicer’ probably referred to the instigator in our group being quite an attractive young lady. Remember it is only pizza! If timing and seating go wrong remained composed and try to maintain your dignity. If all else fails forget dinner and drink away your hunger pangs at the bar. Bimbo Deluxe Bar 376 Brunswick St Fitzroy 9419 8600 Open Mon-Sun (Noon – 3am)

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Law school c

ffee reviews

by Dan “cappuccino with two sugars” Coombes and Ant “long macchiato” Graham Coffee. The lifeblood of the Law student. 3 years of classes, 24 weeks a year, 4 days a week, 2 coffees a day (minimum) – that’s nearly 600 over any one student’s time within these walls and around $1800. They’d want to make sure they’re drinking the best they can find. Here is the definitive guide to local coffee for University of Melbourne Law school students. This review is focused on the 8 café’s closest to the Law School. Coffee preference is ultimately guided by personal taste. With this in mind, in addition to having a bit of a dabble at coffee tasting (the professionals say coffee cupping) we have sought to identify the flavor and quality offered by the various establishments and compared them on objective measures such as price, service and value for money.

Pearl’s Café and Sandwich Bar


THE TEST Each café was judged over two separate encounters. First, a takeaway flat white would be ordered to test the capability of each café to produce quality coffee for the student in their all important half-time class break. Secondly, a sit-in espresso would be ordered to determine the quality of the coffee produced, and to allow time for the general ambience of each café to be appreciated. Each café was also judged on price, speed, and temperature of the coffee. We did not tell the cafes that they were being reviewed.

The Dark Horse. In our opinion, Peals offers the best value take-away. But stick to the takeaway. The only criticism of the staff is that they are too enthusiastic. The take-away: Price: $2.90 Time: 1.30pm, not busy Preparation time: Long Temperature: Hot Milk/Coffee: Where it may have been easy to hide cheap coffee behind a veil of milk, Pearl have boldly exposed themselves with a fair milk to coffee ratio Flavour: A bitter coffee Finish: Refreshing

The espresso: Price: $2.90 Time: 2.30pm Preparation time: Quick Coffee: Flat although sweet Finish: Stale My request for an espresso served in a demitasse was met with a look of confusion and a frantic search for the rarely used little cup. Pearl’s green and red interior takes us back to the tuckshop days of yonder, though not the ideal space for enjoying your coffee.

This is where the aesthetically pleasing members of the University community come to drink their coffee and eat their lunch. Probably the flagship of the ‘Vittoria Empire’. The take-away: Price: $3.30 Coffee: Vittoria Time: 1:30pm, very busy with the lunch crowd Preparation time: Quick Temperature: Hot Milk/Coffee: Creamy – way too much milk Sweetness: A sweeter coffee, hints of caramel Finish: Milk


The espresso: Price: $2.90 Time: 2:00pm, busy with lunch crowd Preparation time: Quick Coffee: A bright, yet slightly sweet coffee Finish: Crisp, refreshing Ambience: Rub shoulders with professionals and students alike in an open and agreeable space.

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PURELY DICTA EAT DRINK MELBOURNE Disclaimer: The authors do not purport, nor pretend, to have any professional understanding of coffee knowledge. The opinions expressed within are purely their own, and not designed to influence or affect any student’s coffee purchasing habits.

Porta Via

The Death star of the Vitorria Empire. Everyone loves to knock it but it is the most convenient. Like MacDonlads on Swanston Street, it’s the quick fix. The take-away: Price: $3.30 Time: 4:00pm, a few people Preparation time: Long Temperature: Medium Milk/Coffee: Very creamy/milky taste Flavor:hidden by milk Finish: Coffee-breath pong

Seven Seeds

The espresso: Price:$2.90 Time: 9.00am Preparation time: Quick Coffee: Earthy and bitter Finish: Stale Ambience: It’s either the outdoor setting in front of the Law Building, or the outdoor setting inside the Law Building; neither offer any more than tables, chairs, the remains of someone else’s lunch and empty coffee cups.

New kid on the Block…..but where is it? With in-house coffee roasting and vintage bikes on the wall, these guys are serious about coffee. The take-away: Price: $3.30 Time: 4:00pm not busy Preparation time: Quick Temperature: Warm Milk/Coffee: Close to the perfect ratio Flavor: Nutty/spicy, a distinguished flavor no doubt due to their unique blend of beans Finish: Clean and crisp Special Comments: Anecdotal evidence suggests there may be consistency issues with the takeaway coffee.

The espresso: Price: $2.80 Time: 2.30pm Preparation time: Long Coffee: Rustic, winy, perfect consistency Finish: When’s my next coming? Ambience: Although having only been in operation for a few months, SS is bursting at the seams. An open, well-designed space allows it’s coffee loving hipster crowd to enjoy their java in style. Special comments: Time does not appear to be of the essence at Seven Seeds. The coffee is worth the wait, but can stretch the allowance on the mid-class break.

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Blue Print

The remote outpost of the Vittoria Empire. Not worth the walk unless you want to get away from law students. The take-away: Price: $3.30 Time: 1:30 lunch time Speed: Place was busy but still fast Coffee: Milky. Verging on weak. Sweet rather than bitter. Lacks bite.


The espresso: Price: $2.90 Time: 9:40am Service: medium was not busy. Espresso: Usual Vittoria as above. Ambiance: This would have to be the best café in the vicinity to study. At 9:40 am the place was quieter than a library. The bright halogen lights and white walls make this place ideal for reading.

The One Man Band. Easily the cheapest coffee around during happy hour. The take-away: Time: 8:30am Price: $3 Speed: Very fast Coffee: Coffex Taste: Sharp and not as milky as the Vittoria cafes.

The espresso: Price: $3 Busy: Busy takeaway but quiet Service: Very fast Espresso: Sharp and strong Ambiance: Small and basic but the guy does do a table service if he isn’t too busy.

Coffee price table Coffee used Price: flat white Price: espresso

Seven Seeds In-house

Pearl’s Versano

Briscola Mio

Romano’s Porta Via Coffex Vittoria

barreto Vittoria

bar commercio Vittoria

Blue Print Vittoria

















* Romano’s have half-price coffee 3-4pm


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Briscola Panini and Espresso Bar

Was the best value until they jacked up prices by 7%. If they go out of business, they can’t blame it on the GFC.

bar commercio

One would be forgiven for thinking building a new commerce faculty is ostentatious given this current economic environment. But it appears the architects have drawn inspiration from these hard economic times and incorporated the Spartan sterile style. The take-away: The espresso: Time: 1.30pm, but the place was empty. Price: $2.90 for an espresso served in a Coffee: Vittoria paper cup. They only have paper takeaway Speed: Fast. cups. Price: $3.30 Time: 10:35am, empty The coffee: Very ordinary. Service: standard Espresso: The espresso too hot and bitter as hell. Surrounds: Identical furniture to Blue Print. The place has an abundance of chairs and capacity for patrons but god help them if they ever fill them all. They have set up to seat close to a hundred but have missed the little things, i.e. none of the tables have sugar etc.

The take-away: Time: 3:20pm Speed: Very Fast. Coffee: Mio. Temperature: Hot and cup retains heat. Handy for getting back to study area. Taste: Slightly more bite than Vittoria. Lacquer sweetness.

The espresso: Price: $3.20 Time: 1:30pm Espresso: Very earthy and strong. Very strong smell. The beans they use are a bit to unrefined for an espresso. Service: Pleasant and one of the few places that does a table service. Surrounds: Small. Free papers nice seating outdoors and indoors…just not much of it. May be a good thing.

As stated above, preferences in coffee comes down to personal preference, but we think it is fair to make the following observations: Pearls offers the best value take away coffee. It is not as good as Seven Seeds but it is 40 cents cheaper. Everyone seems to knock Porta Via but the reality is, the coffee you get there is the same as what you get at the other three Vittoria cafes. If you like the coffee they make, the only reason to walk past Porta would be to sit down. We recommend a stroll up to Baretto. Predictably, Seven Seeds prepared best espresso. Our sample flat white was pretty ordinary but on a good day I’m sure Seven Seeds would win out on that front as well, just watch out for the queues and the edgy caffeine-deprived students.

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Absinthe, didn’t your mother tell you not to Brussels is the capital of Belgium, a predominantly French speaking city, renowned for its waffles, chocolate and of course beer. The city itself is actually quite hideous, a fact that the locals are quite proud of. One guide even refers to some of their buildings as pseudo-classical monstrosities, which adorn some of the most magnificent historic architecture you will ever see. With only two days to spare in Brussels my brother and I were determined to maximise our exposure to the Belgium culture. Utilising a “Use-It” brand map designed by locals (this map was our bible and I highly recommend it for all travellers) we ventured out to all of the usual tourist attractions including of course the highly sought after Manneken Pis (Dutch for ‘little man urinating’). Having successfully toured most of the destinations marked on our map we returned to our hostel to rest our sore feet (the streets in Brussels are mostly cobblestone so for the sake of your feet I implore you to take runners with you when you go sightseeing!) and prepare for a night of Belgian beer tasting. Upon our arrival in Brussels we queried several of our fellow travellers as to where we should go at night to truly experience Belgian beer, all of them provided the same response: the Delirium Café of course. Delirium is hidden amongst one of Brussels many narrow side streets, it is distinguishable by the pink elephant adorning the sign on its entrance and is reputable for being recorded in the Guinness World Records as having over 2000 different brands of beer available for sale. These range from fruity lighter beers to the stronger heavy beer with an alcohol content which would put most wines to shame. Hence it is no secret where we and most of the members of our hostel ended up that night. And so our night began with the tasting of one type of beer followed by another, another, another and so on, to the point where my brother and I, as well as most of our hostel mates were quite inebriated from all of the exotic Belgian flavours. Now the other key feature of the Delirium is its location, not that it is only a short distance away from the ever popular Grand Place (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), but that directly opposite the Delirium is an absinthe bar, stocking a wide variety of absinthes of varying potency and origins, this bar is distinguishable by the green fairy decorating its sign. Now for those of you who have not seen ‘Eurotrip’, absinthe is a highly alcoholic anise-flavoured spirit, usually green in colour said to have hallucinogenic properties and said to have inspired the creativity of the likes of Vincent van Gogh and Oscar Wilde. Hence enthused by the exotic beers and the feeling of invulnerability spawned from the combination of youth and alcohol I insisted that my brother and another member of our hostel, (Sara from Perth who insisted she could handle her alcohol) join me in a shot of absinthe. Now I like to consider myself a veteran of the absinthe scene, having experimented many times with the drink in Melbourne, consuming amounts up to and including 85% ethanol. It was as a consequence


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o play with fire? by Ashley Goldberg of this experience that I requested three shots of the most potent absinthe they had, 90% ethanol! Traditionally absinthe is specially prepared with ice-cold water and a cube of sugar in order to dilute the absinthe, however in these contemporary times a culture of the flaming shot has developed whereby you light your shot of absinthe on fire before blowing it out and only then take the shot down. Having ordered the shots, I managed to obtain a lighter and it was Sara from Perth who insisted on taking her shot first. Looking back at this moment now in hindsight, free from the intoxicating effects of Belgian beer it is difficult for me to comprehend exactly what I was thinking. But nonetheless, Sara held her shot out for me to light, and obligingly I held up the lighter and lit the shot, unconscious of the fact that Sara was gingerly holding a shot of 90% ethanol of which a considerable amount had already spilt down the side of the shot glass onto her bare hand. Appropriately, she screamed as her hand was engulfed in bright blue flames, in a panic she hurled the flaming glass towards the bar and proceeded to smother her blazing appendage. Unfortunately in her haste she failed to recognise that there were people sitting at the bar to which she launched her fiery missile, and it was upon the leg of one poor soul that it ultimately landed. Now this poor unassuming man’s leg is on fire and he is hurriedly trying to beat out the flames, whilst a nearby bar stool has now also caught alight and a wave of panic and dread hits my brother as he shouts “Fire! Fire!” as if his words could dowse the scorching flames. I am bewildered by the whole scene, most likely it was because I was still feeling the effects of the beer, yet for some reason the entire situation seemed rather distant and surreal to me. Then as it looked as though things may escalate to unmanageable proportions the bartender, cool as a cucumber, brings forth a bucket of chilled water and extinguishes the flames as though he were merely silencing an annoying pest. My brother and I look at each other in dumbfounded amazement. There is no way we could get away with this kind of thing back in Melbourne, but we assume that as this is an absinthe bar and as such this may not be such a rare occurrence. Endlessly apologetic for setting her alight, I obtain some ice for Sara’s hand and walk her back to the hostel, where one traveller, an aspiring med student assures her that she has a slight second degree burn at worst and will be fine. Relieved, but still feeling guilty as ever I left Sara and returned to Delirium for some more Belgian beers, I mean I did only have two days in Brussels after all and many more beers left to taste. But I don’t think I’ll be lighting any shots on fire again any time soon.... I’m beginning to think that maybe my mother was right when she told me not to play with fire.

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EUROBLOG: ITALY Meng He, after deciding that she wanted to spend a year travelling before starting work full time, created a Facebook group called “Meng’s Euro Trip” from which she sends photos and hilarious first-hand anecdotes to members of the group. Below is an extract from one of her blogs, reproduced with permission.

My trip to Italy started with disaster when I lost my wallet at Athens airport while waiting to check in for my much-

delayed flight to Bari. My first week in a six-month long trip!! I am still without functioning credit cards, which makes life somewhat difficult but I’m getting used to it. Life’s hard when you’re a re-tard (this is a Hangover reference). In any case I was soon amongst the Italians, where the women are too fond of ill-fitting bras, men are too fond of tight shorts and all of them are too fond of tanning. After spending the night in Bari at its only hostel, I made my way to Naples in the morning. Naples is somewhat dangerous – more than a hundred Mafia-related deaths a year! But also filled with beautiful buildings and impressive museums. But I just want to tell the story of one crazy dinner experience which was oh so typical of Southern Italy. It was a local eatery where there was a crowd of people waiting outside to be seated, all of them laughing and joking, despite being contained by barriers like cattle. The owner of the restaurant was just nuts. He would yell at everyone, including his staff and at one point got into a slapping fight with the chef, who himself would come out now and then and threaten the owner with a giant ladle. The owner also would literally pick up and throw out diners (including women!) who were taking too long to make way for the waiting masses. This was all taken quite well by the people being thrown out and as for the crowd, they loved it: it raised lots of laughs and a round of applause. This makes me think Italians are the only people in the world who can be aggressive without real malice. We were petrified and continued to be all through dinner, trying not to raise the ire of the owner! Obviously, this food was fantastic and cheap, and afterwards the owner was a good sport and he let us take a photo with him. From Naples, I did a day trip to Pompeii and Positano. Pompeii was pretty cool but then again, ruins are just ruins. The coolest thing was the brothel, which had this kind of sex menu on the wall, where the patrons could just point to which on the many positions they wanted to engage in. Positano was a train and then bus ride from Pompeii. The bus ride was along the coast, with beautiful views of the ocean, kind of like the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Positano is known as the ‘Vertical City’ and to get from one street to the next, you had to climb about a gazillion steps - the town is basically built on 500m of cliff face. I had a fantastic dinner at a Michelin rated restaurant although I can’t work out just what it is that makes their bruschetta so great – it was just tomato and olive oil! From there I went to Rome, where I spent a good few days just doing as much as possible: the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Vatican (bloody fantastic collection art collection and the epic Sistine Chapel) and numerous Piazzas and churches, along with a million other tourists that flood the city. There are so many beautiful and culturally important sites in Rome that you’re just tripping over them as you walk around. I almost didn’t get into St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican because my skirt was too short, even though it was only just above my knee. I just had to pull it down a bit. Another time, a crazy old lady whacked my ass with her walking stick and yelled at me in angry Italian because she didn’t like the look of my short shorts. After a day of sightseeing I also met up with friends at the beach which was packed with leathery old people and guys in tiny speedos (the worst was leathery OLD guys in speedos…).


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PURELY DICTA TRAVEL Stopping briefly for the obligatory photo op at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I then was off to the quiet tranquillity of Cinque Terre, which came highly recommended from numerous people. Only it wasn’t so tranquil: apparently, the secret’s out and the tourists have taken over! Anyways, Cinque Terre is a national park with 5 small fishing towns built on the cliffs next to the open sea. It was indeed beautiful, but it’s probably only a few tourist seasons away from turning into Positano. After Cinque Terre, I spent pretty much one full day just getting to Venice. Most of this time was spent waiting in line at the ticket office, waiting for cancelled/late trains. But hey, what could be more Italian than sitting in a train station café, drinking two macchiato’s for lunch and waiting for a late train? I suppose I could have been chain smoking…but I’m saving that disgusting habit for France. Venice, as you know, is a canal city. What you may not know is that it’s actually shaped like a fish (how adorably fitting), made of over 100 small islands. It is impossible not to lose your way, but at worst that just means you find yourself at a dead end overlooking a beautiful canal. A little sick of religious Renaissance art, I got my fill of modern art in Venice, at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (a veritable who’s who of modern art: Dalí, Picasso, Pollock, Miró, Mondrian, Man Ray, Chagall and Modigliani) and the Biennale. The Biennale is a huge exposition of art from all over the world, which takes place once every two years, and is sprawled all over the city. At night we went out drinking, and when everything closed (at 1am!) we took the party back to the hostel, which was pretty much overrun by Melbournians. On my last day, I just chilled, then had lunch with the Aussie contingent and then took a gondola ride with 5 other girls (€90 a ride!) which was awesome. Not long after, it started pouring rain. It was so good to feel cold for a change! But it was somewhat of a hazard walking in thongs (flip-flops) to the station over wet stones. So that concludes my flying tour of Italy, although I’m sure I’ll be back. I’ve just arrived in Vienna via overnight train, and I must now go to do the stuff that I will write to you all about next time…

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What they don’t tell you

While Melbourne brooded in the dreary schizophrenic weather of the winter holidays, I went to Europe for a month. “Oh my god it was AH-MAY-ZING” is the reply you expect from me. But the more AH-MAY-ZING’s I drop, the more you’re going to want to shake me for all of my generic-response worth. So, I’m going to tell you the story what the travel brochures and the Lonely Planet cohort skilfully leave out of their advert-features. Of course, my disclaimer is that (a) I am highly uncultured so my experience may not reflect that of the average ‘intrepid’ traveller of uni age, and (b) weird shit always happens to me. God forbid you judge me for that.

Munich While I bunker down to the national meal of meat, potatoes, beer and take my first mouthful, a tall glamazon with tanned toned legs strides past me and I nearly choke on my stodgey food. I try not to care, it IS holidays after all. If you’re even on contemplating a low-carb experience, do not come to Munich. Here, a litre of beer per meal is a minimum, especially if you’re older than, say, 16. There is no such thing as coffee in the morning — it’s beer. Don’t be fooled by the market stalls of beautiful fresh produce at Marienplatz, they never seem to find their way to the dinner table. Oh and another thing: it is a boy’s town. The main attractions are beer halls, museums full of cars, old telegraph machines, planetariums and hot women. Munich seems to be devoid of the eye boy-candy Europe is so famed for. Or maybe I just need someone to show me where to go… The castles — Schloss Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau — are post card-esque beautiful. That is, from afar. And don’t be fooled by the sunshine: short-shorts and no jacket may seem like a good idea in the morning, then halfway on the hike up there you’ll hate yourself when it starts pouring and you are drenched, and STILL have to walk an entire mile up the hill to get to the stupid (cold) castle. Then there is a deadly chance of catching swine flu while you’re taking the time to pose (still, teeth chattering) for those countless pictures to bore your friends with at home. Geneva The lake is nice. The water spout in the middle of the fountain (YES IT IS A SPOUT NOT A JET) looks supercool but if it’s 10.30pm don’t try walking there, it will promptly turn itself off the minute you arrive at 11pm and you will have walked for nothing. Oh and be weary of the men in the red light district: they will hit on anything. ANYTHING. In ANY LANGUAGE POSSIBLE. Just tell them in English that you don’t speak whatever language they speak. Of course, then they whip out the English and you have to pretend you were actually speaking Chinese with a funny accent…


Salzburg Yes, I shamelessly took the Sound of Music tour and yodelled in the Lake District, which is totally worth doing if you only have a bit of time – and imagination and lack of healthy inhibition. The tour takes you out to the lakes and there is no way you should bother going on your own. The guides give great commentary on The Movie That Taught Me How To Sing (and sing and sing). But if you buy dried Eidelweiss, Australian Customs have no idea what it is and will keep you in like for like thirty minutes whilst each and every single officer tries and checks the database to see if it will spread horrible diseases to our gumtrees and infect the koalas.

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about Europe...


by Qiao-Lin Cheong

The Swiss Alps Be weary of locals telling you that a trek will only take five hours. Nine hours later it was dark, we were panting and herniating, and one of us had a close encounter with some angry bulls (well, he DID try and grab its horn so maybe that’s an anomaly). Oh and boys, if you want to swim in the (freezing) lakes at the top of the mountains, bring clothes to change into, or risk jibes at your masculinity on the way down.

Bern / Brigg / Interlacken Switzerland has the best natural scenery of all the places I have visited. But be prepared to starve for as long as you’re there because food is more expensive than alcohol.

Barcelona Hola! After two weeks of starvation we went insane on all the foodstuffs that existed. I am attributing all the weight I gained to Barcelona alone (and maybe Paris). Obvious-but-not-so-muchwhen-you’re-there tip: Despite the natural urge of not wanting to carry stuff around in the day, bring a towel to the beach. I thought I’d be smart and that the sun would just dry my body so there was no need to lug around a heavy day bag to the beach. Little did I know that the sand would be so hot I couldn’t walk on it – let alone lie on it, and I was stuck sitting on a tiny tourist map, folding my legs away from the glorious sun exposure. Yep, now the only tanned part of my lower body are my knees. Lucky it’s winter in Melbourne.

Paris When they say try and speak French so the locals don’t hate you, don’t do it unless you can actually speak French. They like you less if you bastardise their language than if you tell them (in French) that you can’t speak French first, then continue with English. Try and also stick in that you’re Aussie — Europeans love us for some reason, Neighbours or the guilelessness of island living? There is one thing though: I think my travel buddy was a little sick of me complaining about the inefficiency of the Parisan [insert any kind of system here] every five minutes. It was as if the industrial revolution and the concept of ‘production lines’ never reached that little city. You line up for everything. EVER-EE-THING. Just add another two hours onto how long it SHOULD take for any particular trip because the tickets will take you that long to get in the first place.

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Much ado about nothing in Malaysia

by John Hall

“Come closer. Open your heart! Open your heart!” he chanted. Maybe it was my susceptibility to compliments, maybe it was my dehydration, or maybe I was drawn toward his golden turban, but against my better judgement, I slid along the bench toward him until we were side by side. Now I was certain I was about to be mugged. I braced myself accordingly.

It was a sweaty Saturday afternoon in the heart of

Kuala Lumpur. Whilst wandering around the city, I decided to sit for a few minutes at a bus stop to escape the 1000% humidity. I took a seat and started to relax when I heard a voice say “come closer”. I looked to my left. Sitting about three metres away, at the other end of the bus stop, was a man in his early forties. He was draped in silk robes and a shiny gold turban sat atop his head. “I’d rather not,” I replied, fearing I was about to be mugged by this charlatan-looking weirdo. “You are a very intelligent man,” he said “I can see it from your face.” For some reason I was really starting to like this guy. “Come closer,” he motioned with his hand. I shook my head.


Instead of knifing me, he simply asked my name. I much preferred parting with my name than my life. “I am a mystic man from India,” he whispered. “I know all about you.” I remained silent. “Give me your palm, I will prove it to you” I refused. “Open your heart!” he chanted again, “Open your heart!” Not wanting to be seen as someone with a closed heart, I reluctantly extended my palm to him. “Hmmm, I see, I see…” He carefully studied my palm, “Things haven’t worked out the way you wanted John. You are going through a bit of a tough time at the moment. Despite working very hard, you are not getting the rewards that you truly deserve” Feeling sorry for poor little middle class me I nodded. He was SO right! I TOTALLY deserved more rewards! “But do not be alarmed” he breathed, “in exactly three months, everything will turn around. Jupiter will be realigning.” I was intrigued, “Continue”, I said. “John, your friends pretend to be happy for you when you achieve things, when you succeed, but really “they are hoping you fail” “I see…” I murmured.

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PURELY DICTA TRAVEL Without pause, he reached deep within the layers of his robes. This time it was definitely going to be a knife, I just knew it. I was about to get stabbed by a ‘mystic man’ at a bus stop in Kuala Lumpur. What a way to go. Instead, he pulled out a black notebook. Peeling it open, he began scribbling some words on a piece of paper. He then tore out the piece of paper, scrunched it into a ball and placed it in my hand. “What are you doing?” I questioned “Do not worry sir, all will become clear, just open your heart,” He placed the paper ball in my hand. I must ask you three questions” he said. “What is your favourite flower?” “Um, the rose,” I replied “And your favourite colour?” “Purple.” “And finally John, your favourite number?” “Eleven,” I answered. “You see, John, I knew all of this already.” “Yeah sure mate, I believe you.” I replied with more than a hint of sarcasm.

“Thanks very much, it was a very nice trick but you’ve got to be joking!’ “OK OK OK just give me $200 then.” ‘Um, let me think… No!” I responded. “OK OK OK, then just give me little little!” My deep spiritual journey through the mystical art of fortune telling had degenerated into fending off a middle aged man, begging me for money. Finding this whole situation bizarre, I thanked the ‘mystic man’ and walked away. As I left, all I could hear was his chanting of ‘Open your heart! Little little!’ My heart WAS open; it was my wallet that was closed. At that moment, a bus pulled up and a horde of American tourists began to pour out. Out of nowhere, the ‘mystic man’ appeared with his target set firmly on them. As he passed me, he caught my eye. I sighed and shook my head. He winked at me, a massive grin spreading over his face. Now, I’m not a psychic, but I predict he got more than a ‘little little’ from those tourists; I predict he got a ‘lot lot’.

“Look inside your hand,” he motioned toward the scrunched up ball of paper I had been clenching, “Unfold it.” I slowly unfurled the ball of paper and what I saw blew my mind. Written on it were the words ‘rose’, ‘purple’ and ‘eleven’. “Wow!” I shrieked “That is really amazing!” “Now you see, John, I am genuine,” he smiled, “I know all about you.” I sat, silently trying to come to terms with what had just occurred. Maybe this guy WAS a psychic. Maybe all my friends WERE against me. Maybe my face WAS intelligent! “So…” he mumbled, breaking the silence, “how about paying me.” His mystique evaporated instantaneously. “Normally I receive $400 for my services.”

Purely Dicta Ed. 2 2009 41


40 DAYS OF GLOBAL ACTIVISM by Preethi Vergis

For the socially conscious law student, the avenues for social activism are numerous. Gender equality, ending global hunger, environmental responsibility, world peace, poverty alleviation – there’s a cause to suit every passion. Unfortunately, for the people most affected by these issues, the problems are often not so easily divisible and neatly categorised. The people most disenfranchised are often at the locus of a myriad of seemingly unrelated problems. To the young girl in Nakhon Phanom, Isaan, in NorthEast Thailand, poverty and exploitation are hardly two distinct problems. Poverty renders impossible the prospect of a simple and basic education. The barriers to an education make her more


susceptible to the child trafficking trade, which thrives because of sex tourism in larger cities and preys on young girls in need of a source of income. Poverty becomes more than a life of hardship and scarcity. Additionally, it becomes the beginning of a long cycle of exploitation, sexual abuse and psychological trauma.

A Vision of Freedom Openaid International, founded in Melbourne in 2002, is an organisation dedicated to working with communities in South-East Asia to address the multiple problems of poverty, gender inequality, exploitation and abuse. In its involvement with communities in Thailand and Burma, Openaid has repeatedly found that lasting change can only be brought about in these communities by understanding how the

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PURELY DICTA LIFE OUTSIDE LAW SCHOOL separate problems of poverty, abuse and exploitation interact to shape the realities of these communities. Openaid firmly believes that real change in these communities can only originate internally. The realties of poverty and exploitation are shaped by cultural complexities and cannot be overcome with band-aid solutions imposed by an external agent based on mere theoretical knowledge. Openaid focuses on building relationships and channels of dialogue to facilitate the empowerment of women and enable them to be directly involved in the implementation of holistic solutions for the achievement of sustainable change.

The 40 Days Campaign 2009 The 40 Days of Global Activism Campaign is one of the main steps Openaid is taking in 2009 to bridge the vast divide between the Australian community and the communities of Australia’s neighbours. Premised on the notion that change begins with an individual call to action, the campaign aims to confront Australians with the realities of communities in their backyard and to challenge them to respond to these injustices.

ties in the region, as well as a greater understanding of how all of these distinct challenges must be addressed in unison within the framework for change. Over the 40 days of the campaign, Openaid will be organising a variety of inspiring, exciting and eye-opening events for Melbourne’s community which are meant to raise awareness about the issues related to poverty and development, children’s welfare and women’s rights. These include, but are not limited to, workshops and forums on the issues of gender equality in poverty alleviation efforts, child trafficking and forced prostitution, as well as commemorative events in conjunction with each of the three days of international activism. Please visit for more details. Additionally, you can receive updates via our Facebook groups: “Openaid International” and “The 40 Days of Global Activism Campaign”.

The 40 Days of Global Activism Campaign (October 17 to November 25) revolves around three very important days on the international calendar for social justice activism: International Day Against Poverty (October 17), Universal Children’s Day (October 28) and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25). The campaign kicks off on October 17 with the first of the three days of international activism, International Day Against Poverty, and ends on November 25 with the last of the three days of international activism, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. These three days of international activism are all equally important to Openaid and the work we do. The 40 Days campaign seeks to raise awareness of the challenges facing communi-

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Fitzroy Legal Service Community Law Taineeship

by Sarah Capper

For some people studying law, their future legal

pathway is not always clear. For several past trainees at Fitzroy Legal Service (FLS), community law provided that ‘penny-dropping’ moment in terms of realising their direction. Current Solicitor Advocate at FLS Nareeda Lewers, who undertook her traineeship last year following graduating from law at Melbourne University, is a case in point. “I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do. I think I had vague ideas that getting a law degree and getting legal skills would be useful to do work connected with social justice but I didn’t really have any clear ideas about that,” Lewers explains. As a student, Lewers began volunteering at Fitzroy Legal Service, which in turn led to “suddenly seeing there was a direct practical application of what I was doing”. The experience encouraged her to apply for the traineeship position. The position currently represents the only direct pathway for law graduates into Victoria’s community legal sector. Law firm Allens Arthur Robinson (Allens) celebrates a ten-year partnership with Fitzroy Legal Service this year, with Allens having provided the funds for Fitzroy’s Community Law Traineeship program since 1999. The majority of trainees in the program have remained in the sector, or maintained a social justice focus within their legal careers. Melbourne University Arts Law graduate Stan Winford, who undertook his traineeship with FLS ten years ago, is now Senior Legal Advisor to Attorney-


General Rob Hulls. “I don’t know whether I would have gone into the law had [the traineeship] not been an option for me because I think I was one of those people, like lots of people, who go through their law degree and think how am I going to apply this to what my interests are,” Winford says. Comparing his experience to other graduates, Winford muses, “I was paid a lot less than my peers, but I had much better access to good coffee.” Jokes aside, Winford is full of praise for having the opportunity to undertake his traineeship within the community legal sector. “It’s a really unique, valuable and interesting way of training to become a lawyer. It gives people a whole lot of experiences and skills that they wouldn’t get anywhere else - and the whole system benefits.” For Dan Nicholson, who undertook articles in 2004 after finishing Arts Law at Melbourne University, and who is now the Coordinator of the Asia and Pacific Programme, Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) in Phnom Penh, the traineeship at FLS saw him undertaking “less legal work and

Purely Dicta Ed. 2 2009

PURELY DICTA LIFE OUTSIDE LAW SCHOOL more client management”. Winford agrees, “You’re often dealing holistically with clients particular issues and concerns,” but argues, “there’s a very neat link between addressing those issues and getting good outcomes in court. “In criminal cases particularly, if you have someone who’s got a homelessness or some other problem, then you resolve that, that helps a lot in how the court treats their risk of getting into trouble again.“ Lewers views this approach as enriching the experience of the position. “If you are sometimes seeing people who are already pretty disadvantaged and having a rough trot with the legal system, it can be pretty frustrating, but at the same time, it’s an amazingly fulfilling job to think you’re trying to play a role in lessening those effects.” Three months into the job, current trainee Kira Levin is already appreciating the experience. “FLS creates the space and opportunity to consider and work towards legal and non-legal solutions to issues impacting the community. Its unique positioning enables engagement in a client’s issues, even when at first glance it may appear that there is no viable legal solution.” Melbourne University Arts Law graduate Hui Zhou, who undertook her traineeship at FLS two years ago and is now the Drug and Outreach Lawyer at the Service, found “my involvement with clients as an article clerk was much more connected, because you have to ask them about their whole life story”. Lewers had a similar experience, adding “you get a lot more responsibility because it’s a small place and yes you are receiving fantastic training but there’s also a lot of work to do, so you’re actually needed to contribute to what’s going on which gives you a lot of opportunity.” One of Australia’s oldest community legal centres, FLS celebrates having a policy focus in its overall

approach to delivering services. Amongst being engaged in a rotation system incorporating different areas of the law, trainees are also encouraged to become involved in advocacy. Winford connects the policy focus to working towards the wider aims of the CLC sector: “You’re part of a broader movement that has a number of different ways in which it seeks to achieve change, through campaigns and submissions and just documenting these cases. It’s a great environment to just be in that position.” Victoria’s community legal sector currently employs around 200 lawyers and 300 other staff, yet FLS currently provides the only trainee position. This seems no reflection on interest from law students. A recent survey of 328 students by the Law Institute of Victoria found that 59% could see themselves working in a community legal centre, with 20% hoping to undertake a traineeship at a CLC. The lack of pathways into community law is of ongoing concern to the Federation of Community Legal Centres. “The issue is exacerbated by the pay disparity between CLCs and other legal providers which increases the more experience a lawyer gains. So while working in CLCs is rewarding and intellectually stimulating, we can’t rely on too many lawyers moving from university to a traineeship in a private firm and then after a few years ditching the golden handcuffs to work in a CLC,” the Federation’s Executive Officer Hugh de Kretzer explains. The Federation is currently applying for funds to implement a CLC law graduate scheme, based on the success of the Fitzroy Legal Service experience. “The [FLS] program has experienced strong retention rates with the clerks going on to successful careers in the CLC or broader social justice sectors. Overall, the success of the program has demonstrated the need to expand it more broadly in Victoria and beyond,” de Kretzer says.

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Perspective on the Law School by Vince Chadwick


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Purely Dicta Ed. 2 2009


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