Page 1

Purely Dicta ‘09

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 1


... and another thing from the editorettes*

Most of you would probably agree that our university lives are saturated with dissecting, imbibing and breathing the law. It gets to a point where you start referring to High Court judges like the best mates you’ve known since Grade Five, and adult shortsightedness creeps in from chronically squinting at your laptop screen to make sense of your hoi polloi class notes. But just before you thought that fun had been surgically removed from your law degree, along comes Purely Dicta to save your tight-panted behinds! Our roles are to offer you commentary on things that matter because, unlike the faceless heartless pedagogues who give you 49 on a subject that isn’t offered in summer semester - ever - WE CARE! So, for once, this is one publication in the Law School that airs OTHER issues relevant to you. In this edition, we focus on the things that YOU like to talk about - travelling, music, food, racisim, the era of the mid-degree crisis, the ubiquitous GFC, and saving the world. It is a curious phenomenon that we enter the Law School with a social conscience and some kind of hope to change the world for the better - and the perceived image is that we’ll end up leaving in none too colourful suits to do “serious work” instead. In a desperate attempt to stop the conversion of the entire Law School into corporate clones, we present to you everything that YOU have submitted to us. This is PURELY DICTA - COMPLETELY DEVOID OF ANYTHING LAW RELATED!!** Turns out, law students don’t really want to submit / read anything law-related in their spare time. Go figure. OMG LAW BALL POSE!!1@!!!

So enjoy, muchachas!

Maria & Taruna * We like the word EDITORETTES, gender specificity aside, it sounds pretty. Refer to P. 8 - 10 for feminism commentary fun!! PS: It’s not a real word, you can unclench now. ** That’s not completely true. Clerkships are law related. Apparently. On P. 20.

GRAPHICS & PHOTOGRAPHY Taruna Arora and Maria Shi

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. Grammatical errors can be construed to be intentional. Raymon Chandler could do it, so can we. 2 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


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 lss-purelydicta@unimelb.edu.au

FEATURES

24 Maria Shi interviews Julian Cleary on

hip-hop Renovator’s Dream on P. 24

26 Are we all a little bit racist?

ISSUES

TRAVEL

REGULAR

6 An interview with the notorious GFC 28 A law school student’s world 4 Letters to the Editor itinerary 8 Feminism: A womyn’s personal insight 36 Well-being 30 Japan - kawaii fun 9 Feminism: White middle class male 38 Out and about what have you to say? 31 Las Vegas 11 Integrating into Australia sport by 32 South America correspondent

sport: Aussie Rules

Jake Breen

12 Public displays of emotion: yay or

STUDENT LIFE

nay?

14 After midnight at the hospital

16 Volunteering 22 Mid-degree crisis 18 Tupo Bags 20 Another summer clerkship

We would like to thank all our contributors without whom this edition would be, well, blank. Thank yew to James Shackell, Helen Babb, Timothy Farhall, Nick Petrie, Joshua Levy, Sarah Lan, Esther Bohmer, Marion Barraclough, Livia Wong, Jules Cleary, Jake Breen, Courtney McLennan. A bona fide gratitude to y’all who spent your Easter breaks writing when you could’ve been out drinking and partaking in bar brawls. Additional thanks to our fellow LLS members who have supplied us with software, support and gentle supervision throughout the gestation of this publication. www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 3

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


Letters to the SUBJECTS OFFERED The law school this semester has not offered the same number of electives as previous years. The electives offered seemed to decrease each year especially with the new JD intake. Many of these classes are offered at the same time. Additionally, the several electives offered have only one stream and the university does not mandate that the lectures be available on lectopia which makes it difficult to organise a work schedule. Upon enquiring about the possibility of having multiple streams for various electives, was told that that wasn’t a possibility. the advice given to me was that I could chose to attend my classes on alternate weeks. I did not find that suggestion helpful at all since not only I am paying for these classes, I would also like to do well in them. The law school does seem to be making an effort to ensure LLB students complaints are heard with regular monthly meetings with the Associate Dean but that doesn’t change the fact that it seems we’re not getting our money’s worth at this university. I wish the university would offer more electives and multiple streams, and make ilecture mandatory in order to accommodate students who have other commitments.

Overlooked LLB Student

4 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


e Editor LEVEL 2 DECOR I was rather pleasantly surprised with the new level 2 Decor when uni commenced. The new couches and carpet liven up the level and have made sofas available to just sit and read without the added stress at the library. It is also nice to be able to take a short power nap on those ever-so-comfortable couches. So amidst all the criticism about the law school not paying enough attention to LLB students, I’d like to make sure those who are making efforts to make the law school more visually appealing know that their efforts are not going unnoticed. Pat yourself on the back, those in higher position of power!

LIBRARY HOURS I’m sure most people have noticed that the library has extended its hours on weekends; they now open 10am-6pm instead of 11am-5pm. I, like many of my fellow library go-ers, appreciate this change. I’d like to see library’s extended hours before SWOT VAC start earlier just to allow us some extra crunch time. After all, we all know most of us don’t do our readings until the month before exams so it would be nice if the university provided a venue for us to catch up earlier.

Habitual Procrastinator

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 5


THE ISSUES Man v GFC 2009 By James Shackell Brian: Welcome to the program. My guest tonight has travelled a long way to be with us. He’s a recent phenomenon the likes of which we have never seen before. I speak of course of that illustrious globetrotter, the Global Financial Crisis. Good evening. GFC: Good evening, Brian. Brian: Or I guess as the kids today are calling you: the GFC.

media? Brian: Some might say an inevitable one. GFC: I mean there was an article the other day in the Times, I don’t know if you happened to catch it Brian, which was nothing less than a blatant and heinous instance of muckraking; publishing any old unsupported facts just to get a rise out of good old Joe Public. It’s disgraceful and, if I may say so Brian-

GFC: Ha, yes. You know you’ve really Brian: You may indeed. made it when you become an acronym, eh? GFC: Un-Australian. Brian: Indeed. Now, GFC, let me get straight to Brian: Which, ah article, are you referring to. the point. The media have been hounding you recently. You’ve been called everything from Satan’s Money Bank to the modern day answer GFC: ...I’m sorry? to the black plague. How do you respond to these accusations? Brian: I said, “Which article are you referring to?” GFC: Well Brian I’m glad you brought this up. GFC: Look Brian, we could sit here all day and I feel that this whole situation has been blown point fingers at who bankrupted whom and way out of proportion. who was disenfranchised on account of what. Brian: How so? But where would it get us? GFC: The media, Brian. The media.

Brian: Well, to the truth perhaps?

Brian: Yes...what about them?

GFC: But what is the truth, Brian? A slippery definition of anything, if you ask me.

GFC: What sort of a world do we live in where people believe what they see and hear in the 6 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Brian: Surely it’s what just actually happened.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


THE ISSUES GFC: Well yes...and no, Brian. Brian: So what did actually happen? GFC: Well Brian, what you have to understand is that it’s not important what happened but rather why it happened. Brian: So why did it happen? GFC: Well there are many theories, BrianBrian: Such as? GFC: Look, Brian, it’s not as simple as that. It’s a complicated system involving pressure points and severalBrian: Just give me one.

Brian: But GFC, surely this is an immature and simplistic way of looking at a complex, and some would say dire, economic issue. GFC: ...And the other Bees take the pollen, you see Brian. But the season changes. Suddenly there’s no pollen to pay back the Loaner Bee. This makes the Loaner Bee angry, and he sends around two grasshoppers whoBrian: I’m afraid I don’t understand what you’re trying toGFC: Look it’s perfectly simple, Brian. A child could understand it. Brian: A child could understand it?

GFC: Well...the fiscal climate, for one.

GFC: Well perhaps not a child, Brian. I mean this is a complicated fiscal issue, like I said. There are pressure points and-

Brian: The fiscal climate...

Brian: GFC, I’m afraid we’re out of time.

GFC: You see Brian, we all exist in what I like to call a fiscal “environment” or “climate” if you will. It’s like pollen and the bees.

GFC: Oh, really? Well the main thing to take away from this, Brian, is that everyone’s pollen is in safe hands.

Brian: Would you care to elaborate?

Brian: A sobering message...in this time of woe. And any last word to those who have lost their jobs and their homes due to your devastating wave of economic downturn?

GFC: Now this “environment” or “climate” changes according to seasons. The Bee (that’s you Brian) goes to pick the pollen from the flower. At first, one flower is enough. But soon the Bee wants more and more flowers, and not just his flowers, you understand. He wants the flowers of all the bees in the whole kingdomBrian: Kingdom? GFC: Yes, kingdom. So he says to the other Bees: “I will loan you some pollen to start up your own little hive if you pay me back more pollen than I gave you.”

GFC: ...pardon? Brian: Never mind. Well thank you, GFC; it has been.. interesting hearing your side of the story. GFC: Anytime Brian. I’m just glad to clear the air and offer a frank and open exchange. Brian: Quite. Tune in next week for commentary on Lindsay Lohan’s latest drinking binge. I’m Brian Johnson. Goodnight. www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 7

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


THE ISSUES

Feminism revisited Frankly, I’m still the same now; I don’t understand why I shouldn’t be allowed to compromise my ideals for the popular vote in Parliament; I don’t understand why I shouldn’t be allowed to sacrifice my life for the 6 minute billable unit on some top floor in Collins St; I don’t understand why I shouldn’t feel comfortable meeting a suitwearing, tall man’s gaze on the tram; and feel safe walking through the CBD on Friday night (p.s. gross choice of party); and be a sexual being; and express my opinion in class without having the weight of every womyn’s credibility on my back.

Set you Free

Now I get why I feel this way. It’s because, like my awesome teacher and those chicks who fought so hard to help set my life free, being a Feminist is a crucial, healthy part of my self-esteem. For me, and every other self respecting person, you can judge my wage and ideas and whether you’ve got enough guts to meet my gaze on the tram on what I present to you, beyond the fact that I have a Beautiful Cunt and Generous Cleavage. I’ll assume your penis-wielding self is not a jerk unless and until your behaviour tells me otherwise.

By Esther Bohmer Get

For me being a ‘feminist’ is just part of my self-esteem. I don’t see how that’s not the case for everyone, really. (Mmm, maybe this coincides with the start of my insatiable academic crushes...) An initial phase started the ball rolling on my freedom, and critical analysis on my memories. When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why I shouldn’t be allowed to play in the sandpit with the trucks and my brother, or why I wasn’t allowed to have a mushroom haircut, or play footy, or wear those awesome happy pants my granny made for the boys, and big stomping boots. 8 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

hot

on and

board, it’s here

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

folks; to set

Feminism’s you free.


THE ISSUES

Why we still need the f-word By Tim Farhall Feminism is a dirty word. It conjures up im- Australia’. Frequently these friends are women. ages of hairy women in comfortable shoes, railing against make-up and high heels and stay- It’s true that compared to the rest of the world, at-home mums and men. Feminism is endless women do pretty well in Australia. We’re proud whining by middle-aged refugees from the 70s of the fact that we don’t stone rape victims for that young women don’t appreciate what their adultery? We think we’re doing ok because mothers achieved. Feminism is butch lesbians women are allowed to drive? We can slap ourtelling ‘ordinary’ women what to do. Feminism selves on the back because wives are not legally is anathema to equality, freedom and self-expres- owned by their husbands? If that’s the standard sion, feminism is stuck in the to which we’re comparing past, feminism demands ‘spe- “ We can slap ourselves ourselves, then we certaincial treatment’ for some women ly have a serious problem. at the expense of everyone else. on the back because wives are not legally owned by Because the fact is, whatAs a middle class white male, their husbands? If that’s ever you might tell yourself, then, I should be firmly opthat women are not equal the standard to which posed to feminism. But I’m not. to men. Studies consistwe’re comparing our- ently show women are paid An unfortunate fact of life is that selves, then we certaintly less than men for doing the nutters and extremists get pubsame job. Women do more licity, usually at the expense of have a serious problem.” domestic labour, even when their cause. For example, Palesthey’re employed. Women tinian extremism makes it easy to support Israeli are a rarity at the top levels of government and military action. It can seem hard to feel sympa- business. For fuck’s sake, one in three Australthetic to a population that elected a government ian women will be assaulted, and one in five sworn to the destruction of their neighbours. But sexually assaulted, in their lifetime. I used to that shouldn’t obscure the fact that the Palestin- think that last statistic was an exaggeration, that ian people have some of the worst living condi- ‘sexual assault’ must include ‘harmless’ slaps tions in the world. Similarly, the fact that some on the bum. Nope. The statistics and even confeminists seem like raving lunatics shouldn’t versations with people I know – overwhelmobscure the fact that, frankly, they have a point. ingly middle class, relatively privileged folk – suggest that figure is every bit as shocking It’s at this point in the conversation that peo- as it sounds. If anything, it’s too conservative. ple start to get hot under the collar. It’s at this point my friends say ‘Women have the same But things are changing, we’re told. rights as men in this country. They can work, Things are getting better. Well maybe, have a family, do whatever they like. Saudi Ara- but maybe not as much as you’d think. bia could do with some feminism, sure, but not

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 9


THE ISSUES I took a gender studies class a few years back, the lone bloke in my tute. I was amazed at the level of naivety amongst the girls in my class. ‘Sure, some men are pigs,’ the argument always went, ‘but my boyfriend/brother/friend isn’t like that’. It’s my sad duty to assure you that they almost certainly are. To take a typical example: last weekend I was catching up with a good mate of mine from high school. He works for a development NGO, has a steady girlfriend, is incredibly loyal to his friends. He’s charming, generous, friendly and community-minded. He spent most of the night commenting on the looks of women in the pub: ‘I’d do her. Do her. Wouldn’t do her. Get a blowie off her, maybe. Definitely do her.’ One of the other guys was telling us with great glee about how he was ‘fucking this old bag. Nah, seriously mate, she’s like 35. Fucking stupid bitch, but great at sucking cock.’

Women’s Day breakfasts, our culture remains firmly masculine. You can get self-righteously angry about lesbian separatists and ‘anti-sex killjoys’, but that won’t change the fact that if you’re a woman, you are worse off than a man. You will work more hours for less pay, you will be overlooked for the best jobs and you are more likely to get the sack. You will be regarded as less intelligent, less balanced, less rational, and less important. You will almost certainly be groped, and you will quite possibly be raped. You will be expected to look after the kids and mind the house while your partner cooks once a week and expects praise. Best of all, you will be so used to all this that it will seem natural.

If this doesn’t describe your life, then you are incredibly blessed. But every time we boldly dismiss ‘feminism’ as outmoded lefty ranting, we implicitly deny that anything is wrong. ReThese guys aren’t gross bogans drinking Bundy ject the nutbags, sure, but don’t deny the probwhile downloading porn off the net. They don’t lem. If we do, then things will never get better. sit on street corners in wifebeaters and leer at women walking past. They’re respectable members of society, they’re easy to get along with. They have close female friends who they would never dream of hurting. But there is an underlying male culture in this country that is firmly and disturbingly misogynist. It exists in Carlton as much as in Broadmeadows. Once you get past the surface veneer of male ‘respect’ for women, you find a deep-seated and often subconscious belief in the inferiority of females. Friends ask me if I find it odd that my boss is a woman. Clients at the community legal centre I volunteer at often look to me for advice, rather than the female lawyer sitting next to me. For crying out loud, studies have shown that a female voice on a SatNav system is overwhelmingly regarded as less reliable than a male voice saying the exact same thing. That’s why we need feminism. For all our rhetoric, our formal declarations of equality, our equal opportunity policies and our International 10 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


THE ISSUES

Aussie Rules

By Josh Levy

In Australia, and especially Victoria, Aussie Rules football is like a religion. The passion and fervor shown by fans for their teams is arguably unmatched anywhere in the world. However these fans often ignore one important aspect of the game that it serves as an avenue for societal unification, not simply accommodating, but celebrating multiculturalism. The manner in which Aussie Rules football has promoted social cohesion is highlighted in the AFL clubs that have welcomed newly arrived immigrants and refugees with open arms. The Carlton Football Club is a case in point. Over the last few years, Carlton has launched an aggressive and passionate recruiting drive aimed at newly arrived immigrants to Australia. The AFL cherishes the rich influx of players it gets from overseas. International recruits have included a Brownlow Medalist in Jym Stynes and a premiership player in Tadgh Kenelly. This trend will undoubtedly continue and grow, with the AFL giving provision for clubs to place an International Rookie on their lists, and giving them significant incentives for doing so. Equally impressive have been the amount of players who arrived in Australia in their childhood, and then grew up with the game. These included Peter Bell, originally from South Korea, and David Rodan from Fiji. There are many more, and the diverse cultures and backgrounds bring so much to the game. Additionally, the recent documentary titled “The Essence of the Game” showed that part of what is at the heart of the game, is that Aussie Rules brings people together. Whether you’re a kid like Saul Eslake - the chief economist of ANZ, at a new school, in a new country, looking for something to connect you with others; or whether you’re fronting up to work and are asked during the breaks by your co-workers “What team do you follow”; a love of footy is likely to give you a connection to Australian culture and an ability to participate in this great and inclusive aspect of the Aussie way of life. It will also give you an appreciation for the fact that Aussie Rules has done a pretty good job at bringing people together and allowing people a chance to experience the football culture that has been around since 1987.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 11


THE ISSUES

Public displays of emoting? By Tim Farhall only human, and anyway it was kinda nice to see that politicians actually gave a damn sometimes. Perhaps the most (in)famous display of public emotion in modern times was Bill Clinton’s immortal declaration: ‘I feel your pain’. Clinton may have been a philanderer and a distinctly unimpressive President, but he had a phenomenal ability to charm both in person and on screen. His supporters revered him for his supposedly deeply personal commitment to the job. His opponents saw him as manipulative, trading on personal popularity and tugging on heartstrings. Kev got much the same treatment – opponents screeched that he was only doing it for the cameras, that he looked directly at the media throng before hugging a bloke who’d lost his house. In both cases the leaders’ apparent empathy, the argument went, was a cynical ploy designed purely to increase their popularity.

Politicians weeping crocodile tears, talk show hosts furiously emoting, insurance execs pretending to care about the customers they refuse to treat decently. That’s what Which, of course, may well be true. public displays of emotion entail, right? Politicians are prepared to lie, break promises The topic arose, of course, thanks to the PM and throw money around to get votes, so why choking up on live TV during the February not chuck in a few hugs and tears for good bushfires. In typical Channel 9 style, a reporter measure? Yet even so, some level of publicly exwanted to know his ‘personal reaction’ to the pressed emotion is a good thing. As John Raldevastation he’d witnessed. Kev visibly strug- ston Saul has argued, modern Western society gled to hold back tears before mumbling some- is not so much a democracy as a technocracy. thing about how awful it was. In a desperate attempt to avoid reporting actual news, the media Cold rationality, disconnected from morality or picked up the story for a while. Punters wrote any acceptance of human foibles, is the order letters complaining that we needed our leaders of the day. Perhaps the most visible evidence to be strong, not give in to wussy sentimentality. of this dehumanising tendency can be seen in Softer-hearted types responded that Kev was the rise of bureaucratic language, what Don 12 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


THE ISSUES Watson has called ‘weasel words’. Students are pressed. We can’t admit that we want retribu‘consumers’, hospitals rename death a ‘nega- tion, so we invent spurious arguments about tive outcome’ and, of course, there’s the ubiq- deterrence to justify disproportionate punishuitous ‘collateral damage’. In our quest for ef- ment. We dress up our ‘base’ instincts in intelficiency, for impartiality, for pure rationality, lectual sheep’s clothing, in the process making we are trying to take the human out of public truly rational argument impossible. We are life. Kev’s tears, coming from someone so of- left with no coherent basis for our decisions. ten seen as a process-driven bureaucrat, are a valuable reminder that the reality Perhaps, then, pub“We dress up our ‘base’ of human life is frail and messy. lic displays of emoinstincts in intellectual tion are a rare moment Of course, too much emotion is sheep’s clothing, in the of truth in politics. undoubtedly a bad thing. Emotion Regardless of the audisconnected from rationality is process making truly ration- thenticity of the actual both powerful and dangerous. Our al argument impossible. display, such events darkest emotions can be terrifying: We are left with no coher- are a brief reminder we want the Bali bombers brutally that we are all human. ent basis for our decisions.” executed, we want anyone accused Far from suppressof a sex crime banished from sociing them, we should ety, we want The One who broke our heart to be encouraging them in the hope of injecting suffer. The most positive emotions can be just as more humanity into the political process. We bad, as smitten lovers harming themselves and don’t want our government run by Oprah, but others in the name of love demonstrate. Yet in equally we don’t want our government run the way our society is structured and run, the by machines. We must acknowledge our irrafact that we are fundamentally emotional be- tional side and balance emotion with reason. ings is not merely ignored but actively sup- Perhaps - just perhaps - Kev’s tears are a start.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 13


THE ISSUES

After Midnight By Marion Barraclough The city sleeps while the far fetched and few dine on the proclivities of the night - excessive consumption of another kind. But what happens when you’re not among the crowd of n’er do wells? What does it look like? “Take a seat.” I scan the room. The queue, wending itself around rows of square plastic chairs littered with crumpled figures and outstretched legs, is nearing the back wall. I contemplate squeezing myself between a rosy-faced man dozing in a wet shirt and a girl with thick mascara, grinning and shivering in her sequinned dress, and think better of it. I settle myself cross-legged on the cool concrete floor and watch as Saturday night spills into Sunday at the Royal Melbourne. From stage right, the automatic doors whir into action, an ostinato beneath the chatter of the waiting room. A cool breeze lifts the corners of a stray newspaper and a low nasal voice sounds from the darkness outside. “Maaaaaate…” Fresh from a pub brawl, and clad in white sneakers and a fluoro orange t-shirt, the new arrival joins the line behind Laneway Scuffle and Frankston Train Line Bashing. The clean, bright hospital lights cast a cartoonish glow over him and he laughs, relishing his entrance with a heroic fling of his arm toward the ceiling. Several heads turn his way and he straightens up, eager to show-off the flecks of blood across his shirt, signature King St. His watery eyes widen dramatically as he reveals a gash across his pale stomach. The crowd gasps. A broken bottle perhaps? “Quiet please.” Hair fastened regulation-tight behind the ears, a nurse surveys the parade before her and waits for the animated chatter to die down. The adrenalin of the first swipe, the first push, that first smirk, is yet to wear off, as well she knows. Nevertheless, she is satisfied with the sudden hush and returns to her desk, continuing to scribble and click, and peer and poke with calm assurance as the patients filter past slowly. Patterns of names and ages, symptoms and suburbs, are entered into the computer. Scribble and click, scribble and click. Her auburn bun bobs up and down as she nods her head, comprehending this symptom and that. Bobby pins prevent her from unravelling. “Marion?” I look up with a start, having begun to doze off. I realise the nurse must have called my name several times because the row of patients to my left are staring curiously at me and at the sodden tea towel covering half of my face. I feel myself slowly turning red despite the cold against my cheek. Pub Brawl appears in his fluoro shirt beside me, squinting and pressing a towel to his middle. He 14 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


THE ISSUES regains his balance. “What happened to you, sweetheart? Someone slapped you around, eh? Had an argument with your boyfriend, then?” Shying away from the sea of black eyes, split lips and grazed chins turned to me in anticipation, I make my way across to the nurse’s desk, still clutching the tea towel to my jaw. The doctor, looking up from his clipboard, smooths the front of his pale blue gown and smiles down at me sympathetically. “Well, your wisdom teeth certainly don’t want to leave quietly.” Automatic doors can be heard as another figure stumbles in. The curtain rises again. I follow him through to the ward beyond, massaging my swollen jaw, perhaps one of the few patients in Emergency who did not go looking for a fight that night. Behind me, the whir of the of the automatic doors can be heard as another figure stumbles in. The curtain rises again.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 15


WHACHA DOIN’? What’s been going on in your uni life? What to know what everyone else is doing?

Experiencing reality beyond textbooks There are no flashy offices and no billable hours. The clients do not own European cars or expensive homes. Instead, the lawyers are unpaid and many clients are living hand-tomouth, often relying on crisis accommodation. The contrast between commercial law firms and Community Legal Centres (CLCs) is stark. However, CLCs are fast becoming a training ground for law students hoping to cut their teeth on life in the legal profession. While there are vast disparities between CLCs and firms, the underlying concept is the same: clients seek legal advice and the lawyers provide this advice in a plain English and practical manner which is tailored to the clients’ individual needs. While the legal problems encountered at CLCs generally tend to revolve around scenarios concerning individuals rather than deep-pocketed corporations, commercial firms increasingly recognise the importance of gaining volunteering experience. Students are perennially advised to enhance their employability by gaining experience in their career area of choice. Studying combined Arts and Law degrees, and planning on a legal career post-graduation, I decided that volunteering with a CLC would enable me to gain firsthand experience of my chosen profession. Different community organisations offer very dissimilar programs and it is important your personal16 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

By Courtney McLennan

ity and expectations meet that of your internship provider. I have volunteered at numerous Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in both specialised and general areas of law, including the Mental Health Legal Centre, North Melbourne Community Legal Service, and SouthPort Community Legal Service. I am also completing a legal policy-based internship with the Victoria Law Foundation: a body offering grants, legal publications and community legal education aimed at making law more accessible to the general public. My role and duties as a volunteer at each of these organisations were very different. The Mental Health Legal Centre, a specialised CLC, involved legal research on changes to the law and observing volunteer solicitors speaking with clients during phone consultations. This was a valuable experience in terms of dealing with clients who have disabilities and mental illness, providing access to the law for often marginalised individuals. During my six month placement at the North Melbourne Community Legal Service, I drafted letters to clients such as advising prisoners of their rights, trudging through the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) before ever having encountered it in Evidence and Proof and Criminal Law, as well as conversing with principal solicitors and referring clients to Victoria Legal Aid or private barristers.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


STUDENT LIFE However, while I enjoyed the research work, I found that I craved more direct client contact. At SouthPort Community Legal Service where I have volunteered for over a year, I have observed, and even conducted on occasion, interviews between clients and solicitors. My confidence particularly developed after I conducted a preliminary interview with a client – and even though I was faced with an as yet unstudied legal subject – I was able to refer the client to the appropriate CLC or specialised body for assistance. Observing the different solicitors’ interviewing techniques and how they react to clients’ diverse needs also provides valuable training on the actual operation of law in the real world beyond the textbooks and lecture theatres of the University of Melbourne. Each volunteering experience is different and it is always exciting that the legal (and some not so legal) issues I deal with on any particular night are unpredictable. However, if you are worried that volunteering will sacrifice paid employment, there are ways to manage both extracurricular activities. There is certainly still a place for paid employment in office administration, retail, hospitality and even the dreaded telemarketing! However, while the average student’s part-time employment awards skills such as customer service, the skills gained from volunteering are incredibly beneficial and may be more career specific than giving fashion tips in retail or flipping burgers in hospitality. Whether you are a law student hoping to gain experience in a CLC or a student seeking the chance to become involved in not-for-profit organisations, there are forms of volunteering to suit you. University students tend to be time poor during semester, particularly around the examination periods, but there are many volunteering agencies which recognise this, allowing you to complete your internship over the university holidays. This can mean sacrificing some paid employment, but the experience is well worth the time, particularly if your internship is

9am-5pm as becoming accustomed to the working day may at first pose a struggle for university students accustomed to breaks between lectures! The combined incentives of making a difference in your local area or chosen field of employment, and increasing your work-related skills, make volunteering an increasingly essential addition to your CV. The skills you develop will stay with you well beyond your volunteering experience and the networking opportuni-

“While the average student’s part-time employment awards skills such as customer service, the skills gained from volunteering are incredibly beneficial and may be more career specific than giving fashion tips in retail or flipping burgers in hospitality.” ties are boundless. In short, get involved, be professional, enjoy your time with the agency, learn new skills and, perhaps the most beneficial part of volunteering, put your textbook knowledge into practice for a very rewarding experience.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 17


STUDENT LIFE

Saving the world... one Tupo Bag at a time.

By Nick Petrie

For some reason, law students always seem to have a good story to tell about what they did over summer. Responses to the age old question of what you got up to over the break often play out like, “Oh you know same old, same old … Just taught English to disadvantaged children in Nepal for six weeks, ran a half marathon, went to Falls Festival and completed a clerkship at Mallesons… Pretty standard really, and you?” Such stories of summer pursuits and shenanigans make me feel like many of my uni friends are somewhat superhuman. How else could they manage to cram so much into the few glorious and sun blest weeks between Christmas and O-Week? While the list of summer adventures is endless, my favourite tale would have to be of Jessie Smith, a fourth year LLB Student. Actually, to be correct, Jessie’s story is more than a summer escapade. It is a journey that began in the winter of 2007, in a refugee camp in Ghana. As is becoming increasingly popular with white middle class Australians who buy the Big Issue, Jessie decided to complete a paid volunteering placement while on a backpacking trip through Africa. Orgainsed through a Dutch company, the placement was in Buduburum refugee camp, Ghana. Buduburum was a refugee camp which hosted around 35,000 refugees from West African nations, namely Liberia. The Dutch group orgainsed for Jessie to teach at a school within the camp. Jessie is rather scathing about her experience with this ‘pay to volunteer’ program, saying that the poor use of her money, time and skills by the organisation and the school “left her feeling pretty disillusioned.” She admits that realistically, “I should have just donated my airfare to train a local teacher at college - but I had the ‘only I can save the world attitude’ that so many do-gooder uni students have.” At this point it would have been easy for Jessie to leave Ghana with a sense of deep seated dissatisfaction and a handful of photos uploaded onto Facebook of her hand-in-hand with cute African school kids. Instead, Jessie decided to defer University for a semester and set up a small not for profit business. The result was Asylum Sister. Asylum Sister paid African women who lived in the camp and had been victims of violent or sexual abuse to make re-useable bags. The bags were made from recycled materials, such as used industrial sized flour bags. The women produced a whole range of goods from shopping bags to pencil cases that once made, were sent to Australia and sold to friends and family at every opportunity. Even Jessie’s 21st became a charity auction. The Asylum Sister employees not only received the profits from the sale of the bags, but learnt new sewing and business skills. 18 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


STUDENT LIFE Employment was at the core of Asylum Sister. The women were employees, not beneficiaries. Asylum Sister employed women for enough time to ensure that they had sufficient money saved and skills learnt to start their own sustainable businesses. They were also involved in all stages of the Asylum Sister process, from production of the bags in Ghana to their sale in Australia. Jessie wanted to do something different from the ‘hand-out’ services that many other Western NGO’s in Buduburum provided. So she focused on the idea that beneficiaries of Western aid should be empowered to lift themselves out of poverty. This idea of empowerment is contrasted by the sense that it is only through Western intervention that the cycle of poverty can be broken that many other NGO projects pouring money into developing countries instill upon the local people. In this way, Jessie’s organisation, on a small scale, represents a massive philosophical shift in the ever growing global NGO sector. In the middle of 2008 the project hit a snag. A strike by the refugees in Buduburum led to the closure of the camp by the Ghanaian government. The women Asylum Sister employed were sent back to their war torn countries and Jessie’s organisation was all but over. However, as if it were a phoenix, Asylum Sister was reborn over the recent summer in Arusha, Tanzania. Tupo, which means “we are together” in Swahili, is the reincarnation of Asylum Sister that Jessie used her Christmas break, along with a Melbourne University graduate, Dennis Cairney to establish. It is still a very small grass roots organisation, which currently employs four women to make bags. But the project is gaining momentum. Readings Book Store have committed to stocking the first shipments of bags and there are already plans to expand Tupo into Uganda. Jessie has learnt from the obstacles and mistakes of AsylumSister and believes Tupo will be a much more polished and professional organisation than its prototype. What is most refreshing about Denis and Jessie is that they ardently refuse to be congratulated simply for being ‘youth.’ In response to my question about increased interest in volunteering among Australian University students, Jessie stated frankly, “I don’t think what we do is any more extraordinary because we are young.” Students who would like to donate their time or money to help Tupo Bags please email Jessie@tupobags. org for more information or visit the website at www. tupobags.org (under construction). Otherwise, you can buy a bag at Readings Bookstore (Lygon Street).

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 19


STUDENT LIFE

CLERKSHIPS AND A STOMACH FOR CORPORATE LAW

By Hugo Moodie

Over summer I did a seasonal clerkship at a fairly big commercial law firm. There was not a lot of work (a combination of the economic downturn and the usual slump in work after Christmas) so I spent my time reading Jane Austen in the toilets and scouring Lexis-Nexis for interesting journal articles. I also thought about what I wanted to do after I’d finished my degree: did I want to become a commercial lawyer? When I started my law degree I had no idea what a commercial lawyer was. I wasn’t interested in business or commerce. I did law because I had the marks and because I was interested in arguments, words, and maybe finding a job where I could reduce injustice in some way. Yet over the course of my degree, I became acclimatised to the idea of working for a commercial firm. I applied for clerkships, and started using phrases like “front end”, “back end”, “M + A”, “top tier”, “mid tier”, “pro bono”, and “work life balance”. Most of my law-friends who had finished their degrees had accepted jobs at big commercial firms. Yet I suspected that, like me, few of them had entered law school with the ambition of becoming commercial lawyers. How had this happened? I stumbled across a journal article by Kirsten Edwards in the Fordham Law Review which discussed, amongst other things, how students enter law school wanting to battle injustice but leave wanting to be commercial lawyers. I found the article instructive, and wished that I had read it earlier. Edwards’ observations can be crudely summarised as follows: yy For the most part, law students are from comfortably wealthy, professional homes. They are usually removed from the inequality and injustice in society. yy Thus, although they may enter law school with vague ideas of public interest work, students are inevitably distracted by other interesting career paths that offer high salaries and other perks. yy Law students are naturally competitive. Competing for a job at a big, prestigious, high paing law firm seems like the logical thing to do. yy Law faculty staff spend little time outside academia, are preoccupied with academic prestige, and can tacitly encourage students towards a career in corporate/commercial law. 20 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


STUDENT LIFE yy Law students are offered high salaries and professional respect by commercial firms. yy Students are flattered, wined and dined, and keenly sought by commercial law firms. yy Students’ experience at commercial firms on clerkships is usually positive. They find that the firms are populated with normal, friendly people, and that pro bono work is emphasised. I agreed with most of Edwards’ observations. Comfortably middle class, I fitted her law-student demographic. I had possessed a vague desire to get a job which promoted equality, but had ended up applying to commercial firms without much reflection. And I had applied for commercial firms not because I was attracted to the work they did, but out of competitiveness and a fear of being left behind. Edwards’ portrayal commercial law also gered to learn what my Articled Clerks at big doing seasonal clerkless; I spent most of sessions, gossiping and drinking free beer.

I had possessed a vague desire to get a job which promoted equality, but had ended up applying to commercial firms without much reflection. And I had applied for commercial firms not because I was attracted to the work they did, but out of competitiveness and a fear of being left behind.

of the temptations of rang true. I was stagfriends were earning as firms. I also found the ships to be fairly painmy time in induction with other seasonals,

However, I didn’t agree with Edwards’ conclusion that law faculty staff play a central role in the corporatisation of law students . I had never felt explicitly or tacitly encouraged to pursue a career in commercial law by my lecturers. If anything, I had found the reverse to be true. My lecturers were a bright, diverse bunch who opted out of commercial law (where they could be earning much larger salaries) to pursue academic careers. I have often heard the complaint that the Melbourne Law School is a sanitized, corporatised DeathStar, but I can’t agree. The law building might be sterile, but every time I attended a lecture within it, I was confronted with a lecturer who was a strong role model for a non-commercial legal career. So, on reflection, did I want to be a commercial lawyer? Not really. I’d found nothing really objectionable about commercial law, but I didn’t come to law school to become a commercial lawyer. No doubt many of my friends and fellow graduates will enjoy fulfilling careers in commercial law, and most are driven towards commercial law for the right reasons, and not the combination of competitiveness and insecurity I felt pushing me towards Collins Street. Still, I can’t help thinking that the exodus of young lawyers from commercial firms after only a few years of practice can partly be explained by the gulf between what commercial lawyers enter law school wanting to become, and what they actually end up doing.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 21


STUDENT LIFE

‘Mid-degree crisis’ (n) Middle; meaning in the equally distant from the extremes or outer limits. Crisis, from Greek krisis; bout, crisis, discretion, judgement, judication a) The turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever also known as a university degree b) A paroxysmal attack of pain or distress related to ‘Your Future’ c) An unstable or crucial state of affairs with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome

By Helen Babb Do you seem say “I’m utterly over it” a lot recently? Can’t make an effort to even start your readings? Look forward to the weekend where you can just hit the booze and dance your troubles away? Well, my friend, you are most definitely suffering from an epidemic known as a ‘mid-degree crisis’.

fers between degrees are decided on your previous university marks anyway. Don’t be thinking that 50 for English counts for anything anymore. So

why

is

it

only

hitting

us

now?

Maybe it’s the fact that mid degree is about This period of ‘dramatic self-doubt’ is hitting the time you have to start thinking about university students mid-degree, rather simi- that ghostly spectre ahead in the distance… lar to its more notorious ‘mid-life’ counterpart. your Future Career. The horror stories about It’s not surprising that we no longer have to heartbreaking clerkships applications and inwait until we’re 45 and menopausal to become terviews that plague our hopes of job-findmentally incapacitated, frothing at the mouth ing don’t make it seem any more enticing. about how much we hate our lives, and having delusional thoughts about South America. Perhaps it has to do with the current financial crisis. The GFC [Eds: our exclusive interview on I am one of the living fossils from the age of the P.6] is like a big bad cloud terrorizing our fuzzy combined degree, and back in the day it was fantasies of being ‘lawyers’. These clouds threatmore than common for law students to be do- en the golden sunshine of clerkships and loom ing a second degree with law. So that means a over the field of joy that is Collins St. I mean, law five, if not six, year stint at the same university. jobs are hard enough to come by already. If no Same compulsories. Same crap Porta Via coffee. one will be hiring next year, where will go with Same lack of adequate parking. Same 10 minute our two pieces of Melbourne University paper? trek up to main campus. Same same same! So instead of having an affair with out pencilThe problem with the onset of the mid-degree skirt-wearing secretary, we are contemplatcrisis is that you are usually too far into said de- ing other types of dangerous liaisons. Seeing gree that there is absolutely no way you will pull as deferring for many LLB students is forbidput of it. Once you do a first year at uni, trans- den, law school doesn’t know how that would 22 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


STUDENT LIFE work, they’re being real pricks, not available, exchange has become a desperate means to escape the drab grey building that is Law School. But wait! Don’t think that if you organise your subjects to go on exchange, these plans can’t be ruined in a matter of moments. All it takes is the whim of one the of the Law School overlords to decide Evidence and Proof will not be offered over summer, and plans for UCLA are gone. Unless you want an extra semester on your degree. Maybe mid-degree is one of those crucial points of reflection in your degree, where you realise how you measure up – or don’t. Haven’t yet had a serious relationship with the opposite sex? Well heck, maybe there’s something wrong with you? Never had a one night stand? Buy me a packet of Durex and let’s get those engines running! Haven’t had a boozy couple of weeks in South East Asia with your mates? Better start saving if you want in on the bandwagon kid!

My Degree. Taking me places. Slowly.

Unfortunately there is not quick and fast solution to a mid-degree crisis. I’m sure someone, somewhere and for the right price, can prescribe something to make you feel better, or at least stop those panic attacks. But how many MORE pills does the average law student really need to take? So, fellow sufferers, I leave you with no solution to this ominous phenomenon. Let me leave with an eloquent catch phrase. If we’re facing a mid-degree crisis in our early twenties, imagine what our actual mid-life crises are going to look like… Shit.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 23


FEATURE creatureS Alternative music: Australian hip-hop Maria Shi interviews Julian Cleary, one law student who is involved in something else entirely - hip hop. tive and private. For example, the introductory track is about what you observe throughout Melbourne city, and aspects of people that you pick up on just walking down the street; the track following that is about insomnia; another is about the concept of time itself. I wrote antoher song called “Witness” which is about excess consumerism and the material things that people think they need, but they really don’t. What’s your performance alter ego name? Julius Seizure. Friends call me Jules, and my performance name is a play on Julius Caesar, obviously. I use it because of my sometimes over-thetop energy when we have a stage performance. What bands are you associated with? The name of our band is Renovator’s Dream. It’s a play on the braggadocio nature of hip hop, because everyone (in mainstream hip hop) is talking about how great they are; but we are about the fact that there is room for improvement, and stating outright that we have the potential, before making outlandish statements. People don’t tend to delve into it [hip hop] beyond the commercial stuff that is gangster and materialistic, and we’re definitely not like that. What kind of music? The kind of music we play is doesn’t really neatly fit into a genre of its own. We play experimental hip hop, so it’s different from your average rapper with five scantily-clad girls ensemble. The material we work with range from political hip hop to social commentary, some of it is ballad-like in lyrics and quite introspec24 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

What’s been your most memorable experience doing hip hop? The guys that I live with have six piece reggae latin band that tour nationally. Over the Christmas holidays I was with them in Byron Bay. On one of the nights they had a gig at the Beach Hotel in Byron, and they asked me to do an improv track with them. Between me and the percussionist, we had upwards of 1000 people jumping up and down in the place. The energy of the place and the atmosphere of pure joy was amazing.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


FEATURE How did you get into hip hop? I write poetry, this is conducive to writing hip hop, because it is lyrically heavy music. I find it a good medium to work with, as I didn’t feel capability in other music that was sufficient. I am trained in guitar and had had piano lessons, then I was in the Australian Boys’ Choir – so I have a theoretical background in music.

uni get stuff done, when home is about music.

Is hip hop for everyone? Absolutely, in the sense that if you delve a little deeper, there’s a lot of incredible political and personal insights in the lyrics that people can relate to. I think hip hop is a medium of expression for people who aren’t otherwise musically trained. However I still think Where do you derive inspiration / do you that hip hop has strong sense of musicality to write your own music? it too, that if someone is generally tone deaf, Everywhere. Anything from personal and rela- it might wind up showing in their delivery. tionship kind of stuff, to experiences from a big There are elements of rhythm and cadence. The night out, to drugs. I find that using relation- way I see hip hop is that it’s more of a vocal ship material is kind of a cathartic process: it’s percussion, but the lyrics are strong part of it. like seeing a therapist but without speaking to anyone, and is a means to get ideas down and What are hip hop groupies like? Do you have look at your feelings and reactions more objec- any? tively. I don’t directly name girls, I think that’s Renovator’s Dream is still quite underground, kind of obvious. It’s different when you’re so when I have occasions of people recogtrying to woo someone and when you’re ac- nising me it’s exceedingly rare, and I don’t tually writing about your own experiences. get the stalking experience as such. With the There’s a song on the Renovator’s Dream EP called promotions on MySpace and Facebook, peo“Mama Cita”, which means beautiful woman. ple have instant contact with the music, and That song is about a particular girl who didn’t we’ve had some really positive feedback. know at the time that it was written about her, but I think she’s figured it out by now. I think it’s more fulfilling to have more cryptic lyrics in that way. How do you find the time to do music with a full study load for law? It is tricky. The Renovator’s Dream EP was launched at the end of 2007, and two of us were running around trying to organise everything: press kits, bios, dropping off CDs, booking gigs, doing interviews and talking to people in studios. This was during second semester, and I ended up missing a lot of classes because there was noone else to get all the stuff done. The other guy from the band was teaching full time as well, so we were both flat out. I think though that you can always find time for things you love, and it’s just a matter of prioritizing. Now live with 2 musicians, stay at

Triple R picked Renovator’s Dream LP album as album of week in 2007. Samples of the album is available through Myspace www.myspace. com/renovatorsdream and www.myspace. com/seizure1. www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 25

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


FEATURE

Are you a little bit racist? Ask any Melbourne law student if they condone racism and you can expect a universal, cookie cutter reply: of course not! How could any human rights defending, Justice Kirby loving, government dissing law student ever support racism? Seems like a pretty pointless topic to base a piece of writing on actually. Better stop reading now. Well…how politically correct would it be to say ‘sort of’ anyway? You would never admit to a random stranger that you judge an overweight person because of their size. You would never admit that you form an opinion about someone based on where they went to school and the general socio-economic status of its students. You would never admit that you find it difficult to look someone with a mental retardation in the eye because it makes you feel uncomfortable. But just because you can’t admit it does not mean it doesn’t happen anyway. So, rather than asking ‘do you condone racism’ or ‘are you racist’, see if you can recognsie yourself in any of the scenarios below. You don’t have to take them as examples of racism, but if they aren’t, what would you call them? Scenario 1: You can’t be racist towards me, but I can sure as hell be racist towards you Explanation: Groups that face discrimination themselves often make worse comments about other nationalities Thought Process: Hey, if you want to deflect racism from yourself, what better way to do it than to ostracise some other race? Scenario 2: I say it because I don’t won’t wait for you to make fun of me Explanation: Someone who makes fun of others of their race because they don’t want to be put in the same category. Thought Process: I find it easier to address stereotypes of my race first and make a joke out of it rather than have you tip-toe around the issue. Consequently, you can feel free to make similar jokes and don’t have to treat me differently to all of our friends. Sigh! Scenario 3: I’m jealous of your success and I try to lower your achievements by belittling your race Explanation: Pretty obvious. Thought Process: Rather than reflecting constructively on why I didn’t do as well as you, it’s easier to fob you off as just a typical ‘[insert race here]’ who always gets good marks Scenario 4: I know what my friends say is wrong, but I won’t say anything Explanation: Any type of comment along the lines of ‘dirty wog’, ‘curry’ or ‘towel head’. Thought Process: It’s just so much easier to laugh off a racist comment that a friend has made, even you know it’s wrong. No one wants to pull their friends up for fear of being ‘the weird one’. 26 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


FEATURE So how did you go? If you’re still reading at this point you’re probably either: a)

Indignant at the suggestion that you might be racist. I mean, this article is just another piece of LSS churned out shit trying to make us better people, right?

b)

A little bit scared because the previous situations don’t seem too far flung from your life,

c)

A lot scared. What if you are a racist? How the hell do you stop being a racist?

d)

All of the above

One problem with identifying ‘racism’ is that the term itself is ambiguous. The UN defines ‘racial discrimination’ not ‘racism’ in one long ambitious paragraph, a dictionary definition seem too removed for comparison with everyday life and the Wikipedia page on racism is linked to such topics as ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘genocide’ and ‘lynching’. So are we all just a little bit racist? That’s not really something I can, or will, attempt to answer. The point of this piece is not to say we’re all bad people and should walk on eggshells around the law school. It’s simply an attempt to show that racism is not so far removed from our everyday lives. It’s not just bashings on a Sydney beach or rocks thrown at a shop front in Balaclava. It’s right on the Melbourne University doorstep. The sad thing is it’s still not OK to talk openly about the racism that exists in Australia. Some of the terms that could be thrown around in response to this article may include ‘whinger’, ‘don’t appreciate this country’, ‘self exclusion’, ‘too politically correct’ and ‘just a joke’. Hell, that’s why this piece is by ‘anonymous’. Feel free to scoff at this explanation and blame it on my weakness of character. Maybe some of you will blame it on the confines of law school or the culture Melbourne University creates. Blame it on Howard and Hanson and Ruddock. But in the end, wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could just blame it on my race?

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 27


TRAVEL

Itineraries for the Student Traveller By Helen Babb

Throughout the trip:

The South East Asia Bum

Week of the Full Moon party 5.30pm: First bucket photo, still looking reasonably decent 8.00pm: Dance off with random strangers, flashing highly encouraged 10.58pm: Unprotected sex with a cute Swedish backpacker behind a tree 11.27pm: Bucket photo time! 17 photos of you, your best mate and the bucket. We love buckets!!!! 2 days later:

For the ladies: Accidentally piss on your hands because you can’t get the hang of squat toilets. Don’t tell anyone when there is nowhere to wash them. For the fellas: Being convinced to buy a cheaply made suit that you will never wear at home or that will fall the pieces almost immediately At home: Put a minimum of FOUR albums up on Facebook. They look strangely similar to the other 124 albums entitled ‘South East Asia’. The Romantic Italian Getaway

Pre-travel essentials: Itching and scratching down there, damned Swedish o Tell everyone that you have ever met and backpacker and their Nordic diseases ever will that you are going to Europe with your boyfriend for two months. Later that week: Ensure you are conned by as many small children as humanly possible. They want money? Make a pouty face and you got it buster! Got a scam that I haven’t heard yet? You may as well take the cash straight out of my wallet! Think you can trick me into buying your whole family a new set of pots and pans? Um, is the Pope Catholic my friend?

28 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

o Seriously, tell everyone. Even that chick at the student centre who you went to speak to about essay submission. She really really wants to know. o Pack your ugliest and most ‘touristy’ clothes. I mean, hello, the temperature will be totally different in Europe! All dress sense MUST go out the window (if you ever had any…you probably didn’t). You don’t want to fit in with the actual Europeans. How will the gypsies, pickpockets and con artists spot you?

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


TRAVEL

On any given day:

South American Adventure

4.30pm: Gelato time! First, take a photo with you holding your gelato to your face. Second, another photo licking the gelato. Third. a badly posed snap with your whipped boyfriend and his gelato. Finally, to continue the theme, take an awkward close up of both of you holding up your gelati.

Every single day

4.42pm: Make-up creaky bed sex. Boyfriend falls asleep quickly after.

10:03am: Decide who would be the least disgusting person to have dirty Contiki sex with. Remember you will be hammered and probably not remember much.

Get rooooted off coke. Man it’s so cheap over there! And it’s so pure! Dude, it’s wicked! You wouldn’t even believe it! And now I have a MASSIVE habit that’s sending me broke but man, it was totally worth it!

Last but not least, Contiki! (anywhere) 4.35pm: Head back to the hotel room. You’ve done 10am: Arrive in London, meet up with your all of the ‘essentials’ in the Lonely Planet and wouldn’t group want to stray off that path. 10:01am: Check out everyone else on the tour 4.40pm: Creaky bed sex. Have a huge fight with your boyfriend who jokingly asks if you have put on weight 10:02am: Deal with the disappointment that from all that cheese you ate in France (he’s not really all the girls are rank and all the guys are fat/ joking). weird/bogans or a combination of the three

4.50pm: Go down to the hotel lobby to upload your gelato photos on Facebook. Add informative comments to each one (see above at 4.30pm) 1. Holding your gelato to your face: ‘me with gelato’ 2. Photo licking the gelato: ‘me licking gelato’ 3. Badly posed snap with your whipped boyfriend and his gelato: ‘yum!’ 4. Awkward close up of both of you holding up your gelati: ‘me and Dennis with our gelatos’

For the rest of the trip: Continue with the dirty Contiki sex, alternating partners as much as possible. Don’t forget the tour guide and the bus driver!

In addition: Add some boring ‘historical’ babble underneath some other photos too. Everyone loves that shit and they’ll all think you’re so cultured because of it.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 29


TRAVEL

JAPAN: KYOTO Armed with as little Japanese as possible, I discovered that whether you are in Japan for holiday or for work, you can get round mainly with two words: doko (which means ‘where’) and chizu (which means ‘map’). Whenever asking a passerby for directions, just say the name of the place and end it with ‘doko’. In some cases, the kind passerby will likely ask you for a chizu. Two different scenarios may ensue: they will either show you from the chizu how to get to your destination or if that fails they will most likely walk you there (provided it’s near enough too). Well, what if you do not have a chizu? Fret not! Your kind passer-by might search for your wanted destination using GPS via his or her cell phone. Travelling around Kyoto is relatively easy. Similar to Melbourne, Kyoto is designed in a grid-like system. The most convenient mode of transportation in Kyoto is buses. A flat fee of ¥220 applies for each ride, excluding certain areas in Arashiyama and Ginkakuji areas. Economical 1 day or 2 day passes are also available at the train station and also at selected hotels. In the day, Hanamikoji was a high-spirited place, bustling with tourists, chirpy high schoolers and ladies immaculate30 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

By Livia Wong

ly dressed in their summer yukatas. Conversely in the night time, it was as though we saw the true colours of Hanamikoji. As the sun set and street lamps lighted up with a seedy aura, we saw more cars and taxis on the street as compared to in daytime. Men dressed in fine suits stepped out from their taxis or apparently chauffeured cars and were escorted into restaurants by some ladies waiting at the entrance. What we understood from a tour guide was that geishas were often hired soon after their arrival to provide entertainment to these restaurant guests. Unquestionably, geisha-spotting was a combination of tag and hide-and-seek, and the geishas always ended up winning. However, at the end of our attempts, we wondered if the geishas were as tired as us or that was simply part of their profession – to remain elusive especially to gaikokujin (foreigners) like us. Most of all, we came up with a Kyoto-inspired simile: as fast as a geisha.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


TRAVEL

VEGAS BAYBEE! If Las Vegas were personified, it would be a sexbuying, drinking, cigar-smoking middle aged woman who would seduce you dirty with her life story and will you to gamble it all away, dahlin’. Sex is everywhere; from Mexican families who loudly flick prostitutes’ business cards at evading tourists on the sidewalk, to the same graphic cards that litter the pavements the next day. I feel as if I’m walking through a sea of pornography, the titillatingly suggestive girls glance up nonchalantly from the cards that have been stepped on too many times. From the non-subtle “do not disturb” signs hanging from the doors of our indiscrete neighbours in the Flamingo, to the cars that carry giant placards promising that a girl can be delivered “Within 10 mins to your hotel!”, everyone seems to be doing it.

By Maria Shi

It pains me to see such obvious self-delusion. Nevertheless, my friends and I manage to gamble some: win some, lose some. We marvel at food glorious food at the Bellagio buffet. We walk past a live pole-dancing show on the Flamingo entrance floor. I wonder if those girls plan to do this forever. I wonder if they’ve ever been in love. The sexuality doesn’t shock me, but in an America that is full of contradictions of extreme Christian faith to extreme atheism, Las Vegas is probably still the only place where sex, drugs and money can be celebrated the dirty way. Complete with naked dancing girls.

We tried an “oxygen break” at the Oxygen Café, where it’s US$20 for 20 minutes of pure oxygen to be delivered via a tube into your nose. You The prickly hot arid air snaps against my skin as can also pay $US40 to buy 150ml of liquid oxsoon as I walk out of the casinos (only to enter ygen, or oxygenated water or something. Afinto another one), and I’m promptly reminded ter the 20 minute oxygen I think most people that I am indeed in the middle of a desert. How were keen to buy anything to sustain the high. and why they managed to build a hedonistic pleasureland in the middle of the Nevada desert, In conclusion, Las Vegas is perfect for a gamso close to Utah – the stronghold of the Mormon bling, romping, dirty weekend. Vegas will Christian faith – is beyond me. Only in America. leave a lingering taste in your mouth, long after you’ve washed her out of your clothes. Neon signs light up the starless night sky and Vegas comes alive at sundown. People swarm the streets well after midnight, comically large plastic jugs of margheritas in hand, buck/hen night entourages “woot” at everything / everyone. The lucky guy/girl is at the front of these processions, trailed by the smell of terror at prospective mundane existence in holy suburbian matrimony. I glimpse some painful parting with money hard-earned, followed by a terrified selfcongratulating noise, as if excruciatingly desperate to justify the expense: this is FUN! I deserve FUN! I’ve worked hard to get some FUN like this!! www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 31

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


TRAVEL

Backpacking Law School Style by Jake Breen Three months into my journey to get as far away from the law school as possible, I find myself in the middle of Peru. Despite the constant paranoia that I will walk around the corner and into a Corps class, the trip has thus far been a success. Ancient relics have been seen, natural wonders visited, and the steep learning curve of travelling on my own successfully navigated. It seems only fair that I share a few travelling “pearls of wisdom� with the many of you who share my terror of 4000 words essays and six-inch-thick, hundred year old textbooks. A quick note; before I left, a good friend of mine promised to loan me a book on why travel diaries are the spawn of the devil. This article is a natural consequence of her failure to loan me that book before I left, and in many ways, she brought this article on herself.

32 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Fact and Dorm

Dormitory living is definitely a world of its own. Gone are the luxuries of privacy and personal space. It is kind of like being back sharing bunks with your siblings, except instead of it being in your peaceful suburban household, you are living with a poor Irish Catholic family from the 1800s. The rooms are over-crowded, there are drunks walking in and out at all hours of the night, and potatoes are the staple diet (a sad fact of travelling in South America, the motherland of potatoes). It is always a good idea to check in as early as possible, as bed location is crucial. Top bunks are a last resort, if for no other reason, it is worth avoiding the hazardous dash to the toilet in the dark from a two meter platform. It is also vital to distance yourself from the door, thus escaping the unwanted early morning sun that your temporary room mates are sooo happy to share in their hangoverless morning. Snoring, too, has the ability to interrupt an otherwise peaceful sleep. If need be, it is socially acceptable to nudge someone to disrupt their chainsnoring. It is not quite as acceptable, no matter how much you want to, to shove a pillow down their throat. This is a choking hazard, among other things. However, no matter how rude and disruptive your co-travelers may be, caution should be exercised in voicing your opinion. It is not to be forgotten that you are sleeping in the same room as them, and there is nothing more embarrassing in a foreign country than walking the streets with texta-ed on glasses and moustache. Overall, eye masks and ear plugs make for excellent sleeping aids and counteract most of these issues, although I have found a litre of beer is a suitable substitute.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


TRAVEL

Semi-Coma on a Semi-Cama

One of the unfortunate facts of travelling is the extended time spent on bus rides. Long distant bus rides tend to blur hours together, as you sit trying to crack the combination lock of sleep. It isn´t that you need more sleep, but there really isn´t anything better to do. And, even when you do get a moment of clarity where you can read, or write a pointless article for a law mag [Eds: we love you too, Jake], you might be lucky to have 15 minutes of intelligence before your brain melts back to a state of lethargic incompetence. In go the earplugs and you are back where you started. The cause of this perpetual state of semi-coma is hard to pin-point. Is it a consequence of the travel agent´s ability to find you and sit with you when least welcome? Or perhaps the deep lullabies of a bus engine are in fact our long lost cure to insomnia? Whatever it is, pack your book, blanket and pillow, as you are in for the long haul.

Iron Gut

Foreign food is a difficult balance of adventure and safety. Cuisine is so closely linked to culture, and it is essential to experience as many gastronomic delights as possible. In fact, a lot of the time you have to eat the local dishes, partially because of a lack of options and partially because food that you may consider basic at home can be so horribly different that, at times, food is a misnomer. Essentially, though, it is just common sense. For instance, a hamburger with a still frozen bun and seriously raw meat should not be eaten. It may result in a serious case of salmonella, a horrible 15 hour train ride of writhing in pain, and 4 days in bed. This is, of course, ummm, hypothetical. Additionally, food that is not eaten by most of the locals is probably worth avoiding. Guinea pig is particularly lacking in meat, and the sheep hearts sold on the streets in Peru should really come with a complimentary doctor’s appointment. Sometimes International Charades English may, for some reason or another, have though, you just have to get in there, cross be come the international language, but this isn’t your fingers, and give it a go. The best things much consolation in remote towns, hundreds of catch you by surprise. miles from the nearest McDonalds or Coke vending machine. Fine tuning your charades and pic- Have Backpack, Will Travel tionary before you leave is a necessity. Get a That is about all from me, concluding Backcouple of friends together over a few drinks and packing 101. Hopefully, armed with these practice explaining “two bus tickets to Buenos gems of information, you can head forth and Aires” through a serious of motions and interpre- escape the damning clutches of the faculty tive dance. Be warned, there is a fine line between that we all love to hate. Safe travels! charades and looking like a lunatic on the streets. Being committed to a mental asylum for running around on the street pretending to be an airplane is not a desirable result when requesting directions. Pointing, gestures and pictures in the sand are usually sufficient. Alternatively, you could just buy a phrasebook.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 33


TRAVEL

South America: A Brief History by Jake Breen Having ventured forth on a backpacking journey through South America equipped with a historical knowledge of the continent obtained from a combination of “The Motorcycle Diaries”, football and a few grainy photos from my friend´s journey a few years back, it quickly became apparent that I was yet another ignorant tourist stepping onto a historically rich land. I have never really found much time for history, and in a young country like Australia it is an easy subject to ignore. However, it is difficult to avoid in South America, a continent with an intricate and dynamic past. I can´t help but feel that South America is in many ways a forgotten part of the world. In the most part, people aren’t starving to death in the same way they are in Africa, being bombed like they are in the Middle East, nor is it over-populated in the Asian sense. Consequently, at least in Australia, we hear very little about the events occurring here, as they generally lack the shock value that media gorges itself on. The political environment is dynamic and has been through more revolutions than you can count on your fingers and toes. The similarities between the histories of Peru, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia are striking, and whilst you could write a thesis on each country´s history, I have tried my best to summarise them in 600 words. Apologies to the historical purists, it isn’t comprehensive enough to be perfect. A history of socialism There is evidence of human activity in South America dating back almost 10,000 years. Originally, a series of towns spread across the western half of the continent, at altitudes as high as 5,300m, and over the following 9,000 years lived relatively independent of each other, with many different local dialects spoken. 34 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Then, in approximately 1250 AD, the Incans began a conquest through this region with the ambitions of creating a vast empire. For the most part, towns accepted the Incan rule, and an empire was born, ranging from the top of Ecuador through to halfway down Chile, and inland as far as Bolivia. The Incans established a central hub for communication in the city of Cusco, and set up a series of roads linking their entire empire. The roads allowed for fast transfer of information, goods, livestock and wealth. The unification of the towns resulted in an empire that had collected half a continents worth of knowledge on a variety of production processes. The agricultural methods instituted were ahead of their time, ceramics readily available, gold and silver in abundance and medicinal knowledge openly shared. Due to the diversity of regions across the empire, each region possessed a different resource. Consequently, the Incans implemented a taxation system that redistributed a large proportion of the wealth to each corner of the empire. A Spanish influence In 1529, the Spanish arrived in Peru to find the Incans in the midst of a civil war. Timing could not have been more perfect for them. The two factions were brothers, Huascar and Atahualpa, vying to be the King of the empire. The Spanish kidnapped Atahualpa during an arranged meeting. He promised them enough gold to fill the room that he was imprisoned in, and twice the silver. But when the ransom arrived the following day, the Spanish realized what a gold mine they had stumbled upon. Huascar had been assassinated, and the Spanish happily blamed Atahualpa for the crime. They sentenced him to death, leaving the throne of the Incans empty. Thus, with only 168 men, 27 horses and a canon they successfully conquered the whole empire.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


TRAVEL What followed was 300 years of blatant exploitation by Today the Spanish, enslaving half a continent and raping it of Most South American countries are classed as “deits wealth. veloping” countries these days, although this is a pigeon hole that provides little insight into their A Battle for Boundaries way of life. Argentina is a country of many imAs the Spanish began to lose their grip on their territories migrants, with 86% of people being in some part in South America, a battle to define the boundaries of of European decent. When stepping off the plane each country ensued. A number of individuals are cham- in Buenos Aires you could be excused for thinkpioned across the west coast and in the south, as each ing you have landed in Europe rather than South country pays their respects to the generals who led their America. High inflation over the past two years has war for independence. Jose de San Martin was particu- left Argentina quite expensive in South American larly influential, leading the rebellion through Argentina, terms, and the homeless count is certainly reasonthen Chile and finally Peru. Others include Bernardo ably high. But, whilst they do not enjoy the same O´Higgins (A strange name for a Chilean, I know) and levels of disposable income that we do in Australia, Simon Bolivar, whom Bolivia was named the starving are few and far between. The political after. Finally, by the end of the 1800´s, the boundaries of environment is relatively stable, although people each country had been established, and the development are always happy to voice their gripes. Chile (30% of true national identities could begin. classed as white, but an estimated 80% have some indigenous heritage) and Peru (85% of AmerindiA Dictatorship an descent) are very similar to Argentina, in terms Strangely, all four countries were run by dictatorships of standard of living and political environments. during similar periods of time in the 1900s. The US In fact, Santiago de Chile is not too far away from government, both during and after their McCarthyism, being an overcrowded Melbourne. Bolivia, on the seem to have had a hand in all four dictatorships as South other hand, is still in the process of stabilizing the America became a silent victim in the Cold War. The economy and the political environment. The curnotorious Pinochet government (1973-88) in Chile was rent president of Bolivia is of ethnic descent, and matched in many ways by the military rule in Argentina is attempting to right many of the wrongs of the (1976-83). Both countries had the habit of making cer- last 500 years. However, there is a large Neo-nazi tain boisterous citizens disappear, an estimated 3000 plus opposition in the west that is creating some instain Chile and well over 12,000 in bility. Argentina. Peru, too, had its own, long lasting, dictatorship from 1968-80, but without many of the atrocities that were occurring in their neighbouring countries. Bolivia is the anomaly here, and arguably has been more stable under military regimes than general elections. Bolivia is a country full of many contrasting political perspectives, and a variety of diverse histories. Consequently many governments have failed in their attempts to unify the nation. Mistrust in the election process and corruption stemming from the cocaine trade has led to numerous coups and instability in Bolivia, ultimately handicapping the development that it´s neighbours´ have made over the same period.

“Developing”Conclusion Thus ends an awfully brief summary of “a family of 200 million brothers who suffer the same miseries” (Che Guevara). I hope that it has whetted your taste buds for history the way that my journey has whet mine. But, more importantly, I hope that it reminds you that there are massive parts of the world that you know absolutely nothing about, so get out there and experience something new!

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 35


The art of poleBydancing Sarah Lan

WELL-

Too stressed from assignments, essays and endless readings? No time to work out? Not inspired by the gym? Pole dancing might just be the answer you’ve been looking for. Pole dance might not have had the best reputation in the past, with seamy strip clubs and topless fleshy women being some of the images that have unfortunately become associated with it. However, pole dancing has become the forerunner of novelty exercise, and has extended beyond the hyper-colour realms of Los Angeles – where it originated – and made an entrance into Australia. According to Pole Fitness Australia, thousands of everyday women have already discovered the art of pole dance. Women from different age groups who try pole dance lessons are instantly hooked as they experience the many wonderful physical and emotional benefits of learning to pole dance. I am proud to say that I have recently become one of them. Throughout the past month, I have totally fallen in love with this dramatic and challenging way of exercise. Unlike the other types of exercises that I have done before, pole dance is very different in the end of the course you’ll likely be amazed by the groups of muscles that are used, not to mention improvements you have made along the way. the fantastic music and self-esteem boosting. Pole dance helps you to feel strong, sexy and Firstly, it requires a lot of strength and momentum empowered - if you hadn’t already felt this which you will gradually develop after spend- way. Once you get over the fact that you are ining some intimate time with the pole. It provides deed not imitating a stripper in a seedy bar, the workouts which combine cardio benefits with fun part beings. At each class you will learn a muscle toning and flexibility, which is inherent combination of basic tricks and sexy dance rouin the movements associated with the pole. The tines. You will be wearing hot pants and high course specifically focuses on strength building. heels to perform the routines with popular As you may not be able to fully perform a certain music, while surrounded by full wall mirrors. the inner exhibitionist with trick at the beginning, the instructor will make Reveal new found muscle groups! sure that you gain a better grasp towards the your 36 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


-BEING

Recipe to a balanced life Your Sensible Health Guru

Now that both the winter and exams are approaching, we all know we’re less likely to be motivated to exercise. So here a few impossibly easy tips for those of you still seeking a life-uni-work balance. Drink plenty of water! I’m sure you’ve all heard this but the importance of staying hydrated cannot be stressed enough. The rule about ‘eight glasses of water daily’ is an oldie but a goodie. Your water needs will vary with your physical activity during the day so be sure to drink up. Running outdoors! The winter temperatures are a good way to make us tougher and less pampered. It is absolutely acceptable to run slower with equal effort if the conditions are slippery. Don’t try to keep up with your previous pace and just listen to your body. Habitual walker! Try going for power walks instead of a stroll. It will tone muscle and still give you a good cardio workout. Try to take quicker steps when you’re out; not necessarily longer but quicker. Vary your workout! Go for a dance class or yoga. You may be sceptical if you haven’t tried yoga but it isn’t all laying down and breathing. Eat foods with low Glycemic Index! The energy released from these foods is gradual and will keep you feeling full for longer. For example, whole grains generally have low GI.

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 37


“OU-UT AND ABOU-UT” “Humour has many functions. It may observe the silver linings on life’s clouds. It may be little more than ostentation. It may stem from embarrassment or be intended to defuse a tense situation. Its sociological aspects include expressing aggression in an acceptable way; or bonding internally as a protection against those perceived at times to make life difficult for a group.” ~ Sir Anthony Mason Shell Co (Aus) Ltd v Esso Standard Oil (Aus) Ltd (1961) 109 CLR 407 Windeyer J [referring to two different cases of the use of a ‘grotesque oil drop caricature’] “I saw each of the short advertisements more than once. I cannot imagine anyone wishing to do so.”

Corps lecturer: Did anyone catch that super virus that’s going around? Student: Like, a computer virus… or winter? Corps lecturer: The computer one. But a good question, that’s how you learn, by asking questions. Mildren J of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory declared himself to be “absolutely staggered” that the serial burglar appearing in his court had been granted bail on a previous occasion. Demanding to know, “Who is the idiot who did that?” he later learnt that it was himself. Brown v State 134 Ga App 771, 216 S E 2d 356 (1975) Georgia Court of Appeals began their judgment thus: The DA was ready His case was red hot. Defendant was present, His witness was not. Ex parte Professional Engineers Association (1959) 107 CLR 208 at 272 Counsel had argued that disputes are either industrial or not industrial. Windeyer J described the proposition as “… logically incontestable … Like Sinclair’s well-known division of sleeping into two sorts, namely sleeping with or sleeping without a nightcap, it would seem to exhaust the subject.” 38 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009


Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

www.mulss.com/purely-dicta 39


Law Ball 2009

40 www.mulss.com/purely-dicta

Purely Dicta Ed. 1 2009

Purely Dicta, 2009 Issue 1  

http://mulss.com/uploads/publications/PD_2009_1_Web.pdf

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you