Friday, 31 July 2015

Young Lawyers' Golgen Gavel Competition 2015

I had the great pleasure to once again represent... myself at the Young Lawyers Golden Gavel competition last night. Although I didn't win (again), I had a heap of fun, and got a free bottle of wine! Yay!

The YLGGC is a 5 minute stand-up routine, where we are given our topics 48 hours prior. Usually the topics are funny, except the ones they give me.

This year's topic was "Yes father: 5 reasons why nepotism in the legal profession is underrated." Urgh. Naturally enough, I spent most of my time off-topic, but at least I got a few laughs.

Other topics were "The Bronwyn Bishop guide to creatively billing your clients", "I withdraw that, Your Honour: 5 things you should never say during sentencing", "Things that should never slip out of your mouth in court" and "How your friends know you are a lawyer".


Music Video of the Day - Oh, Vertigo! by Kate Miller Heidke

This song was running through my head all morning, and now it can run through yours too! I just love her soaring vocals and intensity. If you ever get chance to see her live, she is fantastic. She is absolutely tiny, but puts out the most spectacular voice.



Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Where is the Hyperbole! The MP's Expenses Scandal and the Lack of Reaction

Normally this topic is reserved for confected outrage, where mountains are made from molehills, and national threats are made from banana peels.

In this case, however, I am surprised at how little noise has come from the Opposition about Bronwyn Bishop's expenses.

Privately, I think that is because if they made too much noise, they would all end up with egg on their faces - this sort of 'expenses' rorting can't be isolated to the Coalition!

There are a few cases of egregious 'expenses' rorts which I want to highlight. The first is the Peter Slipper scandal, whereby he used about $1,000 in taxi charges to attend wineries. To put this in context, this became a public issue only after he 'betrayed' the Coalition and accepted the speakership, thus handing Labor a majority in the house. He effectively became 'public enemy #1' to the Coalition, and of course this

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Role of Men in Womens' Rights Campaigns

Having just finished Annabelle Crabb's excellent book "The Wife Drought", I feel like I have a much better understanding of some of the struggles women face in the workforce, and in society generally. I could pour pages and pages of type through my keyboard, and only scratch the surface.

Whilst I never thought of myself as a chauvinist, the book certainly changed my perspective on the difficulties faced by women, and probably did more to convince me to declare myself a feminist than anything else. For the sake of this article, let's take it as agreed that I am a feminist, and that I want to do more to support women's progression towards equality.

This, then, raises its own problems.  What should my role be, as a privileged male, in campaigning for women's rights?

One militantly feminist view is that, as a man, I could not possibly add anything to the debate. What could I possibly understand about what women go through on a daily basis? I think this is almost as damaging a view as the traditional chauvinist perspective which supports the ongoing inequality in women's rights. This view ignores the essential contributions which must be made by men in advancing women's rights.

An equally damaging view is that the improvements in women's positions can only be attributed to men. This view often espouses the argument that 'men voted for women to have the vote'. This too,

Music Video of the day - Riptide by Vance Joy

As with so many great ideas, this one kinda fell by the wayside, but oh well!

Today's song has been running through my head since I got to work, so now it can run through your head too!

Riptide by Vance Joy.

Also, as an aside, I had never seen the video clip before - it is creepy as hell!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Domestic Violence and Terrorism

This Article from The Guardian has the catchy tag-line "Poll reveals 76% think family violence is as big or bigger threat than terrorism and advocates call for it to be funded in proportion to the scale of the problem."

Frankly, I think this is a win for the Abbott government! If 24% of people responding to this poll think that terrorism is a bigger threat than domestic violence, then their nationalist campaigns must be surprisingly effective!

A closer reading shows that number is actually 18%, as 8% said they 'didn't know' whether Family Violence was more of a threat than terrorism to Australians. It also shows that The Guardian can't add up.

So 18% of people think that terrorism is more of a threat to Australians than Family Violence.

White Ribbon, an organisation supporting men to stand up to domestic violence, lists the following worrisome statistics on their website:

  • Over 12 months, on average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence. 
  • A woman is most likely to be killed by her male partner in her home. 
  • Domestic and family violence is the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children.
  • Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44. 
  • One in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them. 
  • One in four children are exposed to domestic violence, which is a recognised form of child abuse. 
  • The cost of violence against women to the Australian economy is estimated to rise to $15.6 billion per annum. 
  • One in five women experience harassment within the workplace. 
  • One in five women over 18 has been stalked during her lifetime. 
These statistics are terrifying, particularly the fact that intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health for Australian women aged 15-44. 

Even more terrifying is that by 13 April 2015, there had already been 31 women killed by their partners in the 15 weeks of the year, more than double the national average. This statistic does not include children, and it does not include women who were abused, but not murdered. 

By contrast, no Australians have been killed in terrorist incidents in 2015. 

This is not to discount the risks of terrorism. The Bali bombings were a horrendous attack on Australians, and there have been other major incidents. I do not want this piece to seem like an attack on anti-terrorist organisations. 

But there needs to be a balance, and the balance is terribly skewed towards high-profile matters such as terrorism, which engender mass public responses, and away from low-profile, everyday, domestic terrorism. 

If you need help, there are resources that can. 

Never feel scared to call police, or Lifeline on 13 11 14. The SAPOL Domestic Violence Crisis Service is on 1300 782 200, or Crisis Care on 131 611. 

Music Video of the Day - Broken by Seether

In honour of their recent visit to Adelaide, the song running through my head this morning is 'Broken' by Seether ft. Amy Lee. I used to love this song, and played it incessantly on the guitar and piano, much to my family's disgust.

Also, good reflection of how I feel after the weekend!