Sit Down Girlie

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The journal's most popular column is ‘Sit down Girlie’ which presents snippets on legal issues from a feminist viewpoint — with a touch of humour. Acknowledgments are due to a certain Registrar of the Family Court of Australia for the title of this column. A solicitor who was appearing before him was waiting patiently for her male colleague to finish addressing the JR. Assuming he had completed his submission, she rose to her feet — prematurely it appears — and the JR roared ‘Sit down girlie’!

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Girlie Goes to Court

Madge E Strait

First Stop – Drug Court

In 2012 Victoria’s Children’s Court magistrate Greg Levine, with the assistance of a Churchill Fellowship, travelled to the UK and the US to research a successful drug treatment model. The result of his efforts was the opening, on 16 May 2014, of Australia’s first family drug treatment court. Between 30 and 50 families, in which children have been removed from their parents because of drug and alcohol problems, will take part in a three-year pilot. The goal will be reunification of the children with their families within one year with parents required to attend court weekly and have three drug tests per week. The parents will be offered drug rehabilitation treatments, housing assistance, counselling, mental health, anti-violence services and parenting education. Magistrate Levine says it is obvious that current child protection and adversarial court processes are not successful in these cases. In the US, 40 per cent of participating families have been successful. (Rachel Baxendale, ‘Magistrate gives hope to drug-hit families’, The Weekend Australian, 17–18 May 2014.)

(2014) 39(2) AltLJ 137

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Girlie Grizzles Her Way Into 2014

Jen Derr and Ben Derr

A new year yet women’s reproductive rights are still under threat in many countries. Abortion remains a political football being kicked around by conservative forces determined to ensure women remain subordinate. In Texas extremely restrictive anti abortion laws were passed in 2013 and subsequent research indicates some 22 000 women would miss out on services because of the closure of clinics and reduction of services.

Closer to home a ginger group of conservative politicians in Victoria is seeking to overturn abortion law reforms. They are supporting a group of doctors, who call themselves Doctors Conscience, and want section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act abolished. The section says that if a doctor has a conscientious objection to abortion they must tell the patient and refer them to another doctor who has no such objection. Results of a News Poll published in The Age on 29 January 2014 indicate a clear majority of Victorians do not want the Act changed and they support a woman’s right to choose.

(2013) 39(1) AltLJ 57

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Girlie Goes Whirly

Mary Christmas and Noelle Noelle

Zoe’s Law

Concerns have been expressed about the implications of a Bill introduced in the New South Wales parliament that allows people to be charged with grievous bodily harm if they hurt an unborn baby. Known as Zoe’s Law, the Crimes Amendment (Zoe’s Law) Bill is said to be in response to the stillbirth of a foetus following a car accident. A coalition of women’s groups has warned that the Bill has significant and far-reaching consequences for women’s rights. Women’s Health NSW, Family Planning NSW and the Women’s Electoral Lobby say the NSW government has ignored the issues raised by them.

(2013) 38(4) AltLJ 275

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Girlie Gets About

Tammy Pon

Malala addresses UN

Malala Yousafzai’s inspirational address to the United Nations was witnessed by 1000 students from around the world. It was her sixteenth birthday and the courageous girl who was shot in the head by a Taliban sniper said, ‘Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. … The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing changed in life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, courage and fervor was born’.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 189

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Girlie Goes 'Down There'

Jenny Taylier and Madge Einer

The Morning After

At last RU486 is not only available to Australian women but also on the PBS list, making it affordable. Thank you, Tanya Plibersek and others whose persistence has made this possible. However, if the government changes later this year, Girlie wonders what Tony Abbott will do about this. In recent times he has been trying hard to give voters the impression he has moved away from his intolerance towards reproductive choices for women. It remains to be seen what will happen if he becomes Prime Minister.

(2013) 38(2) AltLJ 126

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