Sit Down Girlie


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 Down Under in 2015

Anna Bortion

Abbott’s Bad Habits

At the time of writing, Tony Abbott was Minister for Women, and to demonstrate his support for women he recently doubled the number of women in Cabinet — from one to two. Adele Ferguson, writing in The Age (22 January 2015), considers Abbott should have blackballed himself as Minister for Women and  that his ‘appointment of himself as the Minister for Women was always seen as a cynical PR stunt, designed to compensate for the many gaffes he has made about women over the years, including the gobsmacking comment in 2010’ that what ‘housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price, and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up’. When asked about his biggest achievement as Minister for Women, Abbott replied it was in getting rid of the carbon tax because ‘as many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget’.

(2015) 40(1) AltLJ 60


Girlie takes a gander at diversity

Di  Versity

Diversity is a Wonderful Thing

Congratulations Maurice Blackburn on winning the prestigious Law Firm Diversity Award. In accepting the award, CEO Greg Tucker acknowledged the women who have made the firm one of the most gender-diverse in the country. He said, It goes without saying that I’ve had nothing to do with these achievements other than watching them happen. … These ladies have created what is accepted inside our firm; I’m accepting this on behalf of a lot of different people whose shoulders I’m standing on now.’ Seventy-seven per cent of Maurice Blackburn’s staff is female, and women make up around 44 per cent of the firm’s partnership.


(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 271


GIRLIE Goes Good, Bad and Dumb

Lee-Gail Ease

AIDS 2014

Congratulations, Melbourne, on hosting a truly fabulous 20th AIDS International 2014 Conference in July. The meeting was clouded by the loss of friends and delegates on the crashed M17 Malaysia Airlines flight, including Joep Lange, one of six researchers and activists travelling to the Conference. Lange, a past-President of the IAS, was a brilliant researcher — the type of person whose contributions change the history of epidemics. However this is a community that is no stranger to loss and bereavement and the overall spirit of AIDS 2014 was inspirational. Talk about unity in diversity! Girlie loved it.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 193


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


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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