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 does it for equality

Ina Quality and Mary Mee

Stand up Girlie!

This column got its name from a Family Court Registrar who, back in 1980s, roared at Renata Alexander, then a Legal Aid Lawyer, ‘Sit Down Girlie!’  So, how much has changed since then? Well, the Law Council of Australia has long been concerned about the high attrition rate of women lawyers and has updated its 2013 National Report on attrition and re-engagement. In South Australia, a new program has been introduced to encourage women to become barristers. The South Australian Chief Justice has acknowledged the imbalance with only 16 per cent even considering the Bar as a career move and he supports the initiative. Sashi Maharaj, currently Chair of the SA Women at the Bar Committee, will help run the new program. There is recognition that unequal representation of women at the Bar means unequal representation in judicial appointments. 
(ABC, PM (online), 15 April 2015.)

(2015) 40(3) AltLJ 208


Girlie Dances a SlutWalk in the Park and Does Not Pray

Libby Ration

Parks, Faith and Bulldust

Lauren Rosewarne sparked a torrent of commentary in response to her Opinion on The Drum (20 March 2015). In ‘The park as a bogeyman, and other violence fallacies’ Rosewarne addressed the comments of a senior police officer that women shouldn’t be alone in parks. The officer’s comments followed the vicious murder of Masa Vukotic, a Victorian schoolgirl, in her local park. In 2011 Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto police constable, told a Forum on campus rage, ‘I’m not supposed to say this, however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised’. His comments inspired the SlutWalks that became an international phenomenon in response to the blaming of victims of sexual assault. Once again women are lectured by men to change their ways because they have been violently assaulted or murdered.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 137


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


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