2014 - Vol 39(4) - Resolution Of Justice

AltLJ39-4--final-coverLiberating freedoms

Exploring legal education

Protecting the vulnerable

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Deregulation, debt and the discipline of law

Margaret Thornton

deregulation-pic-sm-SKneeboneThe introduction of a user-pays regime is in the process of transmuting higher education from a public to a private good, which has particular ramifications for law. The issue has been thrown into sharp relief by the Coalition government’s proposal that university fees be deregulated. When I published Privatising the Public University: The Case of Law in 2012,1 wholesale deregulation was not on the political agenda, although the commodification of higher education and the corporatisation of universities were already inducing a shift away from disinterested knowledge towards its capitalisation and exploitation. I briefly overview how this state of affairs came about and consider the implications of the new regime for law graduates.

(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 213


Protecting freedom of speech in Australia

George Williams

Freedom-of-speech-pic-smFreedom of speech is readily accepted in Australia as an important human right. It is easy to understand why. Australian democracy depends upon citizens being able to discuss the policies and fitness for office of those vying for political power. Once elected, representatives must also be able to freely deliberate about the making and operation of laws and policies.

Another rationale for freedom of speech is that it plays a key role in enabling society to solve its problems. This is captured in the notion of a marketplace of ideas, whereby free speech about proposals and counter-proposals compete until the stronger ones prevail. Of course, this process depends upon people being able to openly debate each proposal.

(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 217


From alternative to the new normal

Pauline Spencer

Therapeutic jurisprudence in the mainstream

When it comes right down to it, the law is about people, their interactions with each other and the broader community. Given this, it is surprising that the law sometimes does not meet the needs of people and, at times, may even cause further harm. Therapeutic jurisprudence (‘TJ’) is a legal philosophy that explores the way the law affects people’s physical health, mental health and well-being. It considers the therapeutic or anti-therapeutic impact of the law and provides that, unless inconsistent with other legal values, the therapeutic effect of the law should be maximised and the anti-therapeutic effect minimised.

(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 222


Deterrence, and the slow death of the shop theft act in South Australia

Matthew Atkinson

The Shop Theft (Alternative Enforcement) Act 2000 (SA) (‘the Act’) came into effect on 11 November 2001. Its provenance can be found in the work of the Retail Industry Crime Prevention Advisory Committee, which was set up by the South Australian government in 1995 to reduce crime against the retail industry. The committee identified minor shop theft as a key concern, and put forward a proposal for a formal police cautioning procedure.1

The government circulated details of the committee’s proposal widely through the community and, while there was some concern about it being perceived as ‘soft on crime,’ the response was largely supportive.2 Those directly affected by the proposed changes, including the Australian Retailers Association and Coles Myer, said that it would encourage greater reporting of shop theft.3 A South Australian victim support service expressed their encouragement of the implementation of restorative justice processes.4

(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 227


Burqa: Human right or human wrong?

Farinaz Zamani Ashni and Paula Gerber

The 2014 police raids on the homes of suspected ISIS supporters in Sydney and Brisbane, in response to concerns that they were planning to kidnap and behead random members of the public, has once again seen the Islamic community at the centre of attention. The spotlight has been on highly visible symbols of Islam, in particular, the facial coverings worn by some Muslim women. This is evident from Senator Jacqui Lambie’s campaign to ‘ban the burqa’ (supported by Pauline Hanson),1 and Senator Cory Bernardi’s vocal opposition to this garment epitomised in his tweet: ‘Note burqa wearers in some of the houses raided this morning? This shroud of oppression and flag of fundamentalism is not right in Australia.’2 Indeed, even our Prime Minister has stated that he finds the burqa a ‘fairly confronting form of attire and frankly I wish it weren’t worn.’3 For some Australians, it appears that the sight of a woman fully covered from head to toe, is deeply disturbing.

(2014) 39(4) AltLJ 231


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