law & crime

law & crime

religion March 23, 2019

The politics of hate

The Australian white supremacist who allegedly massacred 50 Muslims while they were at Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand has recast the political debate in this country. The cowardly, hate-filled attack has shaken both nations to their...

religion March 23, 2019

Fixing the National Redress Scheme

Although I have worked with victims of institutional abuse and their families for more than 12 years, initially through my doctoral research into sexual assault and the Catholic Church and more recently as a lawyer, I could never have imagined the...

law & crime March 9, 2019

Suppression orders and open justice

The rise of the digital age has virtually thrown open the doors of Australian courts far wider than the jurists who first wrote of the need for open justice could have imagined. Much has been said in recent weeks about the operation of suppression...

indigenous affairs March 16, 2019

Sobering statistics

In December last year, Aunty Tanya Day’s death in custody came to public attention with the beginning of a coronial inquest into her death. A year earlier, the Yorta Yorta grandmother was kicked off a train from Echuca to Melbourne by a V/Line staff...

religion March 2, 2019

Trials and great tribulation

Commitment to the beliefs and traditions of the Catholic Church has shaped my life. The reality of the insidious abuse taking place within, revealed to me over time, has been a phenomenon that absorbed my professional attention. In 1960, in my...

immigration November 24, 2018

The Victorian election and the politics of fear

Today, Victoria votes. It marks the end of a long, brutal campaign – the “law and order” election, as it has been called. A “referendum on who can fix violent crime in Victoria”, according to shadow police minister Ed O’Donohue. In the past year,...

indigenous affairs November 17, 2018

Kids on country, not in custody

When I first saw footage on Facebook of Darwin’s Don Dale detention centre in flames after a rebellion I was heartbroken and very scared for the kids inside. The video showed riot police entering the prison with shotguns and tear gas. This was...

law & crime July 28, 2018

Laa Chol and racist fear

We have seen it all before. Moral panic too often stimulates governments to adopt extreme and racially based responses to social problems. Victoria’s 19th-century gold rush led to an explosion in the state’s Chinese population. Forty thousand people...

immigration July 14, 2018

How racism diminishes humanity

I remember the last time “African gang crime” was front-page news. It was a warm summer’s day in January – just after New Year – and I decided to take my daughter to a park close to our home. There was no one around, just the two of us, and we sat...

law & crime July 7, 2018

The long fight for safe injecting rooms

Last Saturday, the second medically supervised injecting centre (MSIC) in Australia opened its doors in Melbourne’s North Richmond. It was a long time coming. Nearly two decades ago, I met with a group of nurses, doctors, drug users and their...

law & crime April 7, 2018

The edge of consent

When Stormy Daniels sat down with American 60 Minutes ’ Anderson Cooper to discuss her alleged affair with Donald Trump, a compelling dynamic emerged. Daniels shared near-satirical details of the encounter, such as spanking the future president with...