Man in car with sign asking for a job
Man in car with sign asking for a job
Gary Bassett, 23, on the corner of Roe and Tonkin Highways in 1989. Credit: Don Palmer. Image from The West Australian

I started work as a graduate lawyer (then called an articled clerk) in January 1990, in Brisbane, in a substantial law firm. I had been successful in securing the position some two years earlier. It was boom times, and firms were keen to employ their army of articled clerks well in advance.

As with most graduates, I started with a spring in my step alongside eight others in my firm. But soon, the national economy tanked and we entered The Recession We Had To Have. The intake of clerks the following year was less than half the nine who started…

In contemporary Australian public discourse, it is difficult to avoid the spectre of religion. In particular, the post-ANZAC Day outrage about comments by an ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied, have honed in on her statement on Q&A that she is ‘first and foremost a Muslim’. Ketan Joshi has articulated the racist overtones of this — and other — incidents. I’m interested however, in the overt sectarianism.

The offence taken at a proclamation of adherence to the Muslim faith reminds me of the old panic:

where does your loyalty lie, to your country or your Pope?

This was invoked during conscription debates…

Iconic Queensland, Townsville

Not long after the birth of my first child, I started practising part time in the Cairns law firm Bottoms English. John Bottoms and Anne English set me up at home with a fax machine, I got a computer and an exorbitantly expensive printer, and set to work. My work was interesting, varied and creative — as has been my overall experience as a solicitor and legal academic in North Queensland.

The other night, Judge Dean Morzone QC of the Queensland District Court launched the newly published book Paw Paw Lawyer: Tales of Practice in North Australia — written by…

A couple of months ago I travelled again to Singapore. I first visited in 2011, and spent some time there researching the idea of the tropics, and land tenure systems in Singapore and Malaysia. Because of my interest in and work on the tropics, I am in the habit of thinking about most of Australia and other equatorial locales in terms of this concept. My most recent trip to Singapore was no exception.

Stunning tropical evening overlooking Singapore’s finance district

Taming the tropics

One of the key themes in the (Western) literature on the tropics is the notion of human domination of the climate and the landscape. For the European…

My childhood home: the tangled overgrown garden setting of the Brisbane Queenslander

I love flying into Brisbane. After 22 years living away from my home town, I still get a thrill returning, as I did again late last week.

It’s not that Brisbane is better than Sydney or Melbourne — or Cairns, my ‘new’ home of over 20 years. It’s not better or worse than anywhere. It’s just the place that most resonates with me. I think this resonance is more than simply the memories I have of growing up here — although they surely count for something. But I have memories of other places too and those places do not feel…

In 1975, Lord Denning in the Court of Appeal decision Eves v Eves, opined that

Equity is not past the age of child bearing. One of her latest progeny is a constructive trust of a new model.

This prompted Samuels JA in the 1977 decision Allen v Snyder in the New South Wales Court of Appeal, to stretch the metaphor beyond all endurance in this magnificent passage.

Lord Denning proclaimed the legitimacy of equity’s latest progeny, plucked by Lord Diplock from her capacious womb, and it was named “a constructive trust of a new model”. But I would respectfully suggest…

As we learn of a landmark report into the scale of Indigenous disadvantage in Australia, the Western Australian government has commenced a program of closing down about half of the state’s 274 remote communities. The program will, the Premier acknowledges, ‘cause distress’ to the more than 12,000 Aboriginal people who live there. Premier Colin Barnett cites the ‘existing high rates of suicide, poor health and a lack of jobs’ as well as the ‘abuse and neglect of young children’ as the reason for these measures. He says that the latter is ‘a disgrace for the state’. The Western Australian government…

Opening up land for development* There is perhaps a tension within the way we understand these communities as both an expression of Indigenous autonomy but also with a more oppressive colonial past. This tension is implicit in the complicated relationship between ideas of being treated the same — having a ‘regular’ freehold title — and recognising communal title and traditional ownership as prevailing norms within Indigenous communities. The Queensland government has now passed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land (Providing Freehold) Act 2014. The Act’s primary purpose is to enable the freeholding of land in Aboriginal and Torres Strait…

Terror: Abstract and Embodied

In the face of the wall-to-wall coverage of police raids on Australian ‘terror suspects’, I am left unable to assess either the nature or the extent of the risk of the types of crimes described by authorities. That is principally, random acts of violence. I realise that these possible crimes are truly awful, and that the police and authorities must take action to protect the community. I cannot, however, seem to stem a skepticism about the reality of the so-called ‘threat’. I think my skepticism is borne out of seeing how police so frequently fail to respond to actual and reported threats of violence against women.

Kate Galloway

Legal academic, Queensland | Property law; women; justice; legal education; the tropics

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