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Correspondence from lofty sources ... Waterstreet Down ... Slippery Pete on giving Tasmanian silks an Department riffles through the rubbish bins ... Read more ... 

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    "It's a sick personality type that wants to convince Australians that they are cruel, mean and heartless to refugees when in fact we are one of the most generous countries in the world for permanent resettlement. 

    Why in those circumstances does anyone imagine that running us down is a good message, especially for children." 

    Former immigration minister in the Howard government Amanda Vanstone. The Sydney Morning Herald, November 11, 2019 ... Read more flatulence ... 

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    I am woman - hear me roar ... At the Feminist Legal Clinic, Gudrun Willcocks meets Anna Kerr, a different kind of lawyer ... Matriarchy takes on the patriarchy ... Wages for wives ... Discrimination and motherhood ... A bandaid service at the Family Court ... Read more ... 

    Justinian's archive

    Dance of the sugar plum fairy ... Anti-gay rant from barrister ... Upsetting bar election results ... The Page Boy to receive a good talking-to ... Bar's monopoly fees for readers ... Jarrod Bleijie is dancing rings around No Waves ... Bar Talk from Justinian's archive, November 2013 ... Read more ... 



    « Justice, with one foot forward | Main | Too much speech »

    Helen Garner

    In This House of Grief Helen Garner lives and breathes the trials of Robert Farquharson, who was found guilty of the murder of his three young sons after driving his car into a dam near Geelong ... The courtroom as theatre and tedium ... The barristers, the judge, the competing stories ... The man and his murders ... Author Helen Garner is on Justinian's couch 

    Garner: thin membrane between criminal and non-criminalHelen Garner was born and bred in Geelong. After an education at Melbourne University she taught in Victorian secondary schools until she was sacked for supplying direct answers to students' questions about sex. 

    She turned to journalism and writing novels. Her first was Monkey Grip, which won the National Book Council Award and was made into a film starring Noni Hazlehurst and Colin Friels. Her screenplay The Last Days of Chez Nous was filmed in 1990. 

    Garner's non-fiction works The First Stone and Joe Cinque's Consolation and her novel The Spare Room all have acclaimed places in Australian literature. 

    She has been at writers festivals in Melbourne and Brisbane talking about The House of Grief, but the in-depth stuff really happened on Justinian's couch ...   

    Describe yourself in three words.

    Anxious. Anxious. Anxious.

    What are you currently reading? 

    "Warning", Sophie Cunningham's book about Cyclone Tracy, in which she makes brilliant use of archival interviews to produce not only a staggering account of the cyclone and its aftermath but a crackling picture of Australia in 1975.

    What's your favourite film? 

    The Godfather Part 2. 

    What is your favourite piece of music?

    JS Bach's Two & Three Part Inventions. 

    Who has been the most influential person in your life ... and why?

    My late father, I suppose; because I had to fight him all my life, and fighting is very character-forming. 

    What is in your refrigerator?

    Milk, Berries. Chicken soup. Vodka in the freezer. 

    What is your favourite website?

    Google weather

    If you were on death row, what would be your request for your last meal? 

    Fish fingers with my grandchildren.

    What words or phrases do you overuse?

    Basically. Be that as it may. An adorable guy.

    Was there an important opportunity that you didn't take ... and if so what was it?

    Yes. I didn't join the police force in 1972 when I got the sack from teaching.

    Why are you attracted to criminal behaviour? 

    Because there's only a very thin membrane between it and non-criminal behaviour. 

    If you had been a juror in the Robert Farquharson case would you have voted guilty or not guilty? 

    I can't tell, because I don't know what the other jurors would have been like or how our deliberations would have developed; and I'll die regretting that I don't know that.

    Was the trial process a real search for the truth? 

    It probably thought it was. To me it seemed more about competing stories.

    Could there be a better way of reaching a verdict than the adversarial system? 

    I've heard people speak passionately in favour of the inquisitorial system but I have never seen it in action. 

    If you were a foodstuff, what would you be?

    A piccolo latte. 

    What human quality do you most distrust?


    What would you change about Australia?

    The rainfall (more of it, and more usefully distributed). 

    Whom or what do you consider overrated?

    Nicole Kidman. 

    What would your epitaph say?

    Thank God That's Over. 

    What comes into your mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word "law"?

    Dark shiny timber, high white walls, and voices talking talking ... talking.

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