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Liam Jurrah and Yuendumu

Liam Jurrah’s involvement in a violent incident in an Alice Springs court last week has captivated the Australian media for days. The 23-year-old forward at the Melbourne Football Club recommenced training yesterday, after being granted bail by an Alice Springs court on charges of unlawfully causing serious harm and being armed with an offensive weapon. The weapon is believed to have been a machete, and Jurrah is implicated in an attack that left a 35-year-old man in hospital with serious head injuries. The incident is reported to have been part of ongoing clan disputes that have plagued his home community of Yuendumu, 300km west of Alice Springs, for 18 months. This morning, The Conversation spoke with Jurrah’s biographer and friend Bruce Hearn Mackinnon. Mackinnon is a senior lecturer at Deakin University and hosted Jurrah on his initial move to Melbourne.

Democracy as Lulic?

Amongst Timor-Leste’s traditions, there is none more central to how Timorese understand themselves in relation to their world than that of lulic, or that which is ‘sacred’.

While a sense of lulic is not always visible, especially in life that is affected by elements of modernity, such as in a town or in Dili, it continues to lie under the surface for many, perhaps most, Timorese.

The idea of lulic can apply to place, to the relationship between things, such as the sun and the moon or the earth and the sky, to relationships between people, to life and death and social obligations and to symbols of authority and social organisation.

As traditions evolve and change to incorporate new elements, so too has lulic changed to incorporate such symbols.

Old Portuguese swords may be considered as lulic, as can flags that have a particular value or importance.

Security, peace, dignity? The role of Victorian human rights laws

Phil* became homeless after his partner died and his house was repossessed.  He cycled through shelters and crisis accommodation, dangerous rooming houses, and the couches of friends and families.

After several months, Phil hit the jackpot and was accepted into transitional housing.  As the name suggests, transitional housing is short- to medium-term housing to assist people transition from homelessness into long-term housing.

Phil was excited to move into the house.  On the day he moved in, he was handed a lease, a set of keys and a 120-day eviction notice.  ‘It’s just how we ensure that we can evict you when we need to,’ explained his housing worker.

East Timor's calm ahead of presidential elections

The dog was sleeping, its head on its paws, in the middle of the road leading from the airport. As we approached in a four-wheel-drive, it looked up, gauged the situation and put its head back on its paws and closed its eyes. This sleeping dog was let lie.

Apart from horrific moments of violence and destruction, East Timor has otherwise been a pretty laid back place, as it is now.

The pigs that used to wander the streets just outside of the main commercial precinct are only a little less common than they once were.

Yellow taxis ply the streets at the slowest possible speed to conserve fuel. Sunday c-ckfights and wet season thunderstorms are often as exciting as it gets.

When things are normal, life tends to move at a pretty slow pace. It is only when violence erupts that East Timor goes from a lazy day dream to a frantic nightmare.

Discriminating on the basis of criminal records: the need for reform

We all make mistakes: often they are embarrassing or hurtful, sometimes they have more serious consequences. However, where the police and courts get involved, they can have long-lasting impact on people’s lives.

Discrimination on the ground that a person has a criminal record is widespread in Victoria, particularly in obtaining and maintaining employment. There has been a significant increase in the number of criminal record checks undertaken in Victoria: Victoria Police data shows a 6000 per cent increase in checks between 1992-93 and 2003-04. Indeed, in the employment sphere, ‘criminal record checks are fast becoming a routine part of the recruitment process’. In this context, it is increasingly concerning that laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s irrelevant criminal record lack any real teeth.

#kony2012: a new paradigm in social media for social change?

This week, global attention has turned to wartime atrocities committed by Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony.  This has been driven by a social media campaign launched by Invisible Children – in its first three days, the Kony2012 campaign’s YouTube video had been viewed over 40 million times.

Challenges ahead for Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste has emerged from its dark past and extremely low levels of development with some cause for optimism. A range of human development indicators, from infant mortality to longevity and education, have all begun to trend more positively, government programs have alleviated some of the worst effects of poverty and infrastructure is being developed.
But Timor-Leste still faces significant challenges, which its new government, no matter who is elected this year, will have to deal with. These challenges fall into three categories; the environment, the resources curse, and human capacity.
At one level, Timor-Leste has a physical environment that is set. The soil is relatively poor, especially on the north coast, its capacity to produce crops is limited and its rainy season is usually brief, in regional terms, but often very heavy. Added to the mountainous nature of the land, cropping is difficult, poor seasons are common and torrential rains can wash away crops in a day.

Pillowtalk and evidence: High Court rejects privilege against spousal incrimination

In ACC v Stoddart,[1] the High Court recently held that there is no common law privilege against incriminating one’s spouse, which had been thought to exist for several centuries. What impact will this decision have?

Francisco Xavier do Amaral: First President of East Timor, politician and elder statesman

(unknown) 1937 – 6 March 2012. East Timor’s first president, for just 9 days ahead of Indonesia’s invasion in 1975, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, has died in Dili at the age of 74 of complications caused by advanced cancer. Do Amaral, affectionately known in East Timor as ‘Grandfather’, was born in Turiscai in the Mambai-speaking mountainous central region of East Timor. The son of a liurai, or local ‘king’, he was educated at St Jose Jesuit seminary in Macao where he qualified for the priesthood. However, do Amaral chose instead to work in the Dili Customs House where he became a popular, politically active intellectual. With Nicolau Lobato and current president, Jose Ramos-Horta, on 20 May 1974, do Amaral founded the broad-based anti-colonial Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT), at Ramos-Horta’s urging becoming its president.

National Coal Seam Gas: An Important Step in Protecting Water

A new national agreement designed to protect water resources from coal seam gas extraction and coal mining could offer a level of protection so far unseen in Australian environmental legislation. Any states serious about protecting water for farming and the environment should be signing up.

theconversation.edu.au/national-coal-seam-gas-agreement-an-important-step-in-protecting-water-5654

 

 

 

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