Published on 9 December 2015.

Justice Connections, hosted by the University of Canberra and the Australian National University, University House, 20 November 2015. 

Part 1

Part 2

Transcript

[This dialogue followed a presentation by Dr Anrew Leigh MP.]

Simon Rice (SR): Ros is President of the Australian Law Reform Commission and has just been reappointed for three years, and I chair the ACT Advisory Law Reform Council. So, each of us heads an institutional law reform body – but institutional law reform bodies of a very different nature. So, Ros might begin with our reflections on institutional reform and how it is we go about it.

Rosalind Croucher (RC): I guess as the President of the ALRC, I’m a bit like your aunt to the various state bodies. Law reform through a federal body has a particular lens, both in terms of looking at Commonwealth laws, but also sometimes looking at projects that involve state laws. But it’s a bit of a fine line at times, because of the challenge of federalism—where you can have passion and interest and concerns at a federal level voiced by politicians and others, but so much of the grassroots stuff is done at the state level. So the relationship between the bodies is an important one.

SR: And in fact, Andrew’s talk is emblematic of that because a great deal of what you were talking about, Andrew, is the business of state and territory governments. Federalism, I think in our experience, is as much a barrier as it is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to the extent that it creates the opportunity for experimentation in different jurisdictions. But when it comes to anything coherent nationally it’s a huge obstacle for us.

RC: Huge obstacle but also, in law reform, you are looking at law. There’s a technical element to what we do. But there’s also this forward-looking element that’s aspirational and that has a place for passion.

SR: But this is something that we’ve spoken about before—different institutions take different approaches. Some of my law reform students are here, so I’m telling you what you’ve heard already. For me, there’s law and there’s law. And there is technical law. The history of law reform commissions is the 1960s UK Law Reform Commission was set up to technically fix the old and broken laws and it was the business of technicians. But I think we take a much … I think of your domestic violence inquiry. Now that wasn’t actually about law, it was about …

RC: A lot of other stuff.

SR: The way we live. And a law reform commission report isn’t necessarily about an amendment to an Act at all. We’re talking about the way society works and how law might interact with that.

RC: Absolutely. When you’re saying that, it just prompted a number of things. One is the way our terms of reference can work, because that’s the immediate lens through which we have to work. So when we get an opportunity to look at laws and legal frameworks that’s an enormous additional envelope for looking at a whole range of other things. But also when you get the opportunity, you can be quite visionary in what you do. The inquiry that we finished and launched on Disability, Equality and Capacity in Commonwealth Laws—there we looked at ideas that were really quite visionary. We suggested the introduction of national decision-making principles that didn’t have a home necessarily immediately in law, but will have an opportunity to influence law. Now that was quite a significant step into the whiteboard, I suppose.

SR: Well, let me use that to illustrate the federal-state connections. So, the Australian Law Reform Commission promulgated a set of principles that states and territories could adopt to give effect to our international convention obligations in relation to guardianship. So along comes the ACT Advisory Law Reform Council, first cab off the rank, the Attorney-General asks us to review our guardianship laws. We turn to the ALRC report and we say, ‘Well, they’ve got these principles, we’ll run with those’. However, and this is not said by way of criticism, the principles are very high-level—they come out of a Commonwealth government body—whereas our job then is to make them work on the ground. You had a law reform inquiry that asked the big questions and established principles. We’re having a consequent law reform inquiry, which is about how do we make those principles work in the community. And in fact I can tell you now that the principles aren’t going to work perfectly all the time in the community and we’re going to have to recommend ways in which principles are going to be adapted to local needs and conditions. But that’s a federal-state dialogue, if you like, that seems to be unfolding quite well.

RC: But, as an aspect of that too, it’s useful to comment a little bit on process because, in doing a federal inquiry that looked at these ideas, prompted largely through the NDIS, which took the Commonwealth government into an area that was traditionally, and still is, essentially owned by the states, to have the state guardianship bodies intimately involved in the process, both through representation or engagement in the advisory committee, but also in the consultations that we did, and also using their umbrella body—they have a collective body, everybody has an umbrella body, so do the guardianship bodies—they had an umbrella group and they had two key meetings through the course of our inquiry, so being involved with them in an active dialogue helped inform our process. So while there was a visionary element to it, it wasn’t just 'ivory tower' thinking. It was very much grounded in the reality of the knock-on effect with respect to state agencies.

SR: Now there’s a different reality that you and I, our institutions, have to deal with and that’s the political reality of the context we’re in. So I’m thinking—I’m not going to do this, it’s too impromptu, but it would be great to work with the example you gave us, Andrew, and deal with questions of incarceration and disproportionate incarceration, because that could be a federal inquiry. It could be a state inquiry. It would certainly be evidence-based if it happened through an institution. That’s the advantage of the institution—but boy, the political context within which we’d be doing that. So, a good news story of the politics, for me, of institutional inquiry is when the ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell gave us a reference, which was to advise him on how to give legal recognition to gender diversity in the ACT. Now the important thing in the wording—and we’re lawyers, so we go to the wording—he didn’t say he wanted advice on whether to give legal refuge. He already made the policy decision that he was going to. He wanted to know how to do it. And so that shaped our inquiry, which was very much engaging with the community saying, ‘OK, how is this going to work for you?’ Had he asked us—and we get inquiries like this—whether to, it then becomes a completely different inquiry into really difficult matters of policy. And sometimes an Attorney will ask you to do that because he wants you to do the dirty work and not himself.

RC: Parking the hot potato.

SR: Yes and passing it on and sometimes he takes responsibility. So, the politics of what we’re doing and where we’re going—well, our institutions—is a very important consideration.

RC: Well, let me flip that back as almost a question to you. When a decision is made, what are the kinds of decisions that would not be suitable to give to a law reform body?

SR: Well, I have wondered. There are times when I do reflect why the Attorney has brought this particular idea to you and sometimes I see policy announcements and I think, ‘Well, I wonder how he put that one together and why didn’t we do that?’ So a range of reasons, and there’s literature on law reform agencies. Yes, a law reform institution is a good place to do independent, sound, long-term, deep sort of research in a way differently from internal policy advisers, so that would be a good reason to do it. But equally, things get dumped on you because … well, not dumped. The Victorian Law Reform Commission has reported on euthanasia and abortion. And it makes sense for a government to want to get an independent, sound report on that rather than volunteer it themselves. And they can say ‘that’s what we’ve been told, it’s not our idea’. So there are good reasons for doing it. There are political reasons for doing it—parking stuff. The Australian Law Reform Commission has been given references almost as an observer to ensure that an issue doesn’t come back during this term of government. So there’s a whole range of reasons.

RC: There’s a whole range of reasons indeed and you’ve traversed them well. But an observation to add to that is that if you know the policy outcome you want to reach, you don’t give that project to a law reform body. If you know the policy outcome pretty well, what you would normally do is refer it to a department, a relevant department, and ask the department and departmental officers to work out how it can get there. So, that’s a different thing. But when it is, for all of the reasons that Simon mentioned, that you would ask an independent body to conduct a project, it’s usually because we have the opportunity to start with questions, not answers. And it’s quite simplistic to say this, but when a department is given a project it’s because the answer is known. The method to get there is not necessarily.

SR: Well let’s go to, in the time that we’ve got, one of the criticisms is that they seem to cost a lot of money for not a lot. I mean we’ll produce a report in a year, or less often than that. And then, the report seems to go nowhere. It’s a report that we change the law and it doesn’t get changed. And so in hindsight you say, ‘Well, what’s all that about? What’s all that money, time, effort?’ So, the Victorian Law Reform Commission was abolished and then reinstated. The Canadian Law Reform Commission—they didn’t have the courage to abolish it; they just reduced its funding to nil. So they had one, but it didn’t do anything. Politically, there is an argument for saying it’s an institutional indulgence; we can do without one. And people feel they can do without one, because of the apparent lack of implementation and effect that sometimes we have.

RC: Well, I think the answer to that is a multi-layered one. And it’s what I call the enduring nature of law reform. You have to take a long view and with the ALRC—this is our 40th anniversary year—on the tables you might see a scroll. Well that scroll is a table of all of the ALRC’s report within the last 40 years, complete with a little gift key-ring that perhaps, Andrew, you may like to take home, that represents ALRC at 40. But the point of that is the long view. Because law reform products are one—if you look at it as the books­— if you look at it as the implementation stats, you get a bit of data, but it’s not the real data. The real data is the effect it has and I describe it as pebbles in a pond. So if you imagine the report like a pebble that you tossed into a pond, the pebble disappears below the surface of the water but the ripples keep going out and out and out and out. And it’s that ripple effect: it’s the process and the engagement of people over an extended period in the idea of law reform. You get into their headspace. One of the most potent impacts of law reform, I think, is the conversations you have with departments and policy-makers of the future. So, we have very active conversations with all of the relevant government agencies involved in a particular subject matter. Often at the middle rank—often with senior people—but often in the middle rank of legal and policy officers, they are going to be the policy-makers of five to ten years’ time. Now you start influencing their thinking now, through the conversations you have around a theme, it’s another one of those ripples. The courts themselves, particularly in our case as a federal body, the Federal Court, repeatedly tells us of the value of our reports. One of our best examples is the Aboriginal Customary Laws report. It was a report concluded in 1986. That report—it was done over nine years—we don’t have that sort of luxury anymore, Simon. But that report is still—none of the recommendations in that report have been implemented—but the Federal Court keeps going back to it and its analysis of issues. Students do. Academics do. And it’s still—we started counting the stats on this on our website—and since 2010, it’s the fourth most-downloaded of all of our reports and that’s only through our website and it’s available through AustLii and other sites. So, to be the fourth most-downloaded, you know 30 years later, is one of … that’s a serious ripple in the pond.

SR: This—and you have to do this more than I do because you have to front Senate estimates—this is a hard case to make. A government needs to take the long view, but so far we’ve survived doing it. You spoke about one of the benefits is engaging with policy-makers of the future and alerting them to law reform. One of the other promoted benefits of institutional law reform that I sort of adopt and struggle with is community engagement. Because it is said of institutional law reform that its distinguishing feature is its commitment to community consultation, community being broadly defined from experts through to ordinary people affected by laws. And I embrace that idea in a spirit of democratic engagement, but at the same time I do think we have a system of representative democracy. How many times are we going to replicate access to the system? So I wonder about that and I further wonder about the capacity we have of ensuring equitable access to that. The inquiry we’re doing at the moment—into guardianship laws—I am not an expert in communicating with people living with mental illness and acquired brain injury. But I want them to communicate, so I need to find a way of getting them in, and how anxious should I get about whether or not their access to my process is sufficiently equitable so I can say that what we’ve produced is properly founded in community engagement? The whole community consultation thing is really fraught. The Canadian Law Reform Commission, I think, is best at this and there’s been a model UK inquiry into housing, which went to extraordinary lengths to become engaged with people in tenancy and housing circumstances. But it’s a significant diversion of resources to try and get that right. And I’m never comfortable with when we do it.

RC: I think the issue is that community consultation as a commitment is important. In fact, it’s been part of the fabric of the methodology of the ALRC since its conception and it was very much a Michael Kirby imprint in that respect and at the time, 40 years ago, that was not the norm at all. So, he was a bit of a pioneer in that respect so that it now has become a norm in the kinds of projects—law reform projects and other projects—that people engage in. But the idea of community has to be calibrated to the particular subject and inquiry that you’re doing. And often in—certainly in the kind of law reform projects that the ALRC is involved in—the community consultation works through organisations representing a lot of different people. So the voice of the individual is garnered through the representative groups and that actually takes us back to something that was said in the opening speech by Andrew Leigh—the role of Community Legal Centres and other groups. As a federal body, as a federal law reform body over a number of years, we’ve been beneficiaries of the passion and commitment of Community Legal Centres, particularly in providing us their experience of frontline problems. So we get into the individual’s experiences, often through the frontline service workers, like Community Legal Centres, and their advocacy roles in relation to us. I appreciate the difficulties of constrained financial situations, but I can say from the perspective of a body that is the recipient of the good advocacy work of Community Legal Centres that it’s been invaluable in calibrating a particular aspect of community consultation.

SR: One of the challenges I’ve found is finding the constituency, or the advocacy bodies for the constituency. So I think the transgender—the gender diversity—reference we had, there was a very clear community we could engage with and we did that very well. But it was a very personal thing. I could actually get the entire Canberra transgender community in a room and sit down and talk to them. The guardianship reference similarly has—it’s a much bigger, but still is—a reasonably identifiable group with lots of community advocates. Between those two references, I’ll tell you that we didn’t handle the discrimination reference—Julie, put your fingers in your ears—we didn’t handle the discrimination reference very well. We rescued it, but we got off to the wrong start, because I hadn’t focused on the fact that there wasn’t really a constituency. It’s like everybody. But in fact when you ask people, it’s nobody. Nobody thinks, ‘oh my life is dependent on or relies on the Discrimination Act’. And while you could identify groups—women, migrants and so on—as benefiting from when they need it, unlike guardianship or gender identity, it wasn’t a piece of law that represented people’s aspirations. So when we said to the community, ‘Tell us what you think of the Discrimination Act’, nobody said anything. And so in our earnest community consultation way, we would book the community hall and we’d drive down there and set up a banner and put down our table and sit and wait for people to turn up. That’s actually, not metaphorically. We really did go down there and no one showed up. And so we realised, ‘Ah, this is a dumb way of engaging and we haven’t actually thought about who we’re engaging.’ So there are some times when community consultation probably isn’t the right way of going about it.

RC: Well, it’s how you define it.

SR: You’ve been very—I was really impressed by the extent to which you embraced social media as a way of getting to people, so my lame setting up a table at Tuggeranong really ought to have been setting up a Facebook group page or something of that—so social media has made a big difference.

RC: Yes, it has helped. But as to having other things, like, when we were doing the disability reference, we made sure that the key documents, the consultation documents, were put into Easy English. We also used that opportunity to put a lot of information on our website in community languages, including Auslan, and Easy English, about our process, so we’ve used the opportunity, we used a Wiki for crowd-sourcing of stuff, but also we don’t use the Town Hall mode, it’s more, it’s a bit like an effective classroom situation. If you throw a question out at large, the general response is silence, but if you target a table, like if I threw a question to the table on my left, and asked them a specific question, I’m more likely to get an answer, and then I ask the table next, to engage with that response, so you drive it a little bit. So it’s calibration, and it’s using the techniques available. But when you have constrained resources, using everything that’s free is obviously a good strategy.

SR: So we’re talking about process, and I think we’re comfortable with the fact that process is what distinguishes institutional law reform, I mean, our concentration on—

RC: And the starting point, starting with questions not answers.

SR: So one thing I’ve been—that people challenge me with and I reflect on—is the other available mechanisms. It’s the aspiration, the holy grail of advocates for reform, to get the Productivity Commission to enquire into your area of concern, because we all know that they produce a business case and that’s a winner in public policy, and Andrew just walked out when I said that, but the economists seem—and, for example, the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Disability Discrimination Act when it was first announced caused us all horror, and it turned out to be a genius move. It confirmed the Disability Discrimination Act as a major driver of economic progress and development, which was fantastic. So, my point is that there are other institutions who do what we do. The Senate committees do what we do. The Productivity Commission does what we do.

RC: Well, they do things of a similar nature. They don’t do what we do precisely. We’re doing law reform today.

SR: And this is where we take a very broad view of both law and process and reform.

RC: Indeed.

SR: So ours is this largely unmeasurable—I mean, we’re confident that we’re investing in change over time, which is a long way from people’s expectations of what an institution is going to deliver in technical reform.

RC: Yes, expectations have to be moderated there. That’s where I think it is an advantage, and one can assert this idea of the enduring nature, the long view, when you have a long view to demonstrate, because we’re tracking at about 86 per cent of implementation, substantially or in part. Now, it’s a glib and reassuring statistic because, as I was expounding upon before, my view is that that’s just one small measure. It’s useful to demonstrate the worth, particularly when you are talking at senate estimates, because you have got something upon which you can point to validity, and this is where the politics comes in too, because you can get a reference from one government, and because you’re independent, it doesn’t matter which Attorney, which government, gives you a reference. But if it is one that straddles boundaries of governments and changes of governments, then you can have an Inquiry that was the passion of one Attorney, then you get a new Attorney who’s not interested at all in that area, and yet you’re reporting to the Attorney of the day. That affects an interest in implementation by the particular incumbent Attorney, but the publicity that attends the reports—the ALRC reports must be tabled in Parliament, like most agencies’ reports, and that gives it a level of publicity and leverage, particularly for all those people you have consulted with, or who have been involved through making submissions. They can point to the Report as a public document, which gives leverage in other directions. So that’s another one of those ripples in the pond that I was talking of.

SR: We have to finish up, but, so, perhaps, you’ve been sitting listening quietly for an hour, and I’m sorry Andrew didn’t have time to take questions, but could we get some questions and comments from you now? We’ve probably said our piece, we could keep on going … yes, please.

Female Audience Member  [Dr Liz Curran] (LC): Just picking up on the comments around community engagement, and [...] the community as a grassroots community, I think the easy job is to engage with academics, and community legal centres, and legal aid commissions, and other non-government organisations, provided the government allows them to have a voice by not changing their funding and service agreements ...  But I’ve done almost coming up to three decades—I’ve spent my whole life dedicated to community engagement, and trying to involve people in the decisions that affect them, and I was pleased to hear what you said about translating it into plain English. The thing that resonates with me is that is the first time ever in decades that the Victorian Parliament decided to do an inquiry into public housing. It was done over Christmas, so deliberately, so that no-one could engage, and I took the actual newspaper clipping down to the residents that I had been working with on an ongoing basis, most of whom cannot read or write, most of whom had never, had no concept or idea of what an inquiry is, or what a recommendation is, or how that can [...]. Now, community engagement can be done. It is resource intensive, but it can be so powerful. So what happened was, I showed them the terms of reference. They did not understand a word of it. So I sat there, and I explained to them what it meant, and I said effectively, everybody wants to make a decision about the houses that you live in, or don’t live in, and you know, you’ve lived in them, and no-one is asking you what do you want to do about it, and they all said, ‘We’d like to participate, but we have no idea as to how.’ So then what we did, with community empowerment [...] a legal centre –

SR: Liz, we’re going to have to wrap up in a second …

LC: So then what we did is we ran support training for them as to how to run their own focus groups, how to administer consent forms, and they went out, and they ran focus groups, with the public housing, got a large law firm, who—Gates—for transcribing, and over Christmas they typed it all up, and when that group were asked to go and speak to the parliamentary committee, you could’ve heard a pin drop. The Chair refused to have a photo taken with them at the beginning, and said it’s highly irregular. By the end of the submission, they were all gathering around the Chair saying, ‘Where’s your camera, I’ll take [...] a selfie with you, so when they’re asked, and when they’re supported through, you can get powerful stuff, but I think that your comment, Simon, that it’s so hard to do, I actually don’t think it has to be, and I would like to see more public inquiries who make a decision about groups of people, even people with an intellectual disability …

RS: Well, can I just pick up a couple of things that you’ve said, and conscious of our morning tea time: the power of advocates, you are a living, breathing example of the power of an advocate, and it’s through people like you that people like Simon and I, in our law reform roles, benefit enormously. And through someone like you, we then get access to a range of people who have the lived experience of the issues. Like in the Disability Inquiry, we went and I had the advantage of Graeme Innes as a part-time commissioner with me, we went in Victoria on the border, we went to a disability enterprises place, and had wonderful biscuits I have to say (gluten-free, for me), and we also went to a centre which involved a number of people with intellectual disability, and the observations there just resonated very strongly with the conceptual idea in the electoral context, because we made a very specific recommendation about a change in the Electoral Act of which I’m very proud. So, the power of advocates, and also the design of the process to ensure that the calibration that you make with respect to the terms of reference that you have, has a space, for the voice of the individual. And we learn sometimes by mistakes about our calibration, but I can’t underestimate the value of the advocate like you.

SR: Did you have a question? Yes?

Male Audience Member: Yes, my name is [...], I am Acting President of Prisoners’ Aid, Prisoners’ Aid manages [...], we’ve been doing this for 51 years. Several points: one is, you know, thank you for your time, but we have a very punitive way of looking at things, and this is throughout Australia, and it’s been going on since 1788. I don’t know how many of you in the room have attended the second Complex Needs Conference—it was on this week—and there was a huge component about incarceration of Indigenous people. Can we change people’s minds, like Justice Refshauge claims, and we had an argument about this, that parking fines are not one of the reasons people are incarcerated, and you heard Andrew this morning. Also, the Aboriginal Justice Centre was closed, in Canberra. It’s still closed, and they’re closing a lot of Aboriginal Justice Centres around Australia, and that’s about 13 million et cetera in annual – [ATCOS?] did run, and I agree with Liz, community consultation, community engagement, if done properly, is critical to the law reform – [ATCOS?] did a fantastic job with the justice re-investment consultation that they had, and we’re hoping that something very good comes out of it, maybe someone in the room can inform me about what stage that’s at. So we have 406 people who are male, and about 21—how many women?—about 21 women locked up in the [AMC?]. They built a new place, it’s been filled within five weeks, there again, overflowing. We really need to do something about this. Basically it’s about domestic violence and Indigenous people. We shouldn’t be locking people up for parking fines, we should be, I can’t believe the [ANU?] locks people up if they don’t pay parking fines, it’s just appalling …

RC: ACT I think he means.

SR: But I think that the points you’ve got, to feed what you’re raising, and [...], we could keep going with prison policy issues, to feed that into this discussion about institutional reform, one of the things that, one of the weaknesses of institutional law reform is that it’s entirely at the whim of the Executive as to when and how they engage in it. So you need to speak to Mr Corbell about how he wants to go about reviewing this. Now, he can ask his Department. Well, first of all he can ignore it, or he can ask his Department, or he could have a legislative assembly committee, or he could ask the Law Reform Advisory Council. There’s a host of ways of doing it, and this discussion was exploring what might be the best way. I’m not sure that a Law Reform Advisory Council inquiry would necessarily be the best way, but it could be, and that’s the question we’re asking—what’s the right mechanism to get to a result?

Male Audience Member: Well perhaps you could give us some ideas, so we can go and try to [...]

SR: Okay, we’ll reflect on that.

Prof Patricia Easteal (PE): I was just going to suggest that the discussion could continue during morning tea, because we’re already running—it always falls on me to keep us on time, but the next session starts in 20 minutes.

SR: So we’ll take a couple more comments then stop for tea.

RC: But also, if I may say, while Patricia is up, can I congratulate Patricia on four marvellous Justice Connections conferences. I’ve been delighted to be involved in them throughout their history, so I think Patricia has four wonderful 'children' in her family now.

PE: I actually have four children.

RC: And a co-parent on this one with Simon, so thank you Patricia.

[Applause]

SR: So we’ll take a couple more comments and questions, and then we’ll break.

PE: I see what happens with co-parenting—control issues. Perhaps morning—part of morning tea—will be at the table with the next session going on, because we will have to start the next session promptly at 10.45.

SR: That’s okay. Any more comments or questions on [...]?  Steph?

Female Audience Member: Hello, my name is Stephanie, and I wear two hats. So I work at the Human Rights Commission, but I’m also just a law student here, and I was recently I guess in the loop of people that do law reform through exclusion zones here in the ACT, so we now, I think in six months’ time, we’ll have a 50 metre exclusion zone minimum around abortion clinics, and so how that came about was that there were a few of us a few years ago who would stand on chairs with signs and ask people to honk their support, for people, for us, to counter-protest the anti-abortion protesters. And so I think my involvement with law reform has been one where we were waiting for someone to help us change the law, and it wasn’t something of interest to the legislative assembly, and so we were trying to think, how can we do this, and so we wrote a little bit, and we researched a little bit, and then we decided that we could follow what has been done in Tasmania. But we needed more help. We weren’t sure, how do you change the law when no-one’s interested in changing it, or no-one’s interested in your issue? And so I hear a lot of issues that no-one’s interested in through my work at the Human Rights Commission, but I think, as a person that has been involved in this, I would have wanted help, like I would have wanted someone to say to me, ‘Steph, this is what you do to change the law when no-one cares about your issue, except you and three other people.

RC: May I suggest an answer by way of an observation, an anecdote of history? The suffragettes, the women of the late 19th century were in a not dissimilar position and they adopted a policy of 'much-speaking'. The much-speaking was talking about it, writing about, and particularly getting in the ear of every politician that they knew. And by just that process of talking—which is analogous in a way with the institutional process that Simon and I lead when we get terms of reference—but the grassroots aspect of getting that ball rolling. I can only suggest that I would adopt the approach that your sisters did in the late 19th century. Keep talking about it and get in the ear of politicians.

SR: When I teach my law reform course and if you think—take twelve weeks—of those twelve weeks, one week is on institutional law reform. And roughly that’s about as much time as I think it is worth, in discussing how you change the world. When you want the world to be a better place to suit your agenda, institutional law reform is not more than one-twelfth of what you do. Half the course— six of those twelve weeks—is on campaigning and mobilisation; is on how you get from where you want the world to be to have the world like that. Which is, as Ros was saying, it’s campaigning. It’s putting on a costume and standing in the middle of Civic Square. It’s knocking on the doors of politicians. It’s letter-writing. It’s what Community Legal Centres are really good at it.

RC: I would hesitate to say, don’t chain yourself to the railings of Parliament House—well they don’t even have them—but don’t stake yourself to the ground in parliament.

SR: Not right now, it’s not a good look.

RC: Maybe on that note we can finish, and, thank you all for listening so patiently.

SR: And there’s scones at the back of the room, we’ll come back in 20 minutes.