Category Archives: Law

Summary of the Pell Papers

Chris S Friel working from the other side of the world has done outstanding work on the Cardinal Pell Affair. He has produced a series of sharp compelling analyses of all the important features of Cardinal’s conviction for the sexual abuse of a minor. Friel’s work will be in the frontline of any research serious investigators undertake in scrutinising of one of the most shocking sets of circumstances in Australia’s history.

On the eve of The High Court of Australia’s decision about allowing an appeal, Friel has posted an extremely useful summary of the work he has done. One can access it on the Academia website. I have reproduced it on my primary website.

A corroboree of jobbery: Daniel Andrews’ First People’s Assembly

By J.D. Morecambe

This article appeared in a September issue of Spectator Australia. The author has kindly allowed me to post it here.

On Monday morning (16 September), voting began to elect the new ‘First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria‘. This ‘voice for Aboriginal communities’ seeks to represent all ‘self-identifying’ Victorian aboriginals in a process which will establish a ‘treaty or treaties’ with the Victorian State Government.

The election will decide 21 of 32 ‘gender-balanced’ seats on the new Assembly, with the remaining 11 set aside for a kind of aboriginal House of Lords, appointed (or ‘self-determined’) by a network of ‘Traditional Owner Groups’ or ‘Aboriginal Corporations‘.

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Edmund Burke and the Magna Carta

A reading by Gerard Charles Wilson at the Savage Club celebrating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta on 15th June 1215.

In the eighth chapter of his Abridgment of English History, Edmund Burke provides us with an account of King John’s reign. He records that it was near the end of John’s reign that the barons forced him to place the royal seal on provisions and undertakings that form the document call Magna Carta, Latin for Great Charter. The Abridgment of English History is a little known and almost entirely disregarded work of Burke’s. He began it in 1757 as a commission from publisher Robert Dodsley. It was one of the projects taken up when he abandoned the law to devote himself to a literary career. He never completed the planned series of books. Indeed, chapter eight is the final full chapter. The eight chapters plus a fragment of chapter nine, ‘An Essay Towards An History Of The Laws Of England’, appeared after his death.

The reader should take the ‘abridgment’ seriously. Burke is not engaged in writing a mere short history of England. Through the sometimes sparse historical details, the reader finds a concentration on the effect of the different settled arrangements (like custom and tradition) on the development of the law governing the English people. The contrast, though nowhere near as explicit in his later writings, is between law as developed out of the concrete circumstances of a people being a people and law as the product of abstract speculation.  The fragment of chapter nine confirms this analysis.

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