Geoffrey Robertson re: Mea Maxima Culpa doco

Went to see human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson give a Q&A at the Dendy cinema after the screening of Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. Robertson is in the doco and wrote a book: The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuses. He studied law at the University of Sydney and his first writing was for the SULS magazine, Blackacre.

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Kevin Rudd’s talk

Mr Rudd was in great form at the Law School today. Chatted in Mandarin for visiting Chinese lawyers, cracked jokes, charmed everyone. He pointed out that it’s important for countries to intervene when there’s a slaughter/genocide happening, such as in Libya and Syria. He said it was a positive modern-day development that international interventions happen nowadays to save civilian populations. On the topic of law studies, he encouraged more Australians to go to China to study Chinese and Chinese law. “It’s tough learning the language, but it has to be done.”

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Decriminalisation of drugs

David Marr gave a brilliant talk on decriminalisation of drugs at the Uni of Sydney. He was on a panel chatting about it, and the place was packed out. He said the best way for individuals to help with change is to publicly admit their drug experiences.

I’ve never had any, though H told me she put dope in a curry I ate once (without telling me at the time). I didn’t notice anything. I drove home OK. A couple of days later, I found out. Dunno if that confession will change the world. 😉

The panel said by the age of 40, 60 per cent of the Australian population had tried illegal drugs at least once. Marr said it was disgraceful how the threat of a criminal record and career ruination hung over the lives of those who like to pop a pill for a good time at a dance party on the weekend.

Backstage tour at Sydney Opera House

Went to this — which usually costs $150 — but was free because the Sydney Opera House was having an Open Day. Thousands turned up. I stood on the stage and saw the orchestra pits, the rehearsal room and backstage areas, green rooms, costume-making.

My favourite bit was reading the staff noticeboards and the many clippings from The Sydney Morning Herald (reviews and also smaller stories from the My Career section or other little features about lesser-known chorus or orchestra members). It was great to see these are so important and often took up one-third of the noticeboards! They’d also pinned up postcards or email printouts from audience members praising their performance — this pleased me as I do this after feeling inspired by a great show, so I wonder if my emails are printed and stuck up somewhere? Nice to see they’re appreciated.

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Visit to Villawood Detention Centre

It was a beautiful Sunday arvo. Traipsed out west to support the Refugee Action Coalition in a clash with the right-wing Australian Protectionist Party. The APP had organised the rally because they think Rudd should go back to Howard’s Pacific Solution. I listened to their speech and they actually think the Pacific Solution wasn’t harsh enough, our borders should be completely closed to “illegals” (what they call people who flee for their lives without having valid passports and entry visas sorted out a year beforehand).

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