s 18C

Anonymous

Amid the debate over 18C and 18D, many Australians have advocated for self censorship around questions of religious and cultural sensitivity. eir position is that the criticism, satirizing or de- piction of things deemed ‘special’ to certain community groups should be muzzled, or at least dis- couraged writ large.

In their view, such behaviour is in ammatory, unconstructive, and only serves to in ame commu- nal tensions.

is view is dangerous, because whilst seeming reasonable upon rst glance— it does not conform to secularism.

An example of such ‘unconstructive’ behaviour is the drawing of the Prophet Mohammed.

In a radio interview in 2015, Kuranda Seyit, the Head of the Victorian Islamic Council and the then human-rights commissioner Tim Wilson, were discussing such drawings in Australia. Mr Wilson remained for, Mr Seyit remained against.

Half way through the interview, Mr Seyit was asked by Mr Wilson: “Why should I censor what I say, for something I don’t believe exists?” Mr Seyit quickly responded, “Because I would censor myself ”.

In saying that because he would personally censor himself, and others should follow suit, Seyit, and others like him, unknowingly advocate for a kind of cross-confessionalism, as understood in coun- tries like Lebanon.

Cross confessionalism is where people display a high degree of religious tolerance, even if the com- munity and government are sectarian by nature.

In countries such as Lebanon, there are parallel Christian, Sunni, Shia and Druze communities that coexist to varying degrees. is relative harmony is o en put down to Lebanon’s secular culture or rule of law. It certainly appears that Lebanese people enjoy the ‘freedom’ to practice their religion and identify as part of a particular community.

Lebanon, however, is not secular, and its institutions are divided between di erent sectarian groups. e state is not equidistant from any religion in particular. Individual communities exercise con- straint, as people change their behaviour to avoid o ending others that hold di erent religious beliefs.

us social harmony is based on communal self censorship, and freedom of expression is not un- derpinned by the law.

Now it would be stupid to claim that Australia’s government is sectarian, or that people are engaging in self-censorship to avoid large scale violence, as is the case in parts of the Middle East.

However, proponents of cross-confessionalism are still borrowing a key idea, namely: that individ- uals should implicitly abide by the rules of other religions to preserve social harmony, avoid o ense, and keep the debate ‘constructive’.

Secularism holds that all people are free to practice whatever religion or hold any belief so long as they do not prevent others from doing so. Aside from the fact that the above goals are nebulous, asking Australians to abide by the rules of belief-systems they do not subscribe to is not secular.

Ironically, notions of inter-communal respect are more o en used to put o solving inter-com- munal tensions than they are to solve them. But they always place limits on discussion, debate and understanding.

e debate over 18C must not forget that forcing people to follow customs they don’t believe in because others expect the same in return has more in common with places a icted by sectarian violence and distrust.

Ushering in a cross-confessional approach would be a step in their direction.

Is Trump Reagan?

Guy Exton

Trump supporters love to compare the current President to President Reagan. ey may have a point.

On the surface, the lives of the current and former President are remarkably similar. Neither were career politicians, Reagan was a B-grade actor and Trump a C-grade television host. Reagan was the oldest President in history – before Trump was elected. Both were Democrats before being elected as Republicans, and both even used the slogan “Make America Great Again.”

Dig a little deeper, and the seemingly perfect similarities that Trump supporters love to in ate begin to buckle. Reagan was Governor of California, President of the Screen Actors Guild and increasingly ideologically charged throughout his career before running for the Presidency. e closest Trump got to politics before he took the plunge in 2015 was to claim that Obama was born in Africa – because, you know, he’s black. Reagan was born into a Democratic family before evolving into a Republican. e current President has been a member of the Republican, Independence and Democratic party. If you’re American, that’s all of them.

Recently in his rst solo press conference as President, Trump casually declared that his 306 vote win was “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.” It was not. anks to the press – and the 1st amendment – a reporter was quick to rebut that “In fact, President Obama got 365… and George H.W. Bush 426.” Despite Trump’s glaring ignorance and impressive ability to lie, he was right about one thing: Ronald Reagan’s massive win. In 1981, Reagan won 44 states, 489 electoral votes and the popular vote by 8.5 million. Skip forward to 2016 and President Trump loses the popular vote by 2.5 million votes. One of the biggest di erences between the two men is their popularity – and honesty about it.

Despite this massive margin in public approval, it is surprising that Trump will probably have far more power than Reagan ever did. For all 8 years of Reagan’s Presidency, the House of Representatives was in Democratic hands. e pedigree of the 1980 Republican was considerably to the le of today’s bunch. Compare this to a radically conservative House, Senate and White House that Trump gets to play with. Trump has already had the opportunity to appoint another conservative to the Supreme Court bench, and with two liberal justices hovering around the 80-year-old mark, Trump may have an opportunity to create a 2:7 liberal to conservative ratio. For all Trump’s talk of his ability to negotiate, he won’t have to use it nearly as much as Reagan did.

Hidden under this pile of di erences, however, lies an unambiguous similarity.

Republicans like to focus on the theory and romance of Reagan rather than the fact that 7 million additional people became homeless under his administration, that he lost a surplus and created a de cit of over $USD 1 trillion, he traded arms for hostages with Iran or the fact that taking a more aggressive stance with the Soviet Union was a 50/50 between victory and obliteration.

Perhaps in that respect, Trump is most similar to Reagan: his supporters are remarkably willing to overlook reality and fact, and believe in the man they want to see.

Guy Exton is a second year Arts student, studying politics and history. As a Political Cartoonist and regular columnist for Woroni, Guy focuses on the world of international politics with Trump in charge.

Law in Action: Cambodia Outreach Project

Felicity Brown

It was a privilege to be a part of the inaugural LSS Social Justice trip. Having returned I have a new perspective on international law, the operation of legal systems and non- government organisations. I also developed a deeper understanding of Cambodia’s culture and history and even learnt a bit of Khmer.

Before travelling to Cambodia we ran various fundraising initiatives selling chocolate boxes, bake sales and windscreen wiping at intersections. is was a great way to bring the team together and interact with the wider Canberra community. We were also fortunate to be invited to some events hosted by the local Khmer community in Canberra. We held classes with ANU PhD students on the history of the ECCC, current issues in Cambodia and language and culture classes. e team worked together to make contact with various non-government organisations and planned the itinerary together.

A er a year of preparation we boarded the plane to Cambodia. Upon arrival we met our tour guide and settled into our hotel. Our rst stop was Siem Reap where we visited the magni cent temples at the ancient city of Angkor om, but the highlight was watching sunset over Angkor Wat.

Our next stop was Battambang, where we met representatives from Hope for Cambodia Children, visited the local court, Legal Aid and Battambang University. It was inspiring to meet students who were passionate about their studies and committed to contributing their expertise to the development of Cambodia.

Finally, we travelled to Phonm Pehn. On our rst day we witnessed the ECCC in action. We were fortunate to speak to representatives from the co-prosecution, the defence, public a airs and victims support section. is was certainly a highlight of the trip and an eye opening experience for all students. Later in the a ernoon we spoke to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Cambodia. e following days we visited a number of NGOs including Legal Aid of Cambodia, Transparency International, e Handa Centre, LICADHO and the Cambodia Centre for Human Rights, where we discussed issues relating to corruption, fair trial rights and land rights.

A valuable lesson from this trip was the importance of education and leading with our hearts. Having being confronted with Cambodia’s tragic history, its struggle to recover and its current social justice issues, we were inspired by the local community who are committed to rebuilding their nation and continue to fight for justice in the face of many challenges. is was a truly invaluable, unforgettable experience that has made me re ect on ways in which I can use my degree to bene t others and resolve social justice issues not only in Australia but abroad.

Felicity studies LLB(Hons)/BIR and a Dip. Languages. She was Director of Social Justice in 2016 and was a tour leader along with Dan McNamara and Nic Bills. Her passions include human rights and the development of law in post con ict societies.

How International Students Can Stand Out in the Crowd

By Tiffany P. Monorom

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What makes international students unique? What skills and experiences do they possess that make them stand out in the crowd?

The number of international students in Australia as of June 2017 is 510, 348, which is a 14 per cent increase from June 2016 (see this report from Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training).

As the number of international students increases, the tougher the employment journey gets.

Here are three ways that you, international students, can differentiate yourselves from the crowd when competing with other candidates in the job market.

 

You Are Independent

It is not an easy thing to do to move away from your family and friends, to live on your own and to get through university by yourself. All of these show that you are very mature and highly independent.

While living in a different country, you’ve learned how to adapt to a different culture and different ways of life. For some of you, you’ve had to learn English – sometimes without any formal education. You have an understanding of Australian heritage with the celebration and remembrance on national holidays like Australia Day and ANZAC Day. Adaptation can also include the little things, like familiarising yourselves with some Australian slang.

This shows that you are capable of stepping out of your comfort zone which is not something that everybody can do. It takes courage and a great deal of determination.

 

You Are Persistent

You’ve had to face many challenges and make many sacrifices in order to be here. Some international students even go far and beyond to accept extremely low paying jobs in a totally different industry just to get their foot in the door.

Trying to attend classes while working part-time, dealing with immense homesickness while experiencing culture shock is a lot to take in. Yet you keep pressing on because great achievements don’t happen overnight.

The amount of commitment you put in will show employers that you are willing to do what it takes to complete the job. It is this willingness that makes international students attractive candidates in the workplace.

Further, international students are required to undertake at least four courses (24 units) per semester, which means that dropping a course is never a great option because you might be in breach of your visa conditions. This strict requirement teaches you to deal with challenging situations in real life and to not simply quit when things get too difficult.

 

You Are Culturally Aware

Besides potentially being able to speak more than one language, you possess specific knowledge of the culture, economy and work ethic of another country. Most companies and organisations are competing in the global economy so having bilingual employees would be beneficial when communicating with overseas clients. Multiculturalism is also just a valued skill by many employers, regardless of whether you actually use multiple languages at work.

Further, through your experiences as an international student, you have learned to embrace diversity, which means that you are able to relate with other people from a different background and work effectively in a multicultural environment. Most importantly, your cultural awareness will help you deal with different situations faced by your organisation.

Being an international student allows you to bring in new ideas and perspectives to your workplace. Different views will help change the way a firm operates since most firms are always on the lookout for ways to improve their business.

Keep in mind that you aren’t any less qualified for the job just because you are from a different cultural background. In fact, you’re more qualified in many ways.

 

Conclusion

Now, who wouldn’t want to hire someone who is independent, persistent and culturally aware? Just make sure you highlight these key qualities with your potential employers.

 

Best of luck!

Employment Eligibility and Career Opportunities

By Tiffany P. Monorom

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Has anyone ever told you to follow your passion and do what you love?

 

For international students, passion and love don’t always come first. With our current legal market and the competitive recruitment process, gaining employment in Australia is never a piece of cake— even for domestic students.

 

This bLAWg post aims to provide you with useful links and resources to consider when thinking about your career options and what you can do with your law degree as an international student in Australia.

 

Visa and Migration Information

The first thing you need to think about is your visa options. Each visa consists of different eligibility requirements and durations of stay so it is important to gather all the facts before you run off and start applying for graduate jobs!

 

The most common visa pathway for most recent international student graduates is through the skilled migration path by first applying for the Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) and then the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189).

 

Once you have completed your tertiary education as an international student, the Temporary Graduate Visa allows you to extend your time in Australia for a period of 18 months. However, your skill/occupation must fall under the ‘Skilled Occupation List’ (Solicitors and Barristers are eligible occupations). This visa can be used as a transitional step prior to applying for the Skilled Independent Visa.

 

To apply for the Skilled Independent Visa, you must submit an ‘expression of interest’, including a skills assessment for your nominated occupation. It is a points based test of 60 or more, taking into account your age, English language and other abilities.

 

To learn more, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection site or attend the Migration Workshops hosted by ANUSA.

 

Qualification to Practice

After completing your law degree, you must undertake the Practical Legal Training course in order to practice law in Australia. You can complete the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (GDLP) program with the ANU Legal Workshop or other PLT providers such as The College of Law or Leo Cussen Centre of Law.

 

The PLT is flexible, which you can complete almost entirely online in as little as 6 months and up to 3 years. Different options for legal placement in an approved workplace are also available. You may be eligible to be admitted to practice as a barrister or solicitor upon completion of appropriate PLT.

 

Legal Career Opportunities

As we have already established, the legal market is very competitive. See Beyond Law’s Law Graduate Job Market Map for a variety of opportunities available whether you are interested in commercial law, non-for-profits or social justice.

 

International students may find it easier to aim toward careers in the private sector, as the public sector often has relatively strict requirements regarding citizenship or permanent residency. However, many private law firms also favour domestic applicants, so it pays to do your research.

 

International students should conduct their own research on each law firm’s website and contact human resources regarding international applicants.

 

Job Search Databases

When conducting a job search, the best place to start is our own ANU CareerHub for finding general work and not specifically for finding legal employment. Seek, Indeed and Pro Bono Australia are also popular sites used by many recruiters and job searchers.

 

Beyond Law Job Hub and Legal Vitae are job sites more specifically for law students, law graduates and young lawyers. ANU Legal Workshop’s Placements Board advertises job and Legal Practice Experience (LPE) placement for ANU legal workshop students. ANU Law Careers Fair usually takes place in the beginning of the academic year, and is another great opportunity for law students to discover different employment opportunities across the legal sector, non-profits and consulting.

 

 

Further Resources

If you require further assistance in writing your resume or to practice interview skills, contact ANU Careers or read the LSS’s Careers Guides and LSS’s Clerkship Guides for more information.

 

The LSS International Students team will be hosting a careers information session, intending to provide a comprehensive discussion of the subject matter presented above. Stay tuned for more details of the event!