Category: Exclusive Interviews

Replacing Prison Bars with GPS Tracking Devices: An Interview with Professor Mirko Bagaric


The Australian prison system is failing, as incarceration rates are at an all-time high. As of June last year, there were 38,845 adult prisoners in corrective services custody, making the national imprisonment rate grow to 208 per 100,000 adults. The number of inmates on remand (awaiting the finalisation of their cases) has skyrocketed in recent years. At the ...

Woman Faces Prison for Giving Cannabis Oil to Sick People: An Interview with Jenny Hallam


If you ask the South Australian police what they think of Jenny Hallam, they’ll call her a criminal. Ask many others, and they’ll say she’s their angel. Ms Hallam, a marijuana reform activist, is facing up to 10 years in prison after police raided her house earlier this year and charged her with manufacturing a ...

The Healing Hand of Restorative Justice: An Interview with ANU’s Dr Miranda Forsyth


The Australian criminal justice system has come under criticism for incarcerating growing numbers of people. With recidivism rates closing in on fifty percent – meaning nearly half of those released from prison are back within 2 years – many believe a punitive system that produces “revolving door” criminals can’t be the answer. But, there are alternatives. Restorative ...

Always Independent: An Interview with Murrawarri Republic Chair Fred Hooper


This weekend in Brisbane, the Referendum Council is holding the last of the Dialogues: a series of meetings with First Nations peoples to discuss the issue of recognising the nation’s Indigenous people within the Australian constitution. The findings from the meetings will be reported at the First Nations Convention at Uluru in late May. However, ...

Free Speech and Exposing Corruption: An Interview with Wendy Bacon


Wendy Bacon was just 23-years old when sentenced to eight days in prison and sent to Silverwater Remand and Reception Centre for her actions following the publication of a poem. Although she was later released, Wendy’s case became a defining moment for free speech in Australia. The year was 1970, and as a newly elected ...

At the Frontline of Gender Activism: An Interview with Norrie


The rights of transgender and gender diverse people have come a long way over the last decades. Now, high-profile trans celebrities like Laverne Cox and Australian model Andrej Pejić have moved into the spotlight, while Cate McGregor is a high-ranking officer in the Australian Defence Force. A recent South Australian development has allowed transgender and ...

Community Legal Centres in Crisis: An Interview with Australian Pro Bono Centre CEO John Corker


Pro bono legal work plays a vital role in the Australian legal system. It consists of lawyers providing legal services for free or at a significantly reduced cost, “with no expectation of a commercial return.” The “justice gap” – made up of those who can’t afford a private lawyer but are ineligible for Legal Aid ...

Islamophobia: An Interview with AFIC President Keysar Trad


Practising Muslims pray five times a day. It’s one of the five pillars of Islam, referred to as Salat. When they do so they kneel down and prostrate themselves, resting on a small mat and facing in the direction of Mecca: the holy city of Islam. There were an estimated 1.7 billion Muslims around the ...

Decriminalising Medical Cannabis: An Interview with NSW Labor MLC Adam Searle


NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley introduced a game-changing medicinal cannabis bill before parliament on March 9, which has largely gone unnoticed. The legislation calls for the decriminalisation of possession of the medicine, as well as establishing “a lawful supply chain.” “We know that for some people with terminal illnesses and very serious illnesses, medicinal cannabis is the only effective ...

The Sentencing Database: An Interview with NSW Judicial Commission CEO Ernest Schmatt


The Judicial Commission of NSW plays a key role in the running of this state’s justice system, providing ongoing educational information to judicial officers, while investigating complaints made against them. The commission is an independent statutory corporation established that was under the Judicial Officers Act in 1986. It was brought into being to ensure judicial independence from the ...