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A win for Namatjira

Albert Namatjira -  photograph by Pastor S.O. Gross

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers should be aware that this commentary contains images or names of people who have since passed away.

Following a concerted media and legal campaign, the Namatjira Legacy Trust has succeeded in securing the ownership of the copyright of Albert Namatjira following a recent resolution of claims made by the Trust against the long-time copyright owner Legend Press.

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Bring Back Kindness

new zealand helicopter ride

Not every holiday is a great success. Friends and family invariably wish the associated travellers a happy and safe holiday. What happens if it is not.

It all started with the best of intentions (a hike in a wilderness area), and then suddenly a simple slip on a walking path on the Routeburn track in New Zealand and we were in serious trouble – as it turned out a broken wrist and cheek bone fractures. It was a bad fall, which could have happened to anybody.

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The Copyright of Albert Namatjira

Albert Namatjira 200

You see them driving from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs, the majestic ghost white river gums depicted so faithfully in the paintings of Albert Namatjira. You would think you were looking at a Namatjira painting. And then there is the vista of the craggy hills of the West McDonnell Ranges in their mysterious blue hue – a signature feature of Namatjira’s art.

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The god of cheaper prices: New threats to our literary culture from the Productivity Commission

The federal government has been promoting the innovation economy, but is considering recommendations for legal reform which will undermine the financial and cultural interests of creators. This conflict captures the tension around real reform in this area. Are they being serious? The recommendations are contained in the report of the Productivity Commission, an independent panel which reviews options to make our economy more productive, favouring free markets, and eschewing monopolistic practices.

Intellectual property laws are all about monopolies which have long existed to foster creativity and invention. With respect to copyright, the Productivity Commission has recommended the abolition of restrictions on parallel importation and the introduction of a defence of fair use in copyright in place of the fair dealing defence.

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Aboriginal Australia - A Personal Story

Aboriginal Artwork

My journey into Aboriginal Australia started almost by complete accident.

I was completing my reading period for the Victorian Bar, having made the transition from solicitor to barrister, and had no idea how or if I was going to get any work. By chance, I heard a radio program on the ABC AM morning show about the need for new laws to protect Aboriginal artworks from unauthorised reproduction.

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Your every waking hour

250 australias boldest experiment war and reconstruction Stuart MacintyreAn admiring study of postwar reconstruction

What is it about wars and the military that produce so much innovation and capacity? This a big and bold book which takes the contemporary collective awareness of Australia's wartime efforts on the battlefield and reflects on the building of the country on the back of the victory in 1945. It also invites the question of how best we can address the imperatives of building social infrastructure.

1939 was a watershed year in a number of ways. As Stuart Macintyre explains, the nation was in continuing decline following the Depression of the late 1920s (with nine per cent unemployment), and was faced with yet another major war on top of the terrible losses in World War I. On the backing of Britain's declaration of support in the face of the threat from an expansionist Japan, Australia committed to assist in the defence of Britain and reluctantly entered yet another European war.

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Arcadia (Sydney Theatre Company)

Many wonderful things have been written about this sprawling gem of a play since it was first staged in 1993. Two decades later, it still bamboozles, delights, and moves its audience in its uncompromising search for meaning in love and science. This was a production in genuine homage to one of the great plays of modern times.

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All They Seem’d To Want

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The Spinifex Art Project and Pissaro at the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Gweagal Shield in the British Museum Collection of Aboriginal artefacts at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.

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Letter from Tel Aviv


Tel Aviv and I go back a few decades. I lived there in the early 1980s, working as a journalist. I fell in love with it then and my romance with the city endures. It is not because it is beautiful or historic (it is barely 100 years old), though the area does have a timeless and much-recorded pre-history. Tel Aviv is badly planned, and many of the buildings are ramshackle and as tenuous as the shifting sands on which the city is built. It is famous for its Bauhaus-style buildings, but many of them are in desperate need of repair. In more recent times, the skyline has been dotted with modernist high-rise tenements and office buildings. They give the city a cold and anonymous edge.

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Ceaseless enquiry


Ceaseless enquiry

Excursions in the Law

What’s on a judge’s mind? Litigants and advocates would love to know. Former judge Peter Heerey answers that question in his latest book, a compendium of writing over many years, covering a vast array of topics and in myriad forms.

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