“License & Registration Please Sir”

We’ve all seen the movies, you might have even been pulled over yourself and asked the timeless Highway Patrol catchphrase “License & Registration Please Sir (or Madam).” That is exactly the phrase that 35 year old Levoy Jones of South Carolina heard from State Trooper Sean Groubert on September 4th this year.

Jones reached into his glove box to reach for his licence when Groubert opened fire with his semi-automatic police issued handgun. Mr Jones staggered away after being shot in the hip and raised his hands over his head. As Mr Jones cried in pain waiting for an ambulance, he repeated one question: “Why did you shoot me?” Mr Groubert responded, “Well you dove head first back into your car.”

The State Trooper has been charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison. He was released after paying 10 per cent of a $75,000 bond.Mr Groubert’s lawyer, Barney Giese, said the shooting was justified because the trooper feared for his life and the safety of others.

Whilst Mr Groubert’s guilt or innocence remains in the hands of the Court the issue of race relations between Police and African-American’s is once again front and centre – Mr Jones is African American, Mr Groubert is white and was commended as the ‘State Trooper of the Year’ in 2007.

Next time you hear the catchphrase ‘Licence and Registration’ you might think twice before complying…..

For the full article click here.

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Palmer United Party ‘De-Railed’

It was a weekend that went from bad to worse for Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie. After first posting a photo to her Facebook page of an Afghan policewoman shooting a gun while wearing a burka with a caption calling for the garment to be banned, she then went on the ABC’s Insiders Program and said that Sharia Law involved some kind of terrorism.

When your own party leader needs to come out and post a statement calling for “Australian’s to unite” in a response to your comments you know that you might have made a mistake. Political commentator Andrew Greene called the interview a ‘train wreck’ and other likened the gaffes to former One Nation Politician Pauline Hanson.

In this day and age for one of our nations elected representatives to say such a thing it makes you wonder are we fighting a global ‘war on terror’ or an internal ‘war on error’.

For the related news article click here.

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R U OK?

Today is RUOK day, a day that is designed to encourage all of us to have that difficult first conversation. If you have a friend, family member or colleague who you think needs to have a talk about something that is on their mind then today is the day. The stigma attached to mental health issues in Australia is finally starting to dwindle and we have come a long way from the old ‘chin up’ mentality, suppressing all of the things that are troubling us. However, suicide still kills almost 2,500 people in Australia each year the majority of whom are men. Mental health affects all walks of life, the rich and poor, the famous and the infamous, the young and the old. Do yourself and your loved ones a favour today and ask “Are you OK?” For some tips on how to ask click here

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Too Many Law School Graduates?

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Lawyers Weekly today has an article that adds to recent commentary on a figure of 12,000 law graduates each year. 

Graduate Careers Australia published a report which put the total number of law graduates in 2012 at 12,742, up from 6149 in 2001.

However the CEO of the College of Law estimates that only about 5500 law graduates will actually go on to pursue careers as legal practitioners.

He said the Supreme Court admitted 5750 lawyers in 2013, and that this is a more reliable statistic to quote when talking about the number of graduates who are competing for jobs as lawyers each year.

Having said that, Carter does acknowledge that law graduates are having difficulty (he says it’s “very difficult”) to find work. Presumably this is a reference to the 5000 odd new practitioners to come through this year and not to the larger number. That seems to preserve the point of the original report – employment is in dispute – where are all these new lawyers going to get work?

Graduate Careers Australia recorded a record low in law bachelor graduate employment, with over one in five failing to find full-time jobs last year (78.5% employment rate).

Whatever the case, the difficulty in graduates obtaining work and the difficulty for firms in getting suitably capable graduates is a topic worthy of urgent discussion at the highest level.

The full article can be found here.