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Archive for March, 2010

Great start to Week 2

Posted by peggyhora on March 29, 2010

Despite being late to the office which was NOT my fault but I don’t want to embarass the person whose fault it was since Sue forgot to pick me up at my apartment.  Oops!, spilled the beans.  Gary Thompson, Ingrid Haythorpe and a couple other from the AG’s department met with the team to throw around some ideas and it was a very productive session.  The afternoon was a thinking day set aside for me to process all the information I have to in order to make my recommendations cogtent and evidence-based.  The justice system is huge and includes so many different diverse groups it’s important that all aspects be reviewed before any final decisions are made.  I’m also putting together a research document for those who want to delve into the subjects a little further.  It seems a shame that two and a half years of document gathering should only be used once.  Additionally, we’ll draw up an implementation plan so the report does not become a doorstop.  The evening started with dinner at Enzo’s an old-fashioned, what I would call North Beach-style, Italian restaurant near the Adelaide event center.  I had a fabulous organic, free range chicken breast stuffed with spinach and covered with crispy prosciutto.  It sat upon a potato galette and was surrounded with a gargonzola sauce.  Brocolini accompanied it.  When I say it was divine, it was to die for.  After dinner Sue, her husband Andrew and their friends and I went to hear Carole King and James Taylor in concert.  It’s been a good ten years since I saw music live except for the symphony, ballet and opera.  I forgot how much fun it was to sing along.  The center was packed to the gills but I was able to see everything on the Jumbotrons.  What a great invention.  All in all, a terrific day.

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One Week Down — Yikes!

Posted by peggyhora on March 27, 2010

Friday was another busy, busy day.  I never made it into the office. I was the keynote speaker at the South Australian Law Society conferece. It’s a 3,000 member bar association.  The meeting was kicked off by Chief Justic John Doyle who very kindly mentioned my work.  The conference title, “Smart Justice,” was taken from my residency.  My session was chaired by Justice Robyn Layton and Professor Richard Balfour spoke about the high incidence of hearing impairment in the APY Lands (the traditional Aboriginal community) and the implications for the legal system.  Certainly something I had never thought about.  I spoke about the Family Treatment Drug Court and the Chief Judge of the Youth Court, Steven McEwen, was in attendance.  Later in the afternoon I’m told he spoke and reiterated much of what I had to say.  After lunch I left to have a much-anticipated meeting with Monsignor David Cappo, Commissioner for Social Inclusion.  Our one hour meeting stretched to 90 minutes as we had much to discuss.  I think I am safe in saying our thoughts and ideas are quite compatible.  I got home to rest for one hour then met Sue King and her husband Andrew at my apartment and we walked over to the Cinema where we attended the premiere of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” a fundraiser for OXFAM.  The movie tracked the book quite well and the actress who played Lisbeth was absolutely perfect.  The scenes of the little town of horrors were spectacular and I was on the edge of my seat several times.  After the movie and not winning the raffle prizes, we repaired to the Belgian Beer Cafe Oostende for a late supper.  Andrew had a beautiful fish stew, Sue and her friend Mike had fishcakes and frittes and I had their gnocci in a pancetta sauce.  Heavenly potato pillows in a smokey light cream sauce.  Delish!  Saturday morning I was back at the Law Society conference for a public speech which went very well.  I then dashed off to the Central Market which  readers from last fall may remember as a foodie’s nirvana.  I toted home a spinach and tomato quiche; half barbeque chicken; salad fixings; some lovely cheeses; fruit, including some incredible figs; tinylamb chops and a jalapeno bagel with Danish butter for tomorrow’s breakfast.  Love that place.  I had pretty much exhaused what Pamela had laid in for me upon my arrival last week.  Seven days ago?  Oh, my.  I’m having dinner with a friend from Sydney tonight — Astrid Birgden who is the warden of the mandatory treatment jail or gaol I’m going to tour when I get up the New South Wales near the end of my visit.  Sunday will definitely be a day of rest, reflection and maybe cracking into the second book after “Tattoo” lent to me by Ingrid Haythorpe.  Before I know it it will be Monday morning again and it’s of to the races.  Week two doesn’t look any less busy than this first one.

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Meeting with the A Team, Families, Justice

Posted by peggyhora on March 25, 2010

 The A Team, my 16-25-year-old advisers, and I met for the first time today. One team is working on trust and confidence in the courts, communication with the public and website redesign.  Interestingly enough, Premier Mike Rann said today, “… [W]e will improve our consultation with the community and we will use online more for your input & feedback.” The other team is looking at teen courts, restorative justice in schools, and school discipline.  I’m looking forward to seeing their recommendations.  I’ll meet with them again in week four to see what they are thinking about.  I then met with Jos Mazel, CEO of the Dept. of Families and Communities and Julie Gunn from Juvenile Justice.  We discussed the Unified Family Treatment Court concept and juvenile diversion among other topics.  It was a lively discussion with two fascinating women and the hour flew by.  Finally, the Advertiser article posted today along with the photo I had predicted.  Me on the bench, looking backwards with the Supreme Court in the background.  You can read it at: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/punishment-may-not-fit-all-the-time/story-e6frea83-1225844955582

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Top judges and more media

Posted by peggyhora on March 24, 2010

My day started with breakfast with the Thinkers CEO, Gabe Kelley.  We went to a great little place near my apartment that was new to me.  Very nice breakfast with fresh orange juice.  Next, to the office where I worked on briefing papers and then met for lunch with the Chief Justice, John Doyle; Chief Judge of the District Court, Terry Worthington; and, Chief Magistrate Liz Bolton.  They were quite keen to know what I’ve been thinking and are anxious to work closely during the rest of my residency to advance the recommendations I’ll make.  After lunch the media advisor Joanna Hughes and I met a phototographer and writer for the City Messenger, another local newspaper.  There should be a story next week (they’re a weekly). After the interview and photo session it was back to the office where Catalysts Sue King and Nichole Hunter are whipping my writing into shape and continuing to research all the issues.  It’s going to be a nice collaboration to produce the report.

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Media blitz

Posted by peggyhora on March 23, 2010

Well, perhaps not a blitz per se but this morning I was interviewed for an hour by Tori Shepherd from The Advertiser, Adelaide’s local newspaper.  She was quite engaging and had lots of good questions.  I’m hoping she not only does a general story but can run a couple of follow-up articles from the interview.  Her photographer appeared later in the afternoon and we went for a variety of shots in front of the Supreme Court. My least favorite was sitting on the lawn al fresco looking at the Court.  Sigh.  What they’ll probably run is one of me seated on a bench, looking over the back with the Court in the background.  Lunchtime was spent with Ingrid Haythorpe whom you’ll remember as my hostess in Mannum on the river and Gary Thompson the State Court Administrator with whom I shared a meal at his home with his wife and two adorable daughters during my last visit.  We caught up on the latest news and talked about the directions of my residency.  They were, as always, helpful and encouraging.  We ate at the Chessar Cellar, a vunerable old resturant that’s a bit of an institution.  I had a lovely seafood tagliatele with squid, prawns, scallops and fish in a spicy light tomato sauce.  I also had informal meetings throughout the day with my project catalast, Sue King, and new-on-board second catalyst, Nichole Hunter who has a criminology research background with a special expertise in restorative justice.  They went to work straight away organizing the preliminary notes I had brought along.  Now that there’s a structure for my report, we can forge ahead with the draft.  The day ended with a meeting with the drug court prosecutors.  Again, I skipped going out for dinner and instead stayed in for fruit and cheese.  Off to bed soon where I’m reading a delightful book on my Kindle titled Somewhere Towards the End by 90-year-old memoirist Diana Athill. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “She is bluntly unconcerned with conventional wisdom, unapologetically recounting her extended role as the Other Woman in her companion’s prior marriage.”   The New Yorker says, “Athill spent more than fifty years editing writers including Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, Jean Rhys, and V. S. Naipaul. In later life, she ‘had the luck to discover’ that she could write…”  And write she can.

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And so it begins…

Posted by peggyhora on March 22, 2010

Monday morning, my first day in the Thinker office in six months, I found today that since I’ve been gone one office worker got engaged, one got pregnant and one left to go to England to work with a Thinker.  We had a staff meeting until noon going over six weeks of schedules, outlines for the final report, and some social events.  We went to lunch at Medina Courtyard and sat outside in the 24 C/78F degree weather.  Lovely mussels for lunch with a crisp glass of Australian white wine.  Then off to the Supreme Court to meet with Justice Layton and Dr. Balfour with whom I’m presenting at the Law Society conference on Friday.  Back to the office to review briefing papers for meetings later in the week then finally to home.  In mid-April two former Thinkers, Dr. Geoff Mulgan who has done a TED speech, Professor Ilona Kickbusch from Switzerland and I  do a presentation as part of “the thinkers return” series.  750 people have already booked it!  Wow.  I’m staying in this evening to see The Mentalist then off to bed after a busy day.

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Whirlwind through the Capital

Posted by peggyhora on March 20, 2010

On Thursday, I arrived in Canberra after many hours in the air and just rested for the afternoon.  I met Toni Makkai, Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at Australian National University (ANU) for a Chinese dinner and a catch up.  We hadn’t seen one another since 2006!  The next morning, Dr. Nova Inkpen, manager of the Restorative Justice Unit (RJU), Dept. of Justice and Community Safety for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), picked me up and took me to the RJU to meet everyone who hosted me for the day.  I met with Kathy Leigh, CEO of the Dept., whom I had met last fall, just to touch base on her expectations of my visit.  We then went on to ANU where Dr. John Braithwaite, father of restorative justice, introduced my lecture at Hedley Bull Centre. Talking about RJ in front of Dr. Braithwaite was like cooking beef bourguignon for Julia Child. It was attended by an audience of academics NGOs, police and lawyers.  Then we went back to the Dept. for a closed meeting over lunch attended by the members of the Australian Federal Police – Crime Prevention Portfolio, Prosecutors from the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Executive Director and officers from her Legislation and Policy Branch, the Restorative Justice Unit, Director of the Aboriginal Justice Centre, Director of the Police Citizen’s Youth Club, and the Victim’s of Crime Coordinator. 

Taking a break from meetings, I was wisked to Station 666 (no sign of the devil jokes), the local Australian Broadcasting Company (public radio) station for an interview with Louise Marr who does the drive time show.  I got good feedback on it at: http://blogs.abc.net.au/canberra/2010/03/trying-criminals-in-a-new-way.html?site=canberra&program=canberra_drive

After the radio show we dashed to a meeting with Simon Corbell, the Attorney General for the ACT as well as Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Environment, Water and Climate Change and Minister for Energy.  The 20-minute  meeting ran for nearly an hour as we hit it off immediately and he was very interested in my reform ideas.  I ended the business part of the day by meeting with Magistrates Peter Dingwall, Karen Fryar, Maria Doogan and Ken Cush and Supreme Court Justices Richard Refshauge and Hilary Penfold.  The judges and I talked for almost two hours.  Finally, Dr. Inkpen took me out to dinner at a terrific Italian restaurant, Mezzalira, very near my hotel so I could roll into my room and sleep forever.  It was an exhausting but exhilirating day.

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Coming back to Oz

Posted by peggyhora on March 17, 2010

I’m sitting in the Red Carpet Club at San Francisco International Airport waiting to board my plane to return to Oz.  I got upgraded to Business Class so the 14-hour flight will be bearable.  And, since it’s a 10:40 pm flight, I’ll be able to get a full night’s sleep. Oh, joy; oh, rapture.  After I land and clear customs/immigration, I go to the domestic terminal for my flight to Canberra, the country’s capital.  I’ll get there about mid-day Thur., take a nap and prepare to see my friend, Toni Makkai, for dinner.  On Friday I’m touring the Restorative Justice unit of the Attorney General’s department; giving a public speech and being introduced by John Braithwaite (I’m so intimidated); meeting with the Community Safety division; and, doing a short presentation to the judges.  Dr. Inkpen is taking me to dinner.  I’m really looking forward to it.  On Sat., I fly to Adelaide via Melbourne (wouldn’t you know it, the only day without a direct flight to Aderlaide is Saturday) and will be greeted by Pamela and Sue who will take me to my apartment.  I’ve rented the same one I stayed in last time since I’m already acclimated to it and know where everything is.  It will be nice to be back in my Adelaide home.  I’m told that “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is playing in the theater near my apartment and I just finished reading it tonight before leaving for the airport. I’m going to miss my family and friends but this is such an adventure, I can’t say I’m sad to leave.  I’m looking forward to some exciting times.

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