Thinker in Residence Blog

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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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