Volume 20, Issue 9
This reading assumes that you’ve been locked down for an extended period of time in 2021, or isolated from the university/friends/family overseas. For best results check your MOON sign.
Sagittarius – Require many adventures and personal freedoms, currently in an extended breakdown.
Scorpio – Break down on a semi regular basis, will almost certainly crash again before the year ends.
Pisces – Has not faced reality in a long time, will crack as soon as they engage with the present.
Aries – Their need for excitement has been seriously stifled, chances of lasting the year are low.
Cancer – Will reach out to others for support, but may be overwhelmed by other’s needs.
Gemini – Requires a lot of stimulation, possibly running out of activities, may already be spiralling.
Libra – If single or living away from loved ones, catastrophe. If loved intimately, should pull through.
Leo – Will probably never have a full-blown breakdown, they release their dramatic woes regularly.
Aquarius – Unless overwhelmed by the troubled world, will likely remain cool and detached.
Taurus – Forced themselves into a strict routine and will likely see the year through to the bitter end.
Capricorn – Calm in the streets, weep in the sheets, they’re always distressed and will never show it.
Virgo – While the future is uncertain, the present is routine. Virgos will hold steady.
Volume 20, Issue 9
Second-year Billy Baker has completely squandered his mid-sem break in bed watching Netflix. Facebook memes had taken him to Sex Education, and before he knew it, he had used up his break binging all 24 episodes of the show.
The young man was starting to wonder if he was just destined for this sort of thing.
He had planned out a list of lectures to catch up on, just like he always did. He had said he would at least skim over the key readings this time, just like he always did. The semester now felt past saving, just like it always did.
So there was an eerie silence in Billy’s Corps tute when his tutor asked him about the Federal Court’s judgement in ASIC v Healey.
“Ah, yes, uhh, ASIC and Healey….” Billy said dumbly, trying to buy some time.
But some things can’t be bought. Nothing came to mind, of course. He had not even heard of the case.
“Well?” his tutor asked, firmly and plainly. A little coldly, even. The voice of a disappointed father. A tone Billy’s own father had often been called on to use.
Billy snapped his mouth shut and eased back, saying nothing. He had accepted his fate.
His tutor had started to blah blah blah about how important it was to do the readings, but the young man had stopped paying attention.
So what if he would never have the good grades needed to cop one of those top-tier clerkships. He could always pad his resume next year by joining the LSS – preferably in one of those roles no one else in the elections would run for, like President.
Joe is a first year JD student
Volume 20, Issue 8
I am writing this piece in my personal capacity as a third year student at MLS, not the Managing Editor of this frivolous paper.
This piece is inspired by a comment from ‘DM Editor From Years Gone By’ on the recent ‘You Cannot Be Pro Brain and Pro De Minimis’ article. For those who didn’t see it, the comment essentially laments the decline in quality of De Minimis and calls on students to join the editorial team to rectify the ‘low effort year’ of the 2021 committee. This prompted me to reflect on what De Minimis actually was in ‘years gone by’ and how it has become what it is today.
The paper began in 1948 and dissolved in the late 60s/early 70s. In that time it evolved from being a news bulletin for the staff and students to becoming a gossip-driven, scandal-ridden magazine. The paper was revived in 2012 and has been in operation ever since. In 2019, my first year at MLS, I noticed that this revived version of the paper had slowly but surely inched closer to the controversial gossip tabloid of the late 60s. When COVID-19 came banging on the world’s door and the paper could only operate online, this direction only escalated. When I joined the committee I wanted to start this year by publishing an array of pieces from the archives to give students an idea of what the paper has been like in the past. If you head to the February 2021 archive you’ll be able to read those articles for yourself. I hoped displaying those older pieces would inspire students to get involved and contribute. This somewhat worked.
At present De Minimis has a team of five fantastic regular contributors: a satirist, media reviewer, current affair reporter, everyones’ Dear Learned Friend, and more recently, a wannabe astrologer. It has been my pleasure to get to know these people and work with them to produce the bread and butter of the paper. They have written on the Family Court merger, given advice to anxious clerkship applicants, and commended MLS for securing the latest season of The Walking Dead thanks to its ability to produce zombie-like students. De Minimis also has an insightful podcast, with recent interviews from Julian Burnside QC on public interest advocacy and Scott Stephenson on constitutional law.
So, what about The Other Stuff? Why is it that everyone I approach is not interested in sharing their nuanced opinions and the only students submitting work do so via auto-generated gmail accounts? I am not here to discuss any pieces in particular. I am instead interested in how the trend towards the inflammatory came about.
The most obvious cause I can see is precedent. Again, my cohort came to know De Minimis as the controversial paper that prompted heated discussions between classes or over a round of beers at PAs. This reaction was mitigated in part by seeing physical copies around the law building that also displayed lighthearted comics and satire, as well as people having the opportunity to talk to the editors face to face. Having a human to confront tends to increase peoples’ ability to give constructive criticism instead of writing anonymous comments to no one in particular. Since COVID lockdowns have almost completely destroyed the collegiality MLS is famous for, De Minimis has been reduced to a website where readers can be more selective about engaging with certain pieces over others. No more Kirby comic next to an anti-LGBT law firm hit piece.
Another cause is likely the state of our lovely little world. Try as we might to bring joy to MLS, staff and students alike are struggling mentally and emotionally. I remember during my time as one of the MULSS Education Directors in 2020 we received a couple of particularly mean-spirited emails from staff members who were clearly not coping well with the pandemic pressure. At present my friends and I are constantly anxious and exhausted. The desire to air any complex opinions on current affair topics is weak to non-existent. Anger and frustration reign supreme.
And finally, I hypothesise that the function of the De Minimis of the past has been replaced by meme groups. Why read about double-speeding a lecture in your university paper when Dank Law Memes posted about it two months ago? We’re going elsewhere for our laughs, and with a plethora of enriching legal and current affair critiques flooding our screens 24/7, there are plenty of other places people may wish to have their opinions published.
Well, as James Wilkinson wonderfully and completely unsolicitedly articulated, nothing would bring me greater joy than having the student body contribute. Remy Marshall’s response to Publius would have been another fine example of the back and forth debate that De Minimis used to publish had she chosen to send it to us. Of course being the new MULSS president, for which I congratulate her immensely, I understand why she chose the MULSS-produced Purely Dicta platform instead.
On a more personal note, I appreciate any criticisms you may wish to discuss with me. I guarantee there is very little you could say that would hurt my feelings. Even better, I would love to hear from anyone interested in taking over De Minimis in 2022 and talk about the future direction of the paper. I will endeavour to read the comments on this article, but I admit that I too am exhausted and will be channeling my energy into interim assessments rather than refreshing the website. If you’d like a more personable conversation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘to the dogs’.
Wishing you all a restorative mid-sem break,
Volume 20, Issue 8
Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances the third article for this week will be postponed. Instead, De Minimis thought it would re-publish an example of the 2012 publication for students to draw inspiration from:
Volume 20, Issue 8
Dear Nosy in the Neighbourhood,
This is going to be short and not so sweet: whether your friend is or is not breaking lockdown rules is not your business, plain and simple.
If you feel more comfortable asking an online rag about your friend’s activity than your friend, you’re probably not that close. Putting aside the million compliant explanations – the person could be the partner’s roommate, she moved house, her relationship status has changed, she’s providing caregiving – even if she is bending the rules, it’s not your place to do anything.
While it is appropriate to report some breaches, such as massive house parties or someone breaching quarantine while infectious, this is not one of those cases. Melbourne has spent in excess of 220 days in lockdown. Is this an anti-lockdown piece? No. Am I saying it’s ok to break the rules? Also no. However, given the situation, shouldn’t we be understanding, kind and forgiving to those around us rather than pointing the finger? And this goes for neighbours and strangers, let alone someone you consider a ‘friend’.
Lockdown boredom gets the best of all of us but try baking bread or rewatching Tiger King before playing “Real-life Stasi Simulator”.
Your Learned Friend
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of De Minimis or its Editors.
Through the course of my JD so far, De Minimis has been plagued by submissions which incite racism, sexism, and perhaps worst of all, the big-brained centrist “think”-piece that was “The Woke Oblivion.”
It is a testimony to the privilege of some at this law school that they see nothing wrong with speaking first on topics they know little about. This became obvious to me with “You Cannot Be Pro Choice and Pro Vaccine Mandate,” which couldn’t have had stronger “cis male speaking out of turn” energy if its author used the piece to announce their running for elected office with the Liberal Party.
The issue here is the prevalence of works which do little to promote constructive thought. We see too many articles which betray privilege; treating major issues as mere semantic curiosities, rather than considering the experiences of real people.
Before we proceed, yes, I have one of those privileged standpoints. If you’ve ever managed to peer through the blinding glare of my pale skin, you’d know that. I’m another cis white man with something to say. But the purpose of this article isn’t to play saviour or speak for anyone else. It’s to reflect on the state of this publication. We need more of the student body to bring forward their experiences and perspectives. We need more thought-provoking pieces, more witty zingers and satire, more high-quality discussions and debate in this publication. Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of articles published by this masthead that I’ve loved reading, and that they have published works polemic enough to inspire this chronically lazy student to write something is to the editorial team’s credit. Still, I don’t think the dogged “neutrality” claimed by them in publishing certain submissions, to the point of having to endure external probes into racial discrimination, is actually very neutral at all.
So what are we, the incensed law school public, to do about this state of affairs? It seems to me that we represent the overwhelming majority. Should the LSAT test what it’s supposed to, we are supposed to be rationally minded, intelligent people, and rationally minded, intelligent people tend to be upset when their law school, or an aspect thereof, represents values misaligned with their own. Furthermore, rationally minded, intelligent people tend not to propagate values such as vaccine scepticism, racism, or “anti-political correctness” (which, as far as I can tell, really means being anti making others feel comfortable, and anti allowing those who have not enjoyed as easy a life as you to join your elite spaces).
Volume 20, Issue 7
This semester especially might have left you in a bit of a health and wellbeing funk, instead giving way to Uber Eats dinners and laps around the fridge. If you start to put in the work to get a sustainable routine going for the rest of the semester, you’ll see excellent results both physically and academically.
This week should herald in a big confidence boost to get you passionate about the rest of semester, especially if you’ve been pining over a certain someone. Go get ‘em. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by your insecurities or fear of failure, it’s time to be bold.
If your work from home space has been feeling old and tired, now is the time for an overhaul. You’ll likely find you have ideas for more refreshing ways to go about your work and study routines, just make sure you plan out your changes before doing anything drastic. Start small if you need to.
You might have met some cool new people this semester and want to be better friends, be confident and organise that zoom call. As for cool new ideas for your summer, tread carefully, you don’t want to overload yourself with full-time clerkships while also pursuing passion projects.
It’s time to manifest that money baby, bring those financial goals into focus and kickstart that idea you’ve had. This is especially true if you’ve lost work due to the lockdown, have another look over your resume and apply apply apply, you’re about to have a much better time finding work or a side hustle.
You might feel like you’re been taking on too many obligations as of late and are putting other people way ahead of yourself. It’s time to throw all that to the side and focus on yourself and your near future. Think about what you truly want out of the rest of semester and shoot for that goal.
A lack of mid-semester break in the middle of semester is tough Virgo, but don’t let that personal pain you’re occupied with get you stuck in a study rut. This is your sign to seek professional help if you’re struggling to process intense emotions or a difficult situation.
If you’re taking a subject with any kind of group assessment or a project outside of your studies, now is the time to reach out and get those going. Lucky for you, being online is going to help your group dynamic, since making small talk in person isn’t exactly your jam.
Your power is in business right now. If those clerkships or job applications aren’t coming through for you, this is the time to be manifesting your own career direction. Talk to people outside of the law school box and test some fresh ideas you have about what your employment path might look like into 2022.
You might have been stewing over your true feelings and perspectives in the first half of semester, it’s time to express them. There’s an interesting JD opportunity that will pique your interest and present itself to you in the next couple of weeks. Take a risk and apply.
If you’re in a relationship, now is the time to put off your responsibilities and interim study sessions and spend some quality time with your lover. Your relationship and results will be better for it. If you’re single, you might begin forming an unexpected connection with someone in your class.
You might be feeling tensions in your personal relationships, especially those you live with. It’s time to have a talk about some boundaries, especially with those who don’t appreciate that you’re trying to study a full-time course in the middle of an especially draining lockdown. This will be difficult but absolutely necessary for your exam success this semester.
Volume 20, Issue 7
A 23-year-old JD student has reportedly sat through a two-hour Corporations Law lecture in just one hour.
The Melbourne Law School student, Tammy Thomas, launched into lecture capture like a bat out of hell this past Monday.
“You might think I have broken the laws of space and time, but no. I am just clever enough to have discovered this lifehack,” Tammy told De Minimis when our reporter sat her down for a chat.
“You see, us JD students are busy enough as it is. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the first person in my family to truly understand what that means. Anyway, that’s besides the point – these online lectures are totally boring. If you amp them up to x2 play speed, you will save half your time. It’s simple maths, really.”
However, Tammy’s housemate is not so convinced.
“I don’t know what the #$%^ she thinks he’s doing,” Hayley told us this morning.
“Playing lectures at that speed is just ridiculous. There’s no way she can hear a thing that’s being said. Half the time, it just sounds like some sort of robotic cult chant is blaring from his room. And even if she could make sense of the words themselves, Tammy is way too slow to keep up. I know that for a fact.”
Tammy did not seem bothered when we asked her about this later in the day.
“Sure, I might not understand every last thing that’s being said. But who cares - the important part is that I’m watching all the lectures. No matter how they look, when my grades come back in December, nobody will be able to say Tammy Thomas didn’t try her best.”
More to come.
Icarus is a first year JD student
Volume 20, Issue 7
Since the Texan legislature passed their ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ abortion legislation last week, I’ve had to endure a bunch of cringy takes from classmates cosplaying as Americans. As much as Texas is beginning to resemble a ‘shithole state’, the sky remains safely above our heads in Melbourne.
The dry, uninteresting observation that almost none of us have any connection to Texas whatsoever didn’t prevent ‘my body my choice’ from swamping my Instagram feed. I found this tiresome, precisely because I agree with it; precisely because we all agree with it. Pretending that you are part of the thin red line holding the breach against the Victorian Taliban is annoying. It minimises the real courage of women in the American South, and a hundred other places besides, who face the very real prospect of their bodies being taken from them.
Here, bodily autonomy is sacrosanct.
Bodily autonomy, of course, is the fundamental right which abortion recognises. It is a foundational premise of our law. Ironic then, that many of the people who vocally support this principle when it pertains to overseas abortion rights, are also those in favour of vaccine mandates right here at home. The two are weird co-travellers in the left-wing political space I inhabit.