Issue 0, Volume 19
Welcome to the hallowed halls of Melbourne Law School. May you find the perfect balance between academic challenges and social comforts inside its relatively new, purpose built walls.
For all you first years, allow me to introduce you to De Minimis, the official unofficial media outlet of MLS. The Managing Editor (that’s me) and the Publications Team release articles written by you fine young students in weekly (covid-safe) print and online editions for the enjoyment of all. Alongside the paper, De Minimis also runs a podcast on our website, deminimis.com.au, that covers a whole range of law-related topics. First up, our trusty Podcast Editor has secured interviews with Ian Malkin, Will Partlett, and another to-be-confirmed MLS legend to talk you through Torts, Principles of Public Law, and Obligations, respectively. All of us are watched and guided by our Editor in Chief, who will make his address in the coming edition.
Our goal is to give all students a platform to share ideas and talk about issues that matter to them. You can send us anything you like (email below), be it an analysis of the latest High Court ruling, a report on an MLS networking night you heard about in the corridors, or an opinion piece about the quality of the tap water on the mezzanine floor.
The Very-Recent Past
Everyone has had Quite The Time these last 12 months and so we at De Minimis are eager to get the editorial ball rolling away from all that pain and strife. We want this to be the year of new beginnings, clean slates, and endless potential.
So this got me thinking, what exactly are we starting afresh from? What was De Minimis really about before the plague engulfed the world? I know a couple paragraphs ago I told you what De Minimis aims to produce and gave some examples, but you have to admit that’s a pretty broad brief. You lot could send me a pile of left footed shoes and two handfuls of bottle caps and say “make it work sweetie xx”. Then what? Lucky for me we have a brilliant Layout Editor who suggested I take a look through some of our old archives for knowledge of De Minimis past to inspire De Minimis future.
The Beginning and End - 1948 till 1976
The first thing I discovered is that the print and online media you are reading today is not at all the De Minimis that was first conceived in 1948. “De Minimis...Fortnightly News Sheet of the Law Students Society Victoria” was a product of, you guessed it, our current Melbourne University Law Students Society, MULSS. As the only real law student club at the university in 1948, the then LSS thought it would be a good idea to give the law school one unified news source that would be relevant and engaging for staff and students alike. They produced news articles, dispelled rumours, and complained about the university's audio-visual equipment in much the same way we harp on about lecture recordings.
By the 1960s De Minimis was less law school news and more a combination of satire, creative writing, and in jokes between students. It began to take jabs at its creators and became its own kind of prominent law school clique. As Tim Mason noted in “A History of De Minimis” 1981, the paper is perhaps the single best record of students' social attitudes and sensibilities. Sadly, it ultimately perished to social apathy in 1976.
The Not-So-Distant Past - 2012, a Reboot
Like a phoenix, out from the ashes of the year that burned Ke$ha and Rebecca Black into our minds, arose an independent law student newspaper. This paper had a dream, a dream to bring students a newspaper that told them what they actually liked about newspapers: fun, games, and spicy information. The LSS at the time agreed to give this budding paper a grant to get off the ground, and away it ran.
In the second edition of this new paper’s print, the editors announced that a Facebook poll had been conducted to decide on a name for the law school's new source of intrigue. Thus, De Minimis was born...again, kind of.
All of this is why, this year on, De Minimis is proudly supported by the GSA and answers to no one but the laws of Victoria and the wrath of the Gods.
So, here I am, armed with the knowledge of the past to launch De Minimis into the future. As well as accepting all your sporadic articles and controversial opinions, we want to focus on bringing you consistently entertaining, unifying content. Think advice columns, prominent people profiles, covid-safe travel advice, creative writing, maybe even some law student astrology readings. We’re also going to pull ourselves further into the digital age and explore other social media platforms to bring you the stories you want to see where you want to see them.
That’s it from De Minimis February 2021. News is a bit slow when the year has barely started and none of us oldies have seen a classmate face-to-face since March 2020. That’s why I thought I would transcribe a few pieces from the archives to show you exactly what the law school was like when the Boomers were at university. Hopefully they illicit both fondness and disgust and instill in you the desire to write something bolder and better.
You can reach us at email@example.com or shoot us a message on Facebook.
Rebecca Poynton, third year JD student and Managing Editor of De Minimis 2021