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When the white noise takes over

When the white noise takes over

While Lawyers Weekly does not report on very much else other than those things that have an impact in some way, shape or form on the business of corporate law in Australia, it is not to say that…

While Lawyers Weekly does not report on very much else other than those things that have an impact in some way, shape or form on the business of corporate law in Australia, it is not to say that this reporting process takes place in a vacuum. Indeed, it is our most basic brief to look at wider issues and trends in Australia and even the world and to investigate what are the likely impacts events will have on the weekly’s readership — you.

The news review section of the magazine is one area in which the chance to stray further afield in the hunt for issues and trends affecting our narrow world is readily available. Usually, however, the issues are much closer at hand. Last week, for instance, Philip Ruddock’s appointment as Attorney-General of Australia is a classic case in point. It’s neither surprising nor particularly noteworthy to observe that this narrow part of the world, the business of law, lies at the heart of so many other big news stories.

There are exceptions, however, and this past week would seem to be a prime example. In searching for any particular news item to review, it quickly becomes apparent that there are a multitude of stories ‘out there’ that are appropriate for further treatment within Lawyers Weekly; the problem is, however, that they’ve not really been grabbing anybody’s attention. Big issues with important ramifications for the legal profession are unfolding as we speak — it just seems impossible right now to get anybody’s attention.

The McCabe case has barely rated a mention and Phillip Ruddock has slipped into the background alarmingly quickly. Medical indemnity has been grabbing headlines, but mainly because Tony Abbott has decided to play the part of knight in shining armour, and the focus has been more on whether he can match it with Julia Gillard on what many are touting as Labor’s only strong suit. The list could continue, but the point is made: sometimes the issues of a small community are lost in the maelstrom of modern life, especially now in what is rapidly becoming known as the age of terror.

What a week it was. Firstly there was the ongoing saga of the not-so-jolly jumbucks floating around the Persian Gulf. These poor sheep have had so much publicity that they are in danger of receiving approaches from Harry M Miller. Ironically, it could be that by the time you read this, our live exports may well be suffering the fate of many of Australia’s other detainees and be repatriated back to Australia. Of course, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services may have the final say in this matter.

Then there was the Terminator taking charge of the fifth largest economy in the world. While America’s ongoing dalliance with celebrities as leaders is nothing new, it certainly does make for good headlines.

Israel and Palestine seem so determined to keep their place on the front page of the world’s newspapers that it’s difficult not to become desensitised to the true horror unfolding in this most desperate region. Israel’s inclusion of Syria in these proceedings, coupled with the United States’ none-too-subtle posturing on this associate of the Axis of Evil is enough to send oil prices high enough to offset any local savings in petrol that a stronger dollar affords — another story in its own right.

Then right next door to Syria, Iraq continues to spiral further out of control. Three of the most influential men in the US — George W Bush, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney — appear to have lost their common hymn book and are suggesting different solutions, with varying costs and timeframes. Meanwhile, the body count grows — on all sides — and regional security seems a long, long way off.

Similarly, the situation in Afghanistan is far from under control and yesterday’s news story — the war on drugs — appears to be pushed further to one side as reports suggest that Afghanistan’s production of opium is back to peak performance levels.

Closer to home, but still on the same theme of blood and guts, Australia has paused to remember our own victims of terror in Bali. With memorials both on the holiday island as well as around Australia, hardly a dry eye could be found.

On a more positive note, the World Cup of Rugby has come to town and the seventy-point margins, the economic benefits and the feelings of world harmony have ensued. Add to that Matthew Hayden’s individual brilliance and the complete lack of fit Australian bowlers and the sports buff is well catered for — and all of this hot on the heels of the other footy codes’ grand final season.

Hell, the ABC even managed to trawl up a good old-fashioned treasure hunt story in Papua New Guinea, featuring lost billions in gold with World War II connections. To cap it all, three whales cruised into Sydney Harbour as Lawyers Weekly went to press.

The problem, of course, is that among all of this news, it’s nigh on impossible to keep your focus trained upon the things that matter to you. And what chance does a carefully manicured press release have among all of this real news? Is there relief in sight, or has the world permanently changed up a gear?

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When the white noise takes over
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