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The following is the full text from the 2009 Law Week Oration by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans QC AO, held at the Melbourne Law School on 22 September 2009, in conjunction with the Victoria Law Foundation.  Video of the lecture can be accessed at http://live.unimelb.edu.au/episode/law-week-oration-2009.

The Faculty of the VCA and Music (VCAM) and Wallara Asset Management last night announced that Christopher Dolman has won the prestigious 2009 Wallara Travelling Scholarship. Every year since 2001, this scholarship is open to third (final) year undergraduate students at the Faculty’s School of Art.

Australian writers were today presented with $65,000 worth of literary prizes at a gala event at the Melbourne Writers Festival.

To help commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions (established August 1949) the International Red Cross ran an essay competition on the importance of international humanitarian law.  The following is the winning essay by Sarah Horan, a final year Media & Communications/Law student at the University of Melbourne, on the the development of international humanitarian law since the establishment of the Geneva Conventions.

Maestro Richard Bonynge AO, CBE has been chosen by the Faculty of the VCA and Music at the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) Friends’ Society as the recipient of the 2009 Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to music in Australia.

Journalism conference to explore globalisation of mediaThe intersection of national and transnational news reporting in the new media environment will be a major focus of a journalism conference at the University of Melbourne on July 16 and 17.

Professor Pat Anderson, co-author of the Little Children Are Sacred report about child abuse in the NT delivered the annual Social Justice Lecture at the University of Melbourne recently.  On the second anniversary of the so-called "Intervention", she says governments have not acted on any of the recommendations from the report.

With growing concern about violence and insecurity in homes and public spaces, improved local government based violence prevention plans are more in need than ever before, according to the final results from a new University of Melbourne study.

Improved local government based violence prevention plans are more in need than ever before, according to the final results from a new University of Melbourne study.

"It's not rocket science, it's not a matter of allocating tremendous new resources, but simply using the resources that are already there effectively."

"The bottom line is that local coalitions can work effectively, though they need State and Federal Government support, specifically in terms of sharing ideas and an appropriate policy framework.  During the three years we did this research there were lots of exciting projects in a number of local governments, but on the whole they weren't tied in with any kind of state policy on violence prevention.  This is a shame because the State Government stated that prevention of violence and fear of violence was one of its eleven top priorities when it was elected in 1999-2000."

Dr Whitzman says the recently updated State Government policy is going to be a major improvement.

"Part of the issue with this project is the old State Government policy was phased out in the first year (2006), but the new policy is coming in at the end of the year, and I think we've been able to provide valuable input on that."

"I think we're going to have much stronger policy in this area because of this project, and that's very satisfying"

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have had a tremendous effect on the reporting of Iranian elections, according to Associate Professor Ingrid Volkmer.

Associate Professor Volkmer says YouTube and Twitter have allowed a global audience access to footage and reports from Iranian citizens which would have been gagged by the Government, and says these first hand accounts have made the Iranian people less like ‘the other’ to a western audience.

“Basically ‘the other’ - which used to be the Iranian population - has become us. In this footage streets look the same as ours, people use mobile phones like we do, and they even look like we do,” she says.

“What Twitter does is give us immediate accounts of what people in Tehran are doing. It allows them to organise themselves and organise demonstrations. From Australia we can read the same message as if we are there, its more authentic and lively.”

“Personal interaction is having political impact and we haven’t had that before. We have only had media outlets covering global affairs such as CNN, NBC and SBS, but never this kind of personal interaction and this creates empathy.”

Associate Professor Volkmer says the impact of social media on the Iranian elections shows journalism is changing.

“In the old days we basically went overseas and delivered a message from the Australian perspective back to Australia, but this has dramatically changed because all of a sudden it seems we are one concerned community.”

Associate Professor Ingrid Volkmer is the Deputy Director of the Media and Communications Program at the University of Melbourne.

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