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Health professionals’ fears about the legal consequences of discussing medical errors with patients are stifling their willingness to have these conversations, a University of Melbourne study has found.

New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Australia’s prison system is in desperate need of a massive overhaul, according to Peter Norden AO from the University of Melbourne.

While voting has assumed centre stage now the Federal election has been called, electoral choice is ‘biased’ towards powerful and wealthy interests according to Dr Joo-Cheong Tham from the Melbourne Law School.

The collection and access of medical records needs to change to improve health care outcomes, says Professor Loane Skene from the University of Melbourne.

Home owners with loans from finance companies that are not banks, credit unions or building societies are slugged with exit fees up to 350% higher than other home owners with loans, according to a new University of Melbourne study. 

Recently, The Age reported in ‘DNA first gives hope on genetic diseases’ (see here)that research by Newcastle University in the UK had shown that embryos created with two mothers may offer a breakthrough that could eradicate a host of hereditary diseases.

Professor Gerry Simpson is the Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law at the Melbourne Law School, and is a Professor of Public International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  In this piece, he analyses how the 2010 British Election could unfold.You can read more about Professor Simpson at

Australian humanitarian and military law expert Professor Tim McCormack has been appointed as Special Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Professor McCormack, from the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne will help the Office of the Prosecutor to develop a solid understanding of complex legal issues such as indiscriminate attack, proportionality and command responsibility. He will also provide advice on the application and interpretation of international humanitarian law in relation to crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, as well as on general principles of criminal law and legal issues related to military structures.

"It's a great honour and a big responsibility, but something that I'm very keen to do," says Professor McCormack.  "I've been involved for twenty years in researching international humanitarian law and enforcement of the violations of that law, as well as the prosecution of war crimes. I've been teaching about it, writing about it and publicly advocating it for a number of years."

"Now to be given this opportunity, it's something I can't say no to, I have to take it up and do the best I can with it."

More information about the announcement can be found at

Australian humanitarian and military law expert Professor Tim McCormack has been appointed as Special Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Oceanic Viking asylum seeker issue has barely caused a ripple of interest in Indonesia, where all the eyes are focussed on the biggest government corruption scandal in years, says Professor Tim Lindsey.  "It’s a little bit like America's Watergate scandal."

Professor Lindsey says the case threatens the anti-corruption platform that swept President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to a second term.  "It's particularly important for Yudhoyono, as he won a spectacular landslide election for his second term just months ago, and he won by running on a strong anti-corruption platform, promising to wipe out corruption and deal with the 'legal mafia'."

"Some two hundred and seventy minutes of wire taps were revealed by the anti-corruption commission that were played in the constitutional court of Indonesia, which had the entire nation riveted to their TV screens."

And Professor Lindsey says the case highlights how inward looking Australia is when it comes to news at its back door.  "We need to udnerstand that in the South East Asian context, not everything that happens is about Australia. While we have the biggest economy in the region, Indonesia domiantes the region strategically and has its own concerns. 

"While Australia has been in a feeding frenzy over the asylum seeker issues, Australia needs to realise that the issue that is confronting us are part of an international problem.  In Indonesia, another boat arriving is not news.  They're much more concerned about whether their government will survive and whether its anti-corruption credentials have any meaning."

You can read more from Prof Lindsey in today's Australian: