In the summer of 2006, I was driving home from a Jewish function, enjoying a fine musical selection by Stonebridge. I was so immersed I’d forgotten drinking two glasses of Vasse Felix. Careening through Newtown, I bumped into the police right outside the Marlborough Bar. They pulled me over and that night I was slapped with a special range PCA. For the next three months I acquainted myself with Sydney’s excellent rail system.

Back then I was a young law student at the UNSW. Now, as an ex-employee of a large Commonwealth public sector department dealing with industrial relations and employment law, and as a solicitor at a private firm in Sydney, I would not dream of such indiscretion. Recently, my practice has expanded to include a significant amount of anti-discrimination work. I’ve been involved in queer issues for several years, with a particular interest in legal reform.

In 2008 this column is undergoing a facelift. Instead of a variety of authors, I will be writing on a regular basis. This obviously won’t preclude others contributing as need arises.

I’d like to change the focus this year by examining issues which might not at first appear “queer issues”, but nonetheless affect queers in a multitude of ways. Take the changes to the industrial relations systems touted by the new Rudd Labor Government due to come into effect early this year. While not solely a queer issue, the scope and nature of the changes will have a profound impact on queer people engaged in the workforce.

I will also look at legal policy issues, in addition to the discussion of more traditional legal issues. While legislation and the way it is interpreted by judges form the basis of our legal system, the broader legal framework is also important to look at in terms of providing a more holistic picture.

Your feedback is an important way of keeping the column relevant and current. Please keep your ideas and opinions coming. You can email me on [email protected] to comment, provide suggestions on areas you’d like covered, or simply to vent about an issue that has raised your ire.

Here’s to an action-packed 2008.

Manoj Dias-Abey is lawyer practising in one of Australia’s largest workplace relations law firms.

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