A new year is usually a time when people make some changes, but I am disappointed to see that one of these changes is the decision of Jeremy Gans to bring a halt to his Charterblog, which forensically followed the progress of Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights, and the impact (or in most cases lack of impact) it had on judicial decisions.
Jeremy Gans clearly knows every last word of the Charter of Rights, and advises the Victorian Parliament’s Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee on how consistent every new piece of legislation is with the Charter. He also teaches at the University of Melbourne Law School.
It is/was a great example of my favourite sort of blog, where an expert with a real interest in a specific area is focused on sharing their views and knowledge, rather just trying to be an alternative political commentator to those in the newspapers. (The sort of thing I think Trevor Cook is getting at in this post)
It is a shame that this is happening just as Australia starts a national debate on the pros and cons of some form of Bill or Charter of Rights. For anyone already tired of the straw men, shadow-boxing and just plain old rubbish that has passed for debate on the Bill of Rights issue in much of the media to date, Charterblog was a great antidote.
His posts often go into incredible detail, and I often did wonder where he possibly found the time to do such a thorough job. After exactly a year blogging, he has obviously come to a similar conclusion himself.
His final post also includes some interesting broader comments about the benefits of blogging for academics.
I can’t recommend blogging highly enough to any academic whose field includes regular contemporary developments. A commitment to regular, public and comprehensive commentary forces an engagement with the subject-matter that exceeds any other academic endeavour, even a PhD. And the informality of blogging is a perfect antidote to the jargon and circuitous nature of formal academic discourse, not to mention the obsequiousness and pomposity of the law.