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Desmond Manderson

Desmond Manderson

Desmond Manderson is Director of the Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities at the Australian National University. His books include From Mr Sin to Mr Big (1993), Songs Without Music (2000), Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law (2012), and Danse Macabre: Temporalities of law in the visual arts (2019). His latest play, Twenty Minutes with the Devil (with Luis Gomez Romero), had its première season at The Street Theatre in June 2022.

Desmond Manderson reviews ‘What’s Wrong with Addiction? by Helen Keane and ‘Modernising Australia’s Drug Policy’ by Alex Wodak and Timothy Moore

September 2002, no. 244 01 September 2002
The current legal regime for the regulation – I use the term advisedly – of drugs has many unintended consequences. One of its minor tragedies is the number of thinkers and activists whose valuable energies are thus diverted to the Sisyphean labour of undoing it. So many words have now been written on the failure of prohibition that there is surely little more to be added. More than a decade a ... (read more)

Desmond Manderson reviews 'Drugs and Democracy: In Search of New Directions' edited by Gregory Stokes, Peter Chalk, and Karen Gillen

June 2001, no. 231 01 June 2001
The failure of the current system of drug prohibition was evident right from the start. Quong Tart, tea importer, socialite, lacrosse champion, and indefatigable anti-opium campaigner, insisted that banning its import would ‘stamp out the evil within twelve months’. That was in 1894. The manifest improbability of the proposition has done nothing to cure succeeding generations of their naïvet ... (read more)

Desmond Manderson on the legacy of Yunupingu

September 2023, no. 457 25 August 2023
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following story contains images and names of people who have died.   From the age of fifteen until his recent death at the age of seventy-four, the great Yolngu leader Yunupingu (1948–2023) was at the forefront of the struggle to change the Australian legal system in unprecedented ways. In 1963, with his father, Mungurrawu ... (read more)