[Linux-aus] Linux Australia Code of Conduct - revised draft

Susanne Ruthven susanne at etc.gen.nz
Sun Nov 27 22:30:22 EST 2011


Unfortunately I'm not a member of this mailing list, so I haven't seen
the rest of this thread so I'm only going to respond to Chris and
Donna's messages.

Chris, you're right. My expertise is based in New Zealand law, which is
why I haven't given any legal advice on any CoC, or anti-harassment
policies for any Australian LCA, or LA event (other than LCA2010).

After LCA2011, when I was asked about how they could improve their
Anti-Harassment Policy, I recommended they get legal advice, obviously
from a lawyer with relevant experience in the Australian jurisdiction.

Donna is right, for LCA2010 we purposely used broad language so that we
could resolve discriminatory or abusive matters on a case-by-case basis
in a way that was appropriate to the circumstances. However, whether or
not that is suitable for the CoC being discussed on this thread, I
obviously cannot say. 

Deciding issues like, whether or not to use broad language or a
descriptive list, illustrates my point: That it is harder than people
think to draft a document of this sort so that it fully achieves what
the authors want it to achieve, which is why I recommended consulting a

I'm in a bit of a tricky position because, as a previous organiser of
LCA, particularly when I drafted the LCA2010 terms & conditions, I have
a vested interest in this. However, given my profession, I'm reluctant
to make comments on things like this, in case my comments are
misconstrued as legal advice. 

And just to make sure this email isn't misconstrued, these comments
obviously cannot be considered legal advice. :-)


On Sun, 2011-11-27 at 20:45 +1100, Chris Neugebauer wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 27, 2011 at 20:18, Donna Benjamin <donna at cc.com.au> wrote:
> >
> > Discussion with Susanne Ruthven, Human Rights lawyer and conference
> > director of LCA2010, suggested that less is more when it comes to these
> > things.
> >
> > Broad brush strokes give the organisers more power to act in the grey
> > areas necessary than explicit descriptions of what is and isn't
> > acceptable would.
> >
> > At least, that is my understanding of the conversation I had with her,
> > and her arguments against the code that was adopted for LCA 2011.
> >
> Not meaning to cast any doubt about Susanne's qualifications here, but
> I'd very much like to see a summary of the advice and the criticism
> against the LCA2011 CoC posted to the list and reviewed by someone
> based in Australia with direct experience of dealing with these issues
> in Australia (as I understand it, Susanne is NZ-Based).
> --Chris

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