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Once Upon a Time in Australia: Conversations About How Our Metoo Movement Exposed the Troubles With Truth in Law

Anne Macduff, Sarouche Razi, Kirsten Hoffman

Colour 260 x 1568mm | Perfect Bound on White w/Matte Laminate | 100 pages | Paperback ISBN 978-1-910761-19-9 | E-book (ePDF) ISBN 978-1-910761-20-5 | Forthcoming

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Once Upon a Time in Australia explores the intersections between gender, colonisation, and climate change and how they are necessarily interconnected in any transformative movement for justice. The novel challenges ideas about voice and solidarity, and questions the relationship that the law holds over truth.

On 15 March 2021, protesters from around Australia marched in response to government inaction following allegations of sexual violence in parliament and against members of parliament.  The authors each attended the protests separately, but came together to consider the responses of three key institutions of law in Australia towards gender-based violence: the Parliament, the High Court, and the University. Where Macduff explores the complicity of the rule of law to silence gendered violence, Razi considers the inability of the legal system to be an arbiter of truth given its ongoing colonial violence, and Hoffman focuses on the legal system’s complicity in the climate catastrophe and how to relate to gendered and colonial violence. The result is a different kind of writing: part horror story, part graphic-novel, part narrative, part academic intervention, Once Upon a Time in Australia animates the political and philosophical conversations between three insider-outsiders in the halls of Australia’s national law school during Australia’s MeToo movement.

Dr Anne Macduff is a researcher and teacher at the ANU College of Law. Drawing upon a range of critical theories, Anne Macduff has a particular interest in exploring issues of law and identity, including race, gender and sexuality. Anne’s PhD thesis traced how contemporary Australian citizenship laws construct a particular racialized and gendered citizen subject. Her current research critically engages with a wide range of social issues including: belonging, social cohesion, sexual harassment, and family violence.


Sarouche Razi is an interdisciplinary researcher and legal practitioner with expertise in the legal assistance sector, creative arts practice in law, critical legal and pedagogical theories, police and state accountability, and decolonising the law. He has worked primarily in legal service delivery in the community controlled and Aboriginal community controlled sector, and has been involved in significant court representation relating to historical injustices, and deaths in custody for First Nations Australians. Sarouche teaches a prison legal course at the Australian National University where he teaches on abolition, decarceration, and critical pedagogy. He is completing his Doctoral Thesis exploring biomythography as a method for legal writing, and mnemocratic power to describe (settler) state control over memory and process in the Coroner’s court. He also works with the NSW Legal Assistance Forum, and Tangata Restorative Justice, an Oceanic led approach to restorative justice in Melbourne. Sarouche was named as a Top 5 emerging researcher in the Arts in the ABC Top 5 program for 2022.


Kirsten Hoffman (they/she) is a twenty-five-year-old Juris Doctor law graduate from the Australian National University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Animation) from the Victorian College of the Arts at Melbourne University.

Hoffman is an anarchist civil disobedience climate, pro-refugee, abolitionist, anti-patriarchal and pro-LGBTQIA+ activist, though sceptical about the possibility for revolution in so-called “Australia”. Hoffman has been arrested in civil disobedience eight times with no convictions.  Her ambition is to become a lawyer within the next year and a half.

Hoffman sees fighting colonialism as the key to happiness in our galaxy, while agreeing with Angela Davis that “to understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women”.  Hoffman is concerned that success on the “Australian” continent might lead to a desert and ocean empire.

When working within the system to weaponise it against itself, Hoffman’s call is for ambition. The strategy Hoffman is experimenting with at the moment, is that due to the low-achieving nature of “Australia” (the fault of European powers competing to dominate the planet), it is temporarily more useful to have “Australian” environmental lawyers at the UN than trying to gain a good reputation at home, exerting pressure from the outside in.

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Anne Macduff, Sarouch Razi, and Kirsten Hoffman, Once Upon a Time in Australia: Conversations About How Our Metoo Movement Exposed the Troubles With Truth in Law (Oxford: Counterpress, 2023).


Macduff, Anne, Razi, Sarouch, and Hoffman, Kirsten. Once Upon a Time in Australia: Conversations About How Our Metoo Movement Exposed the Troubles With Truth in Law. Oxford: Counterpress, 2023.