IS IT TIME FOR A NEW AA?
By Dr RJ Desiatnik
Having a strong and persistent urge to drink alcohol is not the only harrowing habit that can beset a person. Other equally habitual forms of conduct affect people which they may wish to avoid, but have great difficulty in doing so.
One such form is the constant use, in everyday speech, of acronyms. It is a habit which is all too easy to fall into. Whether you are a member of the ALP or LNP, or ACTU, live in SA, WA or the ACT, and your first a.m. activity, after drinking OJ, is to switch on the TV or test your IQ, etc, the opportunities for using acronyms are endless. So too, therefore, is the temptation.
One theory is that such usage is part of being human. If so, lawyers are endowed above most others, for it is commonplace to hear practitioners attending a court or tribunal, whether it be the CA, CCA, CTTT or VCAT, utilising, for example in NSW, the UCPR, such lawyers having graduated LLB from, say UNSW or UTS. Moreover, of lawyers, those who practise in the trade practices field, have taken this manner of communication to the most extreme level, for amongst them the TPA, CCA, ACL, ACCC, ACT, AER, ASIC and NCC comprise everyday speech.
This was not always so, as any reading of the law reports of yesteryear would show. It is a modern phenomenon, which shows no sign of diminishing.
Some form of treatment is definitely called for, in the same way as other habits are being treated. The Journal therefore advocates the creation in Australia of Acronymiacs Anonymous (or “AA” if you are really badly in need of help). For a small joining fee (plus GST), members can spend as many hours as they wish in the company of other sufferers, attempting to write or converse without using acronyms. We are reliably informed that improvement in the condition can occur after only two or three such sessions, judging by results obtained overseas in similar organisations already established in the UK, NZ, USA and EU. In recognition of such improvement, achievers receive, appropriately, a QED certificate.
In these existing bodies, naturally there is a pledge, and every person who addresses a meeting must openly admit that he or she compulsively uses acronyms and can only learn to control this habit, for losing it all together will never happen. It must be admitted though that first time attendees have found it so stressful to say “I am an acronymiac” that a concession perforce had to be made to allow them simply to say “I.M.A.A”.
Curiously this debilitating habit has rarely, if ever, been written about in Australia. That has now been corrected, and in time AA members, especially trade practices lawyers, will look back and be grateful that they first learnt of, acknowledged and successfully confronted this scourge through having read about it in – the AJCCL.
This issue marks a significant moment in the history of the Australian Journal of Competition and Consumer Law, for in March 1993, 21 years ago, the first issue of the Journal, then known as the Trade Practices Law Journal, was published.
That first issue comprised an Editorial, articles by Warren Pengilley, CEK Hampson QC, and AI Tonking together with Louise M Castle. It also contained a Foreword by Professor Fels, then Chair of the Trade Practices Commission (now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), and a case note by Nicole Daly. It consisted of 53 pages, plus, even then, a “Preview” on the back page (called “Stop Press”).
It only takes a brief look at the Table of Contents of the present issue to realise just how far the Journal has come in reflecting, and helping to develop, competition and consumer law jurisprudence.
Nevertheless that inaugural issue, put together by the Journal’s present editor and its first production editor, Wendy Fitzhardinge, marked the first time a specialist law journal on trade practices law had been published in Australia. It was the formal recognition that there was “a trade practices scene” and that it deserved a forum. We would like to think that first issue has become a collector’s item.
Since 1993, no quarterly issue of the Journal has been late in publication, and every issue has been one of real substance. For that there are many, many persons, to thank: the Editorial Board, the production editors, the section editors, the overseas reports editors, the case note editor (who, to his great credit, has filled that position for all of the last 20 years), the various feature writers, and the contributors of articles that have graced the Journal’s pages over the years.
It is a privilege to have been the Journal’s editor, and, in this 81st editorial, to be able to publicly say thank you to all those who have made the Journal a worthy publication of which to be very, very proud.
The citation for this Editorial is (2013) 21 AJCCL 3.