The Author-at-Large


     James is a prominent Australian constitutional lawyer, human rights campaigner, innnovative thinker and whistleblower, noted for powerful oratory and written skills, which he puts to good use in the law courts, as a media commentator and as a playwrite and author. 
     James graduated from Monash University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Economics (Class IIA Honours) and again in 1989 with a Bachelor of Laws.
     James was a full time member of the Monash University Faculty of Economics and Politics during the 1987 and 1988 academic years, teaching and relief-lecturing in mainstream undergraduate microeconomics and macroeconomics subjects.
     James is the author of more than a hundred published works on topics as diverse as economics, politics, Australian and world history, law, civil liberties and human rights.  From late 1998 until mid 2003 James was a monthly columnist for the Victorian Law Institute Journal.
     Between 1990 and 2001 James enjoyed a succesful commercial law career with not one but two of Australia's most prominent international law firms (both firms consistently ranked in the top 30 law firms in the world).
     In 2001 James turned his back on private legal practice to take up General Counsel roles in the government and private sectors, before returning to private practice in 2007.
     In 2007 James' attention turned to the paradox of Australia's precarious constitutional human rights predicament.  This was when he first became aware of the widespread human rights violations being committed against thousands of ordinary Australians and their families every day, by the Australian Government and a large section the Australian legal profession, under guise of the contemporary degeneration of the Whitlam era's original simple, "no fault" divorce laws, the Family Law Act 1975. 
     James was apalled by the systemic violations of the human rights and dignities of ordinary Australians who had never before been in trouble with the lawyers.  James remains apalled by the evil torment and abuse inflicted on ordinary Australians in these countless secret, closed hearings that resemble Salem witchcraft sessions, a blood sport for "family" lawyers, where all modern concepts of human rights, due process, rule of law and natural justice seem to have been totally suspended by the Australian government.  The lives of ordinary Australians are thrown to the merciless whims of all-powerful, un-balanced and un-checked judicial officials, chosen by so-called "family" lawyers from within their own ranks and reflecting their own lawyer class wants and interests rather than the interests, wants, rights and entitlements of ordinary Australians.
     Being a man of “the humblest of beginnings”, unlike too many other lawyers James cannot not close his eyes to these outrages.  This has earned him the wrath of many powerful figures in the legal and government establishment who have since sought ways to silence him.
     Since 2007 James has acquired a portfolio of involvement in important human rights cases in Australia defending ordinary Australians from Government abuse in areas such as family rights, child rights, marriage rights, elder rights, Goverment recognition of same sex relationships and defending other civil and political rights of ordinary Australians.
     James has also become an outspoken advocate for independent (ie non-lawyer controlled) investigations of sections of the Australian legal profession, the judiciary and legal regulators, ombudsmen, police and other Government legal institutions that seem to have become infected with the lawyers culture of "holier than thou" syndrome that has sheltered and even judicially and politically sanctified crime and corruption, legal nonsense and political and economic ineptitude including the wholesale abandonment of any serious pretence of human rights or rule of law for Australians. 
     James has also become an active campaigner for constitutional, political and justice reforms, recognising that widespread corruption and human rights abuse are just symptoms of bigger problems that occur whenever  government grows so invasive of every detail of ordiinary daily affairs that government leaves no room for the roles individual, family, community and church responsibilities once played in regulating ordinary daily life.     
     Recognising the formidable barriers to justice that exist in a legal system that has been fully-designed, built, owned and operated by and for the ruling Australian political lawyer elite for generations, and seeking to warn and to inform wider audiences, James has turned the stories and transcripts from several imporant human rights cases into screen plays for theatre and cinema projects. These include “The Crucible”, “Soylent Green and Gold” and “Seven Little Australians.”

The Crucible

     Arthur Miller's 1953 play The Crucible is a dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory to McCarthyism, when the US government blacklisted accused communists and Miller himself was convicted of "contempt of Congress" by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956.
     This all new Australian play of the same borrowed title is the first of James Johnson's three plays in the series 'The Lie of the Law'.  It is a real life Court drama that tells, through actual court transcripts, the story of a real Australian family, nicknamed for legal reasons  as the "Addams Family".  The family's real names cannot be used because of oppressive, illegal, suppression laws that serve to hide the identities of the families from those who like James might otherwise be able to find them and help them. 
     The real "Addams Family" was only one of the 100,000 families processed during calender year 2010 by the $4 billion per year taxpayer funded Australian Family Court "justice" system.  That's $40,000 of taxpayer funds spent for every one of these 100,000 Australian families processed by "the System".  
     This is $4 billion transferred annually by "the System" out of taxpayers' pockets into the pockets of the judges, other lawyers and other public servants who staff these courts.  On top of this, more than $40 billion worth of those Australian families' assets are drawn and quartered through family lawyers courts and offices every year.  One quarter ($10 bn) ends up going into the lawyers pockets, two quarters ($20bn) are dispersed back into the general economy via  a heavy injection of cashflow and profits into the banking and repossession sectors, with 200,000 once loving couples left to fight like dogs (to the obvious amusement of the plundering lawyers) for the last quarter of their famiy wealth, both of them desparate not just for their own economic subsistence, but to cushion their new financial and emotionally impoverished circumstances. 
     Australia's 30,000 family lawyers also pocket untold hundreds of millions of dollars (harder to quantify but perhaps a billion or two more) from State legal aid funds and State and Federal welfare, womens and other government agencies.  These are yet more taxpayer funds that are applied in distorted, gender discriminating ways that would result in headline prosecutions, enormous fines and even jail terms for ordinary citizens or private corporations who dared to so blatantly disregard State, Federal and international anti-discrimination laws.
     In telling the tale of these 100,000 Addams Families through the actual words and deeds of the lawyers who "built, own and operate" the system The Crucible exposes the frightening 21st Century reality of an all-powerful Australian Government and its so-called "Family Court" system that (1) pursues anti-family, anti-social and anti-child policies "in the best interests of the child", and (2) operates as a 'court' in name alone, where (3) marrriage (at least in cases of divorce, is a five-way relationship, with the primary parties being the Government first, the lawyers (including the judiciary) second, then the wife, a distant third, and, finally, the man a very remote fourth, while the fifth party in whose name so much is claimed to be done, the children, have zero say in it at all: and (4) basic constitutional rights and international human rights standards for children and adults alike are "wholesale abandonned", and due processes of natural justice such as presumptions of innocence, standards of evidence, burdens of proof, rights to a jury, rights to an independent judge, rights to know the charges prior to trial (or even prior to 'defending yourself') and rights against "double-jeopardy" are non-existant. 
     The dialogue and scenes in The Crucible will be familiar to the 2 million Australians who have suffered first- or second-hand the injustices of the Australian Family Court system. 
     The barbarity and inhumanity of "the System" is well demonstrated by the horrific social statistics that it produces.  On the Australian Government's own figures, 4000 "Child Support Agency Clients" (Political "NewSpeak" for noncustodial dads) die every year.  That's an average of 12 new deaths (mostly suicides) and 36 newly orphaned Aussie kids, happening every day in Australia.  While the Australian Government does a good job at concealing or fudging many of the statistics, Australia is still left with some of the highest overall, male and adolescent suicide rates in the world, along with some of the highest depression and mental health statistics.  Other statistics show that the 'system' supplies at huge taxpayer expense more than 70% of the 'criminal stock' for the broader (lawyer encrusted) criminal justice 'system', the lawyers courts, police, prisons and legal aid.
     Those who are fortunate enough not to be so intimately or fatally acquainted with this Australian Government sanctioned war of terror against ordinary Australian citizens will be left wondering whether the Australian Family Lawyers' Courts of the 21st Century are even more inhumane, crooked, corrupt and predatory than their late 17th Century Massachusetts and mid 20th Century McCarthyist cousins.

Soylent Green & Gold

     In his 1895 novella The Time Machine H.G.Wells (one of the founding fathers of the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) prophesised a future (12 October 802,701 AD to be precise) where the human race has divided into two species "..the beautiful Eloi [who] walk with a slow emotionless trance-like stride across the land like herded livestock ... and are "nothing but fatted cattle to the Morlocks", a hideous, dominant species of human degenerates who rule the planet from an underground citadel.  
     The horror in this second of James Johnson's plays lays not in any futuristic special effects. Nor does it rely on any horror generated in scientific tales of canibalism, which are also the central theme in the horror vision of 2022 from the award winning 1963 Sci-Fi Blockbuster "Soylent Green" which James has recycled and gildedd for the title to this play. 
     No the horror in this otherwise all Australian play lays in the powerful, frightening reality of its script.  The script is an abridged but otherwise unadulterated transcript of recent Australian Federal Court proceedings.  The horror lies in the words and deeds in 2010 by real Australian government lawyers (including real Australian Judges), when not one, but two, separate Federal Judges on two, separate occasions ruled that Australian State Governments are not bound to operate within constitutional limits set by the Australian Constitution or their own State Constitution, 21st Century Australians have no rights to seek or receive Federal Judicial protection from State Governments that choose to strip them of their precious few constitutional rights as Australian citizens, and far from being the "safeguarders" of Constitutional rights, the Australian Federal Judiciary have no constitutional duty to police the Australian Constitution.

Seven Little Australians

     Seven Little Australians is the third play in James Johnson's series 'The Lie of the Law'.  Like the first two in the series, The Crucible, and Soylent Green and Gold, it is inspired by taking true Court transcripts (and in this case, other historical records) and serving them up under the recycled label of an acknowledged, world acclaimed classic.
     The original Seven Little Australians (1894) is a much loved classic Australian children's novel by Ethel Turner, set mainly in Sydney in the 1880s, that relates the adventures of the seven mischievous Woolcot children, their stern army father Captain Woolcot and their flighty stepmother Esther.
     In James Johnson's recycling of this classic title, the not quite "seven" far from "little" Australians, include living and historical human rights champions, whistle blowers and even a few human rights abusers.  Each of these extraordinary Australians tell their stories of injustice and corruption in the government and the law, their efforts to surive, to expose and to defeat it, and the forces of goverment order and law that rallied against them. 
     The "little" Australians' vary from performance to performance (in order to keep the performances fresh and to encourage many 'happy' returns visits from the audience members.  They include prominent and not so prominent Australians such as (Saint) Mary McKillop, Lindy Chamberlain, Pauline Hansen, Julia Gillard, Matthew Brady, Ben Hall, Ned Kelly, Peter Lalor, George Howe, William Wentworth, Julian Assange, Frank Hardy, Sidey Nolan, Donald Horne, Donald Mackay, Marcus Einfeld, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Andrew Wilkie, Eddie (Koko) Mabo, Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop, Hetty Johnson, Danny Johnson, and even the author himself. 

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