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Aaron Santelises and ethical breakdown

By johnboy - 30 August 2012 18

The Canberra Times has the pretty horrid tale of one Aaron Santelises who, despite being a Labor party member and former State election candidate convinced ANU to place him as an intern in Liberal Senator Stephen Parry’s office.

The fourth year law student explained himself thusly:

When confronted about his political past, Mr Santelises told Senator Parry and Dr Banfield that he thought his background would prevent him for being placed in the program.

What an adornment he will make to the justice system.

On another note semester long internships look like labour exploitation from where we stand, but more interns betraying the trust of those who give them opportunities does no favours to our society as a whole.

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Aaron Santelises and ethical breakdown
breda 12:55 pm 31 Aug 12

There are strict industrial laws covering ‘internships’. An intern is there to learn. You are not allowed to use them to make coffee or do photocopying or perform any of the usual functions of the workplace. OTOH, they can do stuff like a project (which is educationally relevant) that would otherwise not be undertaken because there is no-one to do it. The research papers that Parliamentary interns write are in this category.

As for the ANU, someone needs to teach them how to use Google before they send more students into workplaces, especially those where there is political, personal or commercial information around that could be sensitive.

p1 12:28 pm 31 Aug 12

greyswandir said :

That internship subject – if it’s the one I’m thinking of – involves you writing a 6000 word paper on a topic to be worked out with your workplace supervisor. You generally attend their offices maybe once a week to write and research. You don’t do any ‘work’ outside the ambit of your paper. Not sure how that fits with exploitation – I suppose the workplace benefits from the research you’re doing (as long as it’s good research, hahaha) but so do you. I guess it depends on how your placement supervisor treats you – if you’re having to do their filing and fetch coffees that’d be a bit dodgy.

If that is the case, then you’ve answered my questions perfectly. I was under the impression that this type of thing was more like your traditional work experience gig but longer. If it is more about free access to involve somewhat independent research work of benefit to both parties that is a different thing altogether.

greyswandir 11:07 am 31 Aug 12

That internship subject – if it’s the one I’m thinking of – involves you writing a 6000 word paper on a topic to be worked out with your workplace supervisor. You generally attend their offices maybe once a week to write and research. You don’t do any ‘work’ outside the ambit of your paper. Not sure how that fits with exploitation – I suppose the workplace benefits from the research you’re doing (as long as it’s good research, hahaha) but so do you. I guess it depends on how your placement supervisor treats you – if you’re having to do their filing and fetch coffees that’d be a bit dodgy.

p1 10:49 am 31 Aug 12

I am not necessarily saying it should change, but I am generally interested to know how it works legally. I recall from high school work experience programs several years in the past (from both ends) that there was always careful language about not exploiting the free labour. That the person was there under the guise of learning and that what they do should reflect that. Working in the same office for six months (not even for a trainee wage) would seem to be something else.

Does the office have to register the free labour that they receive as a donation?

milkman 10:06 am 31 Aug 12

johnboy said :

Just because someone is willing to be exploited does not remove any moral burden from the exploiter.

It’s a nice thought (especially for a uni ethics class), but not reflective of reality. Those who choose to do such an internship are there of their own free will, and can leave any time they like.

Identifying those willing to do what it takes is a good way to find high performing staff. Make no mistake, those who are successful will be well rewarded.

PantsMan 10:00 am 31 Aug 12

johnboy said :

Just because someone is willing to be exploited does not remove any moral burden from the exploiter.

Agreed.

johnboy 9:57 am 31 Aug 12

Just because someone is willing to be exploited does not remove any moral burden from the exploiter.

PantsMan 9:55 am 31 Aug 12

milkman said :

p1 said :

I always wondered how semester long internships are possibly compatible with minimum wage laws.

Many interns won’t care. Some of these people have a lot of drive and determination to succeed, and working for 4 or 5 months unpaid to open doors is a small price to pay.

And, by all accounts, some MPs have no problem with highly ambitious 20-something women willing to do anything to succeed.

milkman 7:04 am 31 Aug 12

p1 said :

I always wondered how semester long internships are possibly compatible with minimum wage laws.

Many interns won’t care. Some of these people have a lot of drive and determination to succeed, and working for 4 or 5 months unpaid to open doors is a small price to pay.

poetix 10:04 pm 30 Aug 12

Deref said :

Who uses “lawyer” and “ethical” in the same sentence?

Lawyers, usually.

Deref 9:25 pm 30 Aug 12

Who uses “lawyer” and “ethical” in the same sentence?

LSWCHP 9:20 pm 30 Aug 12

We took on a semester intern a few years ago. He turned out to be a brilliant bloke. We subsequently gave him well paid part time employment while he completed his degree and he’s now one of the most highly regarded members of my team.

I would be astonished if he thought we had exploited him. He told me he regarded his internship as an exceptionally valuable experience both personally and professionally, and one of the most rewarding parts of his degree.

Some interns and some employers might have crap experiences from these programs, but that wasn’t how it turned out for this guy and for my team.

cranky 8:32 pm 30 Aug 12

“brakedown” ????

p1 7:53 pm 30 Aug 12

I always wondered how semester long internships are possibly compatible with minimum wage laws.

PantsMan 4:50 pm 30 Aug 12

A quick Google search will confim that one Aaron Santelises appears to be an all round w@nker!

He’s a member of something called the “Griffith University Global Networking Group” and had a 21% swing against him in the recent Queensland election.

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