In the media

Australia recalls ambassador over Indonesian executions

Australia will recall its ambassador from Indonesia following the execution of convicted drug smugglers. The move follows consistent indications that the government would respond strongly in the event pleas for mercy and clemency were rejected by the Indonesian government (29 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Former secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services Carol Mills to face another senate hearing

The committee's interim report into the department raised a number of serious allegations and branded the department under Ms Mills' management as "deeply dysfunctional". A recent damning report by the ANAO highlighted deficiencies with the management of assets and contracts (02 May 2015)

Read the full article here.

Doyles Creek businessmen seek to have ICAC findings overturned

The ICAC has been hit with a fresh wave of litigation in the wake of a High Court ruling on its powers, with three more businessmen seeking to have corruption findings against them overturned. The High Court ruling in the commission and Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen case gave a more restrictive interpretation to the watchdog's powers than it had believed applied (02 May 2015)

Read the full article here.

Drone surveillance needs legal curbs to protect privacy

Individuals should have the right to take action against harmful surveillance by drones, with increased penalties to compensate for any harm caused, a joint paper by civil liberties group Liberty Victoria and the Australian Association for Unmanned Aerial Systems claims (01 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Appointment to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Attorney-General, George Brandis, announces the reappointment of Ms Elizabeth Anne Shanahan as a part-time Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a period of three years (30 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Popcorn Time Decision Provides Insight into Site Blocking in UK : Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp & Ors v Sky UK Ltd & Ors [2015] EWHC (CH)

In a week when the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is to hold hearings on the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, a decision handed down by Birss J of the England and Wales High Court of Justice provides an insight into how site blocking legislation works overseas (29 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Privacy Act's first year fosters new openness and promotes new levels of accountability.

It may have been over a year since a major overhaul of Australia's privacy laws pressured organisations to manage sensitive information better, but professional security service providers are still helping customers come to grips with the new laws (29 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

QLD NFP Calls for Human Rights Act

The Queensland Advocacy Incorporated has called on the new Palaszczuk Government to urgently introduce a Human Rights Act in Queensland to redress what it claims is a serious erosion of democratic rights, particularly protecting the rights of vulnerable people who are liable to be treated in a discriminatory way.  Victoria has a Charter of Human Rights and the ACT has a Bill of Rights (28 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Law Experts Say Indonesian Dealth Penalty Is Illegal

International law experts at The Australian National University (ANU) have released legal advice on Indonesia's death penalty and found the punishment for drug offences breaches international law. The legal advice is being released publicly after Indonesian officials gave official notification of the pending executions of the two men (26 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

ACCC authorises Medicines Australia code subject to strengthening individual reporting

The ACCC is also requiring the transparency reports compiled by Medicines Australia member companies to be published in a common accessible format and to be available for at least three years. Medicines Australia must also use reasonable endeavours to establish a central reporting system and provide six monthly reports on its progress (24 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Legal figures hose down ICAC call to act on High Court decision

The High Court found ICAC’s jurisdiction did not extend to private citizens who mislead public servants, as long as the latter do not act dishonestly. Gabrielle Appleby ( UNSW Law) claimed the result will affect only select cases involving private citizens, and each would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if ICAC exceeded its powers under the ICAC Act (22 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

High Court Ruling could have retrospective affect on ICAC Decisions

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports that, based on its analysis, at least 50 findings of the ICAC in the last ten years could potentially be overturned after the High Court's ruling in Independent Commission Against Corruption v Margaret Cunneen [2015] HCA 14 (15 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Willing to Work National Inquiry launch

The Australian Human Rights Commission is pleased to announce Willing to Work: A National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australian and Australians with Disability. The Inquiry will be conducted at the request of the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC. It will be led by the Age and Disability Commissioner (15 April 2015) 

Read the full article here.

Appointment of the Honourable Michelle Gordon to the High Court of Australia

His Excellency the Governor-General accepted the advice of the Government to appoint the Honourable Michelle Marjorie Gordon, a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, as the next Justice of the High Court of Australia. Justice Gordon will replace the Honourable Justice Kenneth Hayne AC (14 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Whistleblower prison officer Kylie Muscat loses job at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre

A whistle blower at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre who was suspended after publicly raising concerns about prison officers' safety has officially departed from the prison. Ms Muscat and the union took the case to Fair Work Australia and the Federal Court, but has since reached a settlement with the private operators, the GEO Group (17 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Copyright Cowboys could take consumers for thousands

CHOICE says that yesterday's iiNet Federal Court ruling has left nearly one-third of Australians in legal limbo because of our outdated copyright laws. The Federal Court has ruled that iiNet will have to hand over customer details to allow the owners of Dallas Buyers Club to take legal action against people they believe have pirated their film (08 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Aboriginal heritage test case overturns decision to deregister Port Hedland site

The Supreme Court has quashed a decision by a West Australian Government committee to deregister a Port Hedland Aboriginal sacred site, in a test case that opens the door to a class action by traditional owners (01 April 2015)

Read the full article here.

Commissioner Wilson sets out rights agenda

Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson has set out his key priorities for future work in the Rights & Responsibilities Consultation Report released today (31 March 2015)

Read the full article here.

Regulation

AFP National Guideline on international police to police assistance in death penalty situations

The current AFP National Guideline on International Police to Police Assistance in Death Penalty Situations reflects Australia's position on the death penalty.

Read more here.

OAIC: APP guidelines update

These updates have been made following feedback from stakeholders throughout the first year of the new privacy laws. Changes have been made to four chapters, clarifying some aspects of the guidance and responding to issues such as the introduction of separate privacy legislation in the ACT (01 April 2015)

Read more here.

Federal Cabinet Handbook - 8th edition

The Cabinet Handbook, released on 30 March 2015, outlines the procedures designed to ensure that the Cabinet observes conventions and principles and fulfils its central purpose of informed decision-making.

Read more here.

Commonwealth - High Court - Public Lecture 2015

The High Court has announced that it will hold a public lecture titled Magna Carta and the Development of the Common Law to be held on 13 May 2015 in Canberra. Registrations for the event can be made by using the online form by 4 May 2015.

Read more here.

Access to Justice & Pro Bono Conference, 5th, 18-19 June 2015

The 2015 Conference will celebrate the 800-year anniversary of the Magna Carta. The program aims to create a dialogue about the various challenges and opportunities in enhancing access to legal services and pro bono work.

Read more here.

Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference: APSACC 2015

The fifth Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference (APSACC) will be held 17 to 19 November 2015 at the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre, South Bank.

Read more here.

Judicial Independence in Australia: Contemporary Challenges, Future Directions

Earlybird registrations are open for the Judicial Independence in Australia: Contemporary Challenges, Future Directions conference to be held at the University of Queensland on 10-11 July 2015. Leading scholars and members of the profession will discuss the nature and importance of judicial independence in Australia, and debate controversies and challenges to the principle at federal, state and territory levels.

Read more here.

Published - articles, papers, reports

ANAO Report No 33: Organ and Tissue Donation: Community Awareness, Professional Education and Family Support

The audit objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority's administration of community awareness, professional education and donor family support activities intended to increase organ and tissue donation (29 April 2015)

Read the report here.

Youth justice in Australia 2013–14

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Presents information on all young people who were under youth justice supervision in Australia during 2013–14, both in the community and in detention. It also explores key aspects of their supervision, and recent trends (29 April 2015)

Read the report here.

Cases

Queensland Nickel Pty Limited v Commonwealth of Australia [2015] HCA 12

Constitutional law  – Constitution, s 99 – Prohibition on Commonwealth, by any law of revenue, giving preference to one State over another – Discrimination – Practical operation of law – Clean Energy Act 2011 (Cth), Clean Energy (Charges – Excise) Act 2011 (Cth), Pt 3, Clean Energy (Charges – Customs) Act 2011 (Cth), Pt 3, and Clean Energy (Unit Shortfall Charge – General) Act 2011 (Cth) established and imposed tax on certain greenhouse gas emissions – Schedule 1 ("JCP") to Clean Energy Regulations 2011 (Cth) provided for reduction of tax liability for emissions generated by certain activities – JCP, Pt 3, Div 48 defined "production of nickel" as an activity – Whether JCP, Pt 3, Div 48 discriminates between States because of differences between States in natural, business or other circumstances – Whether JCP, Pt 3, Div 48 contrary to Constitution, s 99.

Words and phrases – "discrimination", "natural, business or other circumstances", "practical effect", "practical operation", "States or parts of States". Constitution, s 99

Read about the case here.

Duncan v New South Wales; NuCoal Resources Limited v New South Wales; Cascade Coal Pty Limited v New South Wales [2015] HCA 13

Constitutional law  – Judicial power – Independent Commission Against Corruption produced reports which recommended passing legislation to cancel three exploration licences granted under Mining Act 1992 (NSW) – Mining Amendment (ICAC Operations Jasper and Acacia) Act 2014 (NSW) ("Amendment Act") inserted Sched 6A into Mining Act 1992 (NSW), cancelling three licences without compensation – Whether Amendment Act involves exercise of judicial power in nature of, or akin to, bill of pains and penalties.

Constitutional law  – Constitution Act 1902 (NSW) – Legislative competence of New South Wales Parliament – Whether Amendment Act is "law" within meaning of s 5 of Constitution Act 1902 (NSW).

Constitutional law  – Inconsistency between Commonwealth and State laws – Provision of Amendment Act authorised use or disclosure of information contained in works – Whether provision of Amendment Act inconsistent with Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and invalid to extent of inconsistency.

Words and phrases – "bill of pains and penalties", "judicial power", "law". Constitution, Ch III, s 109

Read about the case here.

Harbour Radio Pty Limited v Australian Communications and Media Authority [2015] FCA 371

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – application for judicial review – decisions by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (“ACMA”) to investigate complaints under s 170 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (“the Act”) – whether s 170 of the Act permitted ACMA to investigate a complaint under the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice – whether a valid complaint made pursuant to s 148 of the Act

Read about the case here.

Dunkerley v Comcare [2015] FCA 392

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW  – whether any errors of law disclosed by Tribunal’s preference of evidence of medical opinion to medical certificates accompanying claim form or Tribunal’s finding that a prior injury no longer relevant PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – relevance of model litigant obligations

Read about the case here.

Qantas Airways Limited v Lustig [2015] FCA 253

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Where claims instituted in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) under the Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic) - Where challenge to jurisdiction of VCAT – Whether VCAT exercises judicial power in original jurisdiction – Whether VCAT is a “court of a State” within s 77(iii) of the Constitution – Where federal judicial power cannot be vested in VCAT – Whether provisions of State law conferring jurisdiction on VCAT should be read down – Whether the matter falls within federal jurisdiction - Where defence relies upon Part IV, Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959 (Cth) –Whether VCAT erred in considering the validity of the defence in determining whether it has jurisdiction - Whether defence is colourable

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Whether matter should be remitted to VCAT - Whether VCAT has power to refer the matter to the Victorian Supreme Court under s 77(1) of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) where it has no jurisdiction over the matter

Read about the case here.

Assarapin v Australian Community Pharmacy Authority [2015] FCA 268

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – whether decision of first respondent to recommend approval under s 90 of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) involved an error of law – whether approved premises ceased to be “within a facility” within the meaning of Sch 1, Part 1, Item 124 of the National Health (Australian Community Pharmacy Authority Rules) Determination 2011 as a result of demolition of building in which approved premises were located – whether each of the applicants was a person aggrieved by the first respondent’s decision

Read about the case here.

Back to top

Legislation

Commonwealth

Acts

Parliamentary Service Amendment Act 2015 (Act 26/2015)

This Act commences on the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent 02/04/2015. (Commencement as per bill, awaiting final confirmation) The Parliamentary Service Amendment Act 2015 amends the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 to provide that the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), or a Deputy Commissioner or a senior executive AFP employee who is nominated by the Presiding Officers, may be a member of the Security Management Board. The Security Management Board is established under section 65A of the Act. The Act also amends the existing function of the Board to include the operation of security measures (Assent 01 May 2015)

Read more here.

Public Governance and Resources Legislation Amendment Act (No. 1) 2015 (Act 36/2015)

This Act commences on the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent (Commencement as per bill, awaiting final confirmation) (Assent 13 April 2015)

Read more here.

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation) Act 2015 (Act 38/2015)

This Act commences on the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent 

The Act includes a number of measures to streamline telecommunications regulation and reduce the regulatory burden on industry and consumers, while maintaining important consumer safeguards. A key measure of the Act is to transfer the functions of the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) to the Department of Communications

The Telecommunications (Industry Levy) Amendment Act 2015 (the Levy Amendment Act) makes consequential amendments to the Telecommunications (Industry Levy) Act 2012 to reflect the arrangements for the assessment, collection and recovery of the telecommunications industry levy being transferred from the TUSMA Act to the Consumer Protection Act (Assent 13 April 2015)

Read more here.

Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015 (Act 39/2015)

This Act commences on the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent. An Act to amend the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979  (Assent 13 April 2015)

Read more here

Regulations

Criminal Code (Terrorist Organisation—Hizballah's External Security  SLI 2015 No. 57

This Regulation amends the Criminal Code Regulations 2002 and specifies Hizballah's External Security Organisation as a terrorist organisation for the purposes of paragraph (b) of the definition of a 'terrorist organisation' under subsection 102.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (01 May 2015)

Read more here.

Privacy Amendment (2015 Measures No. 2) Regulation 2015 SLI 2015 No. 58

This regulation amends the Privacy Regulation 2013 to replace the existing list of prescribed organisations with classes of organisations that may use or disclose the Customer Reference Number, DVA file number and new DVA unique identification number in relation to access to concession benefits and services. It also updates the list of agencies that may disclose Government identifiers for superannuation purposes (01 May 2015)

Read more here.

Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice (No. 1) 2010 (Amendment No. 5 of 2015)

This notice amends the Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice (No. 1) 2010 to remove certain events from the Principal Notice to permit the events to be premiered on a free-to-air television digital multichannel (01 May 2015)

Read more here.

National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Regulation 2015

Commencement: 31/3/2015 (Whole) This regulation provides for the continuing existence of a pre-existing framework for the protection of national security information in federal criminal proceedings and civil proceedings in which the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 is used

Read more here.

Trans-Tasman Proceedings Amendment (Administrative Appeals Tribunal) Regulation 2015 (SLI 20/2015)

This instrument commences on 31 March 2015. This regulation amends the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Regulation 2012 and prescribes the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for the purposes of issuing subpoenas to be served in New Zealand, remote appearances from New Zealand in proceedings before the Tribunal, and assistance with remote appearance from Australia in New Zealand proceedings.

Read more here.