Alternative Law Journal:
an Australian, refereed law journal

Welcome to the Alternative Law Journal! Here you can sample our journal with free previews (under the ‘News & Views’ menu). To purchase the full journal — with our signature mix of legal news, opinions, articles, as well as regular columns, art and cartoons — please visit our subscription page.

The AltLJ, focusing on

  •  social justice, human rights and law reform
  •  critique of the legal system
  •  developments in alternative practice
  •  community legal education


39(1) Law And Disorder

  • Children before the law
  • Public order and offence
  • Same-same but different

Free Content:


Law & Culture

Sit Down Girlie

The Last Word

The Court Hurts

Brad Jessup

sroth-jessup-final-sm150pxA personal reflection on Commonwealth v ACT (‘Same Sex Marriage Case’)

On 12 December 2013 the High Court revealed its decision in Commonwealth v Australian Capital Territory (‘Same Sex Marriage case’)1 on the Commonwealth’s challenge to the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 (ACT), and at the same time it reduced the possibilities for other state and territory proposals for so-called ‘marriage equality laws’.

Available for free download, now.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 45


As if we were at war

Tania Penovic

When the Abbott government assumed office in September 2013, it appeared that its Labor predecessor had already implemented key aspects of the Coalition’s asylum seeker policy. Asylum seekers were being detained in Nauru and Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) as they had been under the Howard government’s Pacific Solution. The detention facility built at great expense by the Howard government in the remote territory of Christmas Island had become established as a key site for processing those who seek Australia’s protection as refugees. The Gillard government had even completed the process of effectively excising mainland Australia from the migration zone, a step which the Howard government attempted unsuccessfully (and amidst great controversy) in 2006. In light of the stark similarities between the two major parties’ policies, it might appear that little would have changed under the new Abbott administration.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 58


Girlie Grizzles Her Way Into 2014

Jen Derr and Ben Derr

A new year yet women’s reproductive rights are still under threat in many countries. Abortion remains a political football being kicked around by conservative forces determined to ensure women remain subordinate. In Texas extremely restrictive anti abortion laws were passed in 2013 and subsequent research indicates some 22 000 women would miss out on services because of the closure of clinics and reduction of services.

Closer to home a ginger group of conservative politicians in Victoria is seeking to overturn abortion law reforms. They are supporting a group of doctors, who call themselves Doctors Conscience, and want section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act abolished. The section says that if a doctor has a conscientious objection to abortion they must tell the patient and refer them to another doctor who has no such objection. Results of a News Poll published in The Age on 29 January 2014 indicate a clear majority of Victorians do not want the Act changed and they support a woman’s right to choose.

(2013) 38(4) AltLJ 275


Tech + law update

Leanne O'Donnell

Privacy and surveillance has been grabbing headlines in the past nine months with the ongoing revelations flowing from the documents provided by Edward Snowden. In Australia, the government last year announced a Senate Inquiry concerning a comprehensive revision of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979. The Committee is due to report at the end of June 2014.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 59


Protecting the anonymity of victims of sexual crimes

The Tasmanian Committee

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute released its latest report, Protecting the Anonymity of Victims of Sexual Crimes. The paper reviewed section 194K of the Evidence Act 2001 (Tas) which prohibits the publication of information likely to identify the complainant in sexual offence cases, recommending a new statutory regime in which the interests of the complainant, the courts and the principle of open justice are clarified. The report also considered the position of those victims who do not seek the protection of anonymity, recommending that the publication of identifying material be permitted with the consent of the victim if they are over 18 years of age.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 63


Refugees And Asylum Seekers: Finding A Better Way

Michelle Blewett

Aus21 Refugees and asylum seekersBob Douglas and Jo Wodak (eds); Australia 21, 2013; 112 pp; $25 (paperback) or e-book available as free download —

Amid a barrage of incendiary rhetoric and populist policy on asylum seekers, this publication is a breath of fresh air. Twenty-five notable Australians hailing from diverse professional backgrounds — including the clergy, law, defence, medicine, media and public service — have united to insist that we find a better way to treat asylum seekers.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 66


American Hustle

Finian McGrath

American-Hustle-smDirector: David O Russell; starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams; Roadshow 2013; 138 mins, available on DVD $25.00

The release of American Hustle just prior to Christmas bucked the general trend that end-of-year film releases lack substance.

Director/co-writer David O Russell returns to the almost classical roots of ‘caper’ movies through his intricately constructed plot and brilliantly devised schemes. Conman Irving Rosenfeld and his seductively charming partner in crime Sydney Prosser provide the genius behind the twisted yet comical theme of political entrapment, as they are thrown into the corrupt New Jersey underworld by unstable FBI agent Richie DiMaso.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 68


From the Vault

Click on the links below to download free articles from the archives...

Female Friends, Nicola Roxon & Kris Walker
Alternative Law Journal 19(3), June 1994

Advocacy before the Parole Board, Viginia Bell & Merrilyn Walton
Legal Service Bulletin, June 1984


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