DUAO - 2012 - Vol 37(1)

DownUnderAllOver Cartoon

Developments around the country

DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.

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New Commonwealth laws subject 
to human rights scrutiny

Laura Hilly and Emma Hoiberg
Human Rights

In keeping with the promise put forward in the federal government’s Human Rights Framework in 2010 to increase protection of human rights in Australia, the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth) (‘the Act’) came into effect on 4 January 2012.

The Act introduces two significant changes to the way legislation is to be passed through federal parliament:

  • It establishes a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (‘the Committee’) to examine Bills for compliance with certain human rights; and
  • It requires a statement of compatibility to be prepared in respect of each Bill introduced into a house of parliament, which assesses whether the Bill is compatible with human rights.
(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 59

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UN expert on trafficking in persons concludes mission to Australia

Rachel Ball
Human Rights

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, has concluded her country visit to Australia. Ms Ezeilo conducted her official visit from 17 to 30 November 2011 to examine the situation of trafficked individuals and anti-trafficking measures in the country.

Ms Ezeilo is an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to advocate for the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 59

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Leading Australians recognised in Australia’s annual Human Rights Awards

Philip Lynch
Human Rights

Ron Merkel QC has been announced winner of the prestigious 2011 Human Rights Medal at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual Human Rights Awards in Sydney. Meanwhile, a legal team comprising Allens Arthur Robinson, the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, Debbie Mortimer SC and Richard Niall SC were awarded the Human Rights Law Award for their outstanding legal advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 60

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Reform of the prohibition 
on unconscionable conduct

Jeannie Paterson
Federal

Consumer protection legislation in Australia has, until recently, included different types of protection from ‘unconscionable conduct’ for consumers and for small businesses. From 1 January 2012, the Competition and Consumer Legislation Amendment Act 2011 amends sections 21 and 22 of the Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’) and sections 12CB and 12CC of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (‘ASIC Act’) by replacing these different provisions with a unified prohibition on persons engaging in unconscionable conduct in trade and commerce.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 60

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Additional protections for consumers

James Farrell and Julie Clarke
Federal
The introduction of the Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’) represents one of the most significant developments in consumer protection in Australia. The ACL bolsters protection and increased certainty for consumers, while reducing compliance costs for business by consolidating twenty state, territory and federal laws into a single national law.
(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 60

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