DUAO - 2012 - Vol 37(1)

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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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Update from the ACT

Anne Macduff
ACT

The ACT has recently introduced legislation to restrict the supply of plastic shopping bags. From 1 November 2011, the Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2010 (ACT) prevents ACT retailers from supplying certain types of plastic bags to consumers. Retailers who contravene the Act risk fines of up to $5500 (for an individual) and $27 500 (for a corporation). The Act specifically restricts supply of lightweight plastic carry bags with a thickness less than 35 microns. These plastic bags are traditionally supplied by supermarkets and grocery stores. There are a number of exceptions to the plastic shopping bag ban. Retailers can supply plastic bags less than 35 microns thick if they are either ‘barrier bags’ of the kind used for fruit and vegetable or are considered ‘biodegradable’. The Act does not affect the sale of bin-liners or apply to thicker plastic bags.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 61

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Watering down Aboriginal voting:  Amendments 
to the ALRA

Virginia Marshall
New South Wales

In Woods v Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council (‘LALC’); Thatcher v Gandangara LALC [2011] NSWLEC 42 before Pepper J, the proceedings turned on whether a decision to terminate residential tenancy agreements (‘RTAs’) under s 52G(e), the ‘dealing with land’ provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) (‘ALRA’), could be made by a delegate of the Local Aboriginal Land Council, or whether it required a resolution of the voting members of the LALC, to terminate the RTAs.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 61

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Full face covering legislation

Renae Barker
New South Wales

On 1 November 2011 the Identification Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (NSW) came into effect. This Act gives police, and other designated public officers the power to request that a person remove a face covering for the purpose of identification. The Act operates by amending five existing statutes and two regulations; Amendment of Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002, Children (Detention Centre) Act 1987, Court Security Act 2005, Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999, Oaths Act 1990, Children (Detention Centers) Regulation 2010 and Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Regulation 2008.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 62

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Young people and bail reform

Emily Muir
New South Wales

In June 2011, NSW Attorney General Greg Smith asked the NSW Law Reform Commission (‘LRC’) to undertake a comprehensive review of the Bail Act 1978 (NSW). This inquiry, which was an election promise of Premier O’Farrell, is expected to result in ‘root and branch’ reform of bail legislation.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 62

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Should penalty notices be issued for using 
offensive language?

Elyse Methven
New South Wales

The NSW Law Reform Commission (‘NSWLRC’) is currently conducting an inquiry into the use of penalty notices in NSW. Also known as a Criminal Infringement Notice (‘CIN’) these notices give recipients a choice between paying a fixed amount to the issuing system or going to court.

The NSWLRC is considering whether CINs should be used for public order offences, such as the crime of using offensive language contrary to s 4A of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW). Historically, public order offences were dealt with in formal court proceedings but, since 1 January 2008, police across NSW have had the power to issue CINs amounting to $150 for the use of offensive language in, or within hearing of, a public place.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 63

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