DownUnderAllOver

DownUnderAllOver

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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Indigenous representation

Ben Schokman
Federal

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Australia’s peak representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, has elected a new leadership team. The editor of the Koori Mail, Kirstie Parker, has become the new female co-chair of the organisation replacing Jody Broun. The National Congress also re-elected male co-chair Les Malezer.

The new federal government has also announced the creation of hand-picked Indigenous Advisory Council, chaired by Warren Mundine. And just on the eve of the 2013 election, the Coalition announced they proposed to implement $42 million in cuts to Indigenous legal advisory services. It is not yet known when or where these cuts will apply.

(2013) 38(4) AltLJ 276

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News From ACT

Anne Macduff
ACT

In 2004, momentum for marriage equality at the federal level stalled when the definition of ‘marriage’ as ‘between a man and a woman’ was inserted into the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) (the ‘Commonwealth Act’). Since then, lobby groups have placed increasing pressure on the states and territories to facilitate same-sex marriage. On 22 October this year, almost a decade later, the ACT was the first Australian jurisdiction to legislate for same-sex marriage when it passed the Marriage Equality (Same-Sex) Act 2013 (ACT) (‘MEA’). Although the constitutional questions have dominated public discussion, the features of the MEA itself are worth examination.

(2013) 38(4) AltLJ 276

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Aggravated People Smuggling

Anthea Vogl
Federal

In October 2013, the HCA dismissed the appeal in the case of Magaming v The Queen [2013] HCA 40, holding that the discretion to charge alleged people smugglers with an aggravated offence, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence, is not an unconstitutional exercise of judicial power by criminal prosecutors.

(2013) 38(4) AltLJ 276

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Improved protections for LGBTI people welcomed

Anna Brown
Human Rights

The passage of the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Act 2013 (‘the Act’) brings long overdue legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (‘LGBTI’) people. The law delivers legal protection from discrimination at a national level, filling important gaps in protection and setting a new national standard for the protection of transgender, intersex and gender diverse people.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 190

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Asylum seeker policies fail to safeguard basic human rights

Daniel Webb
Human Rights

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has concluded that Australia’s offshore processing laws do not comply with fundamental human rights principles. The Committee conducted an inquiry into various aspects of the current offshore processing regime following requests from a number of human rights and refugee advocates. In its report, the Committee found that the government failed to demonstrate Australia’s current asylum seeker policies uphold fundamental human protections in key human rights treaties.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 190

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