2014 - Vol 39(1) - Law And Disorder

AltLJ391issue-cover-smChildren before the law

Public order and offence

Same-same but different

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Queensland: A Return To The Moonlight State?

Kate Galloway and Allan Ardill

sroth-bikie-judge-sm150pxLately there has been a lot made in the media about a war on bikies and the implementation of other new laws, ostensibly designed to meet the expectations of Queenslanders that the government is getting tough on crime.1 Lawyers across the board have condemned the Queensland laws as ill-conceived, rash, hurried, irresponsible, self-serving and dangerous, consistently mentioning attacks on the rule of law, our system of government, and the separation of powers. 2 In response to the critique, Premier Campbell Newman has alleged that lawyers should ‘step out of their ivory towers’.3 While the legal principles at stake may seem overly technical or abstract, history reveals their importance in protecting rights and freedoms of citizens. As a former Chief Justice of the High Court commented:

Judicial independence does not exist to serve the judiciary; nor to serve the interests of the other two branches of government. It exists to serve and protect not the governors but the governed… The reason why judicial independence is of such public importance is that a free society exists only so long as it is governed by the rule of law – the rule which binds the governors and the governed, administered impartially and treating equally all those who seek its remedies or against whom its remedies are sought.4

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 3


Putting The ‘Queen’ Back Into Queensland

Harry Hobbs

sroth-hobbs-final-sm150pxOn 3 April 2012, the Honourable Member for Kawana, Jarrod Bleijie MP, was sworn in as Attorney-General for Queensland and Minister for Justice. In just two years, Queensland’s youngest Attorney-General since Sir Samuel Griffith in 18741 has implemented a significant package of law reforms. These reforms have been heavily and almost uniformly criticised by the profession, the judiciary, and the academy.2 This short note takes a discursive look at the young Attorney-General’s contribution to Queen’s land.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 9


Too Much Individualisation, Not Enough Justice

Sarah Krasnostein

Bugmy v The Queen

What impact does ‘Aboriginality’ 1 have on sentencing? The High Court handed down a long-anticipated decision in Bugmy v The Queen2 on 2 October 2013. While the decision was reported with much fanfare for finding that the effects of profound childhood deprivation do not diminish over time, its implications are disappointing and may do little to reduce disparity in Aboriginal incarceration rates.3 The emphasis placed by the Court on extremely broad sentencing discretion,4 as well as a distinction perpetuated between individualised justice and equal justice,5 are both of considerable concern in light of the fact that ‘over the last two decades, Aboriginal imprisonment rates have grown significantly rather than declined’6 and that the ‘core underlying factors that the Royal Commission [into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody] identified as explaining the disproportionate number of Indigenous people in custody, including poor relations with police, alcohol and substance abuse, poor education, unemployment, inadequate housing and entrenched poverty’ are unchanged.7

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 12


History Wars And Stronger Futures Laws

Shelley Bielefeld

A stronger future or perpetuating past paternalism?

This article highlights the relationship between the history wars and the Stronger Futures laws. The dominant discourse in the history wars has promoted a narrative of benevolent colonists acting primarily for the benefit of Aboriginal peoples. This is interconnected with early colonial ideas about the superiority of Eurocentric culture and how the norms of that culture were benefits to be bestowed upon a supposedly inferior Aboriginal one. In 2007, following the Little Children are Sacred report,1 there was a return to a discourse that disparaged Aboriginal culture in order to justify the Northern Territory Emergency Response (the Intervention). The 2007 Intervention was, as Irene Watson argues, founded upon the ‘cultural profiling of the other as barbarian’.2 In this sense, the laws and policies embodying the Intervention cannot be seen as divorced from the history wars. They have drawn upon a colonialist discourse stretching back to the earliest days of Australian colonisation.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 15


Getting Hagued

Michael Salter

The impact of international law on child abduction by protective mothers

‘Protective mothers’ is a term used in the literature on child abuse to refer to women who take proactive steps to protect their children from abuse and violence. Protective mothers who take children overseas to bring violence or abuse to an end are increasingly finding themselves the subject of a petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (‘Hague Convention’).1 The Hague Convention was formulated in the late 1970s prior to widespread recognition of the role of abuse and violence in separation and divorce. It requires the prompt return of children taken from one signatory country to another with only narrow and limited exceptions. This article argues that the Hague Convention has the effect of trivialising domestic violence and child abuse and perpetuating stereotypes of protective mothers as mentally ill and malicious. One website for protective mothers calls this experience ‘getting Hagued’.2 This article will examine how those drafting and then interpreting the Hague Convention have misunderstood the gendered nature of international child abduction before going on to analyse the impact of ‘getting Hagued’ in two important Australian cases of international child abduction.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 19


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