2016 - Vol 41(1) - Legal Directions


Political prespectives

Identity and evidence

Death rights

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An Indigenous person’s home is his castle: It’s official

Stephen Keim

Palm Island is a tropical island off the coast of Townsville, North Queensland. On 19 November 2004, a 36-year-old Aboriginal man, known as Cameron Doomadgee, died there in police custody.1 A week later, the results of his autopsy were read to a large public gathering, indicating the possibility that Mr Doomadgee had been punched and killed by police officers.2

A riot ensued. The police station, police barracks and housing, and the courthouse were burned and damaged.

Mr David Bulsey had addressed the crowd prior to the riot. Along with a number of other residents of Palm Island, Mr Bulsey was arrested the following morning. Mr Bulsey was charged with unlawful assembly. The charge was later withdrawn and replaced with riotous assembly and destruction of a building. He was discharged after it was accepted, during the lengthy committal hearing in July 2005, that he had no case to answer in respect of the charges.

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 3


Protests outside abortion clinics: Constitutionally protected speech?

Mitchell Landrigan

This article reviews the constitutionality of recently enacted Victorian (and comparable Australian) ‘safe access zone legislation’ insofar as the laws prohibit protests about abortions near clinics.1 The safe access zone laws prohibit 
anti-abortion protestors from: harassing people entering or leaving abortion clinics; engaging in other anti-abortion protest activities (in the case of Victoria, where this is reasonably likely to cause distress or anxiety); and recording people entering or leaving abortion clinics. Similar safe access zone laws exist in Tasmania2 and comparable laws were recently passed in the Australian Capital Territory.3

This article focuses on whether, by banning anti-abortion protests in safe access zones, the legislation might infringe the implied freedom of political discourse (‘implied freedom’) under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia (‘Constitution’). It focuses on the Victorian safe access zone laws while also, by comparison, considering the constitutionality of the bans on protests under the Tasmanian and ACT safe access zone arrangements.

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 8


The Trailblazing Women and the Law project

Kim Rubenstein

women-and-the-law-project-skneebone-150This article seeks to alert the readership of the Alternative Law Journal to an ongoing project on Trailblazing Women and the Law (‘The Trailblazing Project’). The Trailblazing Project, funded in part by the Australian Research Council under its Linkage grant system,1 aims to create, showcase and analyse the experiences of seven decades of Australia’s pioneer, ‘trailblazing’, women lawyers.2 In this contribution I offer a brief introduction to the Trailblazing Project and the oral history interviews completed to date and the aims of the Project, which bring together the disciplines of gender, oral history, biography, law and citizenship, social networks and cultural informatics, and ePublication and women’s history archiving.3 I also highlight some initial insights from completed oral histories that offer important observations of trailblazing women lawyers operating within a diverse, networking and women rights framework, using their legal skills as active citizens. The article concludes with a discussion on one aspect of the final stage of the Trailblazing Project: the establishment of an online exhibition, featuring the biographical details of over 300 women nominated as trailblazers and significant contributors to law and society in Australia, which will further amplify the significant active citizenship of women lawyers in Australia over a significant period of time.

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 13


Worlds apart: The appointment of former politicians as judges

Douglas McDonald

former-politicians-as-judges-skneebone-150Judicial appointments of serving or former politicians were once relatively commonplace in Australia. Thirteen members of state, federal or colonial Parliaments have been appointed to the High Court of Australia. However, the last former parliamentarian on the High Court, Lionel Murphy, passed away almost 30 years ago.1

Appointments of former politicians as judges are not entirely unknown in the present day. Former parliamentarians may be found on the Federal Court (John Reeves and Duncan Kerr),2 the NSW Land and Environment Court (Terry Sheahan and Tim Moore), the NSW District Court (John Hatzistergos), the Family Court (Robert McClelland) and the Victorian Magistrates’ Court (Lou Hill, as a Reserve Magistrate). Throughout Australia, however, appointments of former politicians to judicial office are significantly less common than they once were.

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 17


Cultural considerations in will-making in Australia

Jill Wilson, Linda Rosenman, Ben White, Cheryl Tilse and Rachel Feeney

A case study of Islamic or Sharia-compliant wills

There are major legal and cultural differences across countries in principles guiding intergenerational transmission of wealth, and individual differences in views on inheritance.1 Australian succession law is based upon English common law, starting with the presumption of testamentary freedom, which allows a testator to dispose of their estate as they see fit. However, this freedom can be limited by family provision laws that allow ‘eligible applicants’ to contest distributions on the basis of insufficient provision in accordance with legislation of the particular State or Territory. Hence, the legal framework represents a balance between testamentary freedom and familial obligation. Internationally there are significant cultural and legal differences in the degree of will-makers’ testamentary freedom.

(2016) 41(1) AltLJ 23


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