Alternative Law Journal:
an Australian, refereed law journal

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The AltLJ, focusing on

  •  social justice, human rights and law reform
  •  critique of the legal system
  •  developments in alternative practice
  •  community legal education

CURRENT ISSUE

40(2) Questions of Fairness

  • Good faith, bad faith
  • Youth+Laws
  • Addressing violence

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The Last Word

Limitation on civil actions for child abuse removed

Robert Corr
Victoria

In 2013 the Victorian Parliament’s Family and Community Development Committee delivered its Betrayal of Trust report on child abuse. One important recommendation was that ‘the Victorian Government consider amending the Limitation of Actions Act 1958 (Vic) to exclude criminal child abuse from the operation of the limitations period under that Act’.

The Limitation of Actions Amendment (Child Abuse) Act 2015 implements this recommendation by removing any limitation period on actions based on physical abuse, sexual abuse, or the resulting psychological abuse of children, regardless of when the abuse occurred.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 142

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Barrier Reef remains under threat

Kate Galloway
Queensland

In the face of urgent need to protect the Great Barrier Reef, the Queensland and Commonwealth governments jointly released ‘Reef 2050’. It purports to be a long-term plan for Reef sustainability, and its release satisfies one of UNESCO’s recommendations to avoid categorising the Reef as ‘in danger’. The Reef is presently listed as ‘at risk’ and UNESCO will consider the Reef’s listing further, in June 2015. Reef 2050 nominates climate change as one of the Reef’s principal risks. Despite this, government ‘wants to have coal mines operating in 60 years’ time’ which, according to reef scientist Terry Hughes, is incompatible with a healthy reef. Meanwhile the Commonwealth government has established an inquiry into the tax-deductible status of environmental groups, suggesting that the work of environmental charities is political, rather than frontline environmental protection. Yet changes to the tax status of these organisations may further erode public debate on environmental protection.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 140

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Religious discrimination exemption

The Tasmanian Committee
Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government has introduced controversial new legislation to amend Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1998. Touted as one of the strongest Anti-Discrimination Acts in Australia, the Bill, if passed, will water down existing provisions by providing for religious exemptions to discriminate.

The Amendment Bill will allow schools to discriminate in their choice of students where it is believed that the student ‘does not share those [religious] tenets, beliefs, teachings, principles or practices’. 

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 142

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Closure of Aboriginal Communities

Steven Castan
Western Australia

In other news, continuing uncertainty and speculation as to which remote Aboriginal communities will be closed in WA is causing distress and anxiety in those communities.

Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has called on the Premier to engage in proper and full consultation with Indigenous people, as he promised. Such consultation has not occurred even though the plan to close many remote communities was announced earlier in the year.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 143

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Law Of The Jungle

Evan Hamman

Law-of-the-Jungle-150The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil In The Rain Forest And The Lawyer Who’d Stop At Nothing To Win

Paul M Barrett; Crown Publishing, 2014; 302 pages; $26 (paperback)

The story Paul Barrett tells in Law of the Jungle is nothing short of extraordinary. In the 1970s and 80s, Texaco (now Chevron) drilled for oil deep in the Ecuadorian rainforest. What they left behind was a legacy of disgraceful environmental mismanagement: hundreds of unlined oil waste pits and evidence (disputed) of widespread contamination causing serious human health impacts on the local people. The ‘Amazon Chernobyl’ as it’s been dubbed by some.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 145

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Wild Law – In Practice

Peter Boulot

Wild-Law-in-Practice-150Michelle Maloney and Peter Burdon; Routledge, 272 pp; $140 (hardcover)

What is Wild Law?

Is it being wild at the law? Many of us feel that way…

Or is it practicing law wildly? Many of us have wished that that were possible in such a closed profession. Rather, in fact, Wild Law is an inverted approach to law, one sourced in humility and mystery. But I hear your guffaws oh reader as you say, ‘Horseshit, that is an oxymoron. I’ve never met a lawyer that is humbled by the limitations of their profession’. Well, Wild Law is just that; the acceptance of a greater law which is based on cosmological constants and respect for life and of which our constructed legal systems only form a small part.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 146

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