: Alternative Law Journal - An Australian referreed law journal

Alternative Law Journal:
an Australian, refereed law journal

Welcome to the Alternative Law Journal! Here you can sample our journal with free previews (under the ‘News & Views’ menu). To purchase the full journal — with our signature mix of legal news, opinions, articles, as well as regular columns, art and cartoons — please visit our subscription page.

The AltLJ, focusing on

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

The back catalogue (to 2000) is also available, free, for a limited time on our new Sage website.

News & Views

Privacy as a human right?

Bruce Baer Arnold

The incoherence of Australia’s recognition of privacy as a human right is demonstrated by the idiosyncratic nature of privacy statutes across the states and territories, the weakness of Commonwealth law in the absence of a justiciable Bill of Rights, and regulatory incapacity on the part of watchdogs such as the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. It is puzzling, for example, that New South Wales and Victoria have enhanced their information privacy statutes (albeit while weakening the state privacy commissioners) and sought to establish technology-neutral legislation regarding surveillance devices but South Australia has yet to provide statutory protection for information privacy.

Discrepancies in protection are highlighted in the consultation by the ACT government, concluding this month, about ‘civil surveillance regulation’. That consultation centred on an issues paper for the government by Daniel Stewart of the ANU College of Law regarding private sector surveillance in the Territory. It follows establishment of the Workplace Privacy Act 2011 (ACT) and the Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT). The latter statute represented a step forward, with a discrete information privacy regime for the Territory beyond the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

(2016) 41(4) AltLJ 285


Native Title Valued

Dani Larkin

On 24 August 2016, Mansfield J deliberated on various compensatory issues with regard to native title claims put forth by the Indigenous peoples from the estate groups of Makalamayi, Wunjaiyi, Yanturi, Wantawul and Maiyalaniwung. Those estate groups are located near the township of Timber Creek in the Northern Territory.

The native title claims put forth by the claim group drew upon section 51 (xxxi) of the Constitution to interpret ‘just terms’ reflecting a reasonable and proportionate compensation payout to the claim group affected.

One of the critical questions to determine was whether compensation was to be assessed at the date of the acts of extinguishment of native title rights and interests; or at the date of validation of the act of extinguishment. Other related issues in this dispute were the valuation of compensation for the claim group (whatever the timing) and whether it should be based on the market value of freehold title. The extent of traditional attachment to the land was also considered, and whether this should be reflected in compensation for non-economic or intangible loss. Lastly, he considered whether compensation should reflect the effluxion of time between the various dates in which compensation entitlement arose and the date of judgment.

(2016) 41(4) AltLJ 285


Politicians crack down on young people instead of improving youth detention

Robert Corr

n recent months, a number of riots involving detainees at the two Youth Justice Centres in Parkville and Malmsbury have caused significant property damage, leading to tabloid media outrage and a predictable political response.

The government immediately responded to the Malmsbury incident by announcing an additional 41 staff would be employed to ‘crack down on violent young offenders’.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy upped the ante, telling talkback radio, ‘Some of those people need to be in an adult prison. They should not be held in a youth detention facility’.

The government agreed to consider this idea. Police Minister Lisa Neville told The Age there were more than 550 young people for whom ‘normal interventions’ aren’t working, and who may need to be transferred to adult prison.

(2016) 41(4) AltLJ 289


A new chapter for the Alternative Law Journal

Melissa Castan, Bronwyn Naylor and Deb Candy

We are pleased to inform you that, after more than 40 years of independent publishing, the Alternative Law Journal is turning over a fresh page with a new publishing arrangement. 

From 2017, we will be joining Sage Publications which will coordinate the production and delivery of the Journal to you, our readers.

As many of you know, the traditional models of academic publishing face increasing pressures on all fronts: financial, technological and in production.

In evaluating our future in the evolving publishing world, we believe that the Journal required the financial and production support available from a larger organisation.

We have been fortunate in coming to an arrangement with one of the world’s largest academic publishers which will ensure the on-going sustainability of our journal.

(2016) 41(4) AltLJ 224


Vol 41(4) - 39 Levels of Luxury

Christopher McVinish

The man in the foreground is gazing into the empty shell of a construction project destined to be transformed into a luxury apartment complex. Beside him, a pink-coloured industrial skip brims with builders’ waste.

The solitary figure could be the artist himself, Christopher McVinish, but we can only speculate. Instead we are invited into an alternate reality, transformed from the urban commonplace by an elegant vision, suggesting potential tinged with – perhaps even a sense of – loss. His ambiguous scenarios focus on aspects of everyday life, elevating it to a special plane.

If McVinish’s paintings imply a vague feeling of disquiet, or even loss, they are inhabited by survivors, thinkers and observers, suggesting a separate, reflective interior life where time feels suspended. His visual stories depict contemporary life like a kind of half-remembered dream that lingers in the mind.

The Brisbane-born artist lives and works in the Blue Mountains. He has held more than 30 Australian solo exhibitions and participated in numerous other exhibitions nationwide, as well as in Florida and California.

‘I have drawn on the past as well as the present in my quest to find meaning in the mundane,’ says McVinish. ‘I intend … to provoke a narrative in the imagination of the viewer and in doing so enable the viewer to exist temporarily in someone else’s world – as if suddenly transported to a place where other lives exist and time has been suspended.

‘I want my paintings to have an air of expectancy and strangeness – these are places where something has just happened or is about to happen.’ ‘I think of it like hitting the pause button while watching a movie. In a memorable movie the images remain with you long after the film has finished.’

39 Levels of Luxury Christopher McVinish39 Levels of Luxury
Oil on Linen, 2015
61 x 67 cm (image size)
Cover image courtesy of the artist and Gallery One, Southport, Queensland.
Represented in Sydney by Maunsell Wickes Gallery, Paddington.


(2016) 41(4) AltLJ 295


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