: 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

Girlie greets 2012 and asks 
how far have we come?

Anna List, Lexi Cog-Raffer and Pam Flateer

Prominent Purveyors of Porn Pack Up

In January 2012 the Los Angeles City Council voted 9 to 1 to approve an ordinance denying permits to porn makers whose actors do not wear condoms. There are, however, some interesting enforcement issues that have to be nutted out. LA is the porn capital of the US and film makers like Vivid and Evil Angel are threatening to spit the dummy and shoot elsewhere. They say the industry is already heavily regulated and current health laws provide protection for actors who have to be tested for STDs every 30 days while working. AIDS activists argue condoms are needed because the industry ignores state health regulations. Veteran porn actor/producer Tabitha Stevens says, of condoms, ‘If you want to wear them, wear them. If you don’t, don’t. That’s up to the talent to decide. 
It shouldn’t be up to the government to decide.’ (Source: John Rogers, Associated Press, 17 January 2012).

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 58

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New Commonwealth laws subject 
to human rights scrutiny

Laura Hilly and Emma Hoiberg
Human Rights

In keeping with the promise put forward in the federal government’s Human Rights Framework in 2010 to increase protection of human rights in Australia, the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth) (‘the Act’) came into effect on 4 January 2012.

The Act introduces two significant changes to the way legislation is to be passed through federal parliament:

  • It establishes a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (‘the Committee’) to examine Bills for compliance with certain human rights; and
  • It requires a statement of compatibility to be prepared in respect of each Bill introduced into a house of parliament, which assesses whether the Bill is compatible with human rights.
(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 59

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UN expert on trafficking in persons concludes mission to Australia

Rachel Ball
Human Rights

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, has concluded her country visit to Australia. Ms Ezeilo conducted her official visit from 17 to 30 November 2011 to examine the situation of trafficked individuals and anti-trafficking measures in the country.

Ms Ezeilo is an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to advocate for the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 59

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Leading Australians recognised in Australia’s annual Human Rights Awards

Philip Lynch
Human Rights

Ron Merkel QC has been announced winner of the prestigious 2011 Human Rights Medal at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual Human Rights Awards in Sydney. Meanwhile, a legal team comprising Allens Arthur Robinson, the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, Debbie Mortimer SC and Richard Niall SC were awarded the Human Rights Law Award for their outstanding legal advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 60

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Reform of the prohibition 
on unconscionable conduct

Jeannie Paterson
Federal

Consumer protection legislation in Australia has, until recently, included different types of protection from ‘unconscionable conduct’ for consumers and for small businesses. From 1 January 2012, the Competition and Consumer Legislation Amendment Act 2011 amends sections 21 and 22 of the Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’) and sections 12CB and 12CC of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (‘ASIC Act’) by replacing these different provisions with a unified prohibition on persons engaging in unconscionable conduct in trade and commerce.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 60

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Additional protections for consumers

James Farrell and Julie Clarke
Federal
The introduction of the Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’) represents one of the most significant developments in consumer protection in Australia. The ACL bolsters protection and increased certainty for consumers, while reducing compliance costs for business by consolidating twenty state, territory and federal laws into a single national law.
(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 60

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Update from the ACT

Anne Macduff
ACT

The ACT has recently introduced legislation to restrict the supply of plastic shopping bags. From 1 November 2011, the Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2010 (ACT) prevents ACT retailers from supplying certain types of plastic bags to consumers. Retailers who contravene the Act risk fines of up to $5500 (for an individual) and $27 500 (for a corporation). The Act specifically restricts supply of lightweight plastic carry bags with a thickness less than 35 microns. These plastic bags are traditionally supplied by supermarkets and grocery stores. There are a number of exceptions to the plastic shopping bag ban. Retailers can supply plastic bags less than 35 microns thick if they are either ‘barrier bags’ of the kind used for fruit and vegetable or are considered ‘biodegradable’. The Act does not affect the sale of bin-liners or apply to thicker plastic bags.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 61

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Watering down Aboriginal voting:  Amendments 
to the ALRA

Virginia Marshall
New South Wales

In Woods v Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council (‘LALC’); Thatcher v Gandangara LALC [2011] NSWLEC 42 before Pepper J, the proceedings turned on whether a decision to terminate residential tenancy agreements (‘RTAs’) under s 52G(e), the ‘dealing with land’ provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) (‘ALRA’), could be made by a delegate of the Local Aboriginal Land Council, or whether it required a resolution of the voting members of the LALC, to terminate the RTAs.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 61

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Full face covering legislation

Renae Barker
New South Wales

On 1 November 2011 the Identification Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (NSW) came into effect. This Act gives police, and other designated public officers the power to request that a person remove a face covering for the purpose of identification. The Act operates by amending five existing statutes and two regulations; Amendment of Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002, Children (Detention Centre) Act 1987, Court Security Act 2005, Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999, Oaths Act 1990, Children (Detention Centers) Regulation 2010 and Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Regulation 2008.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 62

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Young people and bail reform

Emily Muir
New South Wales

In June 2011, NSW Attorney General Greg Smith asked the NSW Law Reform Commission (‘LRC’) to undertake a comprehensive review of the Bail Act 1978 (NSW). This inquiry, which was an election promise of Premier O’Farrell, is expected to result in ‘root and branch’ reform of bail legislation.

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 62

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