: 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

Floods Inquiry Interim Report

Steven White

The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, established to inquire into the flood events of December 2010 and January 2011, has presented an interim report to the Queensland government. The report can be accessed at:


(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 210


Victim Services: Age Should Be No Barrier

Catherine Schubert
South Australia

Young people aged between 14 and 24 years are heavily represented in Australian crime victimisation statistics, for crimes against the person. Nevertheless, victim agencies are typically designed primarily to assist adults. This means there is a lack of services that are both available and accessible for young victims of crime. While each jurisdiction is grappling with this issue, in South Australia it has formally been flagged by Victim Support Service (‘VSS’). This organisation is currently equipped to assist victims over the age of 16.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 210


Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture

Noelle Rattray

The Hon Michael Kirby, AC CMG, delivered the inaugural Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture — My Journey with Social Justice — on Monday 2 May. The lecture also officially launched the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Fund.* In June 2010, Tasmanian lawyer and Principal Solicitor at the Tenant’s Union Alexander (Sandy) Duncanson died at the age of 37 after surviving cancer for sixteen years. He was widely respected for his work in the community legal and housing sectors.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 211


Criminal sentencing

Lizzie O'Shea

Last month, the Victorian Liberal government launched an online survey about criminal sentencing through the Department of Justice. It is designed to gauge public opinion about the current approach to sentencing for a range of crimes.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 211


Mandatory sentencing for gross violence?

Tom Kelly

Attorney-General Robert Clark has asked the Sentencing Advisory Council to provide advice on a plan to introduce mandatory sentencing for intentionally or recklessly causing serious injury in circumstances of gross violence.

The plans include four year minimum sentences for adults and two year minimum sentences for 16- and 17-year-old juveniles.
(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 212


Defensive homicide benefits family violence victims

Jake Collom

In 2005 defensive homicide was added to the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) as an alternative verdict to murder. This new offence was intended to be applied predominantly in cases of family violence motivated killing where the accused believed, unreasonably, that the killing was necessary in self defence.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 212


Human headline silenced for 5 months

Leanne O'Donnell

Media identity Derryn Hinch aka @humanheadline tweeted 
on 20 July:

Big day tomorrow. Back to Austin for blood tests and condition update. Then Mag. Court 11a.m. for sentencing. #liver

On 21 July 2011, Magistrate Rozencwajg sentenced Hinch to five months home detention, the conditions of which included a ban on gainful employment, media appearances and use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The decision to impose a home detention order was due to the Magistrate considering Hinch's fragile health, as he received a liver transplant only two weeks before the court appearance.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 212


LRCWA Review of Coronial Practice Discussion Paper released

Rebecca Scott Bray
Western Australia

Following the release of its Background Paper in September 2010 and community consultation and feedback in June, the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia ('LRCWA') released its Discussion Paper regarding the review of the WA coronial jurisdiction and practices of the coronial system, including the operation of the Coroners Act 1996 (WA). The terms of reference for the review ask the Commission to consider any areas where the Coroners Act 1996 (WA):

can be improved, any desirable changes to jurisdiction, practices and procedures of the Coroner and the office that would better serve the needs of the community; any improvements to be made in the provision of support for the families, friends and others associated with a deceased person who is the subject of a coronial inquiry, including but not limited to, issues regarding autopsies, cultural and spiritual beliefs and practices, and counselling services; the provision of investigative, forensic and other services in support of the coronial function; and any other related matter.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 213


Worksafe and Mr Ward: An update

Renae Barker
Western Australia

DUAO Volume 36(1) reported that charges had been laid by Worksafe WA over the death of Aboriginal Elder Mr Ward in 2008. The WA Department of Corrective Services pleaded guilty and was fined $285 000 in the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court. In handing down the sentence magistrate Greg Benn indicated that he had not imposed the maximum penalty of $400 000, having taken into account several factors including the change in government since the death of Mr Ward, the department's guilty plea and the ex-gratia payment of 
$3.2 million given to Mr Ward's family in July 2010.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 213


Vol 35(1) - The echidna

Marina Strocchi

Marina Strocchi has created a rich and independent visual vocabulary in her layered paint surfaces which reflect her relationship with her surroundings and life in the Northern Territory.

Brought up in an Italian-Australian family in Melbourne, Strocchi studied art then moved to Paris to study French and tour Europe for two years, soaking up the art and architecture. After returning to Melbourne in 1987, she worked as a screenprint artist with various groups in the community. Then, in 1992, she was invited to establish the Ikuntji Art Centre at Haasts Bluff — a remote Aboriginal community west of Alice Springs, in Central Australia. The artists there developed a fresh feel for painting and are well represented in public collections.

Marina draws her inspiration from community life and the luminous colours of the central Australian desert. Her points of reference are varied, and include the art of ancient cultures such as Egyptian, Roman, Minoan, Incan, Aboriginal and African art, and 20th century artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Klee.

Marina plays with the notion of patterning from nature with flat maze-like shapes, scattered with naïve symbols of trees, animals and cars. The colours she uses — browns, reds, white and yellow — further her connection with the land. However, look closer and a narrative becomes apparent. Part reflection, part observation, Marina’s paintings are direct and express the landscape and life around her.

“For me, the most important lesson I learnt from working so closely with the artists of the Central desert, was that one must jump into a canvas head first and just go for it. … it always gave me a thrill to watch someone start like that.” — Marina Strocchi

The Echidna, Marina StrocchiThe echidna
2007 by Marina Strocchi
acrylic on linen, 200 x 300 cm


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