: DownUnderAllOver - 2011 - Vol 36(2)

DUAO - 2011 - Vol 36(2)

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Developments around the country

DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.

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Legal recognition of the gender and sex diverse community

Simon Rice
ACT

The ACT Law Reform Advisory Council (‘LRAC’) has been asked by the ACT Attorney-General to inquire into and report on steps necessary to provide for legal recognition of the gender and sex diverse community in the ACT (transgender and intersex people).

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 130

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Youth justice

Tony Foley
ACT

Youth Justice in the ACT is currently subject to two overlapping reviews. The ACT Human Rights Commission is reviewing Bimberi Youth Justice Centre (the detention centre for young people in the ACT) and the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services is conducting a review with particular focus on the effectiveness of current diversionary policies and services.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 130

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Firearms licences and the ‘public interest’

NSW Editorial Committee
New South Wales

Should the right to possess and use firearms be considered a protected individual civil right? Or a privilege regulated by governments and balanced against the ‘public good’?

In 1996 all Australian governments agreed that personal protection would not be regarded as a genuine reason for owning, possessing or using a firearm. Section 3 of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) lists as one of its underlying principles ‘to confirm firearm possession and use as being a privilege that is conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety’ and regulation 19 of the Firearms Regulation 2006 provides that the Commissioner of Police may revoke a licence if satisfied that it is not in the public interest for the licensee to continue to hold the licence. Despite this, there is evidence of support within Australia for recognition of a right to firearm ownership. However, it is difficult to know whether these views are reflective of the wider community or not.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 131

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Coal, climate activism and the law of victims compensation

Sue Higginson
New South Wales

Policy and international action against climate change has meant a strengthened climate change protest movement worldwide. Professor James Hansen, NASA climate scientist, said ‘civil resistance is not an easy path, but given abdication of responsibility by government, it is an essential path’. (Martin Wainwright, ‘Climate plea fails to sway train hijack jury’, The Guardian Weekly, 10 July 2009) An emerging response in NSW has been claims for compensation under the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996 (NSW) (‘Victims Act’)

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 131

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Residential tenancies law reform in New South Wales

Chris Martin
New South Wales

The new Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) commenced on 31 January 2011. The first major revamp of the State’s residential tenancies legislation in more than 20 years, it includes a number of positive innovations.

Residential tenancy databases are, for the first time, subject to a strong regime of regulation. The new Act prescribes the circumstances in which a person’s name and other information may be listed on a database, and timeframes for the removal of listings — including a maximum period of three years. Listed persons are entitled to be informed of the listing, and may apply to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal for orders that inaccurate, out-of-date or unjust listings be removed. The new provisions apply in relation to new listings and, from 1 May 2011, to current listings that were made before the Act’s commencement.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 132

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