: 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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Emergency Response Act

Stephen Gray
Northern Territory

In 2007, following the commencement of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007, commonly referred to as ‘The Intervention’, the Commonwealth was enabled to intervene directly in the treatment of Aboriginal customary law in the Northern Territory courts. It did so in Part 6 of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007 (‘the Act’), specifically s 91, which prevents a court from taking customary law or cultural practice into account as a defence or in sentencing.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 133

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Youth justice

Ruth Brebner
Northern Territory

On 29 March 2011 the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General announced a review into the Youth Justice System in the Northern Territory. The terms of reference were published on the same day.

Appointed to lead the review was former member for Araluen, Jodeen Carney. During her time in the Legislative Assembly, Ms Carney served as Opposition Leader and shadow Attorney-General, resigning in 2010. Ms Carney’s appointment is seen as a strategic move to encourage bi-partisan support of the review. Ms Carney’s long time residence in Alice Springs, and commitment to issues affecting Central Australia is also likely to encourage support from regional and remote youth organisations.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 133

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Use of Tasers by Queensland Police

Steven White
Queensland

In June 2009 a north Queensland man, Antonio Galeano, was killed during an altercation with police. The police were armed with a ‘Taser’ (a Taser is, in the words of the Crime and Misconduct Commission (‘CMC’), ‘a hand-held, electro-muscular disruption device that is capable of incapacitating a person and causing pain through the application of an electrical current’: CMC, Facts about Tasers, February 2008 - cmc.qld.gov.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=10743).

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 133

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Floods Inquiry

Steven White
Queensland

This column has previously reported on the recent Queensland floods and the response of the legal community in supporting affected persons (Volume 36(1)). As foreshadowed in that DUAO, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry is up and running. The closing date for written submissions was 4 April (copies of submissions can be accessed on the Commission’s website, floodcommission.qld.gov.au/home)

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 134

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New Migrant Education Program

Danielle Misell
South Australia

Over the past few years, the Legal Services Commission of South Australia (‘the Commission’) has provided legal education to over 16 000 non-English speaking migrants through its New Migrant Education Program. In March 2004, the Commission and the Law Foundation of South Australia jointly funded a project to consult culturally and linguistically diverse (‘CALD’) communities on their level of understanding of Australian family law, with the intention of improving their access to and understanding of family law. The project concluded that:

  • [t]he ability of members of CALD communities to access legal information and the legal system is often restricted by the barriers of language and culture, knowledge of and ability to negotiate the Australian legal system; and
  • [e]ven where language barriers can be addressed through the use of interpreters, cultural barriers can still inhibit understanding and acceptance of the Australian legal system, and access to it.
(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 134

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