: 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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Update from Tasmania

Noel Rattray
Tasmania

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (‘TLRI’) recently released its latest Report entitled Racial Vilification and Racially Motivated Offences calling for a new sentencing provision to be introduced to address criminal racial vilification and racially motivated offenses. The Report was prompted by a proposal from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania following the killing of an Asian student studying at the University and a significant increase in media reporting of racially motivated attacks throughout Australia during 2009 and 2010.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 134

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Separation of Powers through separation of administration?

Kathy Laster
Victoria

The Liberal/National Coalition government in Victoria is well on the way to radically restructuring the governance of Victoria’s courts and tribunals. A new Courts Executive Service (‘CES’), independent of departmental or political control, will provide executive leadership and administrative support to all Victorian courts as well as to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘VCAT’). The staff and resources currently managed through the Courts Division of the Department of Justice will be transferred to an independent body, directly under the control of the judiciary. The details of this new court governance model have yet to be settled, but it is clear that the CES will be a bold experiment which will test the impact of self-governance on the operation and standing of courts and tribunals.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 135

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Suspended sentences (again)

Bronwyn Naylor
Victoria

As the effect of the change of government in Victoria plays itself out, the Sentencing Amendment Act 2010 has been altered by the passage of the Sentencing Further Amendment Act 2011, with some of the alterations taking effect from 1 May 2011. This includes the removal of the option of suspended prison sentences for ‘serious’ and ‘significant’ offences. Serious offences include all offences that can only be dealt with in the County or Supreme Courts.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 135

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Extensive changes to jury selection and eligibility in Western Australia

Victoria Williams
Western Australia

On 14 April 2011 the West Australian Parliament passed the Juries Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (WA) (‘the Act’). The Act received Royal Assent on 2 May 2011 and it is anticipated that the main provisions of the Act will begin to commence operation from July 2011. According to the Attorney General’s media statement on 15 April 2011, the new legislation will ‘bring Western Australia’s jury system into the 21st century’.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 136

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Racial Vilification Conviction

Renae Barker
Western Australia

On 31 January 2011 Brendan Lee O’Connell became the first person sentenced under Western Australia’s anti-vilification laws. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment after being found guilty of six charges of racial vilification. In 2009 Mr O’Connell posted footage of himself on the internet showing him insulting a young Jewish man and of a speech filmed outside the Bell Tower in Perth. The offences also related to an altercation between Mr O’Connell and two young Jewish men at a rally outside an IGA supermarket in south Perth. The protest was being conducted by the group ‘Friends of Palestine’ against the sale of oranges from Israel at the IGA store. Members of the Australian Union of Students attended the protests leading to the altercation.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 136

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