: DUAO - Vol 36(4)

DUAO - 2011 - Vol 36(4)

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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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Tasmanian round up

Noelle Rattray
Tasmania

In a first case of its kind in Tasmania, a man has been sentenced to five months in jail for putting another person at risk of contracting HIV. He is subject to a Public Health Order, requiring him not to participate in any activity that might transmit the disease. He breached the Order in August this year when he had unprotected sex with another person before revealing his condition. Sentenced in the Magistrates Court in Launceston, the case is believed to be the first time someone has been charged and convicted for the offence in Tasmania.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 285

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High Court affirms importance and validity of Victorian Charter

Philip Lynch
Victoria

In a landmark decision, the High Court of Australia has upheld the validity, operation and importance of Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights.

In the case of Momcilovic v The Queen & Ors [2011] HCA 34 (8 September 2011), the High Court held that the Charter protects fundamental human rights and maintains parliamentary sovereignty.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 285

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Banning the bong

Steven Castan
Victoria

As of 1 January 2012, a new law relating to the display, sale and supply of bongs and hookahs shall come into force in Victoria which heralds substantial changes to the previous law.

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 will be amended by the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Prohibition of Display and Sale of Cannabis Water Pipes) Act 2011.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 285

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Personal Safety Intervention Orders

Alexandra Lane
Victoria

The Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic) came into operation on 5 September 2011 and seeks to conform to its regime counterpart, the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. The distinction between the two rests with the personal safety Act focussing on the antisocial behaviours of non-family members. The new Act was introduced to rectify the problems arising from its predecessor, the now repealed Stalking Intervention Orders Act 2008. On application, a broader spectrum of behaviours were liable to have actions brought against them than was originally intended. Thus under the earlier scheme, minor disputes escalated rapidly and saturated the judiciary. Through reforming the legislation governing this area, the Victorian Parliament intends to distinguish between minor disputes and those requiring court facilitated resolutions, by emphasising the beneficial nature of informal mediation programs. Through these, trifling claims may be dealt with swiftly in arenas that facilitate communication and ideally provide for mutually acceptable resolutions. In contrast, the Act will provide heightened protection for those at risk of harm. This will be achieved via the provision of Personal Safety Intervention Orders and the codification of a breach of such an order as an offence. Therefore the introduction of the Act will provide fair, just and equitable outcomes for those requiring assistance while prompting individuals to resolve their own disputes prior to seeking formalised assistance.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 286

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Reform to Residential Tenancy Databases 
in Victoria

Catherine Miller
Victoria

The Residential Tenancy Amendment Act 2010 (Vic) came into effect on 1 September 2011. One significant aspect of the amendments is the regulation of residential tenancy databases. These databases are run by private companies to store information regarding tenants’ rental history. Access to information is available to subscribers, who are usually real estate agents. Agents commonly check a database for records relating to applicants for rental properties. When applying for a rental property, prospective tenants are often asked to consent to the agent providing personal information to a database operator. Examples of tenant database companies are the Tenant Information Centre of Australia and National Tenancy Database.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 286

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