: DUAO - Vol 37(4)

DUAO - 2012 - Vol 37(4)

DownUnderAllOver Cartoon

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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All smoke but no fire? The Plain Packaging case

Simon Kozlina and Nikki Bromberger

In the recent High Court of Australia decision of JT International v Commonwealth of Australia [2012] HCA 43 (‘The Plain Packaging Case’), the Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cth). The Act requires that tobacco packages be devoid of any trademarks, colours or finishings associated with individual tobacco companies. The plaintiff tobacco companies argued that, in not also providing compensation for the intended loss of revenue associated with these packaging requirements, the Act offended the ‘acquisition of property on just terms’ clause of the Commonwealth Constitution (s 51(xxxi)).

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 283


Redressing Indigenous exclusion from water planning and management

Alistair Webster

The National Cultural Flows Research Project, a project of the National Native Title Council, has begun work on the first of an eight stage process aimed at incorporating Indigenous water values into Australia’s water law and policy.

Historically, Indigenous peoples’ rights to water have largely been excluded from Australia’s complex water planning and management regimes. Although the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) provides that water rights are rights and interests that may comprise native title rights, only rights to use water for domestic and personal purposes have been recognised by the courts. The Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) does not provide for a right to negotiate over water.

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 284


Release of proposed amendments to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)

Katie O'Bryan

On 21 September 2012 the Australian government released its exposure draft of legislative amendments aimed at improving the operation of the Native Title Act. According to the government’s media release, the amendments will:

  • clarify the requirement to negotiate in ‘good faith’;
  • enable parties to agree to disregard historical extinguishment of native title in areas such as parks and reserves; and
  • streamline processes for Indigenous Land Use Agreements.
(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 284


Disruption in national legal profession plans

Maxine Evers

The plans for a national legal profession have been disrupted with the recent announcement by the Queensland Attorney-General that Queensland will not be joining the proposed national scheme. This leaves the national legal profession reform with only New South Wales and Victoria remaining as willing participants.

Discussions around a national profession initially commenced in the 1990s with the Law Council of Australia’s Blueprint for the Structure of the Legal Profession: A National Market for Legal Services. This led to mutual recognition of practising certificates allowing easier movement of legal practitioners between the states and territory jurisdictions. In 2002 the Model Laws Project commenced drafting national rules.

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 284


Legal needs survey

David Carter

The Legal Australia-Wide Survey (‘LAW Survey’), released by the NSW Law and Justice Foundation and National Legal Aid, has found a large number of Australians are affected by legal difficulties with people living with a disability, single parents, unemployed people and Indigenous people most likely to experience legal problems.

Commissioned by the eight state and territory legal aid commissions the survey was the largest of its kind conducted in the world and involved 20 000 telephone interviews nation-wide.

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 285


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