: DUAO - Vol 38(3)

DUAO - 2013 - Vol 38(3)

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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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PNG plan for asylum seekers

Azadeh Dastyari
Federal

On 19 July 2013, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that asylum seekers who successfully enter Australia by boat will no longer have the opportunity to be resettled in Australia. Instead, under a new arrangement signed with Papua New Guinea (‘PNG’), all asylum seekers arriving by boat from the date of the announcement will be transferred to PNG where they will be detained in expanded facilities on Manus Island, will undergo refugee status determinations by PNG officials under PNG law, and will be resettled in PNG if they are found to be refugees.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 191

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Proposed Native Title Reforms: An update

Katie O’Byrne
Federal

Following in the wake of various proposed amendments to the native title system over the last year, the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (‘the Act’) has now been made the subject of an inquiry by the Australian Law Reform Commission. Draft terms of reference were released for public consultation on 7 June 2013, with submissions closing on 28 June 2013. The two specific areas of inquiry as currently contained in the draft terms of reference are:

  1. connection requirements relating to the recognition and scope of native title rights and interests, and
  2. the identification of barriers, if any, imposed by the Act’s authorisation and joinder provisions to claimants’, and potential claimants’:
    1. access to justice, and
    2. access to and protection of native title rights and benefits.
(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 192

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Shut the flood-gates: the litigants are coming!

Elizabeth Lee
ACT

The proposed amendments in the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Amendment Bill 2013 (ACT) (‘the Bill’) are an attempt to remove an arbitrary, complicated and inconsistent test for standing, in an effort to promote access to justice and keep government decision-makers accountable.

The focus on standing is not new. The Australian Law Reform Commission Report 27 (Standing in public interest, published in 1985) found that the issue of standing in administrative law matters was widely perceived to be a technical issue which impacted on issues of access to justice. The comments on the operation of standing rules, as it was then, required the court to assess whether the applicant had a ‘special interest’.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 193

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NSW Victims Compensation Scheme slashed

David Carter
New South Wales

The NSW government has dramatically altered the NSW Victims Compensation Scheme, raising opposition from lawyers, community and victims groups. The changes reduce the maximum compensation available to victims of crime from $50 000 to $15 000 and apply retrospectively for compensation applications lodged but not yet determined.

In a media release on 8 May 2013, Community Legal Centres NSW (‘CLCNSW’) said that they were gravely alarmed by the reform and were concerned by the scheme’s retrospectivity among other changes to the new scheme.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 193

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On the road to recovery

Linda Tucker
New South Wales

In June and July 2013, Australia’s new Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal sat in Sydney to hear from interested parties on the creation of a Road Safety Remuneration Order. Its aim is to require all parties in the supply chain to address conditions that make the road transport industry in Australia so unsafe.

Financial pressures imposed by clients at the top of the road transport supply chain have been identified in multiple judicial, academic, parliamentary and coronial inquiries as the major factor in dangerous road transport driving practices. In response, Australia now has world first legislation — the Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 (Cth) (‘RSR Act’) — which enables the making of Orders, among other things, by the Tribunal to address these pressures.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 193

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