: DUAO - Vol 39(2)

DUAO - 2014 - Vol 39(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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Solicitor-General

Allan Ardill
Queensland

Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff resigned in March 2014. The Solicitor-General was critical of Attorney-General Bleijie accusing him of defaming Court of Appeal president Margaret McMurdo by disclosing confidential communication. Sofronoff QC called on the Attorney-General to resign. Sofronoff QC was replaced on 10 April by Peter Dunning QC. 

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 141

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Crime

Allan Ardill
Queensland

The Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2014 of 8 May includes many changes, among others:

  • retrospectively ensures Queensland’s double jeopardy exception laws apply to all acquittals of a ‘relevant offence’, irrespective of when the alleged offence was committed and the timing of the acquittal;
  • introduces a range of new offences to address match-fixing conduct to assist in securing the integrity of sporting contests and associated gambling activities;
  • inserts a new indictable offence of serious animal cruelty, carrying a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment;
  • expands the definition of ‘serious sexual offence’ to ensure the regime applies to an offence of a sexual nature, against a person, including a fictitious person represented to the prisoner as a real person, whom the prisoner believed to be a child under the age of 16 years to circumvent Dodge v Attorney-General for the State of Queensland [2012] QCA 280;
  • provides the Attorney-General with standing to appeal sentences imposed for simple offences dealt with summarily;
  • enhances the ‘good order and discipline’ of sentenced youth boot camp centres operated under the Youth Justice Act 1992.
(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 141

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Crime and Misconduct Commission

Allan Ardill
Queensland

Queensland’s LNP government has used its huge majority to pass the contentious Crime and Misconduct and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014. The Bill ends the bi-partisan appointment of the CMC head and overhauls its powers and focus. This means that the government can appoint a chairperson of its choice. Although a parliamentary committee can veto the government’s choice, that is unlikely because the committee already has a majority of LNP MPs.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 141

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Privatising communal title

Allan Ardill
Queensland

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land (Providing Freehold) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 allows for the conversion of native title and Deeds of Grant in Trust land into freehold title. The Bill was criticised the same day it was introduced (8 May) on the basis that it could divide communities, be impractical due to costs associated with remoteness, and that communities may be at risk of losing parcels of land (within communal land) to banks and outsiders in situations involving foreclosure.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 141

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Impeding and silencing unions

Allan Ardill
Queensland

So much has happened in Queensland it has been hard squeeze all the changes into a quarterly column. The Industrial Relations (Transparency and Accountability of Industrial Organisations) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2013 which removed ‘union friendly provisions’ that might require the government to actively encourage union membership and provide preferential treatment to union members, also re-established managerial prerogative within government entities. It also restricted the right of entry by unions onto workplaces, and it imposed onerous financial reporting obligations on unions which arguably has implications for free political speech.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 141

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