: DUAO - Vol 39(3)

DUAO - 2014 - Vol 39(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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Launch of Community Legal Centre Hub

Naomi Gould
ACT

After a prolonged period in cramped and unsuitable premises, a collection of Community Legal Centres have now settled in to a new ‘CLC Hub’. The premises were officially opened by the ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, in March 2014. The new hub houses Welfare Rights & Legal Centre (which incorporates StreetLaw, Night Time Legal Advice Service, and the Disability Discrimination Legal Service), Women’s Legal Centre and the Tenants’ Union of the ACT.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 196

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Hasty amendments to Bail Act

Elyse Methven
New South Wales

Despite the brief existence of the Bail Act 2013 (NSW) (‘the Act’), the NSW government announced in August 2014 that it will amend a number of its provisions. The announcement followed a swift review of the Act after its commencement on 20 May 2014. The review, headed by former Attorney General John Hatzistergos, was established to ensure that the safety of the community, victims and witnesses was at the forefront of all decisions made under the new laws.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 197

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New prison and prisons legislation for the NT

Tom McCrie
Northern Territory

In 2011 the Northern Territory government commissioned the design, construction and operation of a new NT Secure Facility (‘NTSF’). The NTSF will be a 1048-bed correctional centre including a 30-bed secure mental health and behavioural management facility and a 48-bed pre-release work village.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 197

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Electoral law

Allan Ardill
Queensland

Following a swing of 18.5 per cent away from the Liberal National Party (‘LNP’) government in the July 2014 Stafford 
by-election the Premier flagged policy changes. Among these was a return to bi-partisan appointment of the Chair of the Crime and Corruption Commission (‘CCC’), abandoning bikie-only prisons under the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act, and parliamentary estimates committees no longer to be held simultaneously.

The LNP still enjoys a considerable majority with Labor now holding just nine of the 89 seats. The by-election was the first to apply LNP amendments to the Electoral Act 1992. Among the new laws was the requirement for voters to provide identification under s 107(3). The changes also saw the lifting of political donation disclosure from $1000 to $12 400 under s 201A Electoral Act 1992.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 198

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Crime watchdog

Allan Ardill
Queensland

In November 2013 the government sacked the entire Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (‘PCMC’) responsible for the Crime and Misconduct Commission (‘CMC’) only to re-appoint a government majority to a new oversight committee. This radical action was taken after documents were released by non-government members of the PCMC showing that acting CMC Chair Dr Ken Levy may have misled the PCMC when he denied he had discussions with the government before supporting the controversial bikie laws in a newspaper article. The wash-up has seen his conduct referred to the Parliamentary Ethics Committee but this investigation has been suspended pending a police investigation. In early May 2014 legislation (Crime and Misconduct and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014) was passed removing bipartisan support for appointment as Chair of the CMC and included a clause s 402(2) allowing the acting chairperson Dr Levy’s term to be extended until the end of October. The legislation also shifted the focus of the Commission away from the broader notion of ‘misconduct’ to ‘corruption.’ Hence the new title Crime and Corruption Commission a change also reflected in change to the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 replacing the former Crime and Misconduct Act 2001.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 198

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