Following eight diagnosed cases of the deadly black lung disease in Queensland in the past year, a Senate Inquiry has called for new national standards for coal mining. The Medical Journal of Australia has since also recommended a three-yearly screening program and mandatory reporting. The disease was thought to have been eradicated 30 years ago, and its re-emergence in Queensland has caused considerable concern about work safety standards in coal mines.
Premier Palaszczuk has announced that the government will work with the Queensland Electoral Commission to implement real-time updates for local and state government political donations. The system is due to be implemented by February 2017, in what is a first in Australia.
In 2012, a deaf woman was excluded from sitting as a juror in the Ipswich District Court. She sued the state, claiming that she was discriminated against when the government refused to provide an Auslan interpreter that would have allowed her to participate as a juror. In 2015, the Queensland Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal, and she has now had her case heard by the High Court. On the one hand, the claim involves the question of whether it would be a miscarriage of justice to have a 13th person in the jury room. On the other hand, at stake is the full participation in society of people with a disability. The High Court has now handed down its verdict, finding that the Queensland government had not unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff. It is now up to the Parliament to consider legislative amendment to cater for circumstances such as these.
KATE GALLOWAY teaches law at Bond University.