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DownUnderAllOver

DownUnderAllOver

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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Use of Tasers by Queensland Police

Steven White
Queensland

In June 2009 a north Queensland man, Antonio Galeano, was killed during an altercation with police. The police were armed with a ‘Taser’ (a Taser is, in the words of the Crime and Misconduct Commission (‘CMC’), ‘a hand-held, electro-muscular disruption device that is capable of incapacitating a person and causing pain through the application of an electrical current’: CMC, Facts about Tasers, February 2008 - cmc.qld.gov.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=10743).

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 133

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Floods Inquiry

Steven White
Queensland

This column has previously reported on the recent Queensland floods and the response of the legal community in supporting affected persons (Volume 36(1)). As foreshadowed in that DUAO, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry is up and running. The closing date for written submissions was 4 April (copies of submissions can be accessed on the Commission’s website, floodcommission.qld.gov.au/home)

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 134

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New Migrant Education Program

Danielle Misell
South Australia

Over the past few years, the Legal Services Commission of South Australia (‘the Commission’) has provided legal education to over 16 000 non-English speaking migrants through its New Migrant Education Program. In March 2004, the Commission and the Law Foundation of South Australia jointly funded a project to consult culturally and linguistically diverse (‘CALD’) communities on their level of understanding of Australian family law, with the intention of improving their access to and understanding of family law. The project concluded that:

  • [t]he ability of members of CALD communities to access legal information and the legal system is often restricted by the barriers of language and culture, knowledge of and ability to negotiate the Australian legal system; and
  • [e]ven where language barriers can be addressed through the use of interpreters, cultural barriers can still inhibit understanding and acceptance of the Australian legal system, and access to it.
(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 134

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Update from Tasmania

Noel Rattray
Tasmania

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (‘TLRI’) recently released its latest Report entitled Racial Vilification and Racially Motivated Offences calling for a new sentencing provision to be introduced to address criminal racial vilification and racially motivated offenses. The Report was prompted by a proposal from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania following the killing of an Asian student studying at the University and a significant increase in media reporting of racially motivated attacks throughout Australia during 2009 and 2010.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 134

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Separation of Powers through separation of administration?

Kathy Laster
Victoria

The Liberal/National Coalition government in Victoria is well on the way to radically restructuring the governance of Victoria’s courts and tribunals. A new Courts Executive Service (‘CES’), independent of departmental or political control, will provide executive leadership and administrative support to all Victorian courts as well as to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘VCAT’). The staff and resources currently managed through the Courts Division of the Department of Justice will be transferred to an independent body, directly under the control of the judiciary. The details of this new court governance model have yet to be settled, but it is clear that the CES will be a bold experiment which will test the impact of self-governance on the operation and standing of courts and tribunals.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 135

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