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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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Suppliers of illegal firearms responsible for their future use

Kellie Toole and David Plater
South Australia

The unprovoked shooting death of a teenager in Adelaide in 2012 led to a campaign for stricter firearms laws that has resulted in the passage of the Statutes Amendment (Firearms Offences) Act 2015 (SA) by the South Australian parliament. The new Act is due to come into operation some time in 2016.

The background to the new Act were the events of New Year's Eve 2012. Liam Humbles, aged 17, attended a party in Adelaide and became heavily intoxicated on a combination of alcohol and methylamphetamine. He fought with a friend over a drug sale and left the party in an agitated state and carrying a loaded .22 calibre semi-automatic handgun he had unlawfully obtained from Charles Cullen, his 20-year-old drug dealer.

(2016) 41(2) AltLJ 139

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Gun law reform

The Tasmanian Committee
Tasmania

Tasmania recently commemorated the tragic massacre at the historic Port Arthur site in 1996. This tragedy sparked a national campaign to restrict the use and accessibility of firearms in Australia and culminated in the National Firearms Agreement of 1996. In light of the recent 20-year anniversary, the Tasmanian Greens have introduced the Rapid Fire Shotguns (Community Safety) Bill 2016 in a bid to reduce 'accidents waiting to happen'.

(2016) 41(2) AltLJ 139

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Suspended sentences to be phased out

The Tasmanian Committee
Tasmania

The Sentencing Advisory Council has released its Phasing out of Suspended Sentences Final Report. The report recommends that suspended sentences be phased out over five years and that a significant number of new sentencing options be created to take their place including home detention, community correction orders and deferred sentencing. The rollout of reforms will begin later this year with the Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin having already announced that legislation will be tabled to expand Court Mandated Diversion ('CMD') to the Supreme Court. CMD is currently restricted to offenders with problematic illicit drug use sentenced in the Magistrates Court. The expansion of CMD to accommodate offenders with a history of alcohol abuse as well as those being sentenced in the Supreme Court was welcomed by a number of community organisations including Community Legal Centres Tasmania. However, with CMD currently reliant on Commonwealth funding and capped at 80 participants, the Sentencing Advisory Council stressed that 'considerable resources will need to be allocated to support the order'. With the current CMD program already stretched to capacity it is hoped that the government will inject the much needed funds to make this program a success.

(2016) 41(2) AltLJ 139

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Domestic homicide report

Bronwyn Naylor
Victoria

Family violence has received serious attention in Victoria in 2015-2016. The Royal Commission on Family Violence reported in March 2016, making 227 recommendations. A report on domestic homicides has also just been published. Domestic homicides can be the extreme end of a continuum of family violence, but a study of domestic homicide prosecutions in Victoria by DVRCV ('Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria') and Monash University has found that when a woman is killed by her partner, the history of the relationship is often not adequately recognised. Despite significant legal reforms, the legal system's response to these deaths still draws on limited understanding of domestic violence.

(2016) 41(2) AltLJ 140

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Victoria begins Indigenous Treaty talks

Robert Corr
Victoria

In February 2016, a meeting of about 500 Victorian Indigenous people voted unanimously against the Recognise campaign for a referendum to amend the Australian Constitution.

Dja Dja Wurrung elder Gary Murray told The Guardian, 'Recognition is about removing racist clauses in a white man's document that didn't even look after white women, let alone black people'.

(2016) 41(2) AltLJ 140

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