This month has seen the ALRC reaching out to some of its international counterparts in the Commonwealth and Asia Pacific region, through a process of professional development and information sharing. We were delighted to host Kaisarina Salesa, Senior Legal Analyst, with the Samoa Law Reform Commission, for a two-week internship. During this time Ms Salesa was able to shadow senior legal and corporate staff in their daily work, as well as to participate in formal learning sessions on policy development, online communication, consultation strategies, research and writing, and corporate governance. We also had the opportunity to learn from Ms Salesa about the challenges of law reform in Samoa.
This is the second internship the ALRC has hosted with Samoa LRC. We have also been able to build on this collegial relationship with two former ALRC legal officers visiting Samoa in recent years to work on a pro bono basis.
The ALRC also recently hosted two other delegations—one from the Nigerian Law Reform Commission and the other from Malawi. Both were very interested to discuss our relationship with Government, our processes and resourcing and our implementation rates. The ALRC’s international engagement activity provides a significant contribution to regional goodwill by building cooperative relationships with our legal counterparts and sharing information and experiences.
Last month, Professor Jill McKeough joined the ALRC as Commissioner in Charge of the Copyright Inquiry. The ALRC is expecting to receive final Terms of Reference shortly. Preliminary consultations have begun and the ALRC would hope to release an Issues Paper in August. If you have a specific interest in this Inquiry, please subscribe to the Copyright e-news.
Age Barriers to Work
We received Terms of Reference for this Inquiry on 12 March 2012 and also welcomed the Hon Susan Ryan AO (Age Discrimination Commissioner with the Australian Human Rights Commission) to the ALRC as Part-time Commissioner working on this Inquiry. The ALRC has been asked to look at a range of laws, including superannuation law; family assistance, child support and social security law; employment law; insurance law; compensation laws; and any other relevant Commonwealth legislation exempt under the Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth). The Age Barriers team released an Issues Paper, Grey Areas—Age Barriers to Work in Commonwealth Laws (ALRC IP 41), on 1 May 2012. The closing date for submissions was Thursday 14 June 2012, however there will be another opportunity to contribute to this Inquiry when the Discussion Paper is released in September. If you have a specific interest in this Inquiry, please subscribe to the Age Barriers e-news.
In recent weeks there has been more movement around recommendations made by the ALRC in regards to privacy law reform. On 23 May 2012, the Attorney-General introduced the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012 into Parliament. The Bill will amend the Privacy Act 1988 and implement key elements of the Government’s First Stage Response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report, For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice (ALRC Report 108). The changes will include 13 new Australian Privacy Principles, better credit reporting laws, and giving the Privacy Commissioner more power to defend and uphold personal privacy rights.
On 7 June 2012, changes to the Family Law Act introduced by the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 (Cth) came into effect. These amendments implement two recommendations (6–4 and 17–1) of the ALRC’s 2010 report, Family Violence – A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 114). For more detail, see the Implementation section on the Inquiry page.
2012 Kirby Cup
The Kirby Cup Law Reform Competition is a unique opportunity for law students to consider the role of law reform and law reform agencies in Australia. To enter, law students must provide a written paper (no more than 4000 words) on a given topic of law reform. This year’s topic is clearly aligned with the ALRC’s current work:
Suggest one or more new statutory exceptions for the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), consistent with Australia’s international legal obligations, and explain why it/they should be introduced. Alternatively, explain why further exceptions should not be introduced.
For the 2012 competition, written papers are due to the ALRC by Friday 24 August 2012.
The ALRC recognises that historically the Australian legal system has failed to deliver better social and economic outcomes for Indigenous peoples. As a law reform body, we have the opportunity to contribute to social justice, equity and inclusion in Australia. Our main focus this year, in regards to the RAP, is to involve Indigenous people in the work of the ALRC and to seek Indigenous input—particularly to our core inquiry work.
On 4 June 2012, ALRC staff attended a full day of cultural awareness training, the third session of its kind since the ALRC first developed its RAP in 2009. We returned to Tranby Aboriginal College, for training facilitated by Jade Kennedy from Arrilla Indigenous Training and Development Consultants. Jade helped us interrogate ALRC protocols and strategies around indigenous consultation and, through a recounting of his personal experiences as an Indigenous man working in-community, provided valuable insight into indigenous issues, as well as the challenges – and potential – inherent in building meaningful working relationships with Indigenous people and communities.
Legal intern program
Semester 2 legal internships are part-time (1 day a week) between 27 August – 2 November. Students wishing to apply should do so by Friday 6 July 2012.
We would like to recognise and thank our outgoing Semester 1 interns:
- Jillian Morrison, UWS
- Ellen Chapple, ANU/ University of Sydney
- Lindi Todd, UNSW
- Hannah Innes, University of Sydney
From the archives — 30 years of law reform
In 2005 the ALRC celebrated its 30th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, past Presidents, Commissioners and friends of the ALRC were asked to share their perspectives on the history and achievements of one of Australia’s most influential law reform bodies. The result was ‘30 years of law reform – the movie’, previously trapped in DVD format, now liberated in mp4 format, available to all via the ALRC website (with transcript) and YouTube.
See video, 30 years of law reform >>