ALRC Brief | June 2013

Two new inquiries announced!

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC today released draft terms of reference for the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to inquire into: Native Title law – Twenty Years and Beyond; and Legal Barriers for People with Disabilities

Native Title – Twenty Years and Beyond

From the Attorney-General’s media release:

“The Native Title Act turns twenty this year. The time has come to consider how to improve native title law and encourage faster, simpler resolution of native title claims for all parties,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“We must make sure that the law helps to unlock the economic potential of native title for Indigenous Australians.

“The draft terms of reference focus on proving connection to land and waters and authorisation, the laws which establish who can negotiate in particular circumstances. These are complex issues, which need detailed analysis and broad community consensus,” Mr Dreyfus said.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said the Government would consult widely on the terms of reference and was open to adding new key issues to the Inquiry.

“We want to hear from Indigenous peoples, representative bodies, farmers, miners, pastoralists and environmental groups about the issues they want considered by the Australian Law Reform Commission,” Ms Macklin said.

Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, Gary Gray also welcomed the inquiry.

“I would encourage all stakeholders, particularly those in the minerals and tourism industry, to have their views heard and make a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission,” Minister Gray said.

Reducing Legal Barriers for People with Disabilities

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC said that he is asking the Australian Law Reform Commission to inquire into how to reduce legal barriers to people with disabilities.

“I want to make sure that existing Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks do not create barriers to people with disability exercising their rights and legal capacity,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“Most of us take for granted the independent decisions we make about our lives.  People with disability deserve the same opportunity.

“This inquiry is about maximising choice and autonomy for Australians with disability.”

Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin said that people with disability are entitled to the dignity that comes from being able to make choices over their own lives.

“Ensuring that people with disability have access to the same rights and opportunities as Australians without disability is a hallmark of a just society,” Ms Macklin said.

“As we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, it is fitting that we consider whether our laws are adequately supporting people with disability.

“The announcement of this inquiry coincides with the upcoming launch of DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme, a significant reform that will transform the way people with disability are supported and put choice and control in the hands of people with disability.”

Draft Terms of Reference

Draft terms of reference for the native title inquiry have been released for public consultation at www.ag.gov.au/nativetitle. Submissions can be lodged at native.title@ag.gov.au until 28 June 2013.

Draft terms of reference for the rights of people with disability inquiry have been released for public consultation at www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights. Submissions can be lodged at disabilityrights@ag.gov.au until 28 June 2013.

Inquiry update

Age Barriers to Work

The ALRC has now completed the Age Barriers Inquiry. The Report, Access All Ages—Older Workers and Commonwealth Laws, was tabled in Parliament and launched in Canberra on 30 May 2013. It is now freely available in a range of formats, including as an ebook, via the ALRC website. There are a limited number of printed copies available for purchase.

ALRC media release >>

Report >>

Summary report >>

See speeches given at the launch of the report by:

Professor Rosalind Croucher >>

The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP >>

The Hon Mark Butler MP >>

Copyright and the Digital Economy

This week the Copyright team released a Discussion Paper—the second consultation document for the Inquiry. Stakeholders have eight weeks to make submissions responding to the questions and proposals in the DP. The closing date is 31 July 2013.

Discussion Paper >>

Reform roundup

On 5 April, Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare announced that he would introduce the first stage of reforms to the National Classification System into Parliament during the winter session. The reforms implement seven of the recommendations of the National Classification Scheme Review undertaken by the ALRC in 2012.

See media release.

We’re recruiting!

Legal Officer Positions
Salary Range  $71,905-$91,085
 
We are recruiting for several non-ongoing legal officers to work on the new Invasion of Privacy, Disability and Native Title inquiries. Relevant legal policy experience in one of more of these areas is desirable. Appointments from 6 to 12 months are available. All positions are in Sydney and candidates must be able to start by August 2013. Please visit the ALRC website for a position description. Applications addressing the selection criteria are due to the ALRC by Monday 24 June 2013.

See position descriptions >>

Internship program

In the First Semester program we welcomed three new interns:

Oliver Doraisamy—Oliver is in his final year of a Law/Arts international studies degree at UTS. Last year Oliver received the French Embassy’s Baudin Scholarship that allowed him to complete a year-long study exchange in France during which time he completed a major research project on the Rama people within Europe. He is a volunteer Mentor with Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and a participant in the Beyond UTS International Leadership Program.

Bronte Lambourne—Bronte is in her penultimate year of a combined Arts/Law degree at the University of Sydney. She holds a Distinction average and is a recipient of the Outstanding Academic Achievement Scholarship and was recently awarded the Freehills Prize in Torts and Contracts for first in her cohort.

Steven Gardiner—Steven completed his Arts degree at Sydney University in 2010 and is now  completing a Juris Doctor at the University of NSW. Steven was on the Dean’s List for best performance in Administrative Law in 2011 and has a Distinction average. He recently completed a clerkship with AGS and is interested in commencing a graduate position with AGS in 2014. Steven has volunteered at the Indigenous Law Centre and was a quarterfinalist in the Blake Dawson Beginners Mooting Competition in 2011.

Applications for the Second Semester program are open until 8 July 2013.