Reform round-up

Traditional Rights and Freedoms—Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws (ALRC Report 129)

On 22 March, the Government introduced into the Senate the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2017. Among other things, the Bill contains measures to reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. The Explanatory Memorandum notes that in its ‘Freedoms Report’ the ALRC identified that Part IIA of the RDA ‘would benefit from more thorough review in relation to freedom of speech.’ See Chapter 4 for full discussion.

Copyright and the Digital Economy (ALRC Report 122)

On 22 March 2017, the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and other Measures) Bill was introduced into Parliament. If passed, it will enable people with disabilities to access and enjoy books and other material in formats they can use, such as braille, large print or DAISY audio. This is consistent with recommendations in ALRC Report 122, in particular Rec 16-1.

For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice (ALRC Report 108)

On 7 February 2017, Parliament passed the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 into law. This Bill implements the recommendations of ALRC Report 108 by requiring agencies and organisations regulated by the Privacy Act to provide notice to the Australian Information Commissioner and affected individuals of an eligible data breach (See Explanatory Memorandum). 

Connection to Country: Review of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (ALRC Report 126)

The Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017, if passed, will implement two ALRC recommendations about authorisation, enabling the native title claim group itself to determine the type of decision-making process (either traditional or agreed-upon) to be used to authorise the applicant (Recs 10-1 and 10-2).  

Law reform organisations

On 26-26 March 2017, the Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies held an international conference on law reform, with the theme ‘Effective Law Reform – Sharing Together Across the World”. ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher addressed the Conference in her presentation, ‘Law Reform Agencies and Government—Independence, survival and effective law reform?’.