Inquiry update

Review of the Native Title Act

The Native Title Inquiry team released an Issues Paper on 20 March 2014. It includes questions about what, if any, changes could be made to improve the operation of Commonwealth native title laws and legal frameworks concentrating on two key areas: ‘connection requirements relating to the recognition and scope of native title rights and interests; and any barriers imposed by the Act’s authorisation and joinder provisions to claimants’, potential claimants’ and respondents’ access to justice’.

The Issues Paper is available in HTML, PDF, and as an ebook.

The ALRC is seeking written submissions in response to the questions and issues raised in the Paper.

The legal team is now embarking on a national round of consultations in Brisbane, Perth, Broome and Adelaide, and then next month will travel to Melbourne and Canberra for further consultations.

Serious Invasions of Privacy

A Discussion Paper will be released next week outlining the ALRC’s proposals for a detailed design of a Statutory Cause of Action for Serious Invasions of Privacy and a number of further proposals addressing ways in which the law may reduce serious invasions of privacy in the digital era. This is the second and final stage of broad public consultation in this Inquiry. Submissions will be due to the ALRC by 12 May 2014. We will notify Privacy enews subscribers as soon as the DP is available.

Commissioner in charge of the Inquiry, Professor Barbara McDonald, will be presenting a public talk tomorrow at the Sydney Law School – ‘Private Lives, Public Spheres’.  She will explore the way the law, in Australia and other countries, has developed protection of personal privacy. Professor McDonald will also outline the proposals that will be made in the ALRC Discussion Paper to be released next week.

Equality, Capacity and Disability

The Disability team has been busy with consultations and last month travelled to Melbourne to meet with a range of stakeholders and experts and to attend the “Imagining Social Equity” conference. Next week the team travels to Perth for further consultations. We expect to release a Discussion Paper in mid May, and will call for submissions at that time—due at the end of June. The ALRC has produced an Easy English Issues Paper for the Inquiry and we are very happy to announce that we now have an Auslan version of our information about law reform and our consultation processes.

Copyright and the Digital Economy

The Report for the Copyright Inquiry, Copyright and the Digital Economy (ALRC Report 122) was tabled in Parliament on 13 February 2014. The Report contains 30 recommendations for reform. The key recommendation is for the introduction of a fair use exception to Australian copyright law. 

There has been massive interest in this Inquiry and in the six weeks since the report was made available around 5000 people have visited the report web page, there have been more than 70 media items about the report, and the recommendations have been debated at numerous events, such as the ADA Copyright Forum and the Copyright Law & Practice Symposium.

The Report is available from the ALRC website in a variety of formats.

The Attorney-General has made statements in relation to the ALRC recommendations: