Articles on Law

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Robert Bagie, Olive Bagie, adopted son Ramsley Woosup and Mimia Whap were afraid of flying after losing a family member in the Lockhart river crash. AAP/Jade Bilowol

Lockhart River crash compensation a big win for Indigenous justice

A couple of weeks ago, Justice Henry of the Queensland Supreme Court handed down judgement in favour of the families of five people killed in the tragic Lockhart River plane crash in 2005. The court awarded…
Rape as a weapon of war needs to stop – but how can local and international communities help? EPA/Nicolas Postal

Rape as a weapon of war: what the law can do

During the chaos of war, rape is used by the powerful as a deliberate strategy to destroy any opposition. The law, seemingly, has little role to play. After all, during conflict the normal rules of law…
The final pieces of the historical puzzle around the 1975 Whitlam dismissal are not as sensational as they first seem. Image courtesy of National Archives of Australia. NAA: A6180, 13/11/75/33

Mason’s role in the 1975 dismissal ‘unprecedented’? Hardly …

Much hyperbole has been generated by the recent revelations concerning Sir Anthony Mason’s involvement in the 1975 dismissal, but for the most part it shows ignorance of the past. Earlier this week, The…
Schools fear of litigation could be driving bans on “risky” playground activities - like cartwheeling. Cartwheel image from www.shutterstock.com

Banning cartwheels: school litigation fears are unfounded

A few schools have hit the headlines recently for banning traditional playground activities like cartwheels, handstands, ball games and even high fives. Parents are rightly objecting to the bans, and pointing…
Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie is resisting pressure to make changes to the state’s provocation laws. AAP/Dave Hunt

Homicides, homosexual advances and male honour: will NSW act on provocation law?

Murder is the most serious of all violent crimes, and needs a determined criminal justice response. If there are circumstances in which a killing might be seen as wholly or partly excusable, then this…
Eileen Creamer was sentenced to a minimum of seven years imprisonment for the defensive homicide of her violent partner. AAP/Julian Smith

Domestic violence: how the law treats women who kill a violent partner

In the vast majority of cases where women kill their partners, there is a history of domestic violence. Isolation as well as often cyclical psychological and physical abuse means leaving home is not only…
Drug kingpin Carl Williams cut a plea bargain with Victorian authorities before being murdered in jail. AAP/Julian Smith

Plea bargains and the efficiencies of justice

In 2007, the infamous underworld figure [Carl Williams](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Williams_(criminal) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder and three counts of murder, on the…
The ability of the police to collect images of protesters is set to be challenged in Victoria. sidkid

Private eyes: how far can police surveillance go?

Most of us value our privacy. But in Australia, despite recommendation after recommendation that we reform the law to protect citizens from serious invasions of privacy, there is often little protection…
A good knowledge of the different religions should be part of a National Curriculum. Flickr/Jake Wasdin

Time for change: a new role for religion in education

After last week’s High Court challenge verdict on funding chaplains in schools, religious education is back in the headlines. The role of religion in Australian schools has been vigorously debated for…
All religions, including Islam can influence the legal decisions of individuals.

Religion and the law: Sharia-compliant wills in Australia

In March this year the ACT Supreme Court overturned a will made by an elderly Muslim lady called Mariem Omari. Her daughter contested the estate and the court found that because Omari signed the will while…
The military court system in Australia has gone through many ups and downs with more to come. AAP Image/Australian Department of Defence

The new Australian Military Court: a fair go for defence force personnel?

Last week, the Commonwealth Attorney-General Nicola Roxon introduced a bill establishing the Australian Military Court as a constitutional court. If the bill passes, it will bring Australia into line with…
Western Governments will be recklessly ignoring their human rights obligations if they continue to support Shell in its US supreme court case. EPA/George Esiri

Oil for lives? When governments help bad corporations

We all know corporations do bad things. Big corporates have been publicly named and shamed for their participation in causing harm to people and the planet, and they are not always held to account. As…
The High Court landmark decision in the school chaplaincy case is an opportunity for reform. Flickr/petelawley

School chaplaincy case: a missed opportunity for secular education

The historic majority Australian High Court ruling that the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) is “invalid” is a gift to the argument for secular public education. Secular statutes (for example…
Julian Assange’s appeal to the Ecuadorian authorities in Britain protects him from any potential extradiction … for now. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Julian Assange’s surprising bid to escape to Ecuador

You’ve got to hand it to Julian Assange. He knows how to capture the imagination. In a surprise escape bid, he is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking political asylum. He now…
Attorney General Nicola Roxon and Minister for School Education Peter Garrett respond to the Williams High Court decision. AAP Image/Penny Bradfield

The High Court school chaplains case and what it means for Commonwealth funding

Today, the High Court of Australia dramatically altered the previously understood scope of the Commonwealth’s power to spend money and enter into contracts. This decision has immediate repercussions for…
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton holds up Azaria’s death certificate, confirming her daughter’s death by dingo attack. AAP/Patrina Malone

Lessons from the Chamberlain case: the human cost of wrongful conviction

The Azaria Chamberlain case is a reminder that the criminal justice system does get it wrong, with each error bearing its own human cost. On Tuesday, the Northern Territory Coroner’s office concluded an…
Google could face fines if it doesn’t address alleged anti-competitive practices. mark knol

The Google ultimatum: Europe has spoken, but what about Australia?

The European Commission (EC) has given Google “a matter of weeks” to address concerns the American search giant has “abused a dominant market position”. The announcement overnight (AEST) follows an 18-month…

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