Articles on Law

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Shows such as CSI have warped our understanding of what questioning is likely to achieve. Facundo Arrizablaga/EPA

Questions about questions: Murdoch’s performance at the Leveson Inquiry

Commentators on Rupert Murdoch’s appearance at the Leveson Inquiry have pointed out some alleged inconsistencies between the evidence and his testimony, leading many commentators to reject Murdoch’s claims…
Raising the cost of FoI applications is not the answer. Flickr/chrisjohnbeckett

Gillard’s impending FoI blunder

The Gillard government will make a huge mistake if it follows through with plans to overturn freedom of information reforms and introduce an increase to the cost of applications. The expected change comes…
If Australia is to set an example in the region, we need to clean up our constitution and abolish the race powers act. AAP/Courtesy of Traditional Owners and Rio Tinto Alcan/Peter Eve

Australia will need a strong constitution for the Asian Century

AUSTRALIA IN THE ASIAN CENTURY – A series examining Australia’s role in the rapidly transforming Asian region. Delivered in partnership with the Australian government. Here, Dr Matt Harvey argues that…
Two teams of psychiatric assessors have come to different conclusions about Breivik’s mental state. AAP

Mad or bad? Expert witnesses and the Anders Breivik trial

On July 22, 2011, Norwegian Anders Breivik killed 75 people, as a statement against Norway’s liberal immigration policies. He was a member of an extreme right wing group and a product of a dysfunctional…
Falun Gong protestors outside the Chinese consulate in Sydney in 2008. AAP/Dean Lewins

Chinese refugees risking lives for asylum in New Zealand

UPDATE: The Chinese nationals have now elected to stay in Australia, where they will seek asylum. A group of ten Chinese people fleeing persecution in their home country has presented Australian authorities…
It’s time for the government to review our national security laws. Flickr/another_activist

The politics of fear: why haven’t counter-terrorism laws changed?

More than ten years ago, the Australian public and policymakers overreacted to 9/11 and created a set of laws that went beyond what was needed to protect us against terrorism. With the recent release of…
Shamed senior police officer Mark Standen is lead away from King St Supreme Court after being found guilty of attempting to import a massive haul of pseudoephedrine. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Good cop, bad cop: how corrupt police work with drug dealers

The Australia21 report on illicit drugs draws much-needed attention to many serious issues, including the major role played by corrupt police in drug distribution networks. The role played by drugs in…
The UK and Australia have both looked at reforming their counter-terrorism laws, but which country has been more rigorous? Flickr/neeravbhatt

Who’s watching counter-terrorism laws in Australia?

Within a couple of weeks of each other, the independent monitors of counter-terrorism laws in both the UK and Australia have delivered their reports assessing the operation of national security legislation…
Scientists are clear that tuna catch needs to be cut, but figuring out who will fish less and where is much trickier. AAP

What a tangled net: unravelling the international complications of tuna conservation

The eighth meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission concluded in Guam on Friday 30 March 2012. Five hundred delegates from more than 40 countries argued for a week about how to reduce…
The government’s obligations to immigration detainees are very similar to those of prisoners. AAP/Dean Lewins

After Serco, what rights do asylum seekers have in detention?

A training manual instructing immigration detention centre guards to use force to incapacitate detainees was leaked this week. It included techniques to kick, punch and target pressure points on detainees…
The High Court decision against Palm Island rioter, Lex Wotton highlights concerns about how little our constitution does to protect us. AAP Image/Ian Hitchcock

Silencing Lex Wotton: Palm Island riot decision a blow for freedom of speech

When a prisoner has served their time, it’s difficult to understand why they would be stopped from engaging in public debate or communicating with the media. But a new precedent has been set by the High…
Many groups have called for sharia, or Islamic law in Australia, but is it workable? EPA/Andy Rain

Sharia: why a dual legal system will not work in Australia

A major Australian Islamic group recently argued for a formal recognition of sharia or Muslim law in the Australian legal system. According to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Australia should…
The new Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon needs to commit to more serious reforms of human rights in Australia. Flickr/Takver

A flawed and limited plan: Australia’s human rights failures to continue

While Australia makes much of its human rights standards in international dialogues, its own track record is variable to say the least – human rights concerns around the Northern Territory intervention…
The leadership spill could lead to constitutional confusion if Rudd wins next week’s ballot. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

What happens if Kevin Rudd wins the leadership spill?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced this morning that she will hold a leadership ballot at 10am on Monday, to “settle once and for all” Labor’s escalating leadership crisis. Kevin Rudd has not formally…
Comments posted by the writer have seen Twitter sued for defamation. Mosman Library

Will Marieke Hardy’s Twitter case change Australian law forever?

Twitter is being sued for defamation by a Melbourne man who was wrongly identified as the author of a “hate blog” directed at writer and TV personality, Marieke Hardy. Hardy posted a tweet last year to…
Tony Abbott says the end is near for the government, but can he bring it down? AAP/Alan Porritt

Explainer: motions of no confidence and the constitution

After declaring the Gillard government was entering its “endgame”, opposition leader Tony Abbott is believed to be preparing to table a motion of no confidence. Since Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie…
It’s essential that we get it right when it comes to changing our constitution to recognise Aboriginal Australians. Flickr/Rusty Stewart

Indigenous recognition: we can’t afford to water down constitutional reform

Earlier this year, the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians gave its final recommendations to the government. Recognition would acknowledge the unique place of Aboriginal…

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