Articles on Law

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Convicted murderer Keli Lane is one of Australia’s most famous cases of infanticide. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Safe haven: preventing women from harming their babies

In December 2010, Keli Lane, a former champion water polo player, was convicted of the 1996 murder of her two day old daughter, Tegan. The new-born girl was never seen again after leaving the hospital…
The Treaty of Waitangi reminds us that indigenous people must be treated honourably before the law. Sids1

A matter of trust – what we can learn from the Treaty of Waitangi

Much is made of the Treaty of Waitangi as the vehicle for the recognition of Maori in New Zealand’s legal system. Australia lacks a treaty, the argument goes, and therefore is constitutionally disabled…
We should take a closer look at the history of the Constitution before reforming it. Flickr/Rusty Stewart

Indigenous recognition and the Section 25 quandary

The one recommendation of the Expert Panel on Indigenous Constitutional Recognition that everyone appears to support is the repeal of section 25 of the Constitution. Section 25 says that if a State law…
If the US Research Works Bill passes, public access to US research will be restricted. Flickr/the Firebottle

A small bill in the US, a giant impact for research worldwide

Over the Christmas period, a short Bill was introduced into the US House of Representatives. The Research Works Act aims to make it illegal to require researchers to make their work publicly available…
When people need to beg, the last thing we should be doing is seeing them as criminals. Flickr/galawebdesign

Forget your coins, we want change: begging should not be a crime

The criminal offence of begging should be abolished. Criminalising begging is tantamount to criminalising poverty. It perpetuates, rather than alleviates, the marginalisation and disadvantage experienced…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has resurrected former coalition government policy to “turn back” boats seeking asylum in Australia. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

Abbott’s asylum seeker policy floats in murky legal waters

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has said that under a coalition government every boat coming to Australia carrying asylum seekers will be sent back to Indonesia. The Indonesian police, the United Nations…
Journalist or blogger? It’s a thin line. See-ming Lee 李思明 SML

When does a blogger become a journalist?

Citizen journalists everywhere should be checking the fine print of media shield laws, after a US District Court judge in Oregon ruled that self-styled investigative blogger Crystal Cox was not a journalist…
If the republic is going to be put back on the political agenda in 2012, more will need to step up and talk more about the issue publicly. Flickr/GregTheBusker

Vive la republique! Why Nicola Roxon’s push for constitutional reform needs supporters

The new Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has made her intention clear to reignite the debate on Australia becoming a republic. On taking up the new position, she took the opportunity to stake out her position…
Suspect Bradley Manning is accused of “aiding the enemy” and faces court martial by a US military court. EPA/BradleyManning.org/

Defending Private Manning: Wikileaks suspect has his day in court

The controversy over Wikileaks will today, at least temporarily, shift its focus from the website’s founder Julian Assange to suspected informant Private First Class Bradley Manning. Today Manning will…
Newly appointed Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon may be surprised to find the bill of rights she doesn’t want is already in place. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Roxon got it right: we don’t need a bill of rights because we’ve already got one

The new Commonwealth Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon has said that in her new role she would not push for a bill of rights to be included in the constitution. But many would be surprised to learn she doesn’t…
It’s time to recognise the first Australians in our constitution. Flickr/Rusty Stewart

It’s time to recognise Indigenous Australia in our constitution

Last week, the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples concluded its deliberations on reform proposals. While we wait on the release of their final report…
Occupy protestors have a right to protest; police powers to move them on from public spaces should be questioned. RynChristophe/Youtube

Moving right along: what powers do police have to ‘move-on’ protestors?

When police removed a young woman’s “tent dress” this week at the Occupy Melbourne encampment, it was yet another controversial interaction between protesters and authorities. As shown in the Occupy movement…
Young offenders may not be equipped with the skills to help them deal with restorative justice. Flickr/Pandham

Restorative justice may not work for all young offenders

Educating young offenders about the consequences of their crimes is a key way to ensure they don’t re-offend. But bringing them face to face with their victims may not always be the right way to go. Young…
Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, has been working to secure the release of the 14 year old, amid huge media interest. AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka

Bali teenager used as political pawn in domestic politics

The arrest of a 14 year old Australian boy accused of possessing marijuana in Bali has provoked a media storm. The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia says the case is his “top priority”, and even the Prime…
ABC’s The Slap investigates the complex and very personal views of those at the heart of a smacking case. ABC

The legality of ‘The Slap’

In last night’s ABC program, The Slap, an impulsive slap changed everything. A man struck someone else’s child at a barbecue provoking a legal challenge. In real life, that would be an assault, though…
What is Australia’s responsibility for low-lying neighbours like Palau? CasaDeQueso

See you in court: the rising tide of international climate litigation

The Pacific Island State of Palau recently announced it will seek an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), asking whether countries have a responsibility to avoid their emissions…

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