Articles on Law reform

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There is no legislation in place that specifically addresses elder abuse with family or carer circles. EPA/Diego Azubel

The mistreatment of older people: is it time to legislate against abuse?

The tragic case of 88 year-old Cynthia Thoresen recently made headlines in Queensland. Mrs Thoresen’s sad decline and the extent of her injuries have been comprehensively documented. Despite shocking neglect…
A Victorian parliamentary Law Reform Committee report released this week on the practice of underage ‘sexting’ recommended widespread legal changes. Shutterstock

Not just ‘safe sext’: Victorian parliamentary Law Reform Committee calls for change

I was absolutely mortified, horrified. Everyone had seen them … people would stop me in the street and recognise me. - “Helen”, aged 14 years “Sexting” (also known as “selfies” or “noodz”) refers to the…
NSW Attorney General Greg Smith (center) claims that previous laws guaranteeing the right to silence were easily exploited by criminals. AAP/Dean Lewins

When you say nothing at all: NSW and the right to silence

The right to silence when being interviewed or questioned by police would be considered a fundamental legal right by many people. But it is not a “right” you can exercise in New South Wales any more. The…
Jane Ashton successfully campaigned for the provocation defence to be abolished in Victoria after James Ramage used the defence for killing her sister Julie. AAP Image/ Brent Bignell

Murder or manslaughter? NSW ponders the provocation problem

In Parliament last week, NSW took steps towards better understanding, and potentially solving, the problems posed by the partial defence of provocation. A defence predominately used by men, provocation…
Footballer Liam Jurrah arriving at his committal hearing in Alice Springs. Are such processes really necessary? AAP/Xavier La Canna

Reforming the committal hearing system

Significant questions have been raised over the past three decades, most recently by Victorian Attorney General Robert Clark, as to the benefits of the pre-trial system. In particular, whether having so…
We often preface words like slap and smack with “just a little” to make it sound more socially acceptable. paulscott

Time for an end to parental tough love

Picture this: you’re standing in a long, slow-moving queue. People around you are disgruntled and complaining. You turn to talk with the person behind you and someone else jumps the queue in front of you…
Lloyd Rayney is accused of murdering his estranged wife Coryne and has opted for a judge only trial. AAP/WA Supreme Court

Twelve good men (and women)? Lloyd Rayney and the problem with jury trials

It is no surprise that Lloyd Rayney has chosen to have a judge sitting alone try the case against him rather than exercising his right to trial before a jury. Past media speculation, the high profile of…
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…
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…
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…
Australian law needs to catch up with technology which means we can be watched at any time. Flickr/Esther Gibbons

Why privacy laws should not be a game of roulette

Watching other people is human. It’s why TV shows like Big Brother, and paparazzi magazines flourish. But while some people choose to expose private moments, others do not. And Australian law doesn’t always…

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