August 26, 2011

Young Lawyers are doing it for themselves

Our Young Lawyers are now more connected than ever before, via their own dedicated Facebook page. It went live last week, and is already attracting lots of “likes”. Check it for the latest news, events information and relevant resources to those starting out in the law.

I am extremely proud of the work done by our Young Lawyers to develop their new Facebook page. Young Lawyers is our largest section with over 7600 members, of whom 2500 are law students. As you’d expect, they are early adopters. And they have been pushing us for some time to give them a Facebook forum to share resources and information. Please take the time to have a look – it is a great resource. And while I can’t thank every person involved in its development, I would like to acknowledge the work done by our Young Lawyers President Jonathan Elliot and our Young Lawyers Manager Anna Alexander.

Here are some snippets from the current page:
Keeping your Privates Private

Social Media, Workplace Surveillance and You!

This Hot Topics seminar, at the LIV on Thursday 8 September, will look at privacy rights including:

  • If I blog about my boss and get fired for it, is that a valid dismissal
  • Is my blackberry being tracked by my employer
  • What rights do I have to have information removed from Google or Facebook.

Speakers include VLRC chair Professor Neil Rees and Privacy Commissioner Helen Versey. Register now.

Australian Young Lawyers Conference

With the Law Council of Australia, we are proud to host the 2011 Australian Young Lawyers conference in Melbourne for the first time next month. Sessions include Advocacy, Ethics, and Taming your e mail.

Golden Gavel Competition
After the conference, registrants are invited to attend the National Golden Gavel Competition. Support our Victorian finalists – Nick Russell from Malleson Stephen Jaques and Daniel Kinsey from Allens Arthur Robinson – as they compete to be national champion. Participants get just 24 hours to prepare their five-minute presentation before they come before our judges, Justice Betty King and barrister Mark Holden.
Get involved

Have a look at our seven young lawyers committees and join one that interests you. Consider writing an article for the Young Lawyers Journal summer edition. Find out about what’s new and hot topics for young lawyers in the one place.

Have you had a look at our Facebook page? What do you think? Comment here.

 
August 19, 2011

Powers For PSOs Frightening

Risk of shootings increased by new legislation

The LIV is extremely concerned at the extensive powers the Government proposes for its new Protective Services Officers (PSOs). These powers, seen in legislation before Parliament this week, are frighteningly broad and will increase the risk of shootings of young people or those with a mental illness. Powers include the rights, under certain circumstances, to apprehend and search and detain people, including minors and those who appear to be mentally ill, suspected of certain offences without a warrant.
 
Under the Justice Legislation Amendment (Protective Services Officers) Bill 2011, PSOs will be given the powers to arrest, without warrant, a person who has been released on bail if they believe that person has broken bail conditions.

The power to arrest without warrant

The Bill, which passed through the Legislative Assembly yesterday (Thursday), also gives PSOs the power to arrest, without warrant, a minor who has refused to provide them with their name and address, where the PSO believes they have consumed alcohol.
Other provisions give PSOs the power to detain and search a person under 18 years if they are inhaling a volatile substance and there is a risk of immediate and serious harm to that person. PSOs can also apprehend a person who appears to be mentally ill.

New powers likely to increase the use of weapons against the mentally ill

We believe that these powers are likely to escalate issues to the point where PSOs will use the weapons the Government has provided them with, rather than negotiating or calling in appropriate health professionals.
 
These extensive powers are mainly targeted at youths, and will also affect others who are drug and alcohol affected or mentally ill.
 
We question the necessity for these unwarranted powers. The costs associated with training, arming and employing all these new PSOs do not seem to be mandated by any crime wave on our public transport system.
 
The Coalition Government has announced that it will spend $212 million to recruit and train 940 PSOs by November 2014.
 
Victoria already has a dubious record of police shootings. These powers can only add to the danger of vulnerable youths and mentally ill people being shot by armed public transport guards.
 
It is not too late to take a long calm look at the legislation and delay its implementation.
 
We welcome your opinions on the new powers proposed for PSOs.

 
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