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Every Issue

Cite as: August 2015 89 (8) LIJ, p.78


To represent the interests of members and the wider community, the LIV actively seeks to influence policy and legislation through lobbying and submissions to government, the courts and other bodies. Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Restrictions on the Making of Protection Orders) Bill 2015

LIV representatives gave evidence at the inquiry about the anticipated effect of the Children, Youth and Families Act (Permanent Care and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2014 on children in the child protection system. While the LIV supports the 2015 Bill, further legislative reform is needed to reinstate the powers of the Children’s Court to ensure the Department of Health and Human Services can be held accountable for decisions made about Victoria’s most vulnerable children. The 2014 Act is due to start on or before 1 March 2016.

2015 Charter review

The LIV’s submission to the eight year review of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities recognises the importance of the Charter in developing a human rights culture in Victoria and highlights areas for improvement in the current operation and application of the Charter. A common theme is uncertainty about the Charter’s legal application, based on the complexity of Charter jurisprudence and a number of unresolved questions of law. This uncertainty can undermine the Charter’s ability to protect and promote human rights in Victoria.

The LIV’s submission identifies: gaps and issues under the current system, based on an analysis of the LIV Charter Case Audit, prepared with assistance from Ashurst, and the experience of LIV members who use the Charter in legal practice; possible measures to address these issues; and recommendations to improve the operation of the Charter and to strengthen its ability to protect and promote human rights in Victoria.

Financial agreement legislation

The LIV made submissions to the federal Attorney-General about the government’s proposed changes to financial agreement legislation. The proposed reforms seek to address the uncertainty faced by family lawyers in recent years about when a financial agreement will be held to be binding. It is intended that the reforms will make it harder for parties to have a court set aside their financial agreement even when the agreement has technical deficiencies.

Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings

The LIV provided a memo to the Law Council of Australia (LCA) for this Senate inquiry. The memo provided an overview of LIV members’ different experiences of clients with disability who are subject to abuse, the impact of that abuse and the different regulatory frameworks governing those institutions and residential settings in Victoria. It was based on comments by the LIV’s disability and elder law committees.

Integrity of Australia’s border arrangements

The LIV sent a memo to the LCA for this inquiry, supporting the establishment of an independent federal statutory body to lead the investigation and prevention of official corruption, criminal activity and serious misconduct involving federal officials. The memo also provided a brief overview of Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission and the ways in which the LIV has suggested it can be improved.

Submissions made by the LIV may be viewed at


Children’s Court

Ms Miller met with Minister for Families and Children and Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos about the Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Restrictions on the Making of Protection Orders) Bill 2015.

Citizenship law

Ms Miller met with Stephen Blanks and Lesley Lynch of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties to discuss the government’s citizenship changes.

Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference

Ms Miller was part of a panel discussion on privacy and freedom in the age of data retention alongside NSW Young Lawyers immediate past president Thomas Spohr, and NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Stephen Blanks, moderated by Ashurst senior consultant Dr Gordon Hughes.

Law societies

Ms Miller and LIV CEO Nerida Wallace travelled to Darwin for a number of meetings with law societies across Australia and the Law Council of Australia. Ms Miller met with LCA president Duncan McConnel in Canberra to discuss the federal government’s proposed changes to citizenship. Ms Wallace attended the farewell for outgoing CEO of the Queensland Law Society, Noela L’Estrange.

Uniform Law

Ms Wallace met with Commissioner for Uniform Legal Services Regulation Dale Boucher, to discuss the Uniform Law. Ms Wallace also met with Department of Justice and Regulation deputy secretary civil justice Donald Speagle to discuss the Uniform Law legislation and Victorian representation on the Professional Standards Council Board.

Tenth annual human rights dinner

Ms Miller attended the dinner hosted by Justice Connect and the Human Rights Law Centre with keynote speaker Professor Gillian Triggs, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission.


Ms Miller and Ms Wallace met with Professor Andrew Clarke, College of Law and Justice, Victoria University and RMIT head of school Professor Mark Farrell and director of Juris Doctor program Anthony Forsyth.


Ms Miller attended the swearing in of Justice Michelle Gordon to the High Court of Australia. She spoke at the welcomes to the County Court of Victoria for Judge Amanda Chambers and Sara Hinchey.

Shadow Attorney-General

Ms Miller and Ms Wallace met with Victorian shadow Attorney-General John Pesutto.


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