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LIV Advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: Jan/Feb 2011 85(1/2) LIJ, p.12

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.

AIJA 16th annual oration

Then LIV president Steven Stevens attended the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration’s (AIJA) oration by Supreme Court of Ireland Senior Judge Justice Susan Denham. Justice Denham addressed the evolving role of judges in the administration of courts and the judiciary, with special reference to Ireland.

Diversity luncheon

The Australian Securities Exchange’s former chief supervision officer and chairman of its Corporate Governance Council, Eric Mayne, spoke on diversity at a luncheon event sponsored by the LIV and Freehills. Mr Stevens and LIV CEO Michael Brett Young attended.

Legal aid fees

Legal aid fees were discussed at a meeting attended by the LIV, Victoria Legal Aid and the Victorian Bar. Mr Stevens and Mr Brett Young represented the LIV.

LIV annual legal awards

The presentation ceremony for the LIV’s annual legal awards was attended by Mr Stevens and Mr Brett Young.

National legal reform

Representatives of law societies from around the country gathered to discuss the draft Bill for national legal reform. Mr Brett Young attended on behalf of the LIV.

Post-election Greens

Mr Brett Young and Mr Stevens met with Australian Greens senator and legal affairs spokesman Scott Ludlam to discuss the political/legal landscape.

“Quacks” in court

Mr Stevens attended an AIJA presentation by the Supreme Court of Canada’s Justice Ian Binnie at the LIV. Justice Binnie spoke on understanding the role of the expert witness, whether judges were credible assessors of complex technical evidence and the contribution of “quack” practitioners in court cases.

Supreme Court redevelopment

Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Warren met with Mr Brett Young to discuss ideas for the redevelopment of the Supreme Court building complex.

Victorian Attorney-General

Newly-elected Victorian Attorney-General and Finance Minister Robert Clark met with Mr Stevens and Mr Brett Young. They discussed the government’s upcoming agenda on law and order issues and national profession reform.

Victorian Shadow Attorney-General

Mr Stevens and Mr Brett Young met with Victorian Shadow Attorney-General Martin Pakula. Issues of law and order were discussed.

White Ribbon Day

Footballers and lawyers joined together in trying to stop violence against women at a White Ribbon Day event co-sponsored by the LIV and the AFL. Mr Stevens attended.

WikiLeaks

The LIV organised a forum to discuss the law in relation to WikiLeaks and its Australian creator, Julian Assange. Criminal defence lawyer Rob Stary and Julian Burnside QC were among the speakers. More than 200 people attended, including Mr Brett Young and Mr Stevens.

SUBMISSIONS

Submissions made by the LIV may be viewed at www.liv.asn.au/Membership/Practice-Sections.

Assessing the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities on legal practice

The LIV has received a Victoria Law Foundation grant to research the use and understanding of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) by Victoria’s legal profession. The LIV is currently inviting relevant stakeholders to join the project’s steering committee and plans to hold initial preparation meetings early this year.

Biometrics and offshore processing of asylum seekers

The LIV contributed to a Law Council of Australia (LCA) submission to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on immigration policies. The submission noted that administrative law does not provide the same safeguards to protect biometric information as criminal law and raised concerns that the relevance of biometric information to administrative decision-making is unclear. The submission also noted that the LCA requires further details about the proposed regional protection framework before it can assess its compliance with Australia’s international law obligations or determine whether it addresses international and domestic criticisms of previous and existing policies.

Constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples

The LIV has joined the LCA in strongly supporting constitutional reform which recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and secures enforceable rights for them. The LIV will be consulting LIV members and others on detailed proposals for reform.

Fair hearing obligation

In light of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s (VCAT) recently released fair hearing obligation practice note, the LIV made a submission advocating the timely publication of VCAT decisions and raising concerns about rules on requesting written decisions in the Civil Disputes – Small Claims List.

Federal protection from discrimination

The Australian Human Rights Commission recently consulted with a number of relevant organisations on federal protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sex and/or gender identity. In its submission, the LIV suggested that a single anti-discrimination Act under the government’s human rights framework should deliver substantive equality for all people that is at least as strong as the new Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic). 

Immigration detention policy

The LIV wrote to federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen welcoming the 30 September 2010 immediate lifting of the suspension of processing of asylum claims from Afghan asylum seekers. The letter raised concerns with current immigration policies such as the detention of children and also recommended the re-introduction of the Migration Amendment (Immigration Detention Reform) Bill 2009 as a matter of priority.

Mental Health Bill exposure draft

The LIV’s submission on the state government’s Mental Health Bill exposure draft noted that the government must consider whether proposed reforms are compatible with human rights. The LIV also called for more funding for legal representation for hearings at the proposed Mental Health Tribunal.

Powers of attorney report

The Victorian government requested comments from the LIV on the August 2010 Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee Inquiry into Powers of Attorney report. The LIV’s submission recommended that the proposed Powers of Attorney Act should include medical treatment enduring powers of attorney in addition to general non-enduring powers of attorney, enduring financial powers of attorney and guardianship enduring powers of attorney.

LCA SUBMISSIONS

The latest LCA submissions can be seen at www.lawcouncil.asn.au/submissions.html.

LIV AND THE MEDIA

Caroline Counsel appointed LIV president

New LIV president Caroline Counsel says her goal is to “leave no lawyer behind” in the changing legal environment.

17 November: Lawyers Weekly

Charter of Human Rights

LIV says the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities must be retained and supports the review of it in 2011.

11 December: The Age

Child abuse reporting

LIV says care needs to be taken not to prosecute others threatened with violence, such as mothers.

24 November: Warrnambool Standard

Double jeopardy

LIV explains the law of double jeopardy following the deportation of a man back to the US to face murder charges after being jailed in Australia.

1 December: 3AW Facebook and divorce

LIV says Facebook and internet dating are increasingly being used in divorce cases.

2 December: Herald Sun, 2UE Footballers tackle violence against women

LIV and AFL co-host a White Ribbon Day event, stressing the importance of footballers supporting the campaign, which is aimed at tackling violence against women, as they can influence young men.

26 November: SBS radio news Indigenous representation

LIV wants to increase Indigenous representation in the legal profession.

2 December: SBS radio 3 December: SBS World View

9 December: Koori Mail

10 December: Shepparton News

Law and order and money

LIV surveys parties and says more should be spent on legal aid and on preventing crime.

19 November: Herald Sun

21 November: Sunday Age

Minimum sentencing

LIV and Smart Justice say Coalition plans to introduce minimum sentences would erode judicial discretion and discourage guilty pleas.

23 November: ABC PM and AAP newswire; 3MTR with Steve Price 24 November: The Age, Australian Financial Review

New state Attorney-General

LIV has good communications with new Attorney-General Robert Clark and looks forward to discussing his agenda and his position on proposed reform of the National Profession Bill.

3 December: Australian Financial Review

“No” to elected judges

LIV says it will not support suggestion by federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott that judges could be elected, as they are in the US.

11 November: ABC Red Symons 12 November: The Age

Review bullying laws

LIV supports government request to review bullying laws by Victorian Law Reform Commission.

3 November: ABC Ballarat Mornings; Shepparton News

Tougher aggravated burglary sentences

LIV, Victoria Legal Aid and Criminal Bar Association unite in opposing Director of Public Prosecutions’ push for tougher sentences.

14 November: Sunday Age 18 November: The Age Webcasting concerns

LIV expresses concerns about courts webcasting cases live on the internet and says the estimated $6.5 million cost would be better spent on legal aid.

10 November: The Australian, AAP newswire; Lawyers Weekly

11 November: 2SER (Sydney); Sunraysia Daily; AAP newswire 12 November: The Australian 13 November: Ballarat Courier

WikiLeaks forum

LIV organises a well-attended forum on legal issues around WikiLeaks and Julian Assange’s rights.

8 December: ABC Lindy Burns 9 December: 3MTR; Lawyers Weekly

10 December: The Age and ABC Jon Faine 11 December: The Age

13 December: New Lawyer


The LIV’s public affairs manager Kerry O’Shea is available to help members with particular media issues and can be contacted on ph 9607 9373. For more information see www.liv.asn.au/About-LIV/Media-Centre.

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