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LIV advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: (2007) 81(7) LIJ, p. 12


To represent the interests of members and the wider community, the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) actively seeks to influence policy and legislation through lobbying and submissions to government, the courts and other bodies.

Administrative Law and Human Rights Section

The LIV Administrative Law and Human Rights Section, in conjunction with CPA Australia, hosted an event entitled “Can the notion of economic and social human rights be meaningful in a wealthy, developed society like Australia?”. Human rights lawyer Philip Alston discussed whether the incorporation of a provision recognising economic and social rights in a Bill of Rights would be helpful in the Australian context.

Articled clerkships

LIV CEO Mike Brett Young met with representatives from legal firms and law schools to discuss protocols in relation to the offer of articles to graduating law students.

Budgets

LIV president Geoff Provis, vice-president Tony Burke and CEO Mike Brett Young attended the post-Budget breakfast hosted by state treasurer John Brumby while Mr Brett Young and Councillor Steven Stevens met with the Shadow Minister for Finance Lindsay Tanner to discuss the federal Budget.

Client legal privilege

Telstra general counsel Will Irving addressed the LIV In-house Counsel Committee on client legal privilege and its impact on the role of a growing number of in-house counsel positions in business.

CPA and LIV

Mr Brett Young and LIV Marketing manager Sue Noble met with CPA Australia CEO Kerry Mayne to discuss mutual opportunities.

Elder Law Committee

LIV Elder Law Committee co-chair Bill O’Shea and solicitor Elissa Campbell made oral submissions to the Melbourne hearings of the Commonwealth Inquiry into Older Persons and the Law on behalf of the LIV.

Family law

Department of Justice (DoJ) Human Rights Unit senior lawyer Kylie Evans gave a presentation to the Children & Youth Issues Committee on the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

Law Council of Australia

The LIV Commercial Law Section and the Law Council of Australia are working on a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission in response to its issues paper on Client Legal Privilege and Federal Investigatory Bodies.

Law seminar series

Mr Brett Young addressed law students at the Beyond Collins Street seminar about the importance of career choices and the opportunities available in Victoria. The series is run annually by the Melbourne University Law Students Society to expose students to career paths that differ from the typical corporate roles.

Networking meetings

Mr Brett Young hosted the Courts CEOs monthly meeting, met with State Revenue Office CEO Paul Broderick and continued ongoing discussions with Legal Services Commissioner Vic Marles about the implementation of the Legal Profession Act 2004.

Reconciliation Week

Mr Provis joined with senior Victorian government ministers to mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Referendum at a day-long event at Parliament House on 27 May, the beginning of Reconciliation Week.

Regulation and training

Mr Brett Young met with Professor Sue Campbell and Victorian Crown Counsel John Lynch in relation to the proposed state government review of regulation of government lawyers. Mr Brett Young also met with Professor Ari Freiberg to discuss future practical legal training courses at Monash University.

Relationships register

In May, LIV representatives met with the DoJ about its plans to introduce a relationships register in Victoria. The LIV has been a long-time advocate of the introduction of a relationships register in Victoria which would give all couples, including same-sex couples, the opportunity to have their relationship formally recognised.

Workplace relations

RMIT Centre for Applied Social Research senior research fellow Dr Sara Charlesworth spoke to the Part-Time Lawyers Network on the “right to request” part-time work and discussed the review of the AIRC test case provisions, possible amendments to anti-discrimination laws, the European experience of the regulation of the “right to request” and the recently announced ALP policy in this area.

A Workplace Relations Discussion Forum, facilitated by the LIV Industrial Relations Committee and Paul Ronfeldt, discussed the recent case of Lee v Hills Before and After School Care.

Submissions

Submissions made by the LIV may be viewed at http://www.liv.asn.au/members/sections/submissions

Community education for seniors

The LIV has made a submission to the Department for Victorian Communities in response to its consultation paper, Community Education and Older Persons’ Legal Service, which focuses on two key Victorian government commitments to respond to elder abuse – the establishment of a statewide information and education service and an older persons’ legal service to target the specific needs of disadvantaged older people. The LIV’s submission raises issues relating to elder abuse which are considered to be relevant to both those initiatives.

Terrorism and human rights

In December 2006, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism issued his report, Australia: Study on Human Rights Compliance While Countering Terrorism. The report was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council for consideration at the Council’s fourth session in March 2007. The report acknowledges some good practices by the Australian government in countering terrorism, but notes that there are some human rights concerns that require urgent attention.

The LIV urges the Australian government to take immediate action to remedy the breaches of human rights resulting from Australia’s counter-terrorism laws and practices.

LIV and the media

ABC Statewide weekly segment with the LIV

Legal talkback
9 May Legal age for drinking, driving while drinking not illegal, serving alcohol to under 18s by families in a private home, lowering the blood alcohol content to zero for P platers, public drunkenness laws, restricted bail
16 May Law Week – what’s on in the regions, random drug testing for lawyers, television depiction of waterfront dispute, removing an easement, animals and fencing
23 May Police giving information about celebrities to the media, drug use among the professions, house inspection reports
30 May Indefinite suspension of Ballarat schoolgirl for Internet blog, laws to prevent David Hicks from profiting from crime, Fincorp losses for investors, AWB single desk, plea bargaining

Complaints and investigations
LIV is reported to have investigated several complaints made to it about solicitor Issac Brott, and referred some to VCAT
25 May The Australian
25 May ABC Radio 774
25 May Australian Financial Review
1 June The Australian

Drug buses in Queensland
LIV comments about test accuracy and evidence of residual drug in a person’s blood not necessarily affecting the way he or she drives
1 June Radio JJJ

Judicial education
LIV agrees that new Bill directing ongoing education for judges is worthwhile
25 May Australian Financial Review

Law Week
LIV promotes metropolitan and regional Law Week events, including seminars about wills, bodies corporate, open court days
8 May Frankston Independent, Hastings Independent
9 May Whitehorse Leader
19 May ABC Radio 774

Lawyers and depression
LIV comments on high incidence of depression in the legal profession compared with other professions
1 May ABC Radio National

Lawyers and drugs
The suspicious death of Peter Hayes QC led to speculation and claims of high recreational drug use among the legal profession. The LIV opposes a call for random drug testing of lawyers, urging counselling and support services instead
18 May Herald Sun
19 May 3AW
20 May The Sunday Age

LIV’s share of influence
Article highlights Labor firm Maurice Blackburn Cashman’s alumnae and that two of them joined the LIV in senior posts
11 May The Australian
20 May 3RRR FM

Minimum CPD Rules for all lawyers?
LIV comments that proposed state review of regulation of government lawyers should clarify CPD expectations and government lawyers’ use of legal professional privilege
25 May Australian Financial Review
1 June Lawyers Weekly

Prisoner cells in court
LIV comments on Magistrate Simon Garnett’s attack on the conditions of cells under the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
10 May ABC TV News

Slater & Gordon public float
LIV discusses Australia’s first public float of a law firm
21 May ABC TV Stateline
21 May ABC Radio
21 May ABC Online

Suburban law firm promotes LIV
Suburban lawyer talks about using LIV research and website facilities to keep his firm’s costs low.
8 May Ferntree Gully Mail

Tort law reform
LIV is looking for people who have suffered injuries that do not meet the 5 per cent physical or 10 per cent psychological threshold for compensation.
22 May ABC 744

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