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LIV Advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: July 2015 89 (7) LIJ, p.88

Submissions

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. Domain administration

The LIV responded to a call for comment from the .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) on the question of opening up the .au domain to direct registration. This submission was informed by the work of the Technology and the Law Committee. The LIV submitted that the .au should be opened up for direct registration and auDA should implement a number of policies governing direct registration.

Royal Commission into Family Violence

In this submission, the LIV focuses on the legal system as an element of the broader family violence system which the Royal Commission Issues Paper identifies as the array of government and non-government responses to family violence. In particular, the submission looks at family violence and the court system, the role of lawyers in the family violence system, legal issues identified by the LIV, and how the LIV can contribute to the work of the Royal Commission.

Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

The LIV’s submission to the Senate community affairs legislation committee argues that the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 discriminates against people with a mental disability by arbitrarily denying forensic patients charged with a “serious offence” access to social security payments. The LIV is concerned about the impact of the Bill on the rehabilitation of the 71 forensic patients currently confined in Victoria, who are some of the most vulnerable people in the community. The LIV recommends that the committee not support this Bill.

State Taxation Acts Amendment Bill 2015

The Commercial Law and Property and Environmental Law Sections collaborated on drafting a submission on the State Taxation Acts Amendment Bill 2015. The submission focused on the implementation of the Treasurer’s guidelines on proposed discretionary powers vested in the Treasurer to exempt certain taxpayers from the new surcharges under the Duties Act 2000 for “foreign purchasers of residential property” on stamp duty, and under the Land Tax Act 2005 for “absentee landowners” on land tax.

The submission also comments on the transitional arrangements in place for the application of the new surcharges from 1 July 2015.

VLRC reference on medicinal cannabis

The LIV submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s (VLRC) reference on Medicinal Cannabis addresses questions from the VLRC issues paper relating to the potential regulation of medicinal cannabis in Victoria. The submission notes that medicinal cannabis products regulated in Victoria need to be available in therapeutically appropriate forms that can be maintained for quality and consistency and produced for a defined therapeutic process. To ensure the quality and consistency of the products, regulation needs to address the entire process of importation and/or cultivation, manufacturing and distribution, and not just use and possession. The LIV submission discusses and analyses potential regulatory models that could be used to achieve these aims.

Submissions made by the LIV may be viewed at www.liv.asn.au/For-Lawyers/Sections-Groups-Associations/Practice-Sections/Submissions.

Representation

Court of Appeal champion

LIV president Katie Miller met with Court of Appeal president Justice Chris Maxwell and discussed his recent appointment as a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission “Male Champion of Change”.

Heads Up seminar

Ms Miller attended the seminar on improving mental health in the workplace. Speakers included beyondblue chair Jeff Kennett; Victorian Managed Insurance Authority CEO Paul O’Connor; beyondblue workplace engagement manager Patrice O’Brien, Lend Lease Group CEO and managing director Steve McCann and Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Mark Stone.

High Court farewell

Ms Miller spoke at the farewell for High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne at the Commonwealth Law Courts. Justice Hayne’s 42-year legal career included more than 17 years on the High Court bench.

Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office

Ms Miller and LIV CEO Nerida Wallace met with Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office director Arthur Au and deputy director Bernard Lo to discuss the latest developments in Hong Kong, including its new Arbitration and Mediation Centre and possible collaboration on future projects.

Judicial welcome

Ms Miller and Ms Wallace attended the welcome for Associate Justice Mary-Jane Ierodiaconou at the Supreme Court of Victoria. Ms Miller spoke at the welcome and recalled the powerful and inspirational voice Associate Justice Ierodiaconou brought during her two years on LIV Council.

Mornington Peninsula Lawyers Association

Ms Miller and Ms Wallace attended the Mornington Peninsula Lawyers Association meeting where they spoke on the introduction of Uniform Law; outlined the LIV’s resources for members making the transition to the Uniform Law (including a dedicated webpage and costs material); and introduced the LIV’s CPD video on e-conveyancing, which will be free to law associations and sold to members ($120, $190 for non-members) via the LIV bookshop. Costs Committee chair Lyn Honan also presented on the Uniform Law, encouraging members to develop matter plans to help meet consumer oriented provisions in the Uniform Law.

NARS Workshop

Ms Miller and diversity taskforce chair and LIV Councillor Stuart Webb attended the National Attrition and Re-engagement Study workshop, hosted by the Law Council of Australia. Representatives from law societies and law firms across the country focused on leadership; parental leave, return to work and flexible work practices; equitable briefing; and unconscious bias.

National Security Australia Conference

Ms Miller took part in the panel discussion at the 13th annual conference on whether granting greater powers for data retention offers increased protection and strengthens national security. She was joined by co-convenor Cyberspace Law and Policy Community, UNSW Faculty of Law David Vaile.

RMIT Centre for Innovative Justice

Ms Miller and Ms Wallace met with former Attorney-General Rob Hulls, director of the Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT University, to discuss the Royal Commission into Family Violence and other projects undertaken by the Centre. The decade-long history of the development of the Uniform Law and how it will serve the challenges facing lawyers now was also discussed.

Southern Solicitors Group

Ms Wallace attended the Southern Solicitors Group meeting to hear Legal Services Commissioner Michael McGarvie speak about the 1 July introduction of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014. Mr McGarvie answered questions on the short form costs disclosure process, enforcement and the likely impact of the changes on small legal firms.

State budget breakfast

Ms Wallace attended the state government budget breakfast with Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas. The breakfast included a Q&A discussion about the 2015-16 budget. Both ministers stressed the importance to the Victorian economy of professional services and detailed budget programs to facilitate export to Asia.

Supreme Court of Victoria events

Ms Miller attended the farewell for the Governor of Victoria Alex Chernov. It was hosted by Chief Justice Marilyn Warren at the Supreme Court. Ms Miller also attended the Welcome to Country traditional smoking ceremony at the Supreme Court on 20 May – the first such ceremony ever performed at the Court.

Wellbeing and the Law Foundation

Ms Miller attended the launch of WATL’s 2015-16 program, which included a discussion on legal workplace health interventions chaired by Inclusion@work director Erica Edmunds. The Black Dog Institute also ran a pilot workshop on the role partners and managers in small-to medium-sized firms can play in addressing the mental health concerns of employees and provided strategies to reduce the impact of mental illness in the workplace.

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