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insites (web)

Every Issue

Cite as: (2003) 77(10) LIJ, p.84

This month’s reviews focus on pro bono and Australian and worldwide government gazettes. We also look at family friendly clauses for workplace agreements.

Pro Bono Australia

Many solicitors will be familiar with the print version of the annual Pro Bono Directory produced by Pro Bono Australia (a philanthropic offshoot of the Mahlab Group). The Pro Bono Australia website presents the directory in an easy to search electronic format. Also available via the site are a directory of companies which target services at the non-profit sector, an e-newsletter featuring articles on issues affecting non-profits, a jobs board for positions in the sector, and an e-forum. Articles in the newsletter and postings to the forum are on issues such as taxation, corporate governance, privacy and fundraising. Forum contributors include Australian Tax Office staff.

National Pro Bono Resource Centre

The National Pro Bono Resource Centre is an independent non-profit organisation that aims to encourage pro bono legal services by conducting practical research into issues affecting pro bono legal services, producing guides and directories, and promoting the exchange of ideas and information. The centre was launched in August 2002 by the federal Attorney-General and its website went up in March this year. There isn’t a huge amount of content on the site yet, but what is there will be of interest to law firms looking at issues such as unbundling of legal services, the types of services to offer on a pro bono basis, and whether taking on pro bono work against government agencies impacts on the ability to secure tenders for government legal work. New reports and papers appear on the site at a rate of about one a month, and there is a list of projects in progress and projects under development. The Centre publishes a quarterly e-newsletter.

Government Gazettes Online (worldwide)

In keeping with the gazette mini theme we bring you “Government Gazettes Online”, an initiative of the University of Michigan. This website ambitiously seeks to list all gazettes published by federal governments worldwide. Coverage and frequency, language, searchability and content are identified for each gazette; there is a good deal of variation around the globe. Browse alphabetically to locate a particular country’s gazette. The contents listing for the Australian Government Gazette (reviewed above) includes special information notices, notices of legislation, proclamations, government department notices, cooperative companies and securities notices, bankruptcy and private notices.

Government Notices Gazettes Online (Australia)

In July 2002, the federal Attorney-General’s Department took over responsibility for publishing the Commonwealth Government Notices Gazettes, including special and periodic notices. Since then the Department has orchestrated free online access to all of the gazettes and indexes it publishes. All gazettes from July 2002 onwards are available in PDF. Some are also available as Word or HTML files. Many of the PDF files are not searchable – they have been scanned from the hardcopy. The Department is aware of this problem and has privately expressed a wish to remedy the situation. Searchable indexes are currently offered for all of 2002 and 1 January to 30 June 2003. The Gazette is published on the site a long time before the hardcopy (subscription only) arrives in the mail.

Family Friendly Agreement Clauses Search

The address listed above leads to an online database of family friendly clauses for workplace agreements. To search for a clause, select the industry, organisation size and type/category of clause (examples of type/category include flexible working hours and carer’s leave). By making selections in all of these fields you will retrieve fewer, more focused results. Access to these clauses is intended to assist the workplace bargaining process. The site explains that workplace agreements need to be tailored to meet the specific needs of an organisation and its employees. This database is located on the WageNet site, a service of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. Click on the WageNet link for more information about wages and conditions of employment covered by federal awards and agreements.

LIV library information and services online

The web presence of the LIV library consists of a searchable library catalogue, a “portal” of legal research links, and general information about services, contact details, opening hours and training workshops. In terms of online services, practitioners can request legal research assistance, document delivery or even initiate a loan online.

The library portal consists of an organised grouping of links to frequently used online legal research resources such as online repositories of case law and legislation. Both the library portal and the LIV website serve as good starting points for legal research.


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