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LIV Advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: (2006) 80(9) 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.

Submissions

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

Amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic)

The LIV, through its Administrative Law and Human Rights and Workplace Relations Sections, has made a submission to the Department of Justice regarding the proposed amendments of the Equal Opportunity Act. In its submission, the LIV made a number of comments with regard to the recommendations contained in the issues paper. In particular, the LIV supports the proposal to broaden the powers of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to include making orders that extend to conduct of the respondent that affects persons other than the complainant (but only so far as they relate to the type of conduct that was the subject of the complaint).

Draft Taxpayers Charter

The LIV has written to the State Revenue Office (SRO) of Victoria in relation to its draft Taxpayers’ Charter. The LIV has no objection to the text contained in the draft but submits that the text does not go far enough. Also the LIV expresses concern that the LIV’s State Taxes Revenue Committee is not always consulted on matters involving proposed changes in taxation law and administration and that the Committee’s submissions are not always given appropriate consideration or weight.

Future directions of Australia’s service industries

The LIV has made a submission to the Standing Committee on Economic, Finance and Public Administration’s Inquiry into the current and future directions of Australia’s service industries. The LIV submits that Australian regulations should continue to promote professionalism and consumer protection rather than operate as barriers to entry for foreign legal services. However, the LIV suggests that access for Australian lawyers to overseas legal markets has not necessarily been reciprocated.

Liquor licensing forums and accords

The LIV has written to the Director of Liquor Licensing Sue MacLellan, the Australian Hotels Association and the Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon, with regard to the use and process of Liquor Licensing Accords and Forums. The LIV, through its weekly radio segment on the ABC Statewide Drive Program, recently became aware of an issue involving Liquor Licensing Forums and Accords. Although the LIV strongly supports initiatives which allow the responsible serving of alcohol and the need for licensees to ensure a safe environment for their patrons, it is, however, concerned with the arbitrary manner in which the process operates and whether, in some communities, the forums are acting without authority and appear to be attempting to usurp the authority of the Director of Liquor Licensing.

Proposed VCAT Rule regarding classes of persons disqualified from being a professional advocate

The LIV has made a submission to VCAT in regard to its proposed new r4.24 entitled “Classes of persons disqualified from being a professional advocate” (initial draft) and VCAT’s subsequent revised draft. The LIV welcomes the revised draft which made a number of amendments to the initial draft.

Responsible service of alcohol courses

The LIV has made a submission to the Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister Marsha Thomson requesting that an effort be made to implement uniform Responsible Service of Alcohol course requirements between the states or at least that guidelines be implemented so that the Director of Liquor Licensing recognises the completion of an RSA course in another state and
that other states can mutually recognise Victoria’s RSA courses.

Review of Office of the Master and Costs Office

The LIV, through its Litigation Lawyers Section, has made a submission to the Crown Counsel in relation to the Review of Office of the Master and Costs Office. Among its recommendations the LIV supports the renaming of the Office of Master to Associate Judge or Deputy Judge and the establishment of a single office of Associate Judge or Deputy Judge.

Review of the potential revenue bias in private binding rulings involving large complex matters

The LIV has made a submission to the Inspector-General of Taxation David Vos in relation to the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO’s) recent decisions in issuing public rulings. The submission focuses on the ATO’s handling of the taxation of trusts for the purpose of applying a CGT exemption. The ATO has in the past issued private rulings to taxpayers and these private rulings approved the CGT exemption without regard to the existence of a family trust election or the identity of the appointor. The ATO’s position changed and it would only grant favourable rulings where the family trust election was continued and the appointor was the same. The LIV sub-mits that taxation ruling TR 2006/4 can be seen as a mere continuation of the existing bias in the private ruling system.

Review of statutory demand and recovery proceedings

The LIV has made a submission to Mr Vos, requesting a review of a policy of the ATO’s Recoveries Section, regarding the withdrawal of statutory demands and staying recovery proceedings. The LIV requests that the Inspector-General of Taxation should consider reviewing the policy as it is out-dated and an unfair systemic practice.

Review of Victoria Police protocols and guidelines

The LIV, through its Police Lawyers Liaison Committee, has reviewed and endorsed Victoria Police’s Draft Protocol for Tending of References and Medical Reports during Sentencing and the Guidelines for Police and Legal Practitioners at Police Stations.

Tax objections and appeals under the Taxation Administration Act 1997

The LIV has made a submission to the Victorian Treasurer John Brumby, regarding the State Revenue Office’s review of the objection and appeal provisions of the Taxation Administration Act 1997. The LIV requests that the SRO consult with it during its review. The LIV considers that a simple amendment, providing for appeals direct to the Supreme Court or VCAT would, if made, overcome the chief problem raised in the LIV’s initial submission, namely that taxpayers should be able to appeal directly to the Supreme Court or VCAT against adverse decisions on objection by the Commissioner. Currently, the taxpayer is required to request the Commissioner to refer the matter to court where that request will not be acted on, and the taxpayer’s appeal rights forfeited, if the Commissioner makes a request for further and better particulars and those particulars are not provided to the Commissioner within the 30-day time limit.

Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between Australia and Malaysia

The LIV, through its Administrative Law & Human Rights Section, has made a sub-mission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in relation to its inquiry into two treaties between Australia and Malaysia on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition. The LIV’s position on the treaties reflects its anti-death penalty policy, in particular, in relation to the non-provision of mutual assistance and extradition in matters involving offences subject to the use of the death penalty.

VLRC Bail Review

The LIV, through its Criminal Law Section, has made a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission following its review of the Bail Act 1977 (Vic) and remarks made by Justice Gillard in R v Mokbel and Mokbel [2006 VSC 158] in relation to the adequacy of the current penalty of two years imprisonment for failing to meet a surety. The LIV submits that the current penalty for failing to meet surety is adequate and should not be increased and that imprisonment should be available only where all other avenues have been exhausted or the conduct of the surety warrants sanction (e.g. deliberately dissipating an asset).


AMY LALLY is the LIV’s media adviser. She is also available to help members with particular media issues and can be contacted on ph 9607 9373 or alally@liv.asn.au

LIV and the media

ABC Statewide Weekly Segment with the LIV

Legal Talkback [Wednesday at 4.30pm]:
Racial vilification, legal dispute on burial, paternity tests, leases of Crown Land, bail, public drunkenness and Charter of Rights

Bendable or Expendable? Report
Further coverage on the LIV and VWL’s report into work flexibility
14 July The Financial Review, Lawyers Weekly
21 July The Financial Review

Charter of Rights
The Age editorial reports on the LIV’s submission calling for a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities
24 July The Age

Conveyancing
Report in The Australian’s Prejudice column of the LIV and the Lydia Maric court case
4 August The Australian

Costs disclosure
LIV rejects a call by NSW Attorney-General Bob Debus to introduce further costs disclosure requirements which are particular to NSW
26 July The Financial Review
27 July The Financial Review

Jack Thomas case
LIV Criminal Law Section’s former chair and current chair, comment on the sentencing bungle by Crown prosecutors
22 July The Age, ABC TV

Juries
LIV’s Criminal Law Section comments on a push in NSW for juries to have a say in sentencing
27 July Herald Sun

Portland case
LIV comments on the case of a man in Portland who has been banned by the local Licensing Accord from all licensed venues in his area. LIV expresses concern about the misleading nature of the notification and arbitrary nature of the process in banning patrons
7 August The Age, 3AW Radio News, Channel Seven

Senator Barnaby Joyce
Coverage of the LIV’s President’s Luncheon with Senator Barnaby Joyce
26 July The Australian
27 July The Financial Review

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