Opinion

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  • How NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) facilitates financial abuse

    4th Jun 2020

    In this article, Anna Kerr and Andrea Verteouris explore how the NSW policy of denying the registration of a motor vehicle in joint names can be detrimental to the safety of women and children affected by domestic violence. They call on the NSW government to reinstate the option of registering motor vehicles in joint names or at least enable a second interest in a vehicle to be noted.  

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  • Death sentence for poverty? Why the over-representation of First Nations women prisoners matters during the pandemic

    27th May 2020

    ALA member and a leading advocate for the protection of criminalised women's human rights, Debbie Kilroy OAM, has had her own frightening encounter with the COVID-19 virus. Debbie is desperately worried about the threat to lives if there is an outbreak of the virus in an Australian women’s prison, particularly for over-represented First Nations women, many of whom have chronic health conditions. In this article, Debbie explains the key issues and provides a compelling list of immediate action priorities. 

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  • Gender issues for lawyers during and after the pandemic

    21st May 2020

    In this article, Emma Dawson explores the disproportionate impact on women's careers, remuneration and superannuation both during the COVID-19 shutdown, and in its economic aftermath. Although working remotely during the shutdown period has no doubt been somewhat of an ‘eye-opener’ for some of the domestic partners of female lawyers about the unpaid work so many do, it may be too early to hope for a permanent shift in the division of unpaid domestic work. Nevertheless, the building blocks have been laid. Post-COVID will offer many challenges, but also many opportuntities to do things differently.

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  • A spotlight on the Newmarch House tragedy: Where to next?

    14th May 2020

    In this article, Catherine Henry argues that the rampant, nationwide failures in governance, accountability, policy and the regulatory framework of aged care have been laid bare in the tragedy that has unfolded at Newmarch House. Catherine attributes these failures to the flawed Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth), whose provisions prefer the interests of providers over those of residents and their families. She calls for a dedicated inquiry into the Newmarch House tragedy and for the enactment of a new Aged Care Act which addresses the shortcomings of the current aged care system. 

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  • Swapping silks for trackies

    7th May 2020

    While there may be some of you who won't agree, for many lawyers running their own practices, working from home may well be better than planning and taking a holiday. In this engaging article, it is clear that Tom Percy QC is relishing working from home during the COVID-19 shutdown and has enthusiastically embraced the new ways of engaging with courts and clients. 

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  • Figuring out who the ‘relevant insurer’ is under the Motor Accident Injuries Act in NSW

    30th Apr 2020

    With the introduction of the concept of a 'relevant insurer' in the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (NSW), a claimant must lodge one claim form with one insurer only when claiming statutory benefits. In this article, Belinda Cassidy, Special Counsel at Stacks Goudkamp, explores the difficulties that arise in working out who the 'relevant insurer' is in multi-vehicle accidents and their effect on the flow of statutory benefits to injured persons, particularly self-represented claimants. Belinda urges SIRA to publish arrangements it has approved between insurers for the determination of which insurer will accept a claim for statutory benefits and be the relevant insurer in respect of the claim.

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  • Acknowledgment of Country: What should we be doing at the ALA?

    23rd Apr 2020

    Under the ALA's inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan which was launched in October 2019, the ALA and its office holders have an obligation to demonstrate respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by observing cultural protocols. One of the most important cultural protocols is the Acknowledgment of Country. In this article, the ALA's Policy and Advocacy Manager, Dr Louis Schetzer explains why the Acknowledgment matters, and when and how we as members of the ALA should observe this important symbolic act of respect. Louis also offers some suggestions to keep in mind when you are preparing and delivering your Acknowledgment to Country to ensure it is genuine, significant and educative.

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  • How the new Queensland Human Rights Act can assist clients with disability

    16th Apr 2020

    It is well recognised that people with disability are particularly vulnerable to violations of their human rights. In this article, Emma Phillips welcomes the new statutory human rights protections delivered by the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) (which commenced in January 2020) and identifies the rights and freedoms which have particular significance for people with disability. Emma explains how the new statutory right to health services, a new human right in Australia, has the potential to address the denial of appropriate treatment for people with disability and any failures to ensure access to health services for incarcerated people with disability.

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  • Why releasing some prisoners is essential to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

    9th Apr 2020

    To prevent prisons becoming COVID-19 hotspots, Prof Thalia Anthony argues that the only logical response is decarceration; an emergency measure that is necessary to protect both the health and wellbeing of prisoners and the wider community. Thalia highlights the particular vulnerability of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners, and eventually their families and communities. Indigenous people who are exposed to infection in prisons will return to communities that are ill-equipped to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak; especially communities in regional and remote areas where there is a glaring lack of health services and resources.

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  • Coronavirus and important insurance questions

    2nd Apr 2020

    Kim Shaw explores some of the common questions lawyers might be asked about insurance coverage – travel, business, mortgage and disability insurance – as their clients feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives and livelihoods. Kim provides some helpful tips about how lawyers can respond to these. 

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  • Significant risk of the default investment option for TPD claimants

    26th Mar 2020

    If you are acting for a client with an approved TPD claim it would be a good idea for you to find out now how the superfund is dealing with TPD claim proceeds. According to Andrew Reynolds, currently roughly 50% of superfunds will direct proceeds into the member’s default investment option in their superannuation account. Over recent weeks, as the COVD-19 crisis has hit financial markets across the world, some claimants have lost tens of thousands of dollars before they even realise their claim has been approved. Andrew suggests that affected TPD claimants may have valid claims against their superfunds for these losses. 

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  • What solicitors should tell their personal injury clients about surveillance

    19th Mar 2020

    Tom Goudkamp OAM explains what legal advisors should tell their personal injury clients about insurer surveillance. If clients are truthful with doctors, medico-legal experts and their lawyers, surveillance will not harm them, and may even help their cases. Tom explains that the opportunity for insurers to ambush clients in court is now limited.

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  • The High Court and the ‘aliens’ power

    12th Mar 2020

    Professor Megan Davis explains that on the key issues animating public attention – an Aboriginality test and sovereignty – a close reading of each judgment in Love; Thoms reveals that there are no majority pronouncements that change the status quo. The decision does not create a new category of person, nor does it create special rights. What it does do, however, is bolster the argument for constitutional reform.

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  • Queensland reforms affecting workers’ comp claims for psychological injuries

    5th Mar 2020

    Jessica Hodge explains the changes affecting workers' compensation claims for psychological injury in Queensland which commenced late last year. She argues that while the removal of ‘major’ from the required standard for a psychological injury represents a positive step for employees, particularly those with pre-existing psychological conditions, it unlikely to result in a significant increase to the claim acceptance rate. 

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  • Veterans let down by claims scheme

    27th Feb 2020

    Tim White, the President of the Law Society of SA, highlights the mental health crisis in our armed forces and the hurdles veterans face pursuing injury claims. He refers to reports of ADF personnel who have taken their lives while waiting for a final decision from the DVA or in the course of disputing a DVA decision. Tim is hopeful that the recent announcement of the appointment of a full-time Commissioner to investigate veteran suicides will be a positive step.

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  • How the term ‘coward punch’ won a $100,000 defamation payout

    20th Feb 2020

    As Michael McHugh explains, language is a powerful tool – in society and in law.  ‘Coward punch’ describes a characteristic of the perpetrator of such an act: that in hitting a defenceless person in an unprovoked manner, the actor is not only committing a violent act but also, distinctly, is contemptibly lacking the courage to act in a proper or fair way. 

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  • Asbestos and other latent onset disease litigation: Tips and traps

    13th Feb 2020

    As Martin Rogalski explains, given the complexities that lawyers invariably confront in cases involving asbestos disease and other latent onset diseases, some fundamental matters require consideration in every case. 

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  • Law reform: Protecting the safety of Queensland mining workers

    6th Feb 2020

    It is clear from a recent spate of deaths of mining workers that the resources industry has a long way to go to ensure its workers stay safe. The nature of the operations and sheer scale of the mining machinery used mean that when injuries occur in this sector, they are often very serious, and too often result in death where safe work practices have not been followed. Jason Monro supports moves by the Queensland government to extend the operation of industrial manslaughter laws introduced in 2017 to the resources sector. 

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  • Why must women go unprotected from violent male neighbours?

    30th Jan 2020

    Anna Kerr tells one women's story to illustrate just how our justice system is failing to fulfil its most fundamental purpose of protecting the vulnerable, and is also actively obstructing efforts to bring male perpetrators to account. She calls for greater societal recognition of male violence and better protections for women and children. 

     

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  • Character test in s501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) does not apply to Temporary Protection Visas

    23rd Jan 2020

    As George Newhouse explains, a recent decision of the Federal Court has profound implications for anyone whose temporary protection visa application was refused or cancelled based on s501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and the Public Interest Criterion (PIC) in PIC 4001.

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