Opinion

  • New sentencing laws in NSW

    6th Dec 2018

    Practical information for criminal lawyers and their clients.

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  • What is testamentary capacity? A basic guide.

    29th Nov 2018

    Some of the details and circumstances that must be considered to determine if a will-maker has/had the capacity to make his/her will.

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  • Benzene: The colourless killer

    22nd Nov 2018

    Luke Perilli details the dangers and effects of exposure to benzene, described by the World Health Organisation as ‘a major public health concern’.

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  • Algorithms, artificial intelligence, automated systems and the law

    15th Nov 2018

    The extent to which the rights of individuals are threatened by autonomated systems and the ability of the law to safeguard those rights.

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  • TAC amendments allowing professional administration fees may fail

    8th Nov 2018

    A discussion of legislative amendments that will impact TAC claimants in Victoria.

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  • Damages for pain and suffering

    1st Nov 2018

    Harry Gill discusses two Victorian decisions that explore the assessment of pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases.

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  • Current legal struggles for people seeking asylum in Australia

    25th Oct 2018

    Dr Carolyn Graydon, Principal Solicitor and Manager of the Human Rights Law Program, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre presented this paper at the ALA National Conference on 19 October.

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  • Expert evidence: Traffic accident reconstruction reports and physical observations

    16th Oct 2018

    David Cormack discusses the decision and reasoning in the recent case of Brown v Daniels & Anor [2018] QSC 209.

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  • Superannuation and TPD Insurance: Four things you should tell every TPD client

    11th Oct 2018

    Giving TPD insurance claimants specific information early on can stop them taking action that is potentially financially damaging and encourage them to think about how best to maximise their claim should it be successful.

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  • Personal injury claims assisted by disruptive technology

    4th Oct 2018

    An exploration of an innovative new software – now available to personal injury lawyers in Australia – that converts 2D MRI scans to accurate 3D models. 

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  • Why your non-dental cavities may be of interest to the authorities

    27th Sep 2018

    In the event that new legislation permitting searches for internally concealed drugs is passed in NSW, criminal lawyers and their clients will have to adjust to a changing legal landscape very quickly.

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  • Building an inclusive and responsible credit system in Australia: Three lessons from the UK

    20th Sep 2018

    Dana Beiglari shares three successful initiatives which are used, in conjunction with law reform, to improve access to credit for UK consumers.

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  • Work deaths in Australia top 92 for 2018

    13th Sep 2018

    An exploration of the worker fatality and serious workplace injury rates for 2018 so far.

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  • Beware of failing to establish the inferential reasoning required for causation

    6th Sep 2018

    David Cormack discusses the decision and reasoning in Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd v Kim Yen Tat [2018] QCA 182.

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  • Financial capacity meets the real world

    30th Aug 2018

    Using real client scenarios as examples, Jane Campbell discusses a lawyer's role in determining their client's financial capacity and helping a client to assess their financial management options. 

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  • Language barriers, informed consent and interpreters in medical care

    16th Aug 2018

    The pitfalls that occur when patients and healthcare providers are unable to understand each other due to language barriers, and what can and should be done in such situations to facilitate communication. 

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  • Modern slavery – what can be done?

    9th Aug 2018

    Geoff Baldwin outlines and examines the Australian legal framework through which modern slavery - present in the production chains of goods sold in Australia - can be addressed.

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  • The return of Silicosis

    2nd Aug 2018

    Luke Perilli discusses Silicosis, the incurable lung disease increasing in prominence among Australian stonemasons, and the duty of employers to minimise the risk of their workers contracting the disease. 

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  • How are compensation claims calculated in Queensland?

    26th Jul 2018

    An exploration of the factors that are considered when calculating the total sum of a compensation claim.

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  • Implementation of the Paramedicine Board of Australia

    19th Jul 2018

    From September 2018, all paramedics across the country will be required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and complaints referred to the newly created Paramedicine Board, aiming to ensure the safety of the public from fake paramedics. Up until now there was no national standard for registration.

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  • Workers’ compensation system improves with access to free legal help

    12th Jul 2018

    Justin Stack explores the proposed changes to the NSW workers' compensation scheme, changes that will improve access to legal representation for injured workers.

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  • Maternal rights must be recognised for the sake of children

    5th Jul 2018

    Anna Kerr and Darelle Duncan discuss the move in NSW towards an increase in permanent adoption from foster care placements, and the negative implications this will have for children's welfare and maternal rights.

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  • Risk of death is more than a ‘blemish’

    28th Jun 2018

    Queensland's workers’ compensation legislation supports workers who have been injured at work to get back on their feet, regardless of the cause of their injury. The exception to this is in relation to psychiatric injuries, in which case support can be denied in the event that an injury is caused by ‘reasonable management action’. Michelle Wright explores a recent case in which Industrial Commissioner Black has acted to limit the 'reasonable management action' exception.

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  • Emojis in litigation: Adding unpredictability and ambiguity to electronic communications

    14th Jun 2018

    An exploration of the prevalence of emojis in modern electronic communications, and the increased legal analysis of what these emojis are intended to mean and/or imply.

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  • Filming an accident instead of helping – the law in NSW

    7th Jun 2018

    A discussion of the NSW laws surrounding filming, and whether we owe strangers involved in an accident a duty of care.

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  • Can confidential medical records be subpoenaed in sexual assault claims?

    31st May 2018

    Angela Sdrinis discusses a recent Victorian case that will be of particular interest to abuse lawyers, exploring the question of whether medical records which contain confidential communications can be subpoenaed in matters of sexual assault.

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  • Defamation actions: the high cost of social media posts, comments and ‘likes’

    24th May 2018

    Seeking restitution for defamation in a world of social media.

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  • Can lease agreements be discriminatory?

    17th May 2018

    An exploration of a recent case in which a non-compete clause in a shopping centre lease led to a discrimination complaint against a barber shop.

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  • Why private sector whistleblowers need better protection

    10th May 2018

    Geoff Baldwin discusses the need for a comprehensive, Australia-wide scheme of private sector whistleblower protections as the public/private sector boundary continues to shift. 

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  • Online alternative dispute resolution

    3rd May 2018

    Michael Legg gives an introduction to Online Alternative Dispute Resolution (OADR), and discusses OADR's potential to extend access to justice and change the way in which disputes are resolved.

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  • How technological change is expanding open justice

    26th Apr 2018

    Today, open justice is mediated not only by mass media, but by social media too. Courtrooms are more accessible than ever before. For the most part, this should be celebrated. But the expansion of open justice also poses real challenges for courts. 

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  • Police accountability in Australia: Complaint mechanisms

    12th Apr 2018

    What are the current police complaint mechanisms around Australia? And is Australia complying with its international obligation to ensure that perpetrators of human rights violations, and specifically those perpetrated by police authorities, are adequately held to account through an independent, effective and impartial investigation into their conduct?

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  • Sexual harassment in the legal profession

    5th Apr 2018

    Adrienne Morton explores the prevalence of sexual harassment in the legal profession, and the ways in which it could and should be addressed going forward.

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  • A plaintiff need not be perfect

    22nd Mar 2018

    The workers’ compensation system is a minefield for plaintiffs. Having to state and re-state your injuries, being interrogated about your pain, and having to convince people about and justify your restrictions, leaves the ground fertile for credibility issues.

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  • The NDIS and compensation

    15th Mar 2018

    Tom Ballantyne gives an overview of the compensation claims process under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

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  • Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

    8th Mar 2018

    Is the Convention failing women and children escaping violence?

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  • Arresting assumptions of being 'in custody': R v Osborne-Horton (2017)

    1st Mar 2018

    Paul Blake discusses what it means to be 'in custody'.

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  • How are costs assessed in your state?

    22nd Feb 2018

    A practical guide to assessing costs in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

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  • Security for costs: part 2

    15th Feb 2018

    Read more about whether evidence of a policy from an ‘ATE’ insurer can suffice?

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  • Security for costs: part 1

    8th Feb 2018

    Can evidence of a policy from an ‘ATE’ insurer suffice?

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  • How does the costs process work in your state?

    1st Feb 2018

    The costs jurisdiction in every state works differently.

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  • Mental health and the reasonable person test

    11th Jan 2018

    Historically, the law has had difficulty understanding and responding appropriately to psychiatric injuries.

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  • Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) health claims, s9 or s9A?

    30th Nov 2017

    Confusion can arise as to the application of s9 and s9A of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld).

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  • How are costs calculated in your state?

    23rd Nov 2017

    Dipal Prasad and Romaine Abraham evaluate the pros and cons of the ways costs are calculated in various states.

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  • Costs disclosure before settlement: a nightmare with a dream solution

    16th Nov 2017 Read More
  • The Queensland state election and personal injury entitlements

    9th Nov 2017

    Michelle Wright investigates the impact the Queensland election may have on the rights of injured people to seek compensation.

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  • Calculating weekly payments of compensation

    2nd Nov 2017

    Janet Tucci discusses the challenges of calculating compensation figures by analysing Stebbing v State of Victoria (Department of Education and Training)

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  • Bullied nurse wins $1.4m

    18th Oct 2017

    Faran Gouldson discusses the case of Robinson v State of Queensland [2017] QSC 165 in which the plaintiff was awarded $1.4 million in damages.

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  • The use of secret evidence in criminal and civil proceedings

    5th Oct 2017

    Court procedures aim to ensure fairness between parties. In criminal matters, the intention is to ensure that the party with the most to lose, the defendant, is assured a fair trial, to avoid punishing innocent people for crimes they have not committed. This requires setting out the case against an accused clearly enough that they can refute it. In civil matters, these procedures seek to ensure fairness between the parties, including ensuring that both sides have access to relevant evidence. 

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  • Life as a regional plaintiff lawyer

    21st Sep 2017

    The benefits and challenges of life as a regional plaintiff lawyer.

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  • Implications of the NDIS on personal injury compensation

    14th Sep 2017

    The purpose of this article is to alert lawyers practising in the personal injury field to the implications of the introduction of the NDIS on clients entitled to receive compensation for their injuries. 

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  • The Urogynaecological Mesh scandal

    7th Sep 2017

    Approximately 50% of women who have had children will suffer some degree of pelvic organ prolapse. For thousands of those women, urogynaecological surgical mesh has been presented as a viable option. It is only recently that public has been made aware of the associated physical and psychological complications. 

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  • Orthopaedic eponyms

    31st Aug 2017

    This glossary explains some of the more commonly used eponyms to help those outside the medical profession better understand medical reports.

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  • Superannuation disability insurance: tips and traps

    17th Aug 2017

    This article offers ten tips for successful total and permanent disablement (TPD) claims under insurance held through superannuation.
     

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  • Psychometric testing of malingering

    10th Aug 2017

    Professor Ian R Coyle discusses the accuracy of Symptom Validity Assessment Tests (SVTs) in assessing the psychological status of litigants and identifying malingering

     

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  • Some traditions need to change: students and sexual abuse

    3rd Aug 2017

    AHRC released a report on sexual assault and harassment of university students. The report details disturbing instances of sexual assault and harassment.

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  • The path of destruction runs deep

    27th Jul 2017

    Queensland residents have certainly experienced their fair share of natural disasters. It is important that we give consideration to how the law can provide clarity and security to those affected.

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  • The language of the law

    20th Jul 2017

    Lawyers are very analytical and very specific in their use of terminology. They choose their terms carefully and interpret them precisely. While such precision may seem to be a curious and even humorous idiosyncrasy to the lay-person, it can have a devastating effect on those seeking access to justice.

     

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  • Thaiday, RE [2017]: A review of the Mental Health Court system

    13th Jul 2017

    Queensland Mental Health Court decides the case of Mrs Thaiday, charged with eight counts of murder.

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  • Linton Sayer v Melsteel in the Supreme Court of Victoria, June 2017

    6th Jul 2017

    The plaintiff had been in continuous employment since the age of 16. He commenced employment with the defendant, as a boilermaker, in 2006. As and from 2008, Mr Savage became his supervisor and problems started to occur.

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  • Medical Treatment Planning And Decisions Act 2016 (Vic)

    29th Jun 2017

    New legislation will come into effect on 12 March 2018 that will repeal the Medical Treatment Act 1988, and amend the Mental Health Act 2014.

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  • TAC's new client app: MyTAC

    22nd Jun 2017

    The Victorian Transport Accident Commission has produced an app specifically designed for people injured in transport accidents.

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  • Connellan v Murphy [2017] VSCA 116

    15th Jun 2017

    This recent Supreme Court of Victoria Court of Appeal decision permanently stayed proceedings relating to the alleged sexual assault of a minor in 1968.

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  • How to protect your client's TPD money

    8th Jun 2017

    There are simple strategies that can be implemented to make the most of any TPD claim, particularly minimising tax payments and maximising other benefit entitlements.

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  • TAC’s new rapid payment scheme

    11th May 2017

    A most welcome and far-sighted scheme is about to be rolled-out by Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

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  • ‘Special Financial Assistance’ for Victorian victims halved

    4th May 2017

    The VOCAT can only offer victims of the worst crimes, with the worst outcomes, up to $10,000 for any grief, distress, trauma or injury.

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  • Melbourne wall collapse: compensation under the Sentencing Act

    20th Apr 2017

    Recent compensation settlements involving the families of pedestrians killed by a wall collapse highlight a rarely used avenue of compensation: claims under the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic).

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  • Workers compensation and human rights

    13th Apr 2017

    Since the enactment of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (Charter) in 2006, it has been necessary for Victorian legislation to be compatible with the 20 basic human rights set out in the Charter.

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  • The slippery grape strikes again

    6th Apr 2017

    The recent New South Wales District Court decision in Guru v Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd (2016) NSWDC 349 further illustrates the duty owed by supermarkets to lawful entrants to their stores.

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  • Why practitioners should review their TAC files

    30th Mar 2017

    A recent Victorian decision which provides that up to $20,000 extra for lost earnings is available to victims of transport accidents where the conduct involved a crime.

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  • Racism is bad for business

    23rd Mar 2017

    Proposals in the parliamentary committee report on s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) to limit access to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) should be resisted.

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  • Withdrawing and substituting issued bills of costs: can it be done?

    16th Mar 2017

    This article focuses on the rights of solicitors. In particular, whether or not solicitors have the right to withdraw an invoice issued to their client and substitute it with an itemised bill of costs claiming higher fees than the original invoice.

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  • Pain and psychological conditions

    9th Mar 2017

    Pain and psychological conditions: ‘which comes first, the chicken or the egg’?

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  • Complex regional pain syndrome: a diagnostic challenge for clinicians

    2nd Mar 2017

    Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that is frequently disputed in personal injury compensation claims. Even for clinicians who regularly see cases of CRPS it can represent diagnostic difficulties. For other clinicians who see cases of CRPS less frequently, it maybe wrongly referred to as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome or Chronic Pain Syndrome.

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  • Pain medicine physicians and pain management programmes

    23rd Feb 2017

    Pain medicine is a relatively new medical speciality that can be used to assess personal injury cases where pain is a major contributing component to impairment and disability. This article outlines the specialist training, examination and expertise that distinguishes pain medicine physicians from other medical specialists and the difference between a pain medicine physician and pain management programmes (PMPs).

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  • Nervous shock & psychiatric claims after the loss of a child

    16th Feb 2017

    The law in Australia as it currently stands has the capacity to compound a parent’s grief in such circumstances and generate more than justified contempt towards the legal system. Particularly given the widely accepted view across the community would be that entitlement to compensation in such horrific circumstances would be considered both reasonable and appropriate.

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  • Interim ban on ethanol burners after a spate of accidents & injuries

    9th Feb 2017

    In late 2016 there were a number of announcements about the interim, 60-day, banning of ethanol burners in Queensland, and across other states and territories. The bans followed 38 incidents in Queensland and 117 in total across Australia since 2010.

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  • Teen burn victim claims against party host

    25th Jan 2017

    In 2013, a 16-year-old girl suffered third degree burns to 42% of her body at a house party when a teenage boy poured an accelerant on to an open fire at a house party. In July 2016, the Brisbane Times reported that the young woman is attempting to claim almost $12m in compensation for her ordeal.

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  • The first interview with injured clients

    19th Jan 2017

    I’ve interviewed thousands of injured clients, some with minor injuries, and others with the worst injuries imaginable. Every interview is different.

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  • How is the PI compensation process affecting your client’s recovery?

    12th Jan 2017

    The experience of a long, complex and at times adversarial legal process pursuing personal injury (PI) compensation with the need for multiple health assessments and delays in receiving funds has been shown to increase stress and recovery time for injured people.

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  • Liability to entrants to the family castle

    7th Dec 2016

    The Supreme Court of Queensland’s decision in Chandler v Silwood [2016] QSC 90, delivered by Holmes CJ and recently upheld on appeal, further highlights the duty of care owed by owner/occupiers of family homes towards those lawfully entering the property.

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  • GP chaperones – is a review warranted?

    30th Nov 2016

    The need for chaperones for medical practitioners in private practice has received a lot of media attention in the past few weeks.  With attention-grabbing titles such as “Chaperone ordered for Canberra GP accused of “grooming” female patient’, and ‘Darwin doctor banned from examining women without supervision’, one would be forgiven for believing there was an epidemic. 

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  • Continuing Detention Orders: When courts try to predict the future, we

    21st Nov 2016

    Anna Talbot and Greg Barns discuss continuing detention orders and the legal twilight zone that occurs when courts try to predict the future.

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  • ‘Nervous shock’ and the Hillsborough disaster: injustices remain

    15th Nov 2016

    David Schwartz discusses the psychiatric injury 'nervous shock' and the tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster in Liverpool.

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  • Expert reports in comp claims: tips to avoid evidentiary traps P2

    9th Nov 2016

    Benjamin Whitten writes part two of his expert report in compensation claims - giving tips to avoid evidentiary traps.

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  • Expert reports in comp claims: tips to avoid evidentiary traps P1

    2nd Nov 2016

    Ben Whitten writes an expert report in compensation claims and gives tips to avoid evidentiary traps.

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  • Evidence shows crimes committed by our government on Nauru and Manus

    26th Oct 2016

    Evidence of crimes committed by the Turnbull Government on Manus and Nauru is compelling, say Greg Barns and Anna Talbot from the Australian Lawyers Alliance. 

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  • Cosmetic Surgery: the end of an unregulated medical specialty?

    19th Oct 2016

    In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of cosmetic surgery being performed in Australia. Cosmetic surgery is no longer only for the rich and famous; it is becoming more popular and accepted within the community at large. The increase in the availability of cosmetic surgery has led to stiff competition between providers, driving down prices.

    With this increase in use, there have been a number of recently reported incidents where patients have suffered adverse reactions during cosmetic surgery procedures or from patients unhappy with the results of their surgery, which highlights the lack of regulation of the industry.

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  • Australia - A refugee policy to condemn not replicate

    12th Oct 2016

    At the UN Refugee Summit in NY Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, stood in front of world leaders and claimed his government’s refugee policy was the best in the world. But many people in Australia will tell you that Mr Turnbull’s boasting was misplaced.

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  • Traumatising Incident (Workplace) – Employer’s Response Inadequate

    5th Oct 2016

    Sarah Dreger discusses the case of Greenway v The Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane [2016] QDC 195. In this case the District Court has awarded more than $450,000.00 to a young woman who developed post-traumatic stress disorder during the course of her employment as a residential carer for wayward youths. This was due to her employer's inadequate response to a traumatising incident that occurred. 

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  • UN Refugee Summit NY: Turnbull breaks commitments

    29th Sep 2016

    Anna Talbot and Greg Barns report on the UN Refugee Summit in New York and why the Turnbull Government's current approach breaks our commitment to the UN Refugee Convention. 

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  • Changing Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) Definitions

    20th Sep 2016

    Historically, TPD definitions have usually been consistent with the definition of permanent incapacity under r1.03C of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 which requires that the member’s ill-health render them unlikely to ever engage in gainful employment for which they are reasonably qualified by education, training or experience. However, insurers are increasingly amending their TPD definitions, because some stakeholders argue that too many claims are being paid out due to ‘generous’ TPD definitions. 

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  • Abortion Decriminalisation (QLD) and International Human Rights P2

    15th Sep 2016

    Denying women the right to access pregnancy termination services violates their rights in many different ways. Decriminalising abortion is not about morally or ethically condoning it. It's about recognising the dangerous consequences of its criminalisation – for women, girls and medical practitioners.

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  • Abortion Decriminalisation (QLD) and International Human Rights P1

    8th Sep 2016

    On 10 May 2016, former ALP and now independent Cairns MP, Rob Pyne, introduced a private member’s bill into Queensland parliament to decriminalise abortion. Abortion and its facilitation, assistance and procurement have been criminal acts under Queensland law since 1899. Haven’t social and community standards changed in all that time? Well, “yes” and “no" - Benedict Coyne discusses.

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  • Drone safety is paramount and requires forward thinking Australian law

    2nd Sep 2016

    Liability for drone injuries applies to operators or controllers pursuant to the Damage by Aircraft Act 1999 (Cth) which sets up a domestic strict liability regime for compensation for those injured on the ground by aircraft, mirroring international provisions which accomplish the same purpose. However, the technical and regulatory landscape in Australia is such that the owner of a drone or its operator are notoriously difficult to identify, and thus pursue, after an incident. There is no federal requirement on the owner or operator to be insured for liability for damages.  No legislation presently requires registration of non-commercial operators and their equipment.  This is problematic because the drones themselves are fairly unreliable. 

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  • Imprisoning children – what is going wrong?

    25th Aug 2016

    'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view' - Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird may have very simply summarised how we should treat children who act out. In light of this, Zoe Le Quesne discusses what is going wrong in the youth justice system, and why it needs to change.

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  • ALA demands Comcare prosecute over Nauru

    18th Aug 2016

    With the lid lifted on what the BBC refers to as "Australia's Guantanamo Bay", past abuses and workplace safety incidents on Nauru need to be prosecuted by Comcare, writes Anna Talbot and Greg Barns on behalf of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

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  • Does Australia need Ryan’s Rule?

    11th Aug 2016

    As a parent, it is natural to worry when your child becomes sick. With time being of the essence, parents and family members may feel their concerns are not being listened to. After all they are the ones who know when their children and loved ones are unwell.  Unfortunately, a situation arose in 2007 which changed the way in which Queensland Health listened to these concerns.

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  • Martin's resignation and the NT Royal Commission

    5th Aug 2016

    Martin's resignation signals a chance for the NT youth detention Royal Commission to maintain integrity and effect real change, writes Anna Talbot and Greg Barns on behalf of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

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  • Beware Sunsuper Superannuation Insurance & TPD Changes

    28th Jul 2016

    Sunsuper announced that from 1 July 2016, their superannuation insurance will be changing. These changes mark a radical shift in Total Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance. Greg Spinda briefly comments on the need for the changes and provides a summary of the pertinent changes to the TPD insurance cover.

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  • Nice attacks: Accuracy is important to understand this crime

    28th Jul 2016

    WHAT HAPPENED in Nice on Bastille Day last week was awful in the true sense of that word.  But do the actions of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel who drove a truck through crowds celebrating the national day, killing 84 and injuring many more, constitute a terrorist attack, as the media and political class widely assumes? The sad reality is that no one knows yet why this tragedy happened. We may never know — he was shot dead to stop him from causing more mayhem. Islamic State have claimed responsibility, but there is no evidence that the attacker had any connections with the terrorist organisation.

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  • The Philanthropic Lawyer

    21st Jul 2016

    A personal account of Chrissy Leontios' quest to provide humanitarian services to the community, in alignment with her vision and values of all Australians receiving access to legal advice and legal services, particularly women experiencing domestic and family violence and those who rely on the legal system to achieve their safety. Her hope is to inspire other law firms and lawyers to provide pro bono and fee reduced work within their own law firms, and to practise with compassion, empathy, and kindness.

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  • How the chemotherapy under dosing highlights a lack of compassion

    14th Jul 2016

    The recent chemotherapy under dosing bungle in two South Australian hospitals has highlighted significant flaws in the way that victims of medical negligence are often treated. This is particularly concerning as the hospitals involved are publicly funded and have a mandated policy of open disclosure specifically for situations like this.

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  • Willis v State of Queensland: the MAT and the the Newman Amendments

    8th Jul 2016

    Willis v State of Queensland: Is the decision of the Medical Assessment Tribunal the end of the road for those parties falling subject to the Newman Amendments?

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  • Equality in the Jury Room: A case study

    1st Jul 2016

    The denial of a deaf person’s right to exercise their citizenship by participating in juries in Australian courts is longstanding. The stereotyped perceptions against deaf jurors being able to perform these duties without undermining the administration of justice are deeply entrenched in Australian society and court systems. Despite the New South Wales Law Reform Commission’s inquiring into this issue in 2006 and the recent report from Australian Law Reform Commission, Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws, which called for law reform and support to enable deaf persons to participate as jurors, the reality remains that Australian law does not support the participation of deaf jurors.

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  • New NSWTAG fee impacting vulnerable plaintiffs

    24th Jun 2016

    Recent fee changes at the NSW Trustee & Guardian (NSWTAG) will leave most privately managed clients worse off.

    The new fee means that plaintiffs with private managers will have been undercompensated for the cost of funds management.

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  • Refugee week - we are all just people wanting a happy life

    16th Jun 2016

    Imagine you are incredibly wealthy. You have a house that provides for more room than you need, and you have a support network that reaches far and wide. You have medical benefits, superannuation, savings and knowledge of how life works. Imagine life is good for you. Now, imagine you knew someone who was not so lucky. Imagine you knew of someone who was living in fear of their life. Imagine this person was trying to run from a place of violence and abuse. Someone without any benefits and no understanding of how to get these benefits. The question I pose to you is this, would you help them?

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  • Untold Damage - workplace health and safety in immigration

    10th Jun 2016

    Abuse, mental illness and neglect of basic hygiene cause unnecessary and lasting health problems for detainees in immigration detention. They have even caused death. As Commonwealth workplaces, all people affected by immigration detention facilities are supposed to enjoy the protections found in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (the WHS Act), including detainees. However, an investigation by the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) reveals that this law is being regularly flouted, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) regularly failing to meet its obligations.

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  • To disclose or not to disclose, that is the question!

    3rd Jun 2016

    While there is no obligation on a lawyer to make a file note of a conversation with a medical expert, is it ethical for a lawyer not to make a recording of a conversion in circumstances where the instructions to the specialist are for a verbal opinion only? Joanne Baker discusses. 

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  • NDIS at Risk of Privatisation: 2016 Budget

    27th May 2016

    With all the hype about superannuation measures, tax changes and lack of initiatives on housing, a small bit of critical information has been left out of the public eye. The 2016 Budget papers reveal a demonstrably sly and inconsistent move by the federal government that could well destroy the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

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  • The World Humanitarian Summit - a global fight for human rights

    20th May 2016

    Currently, our world is witnessing the highest level of human suffering since WWII, and the biggest humanitarian crisis in our lifetime. There are, at present, around 60 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 409 ongoing conflicts, and over 100 million people affected by crises and natural disasters every day. What’s worse is that last year proved to be the lowest funding year globally for humanitarian issues, despite being the year with the largest humanitarian needs. This is why, for the first time in the history of the United Nations (UN), the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a two-day World Humanitarian Summit to take place in Istanbul commencing on 23 May 2016.

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  • 7-Eleven workers and their rights in Australia

    13th May 2016

    The recent 7-Eleven scandal has highlighted some of the most significant breaches of trust by employers in Australian history. Our firm has been involved pro bono in many of the claims made by 7-Eleven workers in relation to the underpayments of their wages by their employer. We have now claimed over $2 million in underpayments for these victimised staff. The scale of the underpayments has been breathtaking, with one employee owed over $300,000 and another paid as little as 47 cents an hour.

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  • Using peace to resolve family law conflict

    5th May 2016

    The irony of litigating family matters is that parties are effectively using litigation to counter and respond to family conflict. But rather than working as a conflict resolution tool, litigation actually extends the conflict, and perpetuates further conflict. Yet somehow this negative plus negative response is meant to achieve a positive result. 

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  • Growing Young PI Lawyers

    22nd Apr 2016

    To this day, it is still my very strong view that this form of entry into the profession (via an extended period of practical on the job training) is by far the best for the student. Such an option offers the best of both worlds: practical experience in personal injury practices, and expert academic tuition at one of our law faculties.

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  • MH370 families should get more time to claim

    15th Apr 2016

    How much is a life worth? This is a difficult question, especially in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one but the law demands that it be answered.

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  • Farnham v Pruden & Anor [2016] QCA 18

    8th Apr 2016

    Shane Lawlor provides a case note that looks at the Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld) (CLA) and the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 [(Qld) (WCRA)].

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  • Black Lung Disease in Queensland

    1st Apr 2016

    A recent 7.30 report program on the ABC suggests that as many as 1,000 Queensland Coalminers could have coalminer's pneumoconiosis or, as it is more commonly known; black lung. This dangerous and often deadly lung disease is of serious concern for workers and their families in this state.

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  • Child Sex Abuse – An International Problem

    24th Mar 2016

    Over the last decade, the issue of child sex abuse, and the barriers to justice for survivors or child abuse, are finally being dealt with by governments and institutions throughout the Western world. Here are the recent developments... 

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  • Moving beyond legalistic responses in family law

    18th Mar 2016

    Domestic and family violence (D&FV) is a heinous, and omnipresent epidemic in Australia. D&FV is more than physical violence. It is actual and threatened behaviour, and behaviour which is used to incite fear. It is coercive and controlling in nature, and includes emotional, psychological, economic, sexual, social, property, and family abuse. It is insidious and has no boundaries. No social group is immune from attack.

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  • Grata Fund: opening the doors to public interest litigation

    10th Mar 2016

    Sometimes when it rains, it really buckets down. In just one week in June 2015, courts in two continents delivered landmark public interest victories on two of the defining issues of our time.

    In the Netherlands on 24 June, 900 co-plaintiffs successfully obtained a court order forcing the Dutch government to adopt more stringent policies against climate change.  This historic verdict was the first time a judge had required a State to take action against climate change, and has inspired climate change litigation around the globe.

    Two days later, the US Supreme Court overturned a patchwork of discriminatory state laws and decades of political equivocation to rule that marrying the person you love, regardless of their gender, was a fundamental Constitutional right.

    These cases demonstrate public interest litigation at its finest. Supported by groundswells of community support, these cases broke entrenched political impasses and overturned laws that lagged behind community values.

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  • Self-Represented Prisoners left behind in the justice system?

    4th Mar 2016

    Prisoners are arguably one of the most disadvantaged groups in Australia (and the world). Little to no research has been conducted about the impact on prisoners who are also self-represented litigants (hereinafter referred to as ‘self-represented prisoners’) such as, the extent to which prisoners encounter difficulties in accessing justice while in prison, the impact on prisoners and the resolution of their legal problem, and what efforts, if any, are being made by different Corrective Services departments to facilitate better access to justice.

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  • Gender dysphoria – a child’s right to self determination

    12th Feb 2016

    The shortcomings inherent in a democracy in my view are largely centred around the failure to recognise our fellow human beings as equal, irrespective of their persuasion, sexual or political, religion, race or occupation. Joshua Dale discusses links the acceptance of gender change, with human rights in Australia as a whole. 

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  • Charting New Waters for a Queensland Bill of Rights - Part B

    5th Feb 2016

    The political appetite for an inquiry for a Queensland Bill of Rights was not quite ready in early 2015. There was an already jam-packed agenda for an unexpected Labor government in its first term... In the second part of his article, Benedict Coyne discusses a Bill of Rights in QLD.

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  • Charting New Waters for a Queensland Bill of Rights - Part A

    29th Jan 2016

    “Land ahoy!” In the distance, the parliamentary promise of a more just, accountable, compassionate, tolerant and democratic society looms large on the political agenda for Queensland in 2016. Benedict Coyne discusses the idea of a Bill of Rights in Australia in his two-part Opinion article commencing this week.  

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  • Conclaves: A Step by Step Guide in Queensland

    18th Dec 2015

    Although introduced in Queensland in 2005, conclaves have been relatively rare and unfamiliar territory to most legal practitioners and medical experts alike.  Disputes will undoubtedly arise between legal practitioners and medical experts. Jasmin Sears provides a step by step guide to conclaves in Queensland. 

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  • Suicide Prevention and Self Care

    10th Dec 2015

    Lawyers regularly deal with clients who are facing trauma and may be at risk of suicide or self-harm. Lawyers are also vulnerable to vicarious trauma. We need to talk about suicide prevention and self care – not just for clients, but also for legal practitioners, writes Bill Sayers, National Manager of Hope for Life at The Salvation Army. 

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  • The challenge of transboundary environmental disasters

    9th Dec 2015

    Following the devastation surrounding the Samarco mine disaster, the Brazilian government has filed legal proceedings against the companies involved. Emily Mitchell, Senior Policy Officer at the Australian Lawyers Alliance asks: had transboundary damage occurred, would there have been such swift action? 

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  • Communicating Rights to Non-Native Speakers of English

    2nd Dec 2015

    Diana Eades discusses the importance of making sure non-native speakers of English understand their legal rights, and provides recommendations for better communicating these rights. 

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  • Vic ombudsman to investigate workers comp claims

    26th Nov 2015

    Bring on the Victorian Ombudsman’s investigation into workers compensation claims, writes Liberty Sanger, Principal at Maurice Blackburn. 

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  • Systemic failures to blame for infant deaths at Bacchus Marsh Hospital

    20th Nov 2015

    Paula Shelton investigates the factors that lead to substandard medical care, injury and death. 

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  • Cosmetic vs plastic surgery

    13th Nov 2015

    The difference between seeking cosmetic or plastic surgeon can be significant, writes barrister Ngaire Watson. 

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  • Human rights in OPCs: No Business in Abuse

    30th Oct 2015

    No Business in Abuse board member, Jacob Varghese, argues Transfield has breached its human rights obligations in its provision of services to the Australian Commonwealth on Manus Island and Nauru.

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  • Third wave asbestos exposure: when bystanders are endangered

    9th Oct 2015

    Martin Rogalski looks at the story of Tonya Fenton —a mesothelioma sufferer in the third wave of asbestos exposure —to remind us of the ongoing risk to innocent bystanders and the evidentiary hurdles in third wave claims.

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  • Australia’s opaque offshore asylum policy on Nauru

    2nd Oct 2015

    Joshua Dale reflects on the Senate committee inquiry into the Nauru regional processing centre and the lack of transparency.

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  • Timeframe for applying for Workers' Comp: A Change in Interpretation

    25th Sep 2015

    Kaine Shanahan examines the timeframe for applying for statutory workers' compensation in light of recent case law in Qld.

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  • Medical negligence law over the past year

    10th Sep 2015

    Olamide Kowalik analyses the developments in the area of medical negligence by reference to pivotal decisions in Australia over the last 12 months.

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  • Nips and tucks abroad

    4th Sep 2015

    Victoria Gallanders investigates the jurisdictional issues in the fast-growing industry of cosmetic surgery tourism.

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  • Money and injury – big changes afoot

    27th Aug 2015

    Changes are being made to the way that injured people can access financial support. Are the changes being made to government support, compensation and disability insurance a step in the right direction for injured Australians? Jane Campbell assesses the issues. 

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  • Change to DSP Medical Assessment

    14th Aug 2015

    The change to the disability support pension (DSP) medical assessment process may impact the accuracy of decision-making and reduce the number of successful applications. This raises the question: is there an alternative option to secure financial support for these clients?

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  • Changes to prisoner related compensation a cause for concern

    30th Jul 2015

    While the Wrongs Amendment (Prisoner Related Compensation) Act 2015 (VIC) has received some populist approval, criminal law specialist Nicole Spicer explains why it is concerning for a number of reasons.

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  • Courageous detention centre staff challenge the government

    1st Jul 2015

    Courageous staff from immigration detention centres have today challenged the federal government to prosecute them, as the Border Force Act 2015 commences as law. The ethical and legal dilemma posed to these professionals is considerable with the full consequences yet to come, writes lawyer Ebony Birchall. 

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  • First NDIS case in the Federal Court

    19th Jun 2015

    The first NDIS case has reached the Federal Court, on appeal from the AAT.

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  • Nauru and the Moss Review

    19th May 2015

    A Senate inquiry is currently examining the Commonwealth's duty of care in Nauru following the release of the Moss Review, which detailed abhorrent allegations of sexual abuse and harassment in the centre. We submitted to the inquiry, asserting that the Commonwealth has a duty of care both at common law and under work, health and safety laws. 

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  • A Letter to Joko Widodo

    17th Apr 2015

    An appeal to the Indonesian President to spare the lives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

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  • Levelling up the WA CTP road map

    16th Apr 2015

    With the WA government soon to make decisions on CTP, it is important that people do not lose important rights. 

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  • Queensland Election - A Win for Workers

    1st Apr 2015

    The rights of injured Queensland workers are set to be reinstated following the Australian Lawyers Alliance and Workers Protection Coalition’s campaign against unfair legislative amendments to Queensland’s WorkCover laws.   

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  • Diplomacy with teeth

    9th Feb 2015

    Is Australia doing enough to save two young Australians on death row in Indonesia? 

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  • Rechampioning a charter's chances: a human rights act for Australia

    10th Dec 2014

    Human rights protections in Australia are still far from adequate. The 64th International Human Rights Day (10 December 2014) provides us with an opportunity to assess where we are at and the direction in which we intend to progress. 

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  • Sexual harassment in the workplace - when enough is enough

    25th Sep 2014

    Two recent cases have seen women being awarded with significant damages following sexual harassment in the workplace.

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  • Five years of waiting for investigation into Montara oil spill

    21st Aug 2014

    Five years ago today, the Montara oil spill began in Australian waters of the Timor Sea. For five years, Indonesian communities have claimed to have suffered detrimental impacts to their health, environment and economy. To date, there has still not been an independent investigation, writes Australian Lawyers Alliance's Emily Mitchell. 

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  • Examining calls for an institutional abuse redress scheme

    15th Aug 2014

    This week, the Truth, Justice and Healing Council recommended that a national redress scheme be established to compensate survivors of institutional abuse. The devil is always in the detail, writes the Australian Lawyers Alliance’s Emily Mitchell.

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  • A voice against threats to mining objection rights in QLD

    31st Jul 2014

    Recently, legislation was proposed in Queensland that clearly favours mining companies and proposes to significantly reduce the legal rights of landholders and the general community. Communities' rights to be notified, consulted and to object should remain protected, writes Amy Park.

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  • Senate should reject proposed changes to Comcare scheme

    24th Jul 2014

    The Senate’s Education and Employment Standing Committee recently released its report dealing with proposed legislative changes to the Comcare workers compensation scheme. The Senate should reject the proposed changes, writes Geoff Wilson.

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  • The bitter taste of WorkCover SA

    17th Jul 2014

    Renowned nationally for its battered financial status, inadequate benefits to workers and long delays, it’s time to consider a new scheme for injured workers in South Australia, writes Patrick Boylen, SA President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance. 

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  • UN condemns inadequate response to police violence

    3rd Jul 2014

    A powerful condemnation of the inadequacy of Victoria’s laws to compensate victims of police violence has been delivered by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

    Hovarth v Australia marks a new opportunity for the Australian and Victorian governments to ensure our laws conform with international human rights obligations, writes Sophie Ellis, solicitor at Flemington and Kensington Legal Centre. 

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  • Protecting Australia's innocent

    19th Jun 2014

    Few avenues for redress exist for individuals in Australia who have been wrongfully convicted. It's time to discuss establishing an independent Criminal Case Review Commission, writes Lauren Fitzpatrick, Media and Policy Assistant at the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

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  • Injured workers still burnt by compo changes in NSW

    12th Jun 2014

    The stark reality is that the 2012 amendments to the NSW Workers' Compensation Scheme have slashed injured workers' entitlements and their ability to make an early, safe and durable return to work, writes Anthony Scarcella, NSW Director of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

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  • Norrie: paving the way for meaningful recognition of sex and gender

    5th Jun 2014

    The recent High Court decision in Norrie was significant in its recognition of identity, and that not all human beings can be classified by sex. Giri Sivaraman and Alessandra Peldova-McClelland examine the case's impact on LGBTI rights in Australia.

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  • Budget overview: Cuts to justice and human rights

    15th May 2014

    With the Federal Budget announced on Tuesday night, commentary has spread far and wide. Here, we provide a snapshot overview of some of the suggested changes that impact on human rights review, legal assistance, Indigenous rights, asylum seeker rights and human rights education.

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  • Budget overview: How are the injured placed?

    15th May 2014

    With the Federal budget cuts targeting $80 billion from health and education over the next decade, the young, unemployed and injured are likely to carry the weight of the burden. Here, we provide for our readers a short overview of some of the cuts that may affect injured people and people living with a disability.

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  • A Q&A on QLD workers compensation changes

    8th May 2014

    ALA QLD President Michelle James answers questions about Queensland's workers compensation scheme, which removed workers' rights following amendments passed into law this year.

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  • Racial discrimination changes to axe vicarious liability & exemptions

    1st May 2014

    Proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) are being hotly debated in the media, however, the focus on s18C could be missing crucial issues, writes Emily Mitchell, Legal and Policy Officer at the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

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  • Future patients in the dark

    14th Apr 2014

    Future patients are currently in the dark when it comes to knowing if health practitioners have had complaints lodged about them or conditions placed upon their practice, writes Ngaire Watson.

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  • Red tape and the injured worker

    7th Apr 2014

    One person’s red tape may be another’s safety regulation when it comes to the Comcare scheme, writes Bill Redpath.

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  • The money or the drip: lump sum vs no-fault benefits?

    21st Mar 2014

    No-fault compensation is all the rage, but at what cost to people’s rights? President-Elect Andrew Stone writes of its shortcomings.

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  • Napthine Government erodes separation of powers

    3rd Mar 2014

    Individuals injured in a road accident in Victoria may be worse off following legislative changes which will impede access to appeals, writes Geraldine Collins, National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

     

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  • Dangerous changes to espionage law

    Never

    The National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage And Foreign Interference) Bill 2017.

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