Human rights

  • Immigration lawyers acting for asylum seekers are ‘unAustralian’

    20th Dec 2018

    A reflective essay that responds to this assertion.

  • Human Rights Day: a reminder to focus on the need for a national charter of human rights

    10th Dec 2018

    As Human Rights Day is celebrated globally, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) today reiterated calls for a national charter of human rights in Australia.

  • QLD Bill of Rights will make a substantial difference but improvements could make it stronger, say lawyers

    28th Nov 2018

    The Queensland Bill of Rights legislation will make a substantial difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), but there are opportunities to make the Bill stronger and more effective.

  • Plaintiff lawyers call for amendments to Sex Discrimination Act

    20th Nov 2018

    The national peak body for plaintiff lawyers has called for the removal of exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act so that every child can safely attend any school without experiencing discrimination based on their sexuality or gender orientation.

  • 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.

  • QLD Bill of Rights is the strongest human rights charter in Australia, says ALA

    31st Oct 2018

    The Queensland Bill of Rights legislation is expected to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • 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.

  • Proposed anti-consorting law goes too far: ALA submits alternative form of legislation

    19th Sep 2018

    The proposed anti-consorting law introduced into the Tasmanian Parliament yesterday goes too far and is a violation of individual rights,

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • ALA backs Uluru Statement

    29th Jun 2018

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart as the organisation’s new president, Ms Noor Blumer, commences in her role.

  • Collaery charges are concerning

    28th Jun 2018

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has expressed concern at the decision to file criminal charges against ACT lawyer, Bernard Collaery.

  • Proposed Prohibited Insignia Bill must be fought

    21st Jun 2018

    The Prohibited Insignia Bill introduced into Tasmanian Parliament today violates human rights and threatens principles of democracy, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Refugee Protection Bill is far better policy than current inhumane treatment of asylum seekers

    18th Jun 2018

    The Refugee Protection Bill introduced into Parliament today by Andrew Wilkie MP would ensure a far safer and more humane response to people seeking asylum, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

     

  • Death on Nauru prompts calls from lawyers for urgent government action

    15th Jun 2018

    ‘Cruel, inhumane and unsafe environment’: death on Nauru prompts calls from lawyers for urgent government action.

  • 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. 

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • NSW Court of Appeal Justice Mark Leeming headlining law conference

    8th Mar 2018

    Justice of the NSW Court of Appeal, The Hon Justice Mark Leeming, is the keynote speaker at the upcoming Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) annual NSW State Conference being held in Manly next week.

  • Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

    8th Mar 2018

    Is the Convention failing women and children escaping violence?

  • Ratifying OPCAT treaty must keep offshore detainees safe

    20th Dec 2017

    The Commonwealth’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) this week is a significant step forward in the protection of human rights in Australia and those of asylum seekers held in its detention facilities. To fully implement its obligations, the government must extend OPCAT’s application to offshore detention facilities, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • UN body recommends urgent action to remedy Australia’s human rights

    10th Nov 2017

    The UN Human Rights Committee has today slammed Australia’s human rights record, recommending the implementation of ‘comprehensive federal legislation’ to guarantee human rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Voluntary euthanasia laws provide certainty for terminally-ill people

    20th Oct 2017

    Voluntary euthanasia laws passed today by the lower house of the Victorian parliament will ensure much needed legal oversight and certainty for people in need, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Australia’s human rights record comes under UN scrutiny

    17th Oct 2017

    Australia’s approach to implementing and protecting human rights will be scrutinised by a United Nations (UN) committee this week, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Same-sex marriage is a matter of equality

    6th Sep 2017

    Equality demands that we all have the right to marry who we choose, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • No evidence of link between national security and citizenship

    6th Sep 2017

    There is no evidence that proposed changes to the process of gaining Australian citizenship would improve the country’s national security, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Minister seeks to evade the law by criticising refugee advocates

    30th Aug 2017

    By criticising lawyers seeking to assist refugees and asylum seekers, Minister Dutton is seeking to evade the government’s responsibilities, undermining accountability and the rule of law, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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.

  • Human rights protections must be part of national security review

    21st Jul 2017

    Federal government proposals to combine Australian security agencies into a single ‘national security super-agency’ must also include strengthened human rights protections for all people in Australia, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Terror law arms race will not increase safety

    13th Jun 2017

    Introducing ever-more draconian anti-terror legislation will not make Australians safer and may actually increase the risk of another terror incident, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • UN migrants expert calls for Australian human rights act

    17th May 2017

    The call by a United Nations (UN) expert for an Australian human rights act reminds us that fundamental human rights in Australia are not protected by a Bill of Rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Lawyers welcome damning report from offshore detention inquiry

    21st Apr 2017

    A Senate Report stating that there is an “unacceptable lack of accountability and transparency” and a “culture of secrecy” on Nauru and Manus Island was released today. 

  • 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.

  • Racial discrimination laws no threat to free speech

    28th Feb 2017

    A review into Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act has shown that the country’s racial discrimination laws are working well and that there is no reason to alter the current legislation, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Human rights lawyers win 2017 ALA Queensland Civil Justice Award

    20th Feb 2017

    Three lawyers who successfully fought for improvements in medical care for people being held in Australian offshore detention facilities following the death of a detainee been presented with the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) Queensland 2017 Civil Justice Award (CJA).

  • 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.

  • Children illegally kept in adult jail may be entitled to bring claims

    21st Dec 2016

    Children who are being detained in adult jails may be entitled to bring a claim for false imprisonment, following a ruling in the Victorian Supreme Court, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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.

  • Lawyers condemn plans to formalise arbitrary detention in Australia

    4th Nov 2016

    The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has today published a report recommending that Australia adopt the most draconian counter-terrorism laws in the world, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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. 

  • UN Human Rights expert condemns Australia’s secrecy laws

    21st Oct 2016

    The Australian Government should heed concerns voiced by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders about the constitutionality of Australian secrecy laws that stifle freedom of speech and fail to protect whistleblowers, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Martin’s resignation an opportunity to get Commission right: lawyers

    1st Aug 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance welcomes the decision of Brian Martin to stand down as Royal Commissioner into juvenile justice in the Northern Territory.

  • Royal Commission terms of reference a missed opportunity - lawyers

    28th Jul 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance said today that the Turnbull Government had missed a once in a generation opportunity to deal with the inherent racism of the Australian legal system towards Indigenous people.

  • High Court challenge to secrecy laws welcomed by lawyers

    27th Jul 2016

    The Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth) undermines our constitutional freedoms. The Australian Lawyers Alliance supports Doctors for Refugees and Fitzroy Legal Service bringing this problem to the High Court.

  • ALA welcomes Royal Commission announcement into children in detention

    26th Jul 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has today offered its strong support for the announcement of a Royal Commission into juvenile detention, following reports of appalling and sickening torture and ill treatment within juvenile detention in the Northern Territory.

  • MEDIA ALERT: Lawyers oppose proposed changes to terror laws

    25th Jul 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) opposes the Turnbull Governments proposed preventative detention for terrorism offenders.

  • Imprisoning mentally ill asylum seekers suggests offences committed

    16th Jun 2016

    Reports that a mentally ill detainee on Manus Island was sent to prison instead of receiving medical treatment indicates that workplace health and safety law continues to be flouted in immigration detention.

  • 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?

  • High Court terrorism ruling points to need for Constitutional reform

    15th Jun 2016

    The High Court today ruled that a defendant charged with Commonwealth terrorism offences cannot opt for a trial by judge alone in the New South Wales Supreme Court. 

  • 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.

  • Comcare inaction on detention centre abuse shows need for law reform

    8th Jun 2016

    Widespread sexual and physical abuse, self-harm, suicide attempts and deaths in immigration detention are not being adequately investigated, pointing to a need for legislative reform, according to a report released by the ALA this week.

  • Immigration detention unsafe workplaces: ALA Report

    6th Jun 2016

    Immigration detention facilities are unsafe workplaces, ALA Report finds.

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (‘ALA’) is today releasing a ground-breaking 150-page report, Untold damage: workplace health and safety in immigration detention under the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth), (‘WHS Act’). 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Solicitor Kerry Splatt named ALA QLD 2016 CJA Winner

    12th Feb 2016

    A solicitor who has been a passionate advocate for injured workers and defender of common law rights for decades has been declared the winner of the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) Queensland Civil Justice Award.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.  

  • 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? 

  • 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. 

  • The ALA: protecting justice, freedom and human rights for 21 years

    20th Nov 2015

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has urged journalists and other public commentators discussing the Alliance to take care not to mistakenly create confusion with regards to other organisations which also use the ALA acronym.

  • 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.

  • Failure to provide abortion to rape victim a new low in detainee care

    19th Oct 2015

    The Commonwealth appears to have failed in its duty of care to a 23-year-old detainee rape victim, by neglecting to provide appropriate medical counselling and advice before denying her an abortion, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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.

  • DIBP leaves regulator in dark on appalling Nauru detainee conditions

    28th Aug 2015

    Numerous incidents over the past two years, including allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and assaults of people held on Nauru, do not appear to have been reported to Comcare by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (‘DIBP’), the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • New Montara Report highlights Australia’s six years of failure

    15th Jul 2015

    A new investigative report released today has called for the Federal Government to negotiate for a full investigation with Indonesia, to pinpoint the cause of economic and environmental devastation experienced by seaside communities in Indonesia following the worst offshore oil spill in Australia’s history.

  • 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. 

  • Injuries in detention centres apparently not investigated by Comcare

    1st Jul 2015

    Workplace insurer Comcare appears to have failed to investigate numerous serious incidents and injuries which occurred at Commonwealth detention centres, according to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request made by the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Govt’s rushed Migration Amendment Bill is unconscionable

    24th Jun 2015

    A last-minute Bill seeking to head off court action challenging the Federal government’s power to fund offshore detention facilities is unconscionable, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Doctors should obtain legal advice before treating asylum seekers

    19th Jun 2015

    Medical professionals working in immigration detention centres should obtain legal advice about their professional liability following new legislation which could gag them from speaking out about poor conditions for detainees, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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. 

  • A Letter to Joko Widodo

    17th Apr 2015

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

  • Detainee abuse letter: Evidence of Govt’s breach of duty of care?

    8th Apr 2015

    A letter alleging that the Australian Government knew children were suffering sexual abuse at the Nauru detention centre is stunning first evidence that the government may have failed to protect detainees from harm, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Ferouz legal team named ALA Queensland 2015 Civil Justice Award Winner

    13th Feb 2015

    The legal team which fought to free baby Ferouz and his family from detention has been declared the winner of the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) Queensland Civil Justice Award.

  • Baby Ferouz legal team named ALA Qld 2015 Civil Justice Award Winner

    13th Feb 2015

    The legal team which fought to free baby Ferouz and his family from detention has been declared the winner of the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) Queensland Civil Justice Award.

  • Govt must urgently release children in detention

    12th Feb 2015

    Clear evidence that children being held in immigration detention centres are developing serious mental issues shows the urgency of releasing them into the community as soon as possible, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Diplomacy with teeth

    9th Feb 2015

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

  • Govt treatment of Manus detainees could be found negligent

    12th Dec 2014

    The Manus Island Report shows clearly that the Australian Government may have breached its duty of care to deceased detainee Reza Berati and could be found negligent for its treatment of asylum seekers detained on Manus Island, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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. 

  • Human Rights Day: It’s time to talk about a Bill of Rights

    10th Dec 2014

    Australia must re-open the discussion about adopting a Bill of Rights in order to protect the human rights of all Australians, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.  

  • New migration legislation may be unconstitutional

    5th Dec 2014

    Federal legislation which reintroduces Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) undermines the United Nations Refugee Convention and may in fact be unconstitutional, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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.

  • Immigration Department carrying out asylum seeker ‘round-up’

    18th Sep 2014

    A large group of asylum-seekers currently being ‘round up’ by the Commonwealth are at very real risk of suicide or even death if they are forced to return to their home countries, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Asylum seekers suffering ‘cruel and inhuman punishment’

    23rd Jul 2014

    The 157 asylum seekers being held on an Australian customs vessel on the high seas are being held in ‘torturous’ conditions which breach international conventions on civil and political rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • 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. 

  • Extension of Royal Commission best hope for reform

    2nd Jul 2014

    The work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is the best hope for major reform in this area, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today. 

  • Decades of case law conflict with Migration Bill

    26th Jun 2014

    Changes to the Migration Act introduced into Parliament yesterday by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison are at odds with decisions made in the High Court since 1989 and international case law, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Migration changes introduced mark a new low

    25th Jun 2014

    Changes to the Migration Act introduced into Parliament today by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison marks a new low in respect of Australia meeting its international human rights protections, and a new attack on procedural fairness and the separation of powers, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • 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.

  • Lawyers call for legislative amendment to Migration Act

    18th Jun 2014

    The High Court’s decision in Plaintiff S156-2013 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection highlights the lack of adequate protections in Australia’s migration law, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Manus Inquiry: Lawyers' evidence given

    16th Jun 2014

    Representatives of the ALA appeared before the #manusinquiry, giving evidence as to Australia's duty of care obligations at common law.

  • Manus Inquiry: Lawyers to give evidence about duty of care

    13th Jun 2014

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance appears at the Senate Inquiry into the incident at Manus Island today. In our submission, we asserted that the Commonwealth has a non-delegable duty of care to asylum seekers that continues to exist regardless of where they are being detained.

  • Independent investigation of Montara oil spill must occur

    13th Jun 2014

    An independent investigation of damage sustained in the closest Indonesian province to Australia should be funded by the company responsible, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said again today.

  • ALA to speak re asylum seekers and duty of care to Senate Inquiry

    12th Jun 2014

    On Friday, the Australian Lawyers Alliance will appear at public hearings for the Senate Inquiry into the incident at Manus Island in which Mr Berati was tragically killed.

  • 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.

  • ALA appears at Productivity Commission Access to Justice Inquiry

    4th Jun 2014

    This week, the Australian Lawyers Alliance was invited to appear before the Productivity Commission in its inquiry into Access to Justice.

  • ALA announces winner of Victorian Civil Justice Award 2014

    16th May 2014

    The Victorian Civil Justice Award 2014 has been awarded to the Flemington and Kensington CLC for their advocacy against police brutality in Victoria.

  • Release of ACT Human Rights Commission report praised

    16th May 2014

    The ACT Human Rights Commission has released a human rights review of the conditions for women imprisoned at Alexander McConachie Centre in the ACT. The Australian Lawyers Alliance has welcomed the report's release.

  • 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.

  • Govt knowledge of security breaches may strengthen claims

    13th May 2014

    Revelations that the Commonwealth knew of security flaws at Manus Island may strengthen claims by asylum seekers who have suffered injuries as a result of security breaches, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • National security legislation may receive no independent review

    8th May 2014

    The government has proposed the repeal of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. In our submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, we oppose the repeal, citing the need for an independent body to review legislation, especially in the absence of an Australian Bill of Rights.

  • Manus: You can't delegate your duty

    5th May 2014

    The Australian government may have a non-delegable duty of care to asylum seekers, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today, in a submission to a Senate inquiry into the tragic death of Reza Berati on Manus Island.

  • 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.

  • Vicarious liability to be chopped under RDA changes

    30th Apr 2014

    Employers may win and individuals lose out with vicarious liability and exemptions on the chopping block under proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Sexual abuse of minors by Royal Australian Navy should be investigated

    17th Apr 2014

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance calls on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to hold an open hearing into the allegations of decades of sexual abuse of minors at HMAS Leeuwin.

  • Breaches have gone further than Senate Inquiry suggests

    29th Mar 2014

    Breaches into Indonesian waters could be far more common than recorded by the Defence and Customs Review and Senate Inquiry report, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Proposed changes to RDA will disallow people from utilising law

    26th Mar 2014

    Proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act will effectively disallow people from utilising the law, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Breaches have gone further than Defence Customs Review suggests

    21st Mar 2014

    Breaches into Indonesian waters could be more common than recorded by the Defence and Customs Review, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Catholic church concession on Ellis defence is inadequate

    11th Mar 2014

    A historic concession made yesterday only goes halfway to according justice for thousands of victims of sexual abuse, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Damaged human rights record will plunge further

    22nd Jan 2014

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance said today that Human Rights Watch’s assessment of Australian asylum seeker policy as ‘draconian’ will plunge further in coming months if legislation currently on the table passes in the Parliament of Australia.

  • Australian Lawyers Alliance Civil Justice Awards

    1st Jan 2014

    Every year, the Australian Lawyers Alliance presents the highly acclaimed Civil Justice Awards to individuals and organisations around the country who have displayed outstanding advocacy in their support for human rights and social justice.

  • Concern for asylum seekers wellbeing – ALA

    13th Sep 2013

    Almost $28 million has been spent by Australia on asylum seekers compensation claims since 2000. Of this, $21.1 million was for unlawful detention in 299 matters and $6.9 million for breaches of duty-of-care and statutory duties towards 150 others, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers may breach international law

    5th Aug 2013

    Australia’s treatment of asylum seeking detainees may be considered akin to torture and urgent measures were needed to protect such vulnerable people under law, the Australian Lawyers Alliance warned today.

  • Orphan must be taken from Christmas Island to his family - ALA

    10th May 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today called on the federal government to remove a nine-year-old Sri Lankan boy, recently orphaned, from Christmas Island, to save him from exacerbated psychological trauma.

  • Clarity needed over Abbott’s ‘turn back boats’ policy

    29th Apr 2013

    An opinion piece by ALA National President, Anthony Kerin, on Abbott's 'turn back boats' policy.

  • Reopening detention centre will increase compensation claims – ALA

    24th Apr 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today called on the federal government to stop detaining children and families as part of its asylum seeker policy.

  • ALA lauds NZ in voting to acknowledge same sex marriage under law

    18th Apr 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today congratulated New Zealanders on their leadership and humanity in acknowledging same sex unions as legitimate marriages under law.

  • Asylum seekers in WA must be offered protections of Aus law - ALA

    15th Apr 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is concerned that the rights of a boatload of Sri Lankan men, women and children who reached WA on Tuesday are being ignored as Australia continues to flout its international obligations to asylum seekers.

  • NDIS recovery rights fall short

    15th Mar 2013

    People with disabilities can be pressured into legal action under provisions in the National Disability Scheme legislation passed in the House of Representatives yesterday.

  • Don’t use asylum seekers for political gain - ALA

    27th Feb 2013

    “The fact that one asylum seeker, out of tens of thousands, has been charged with a criminal offence should not lead to a further erosion of the already limited rights of asylum seekers in the community,” ALA criminal law spokesman, Greg Barns, said today.

  • Proposal to extend NSW prison terms could be unconstitutional

    21st Feb 2013

    The New South Wales government’s proposed continuing detention laws for serious sex offences or violent crimes are possibly unconstitutional and are likely to meet a High Court challenge, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • NDIS Bill inadequate in protecting rights of those with disabilities

    19th Feb 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today told an Adelaide public hearing on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) that the Bill, in its present form, would not adequately protect the rights of those with disabilities.

  • ALA expresses concern over new anti-doping body powers

    11th Feb 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today expressed concern over the federal government’s plan to remove privilege against self-incrimination and to compel witnesses in Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) investigations.

  • ALA applauds rejection of Police Costs Bill (SA)

    29th Nov 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance applauds the Upper House Independent Members and the Liberal Party for standing up, yet again, for the rights of the innocent.

  • ALA hosts Chinese judges to educate about Australian judicial process

    27th Nov 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance met with 20 judges from in and around the Fujian Province in Sydney, today, as part of an educational exchange to examine court case management in Australia.

  • Legal community welcomes review of SA CTP scheme

    26th Nov 2012

    Australian and state peak legal bodies, the Australian Lawyers Alliance and the SA Law Society, are welcoming the SA CTP insurance White Paper report by SA Treasurer Jack Snelling, but warned administrative review was crucial to success of any such scheme.

  • Govt reaches new low with its treatment of asylum seekers

    30th Oct 2012

    The Gillard Government has reached a new low in its inhumanity towards asylum seekers, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • ALA cautions against $50 million pledge for more CCTV cameras

    8th Oct 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance says that the pledge by Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, today, to spend $50 million for additional CCTV cameras around Australia to monitor people’s movements in response to Jill Meagher’s death, does not take account of privacy concerns and potential misuse of cameras to profile groups and individuals.

  • ALA cautions that death should not lead to the overuse of surveillance

    29th Sep 2012

    “The greater use of surveillance cameras by the Victorian Police and local government, as announced by Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu today, will not necessarily improve the detection of crime and comes with serious policy implications attached,” Australian Lawyers Alliance director and Criminal Barrister, Greg Barns, said.

  • Charitable VIC motorcycle club members are having property confiscated

    26th Sep 2012

    Nine members of the Wangaratta-based Tramps Motorcycle Club have had their firearms, some of which are needed to work jobs and farming properties, confiscated by Victorian Police because of alleged prejudice and false assumption.

  • NSW violent offender proposals fail fairness test - ALA

    24th Sep 2012

    Proposed laws announced by NSW Attorney-General, Greg Smith, today, enabling violent offenders to be kept in prison beyond the term imposed by a court or only released subject to strict limits on their freedom, failed the fairness test, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Proposed abolition of right to silence in NSW will allow police abuse

    19th Sep 2012

    The right of individuals to remain silent when being interrogated by police is a fundamental human right reflected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in Canadian and US human rights laws and for New South Wales Attorney-General Greg Smith to give the community only 10 days to comment on his proposal to dismantle that right is appalling, said the Australian Lawyers Alliance today.

  • Nauru’s tent city shames Australia - ALA

    11th Sep 2012

    The ALA reiterates its opposition to offshore processing, following reports of tents being erected to house asylum seekers for up to six months during the wet season on Nauru.

  • Opportunistic politicians trading in human misery for votes - ALA

    3rd Sep 2012

    “Professional people smugglers aren’t the only occupation trading in human misery in Australia – opportunistic politicians are capitalising on fear and ignorance with a quick easy vote-grab that harshly punishes some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President, Tony Kerin, said today.

  • 'Right to silence' crucial for democracy in NSW - ALA

    15th Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is expressing disbelief that the O’Farrell Government would strike at the heart of democratic principles with an attack on every NSW citizen’s right to silence by amending such a law.

  • ALA labels Gillard asylum seeker measures 'cruel and outrageous'

    15th Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is labelling as ‘cruel and outrageous’ rushed Federal Government plans to process asylum seekers in both Nauru and Manus Island by Friday.

  • ALA welcomes panel recommendation to increase asylum seeker intake

    13th Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today welcomed an expert panel decision to increase the intake of asylum seekers into Australia, but is concerned about a recommendation for offshore processing in countries that can not guarantee the health and welfare of asylum seekers.

  • Trial by media has no place in upholding justice in Hey Dad case - ALA

    10th Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is today urging restraint on the part of the media and the alleged victims of former Hey Dad star Robert Hughes, following prejudicial comments in the media that could impinge on Mr Hughes right to a fair trial.

  • ALA responds to Abbott call to end Racial Discrimination Act provision

    6th Aug 2012

    “Liberal Leader Tony Abbott’s proposal to wind back the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act’s protection against racial abuse should alarm all Australians,” Australian Lawyers Alliance Director and barrister, Greg Barns, said.

  • Mandatory sentencing laws for people smuggling crews unfair - ALA

    3rd Aug 2012

    “Organisers behind people smuggling stand to make windfall profits from each boat, however the skippers and crews of these vessels are often just additional victims of this trade in human misery,” Australian Lawyers Alliance Northern Territory spokesman, Greg Phelps, said today.

  • Aust Gov must compensate children illegally detained - ALA

    27th Jul 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling on the Australian Government to pay compensation to children who have been illegally detained in this country on suspicion of people smuggling following the release of a damning Human Rights Commission report on the matter today.

  • Apartheid-style legislation is incompatible with human rights

    29th Jun 2012

    The Federal Government’s recklessness in pushing through parliament, with the support of some Opposition MPs, racist legislation, that sets the rights of Indigenous people in the Northern Territory back decades, will not go unchallenged, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Dark day as bills threaten asylum seekers and Indigenous rights

    28th Jun 2012

    “Two bills concurrently being considered by the Australian Federal Parliament flag the urgent need for a Federal Human Rights Act to protect the rights of the marginalised and disadvantaged,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President, Greg Barns, said today.

  • ALA calls for independent prisons inspectorate

    18th Jun 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance has expressed concern about the case of a woman handcuffed to a South Australian prison bed for up to 20 hours a day.

  • Assange anti-extradition rally

    30th May 2012

    Details released of the Julian Assange anti-extradition rally on Thursday 31 May 2012.

  • ALA applauds stance of Indigenous elders against 'Stronger Futures'

    2nd May 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today applauded the bold stance of Indigenous elders in west and central Arnhem Land who are refusing to participate in land lease negotiations for mining exploration licences in revolt against the Federal Government’s Stronger Futures legislation.

  • ALA concerned Assange's lawyer on 'no fly' list

    19th Apr 2012

    Australian Lawyers Alliance National President, Greg Barns, has expressed grave concern at the placing of lawyer Jennifer Robinson on a ‘no fly list.’

  • ALA calls for National Judicial Inquiry into police weapon use

    19th Mar 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling for a National Judicial Inquiry into the use of Tasers, capsicum spray and other potentially lethal police weapons, following the death of a man in Sydney, yesterday.

  • Bipartisan Stronger Futures policy in breach of international law

    14th Mar 2012

    Release today of the Senate report on the proposed Stronger Futures law, has prompted the Australian Lawyers Alliance to warn the federal government to be wary of breaching international human rights decrees if the legislation passes through the Senate. 

  • Politicians ruling by stealth as wilful ignorance flourishes

    12th Mar 2012

    Opinion piece written by Mandy Wyer for attribution to ALA National President, Greg Barns. It appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald Opinion page on Friday 16 March 2012.

  • Stronger Futures film and consultation at Parliament House today

    27th Feb 2012

    Notification of the Our Generation Indigenous film and Stronger Futures Consultation Evening at Parliament House theatrette, Canberra.

  • Indigenous rights documentary to be screened at Parliament House

    3rd Feb 2012

    Concern that federal politicians are about to vote on crucial Indigenous rights legislation, without proper evaluation or community consultation, has prompted an Indigenous documentary screening and discussion evening at Parliament House, Canberra, this month.