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  Alternative Law Journal   (Australia)
  Volume 34, Number 1, 2009
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  • Articles
  • Without sex: slavery, trafficking in persons and the exploitation of labour in Australia
        Miriam Cullen and Bernadette McSherry
        Trafficking in persons into Australia has recently received increasing attention from the media, the parliament and the public. The primary focus has been on slavery and trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, rather than on other forms of labour exploitation. This article examines some of the justification for broadening the criminal justice response to slavery and trafficking, drawing on case studies from civil proceedings brought by the Workplace Ombudsman and the Inquiry into Australia's Temporary Migration Scheme undertaken by the Joint Standing Committee on Migration. To date the debate has been characterised by a primary perception of the criminal law as a means through which to condemn sexual exploitation. This article argues that a broader focus is required.
  • Errors in the anti-Charter campaign
        Nicola McGarrity
        Education of Australians about human rights is long overdue. They must be provided with sufficient impartial information to enable them to participate effectively and independently in the ongoing debate about human rights in Australia. However, attempts to educate the public to date have been undermined by the campaign of misinformation conducted by anti-Charter campaigners such as James Allan and Bob Carr. This article takes four examples used by Allan and Carr, and unravels the factual and legal errors in each.
  • Old dogs, new tricks: Public interest lawyering in an 'Age of Terror'
        Alysia Debowski
        Legislative reforms designed to combat terrorism present legal practitioners with a challenging new legal landscape. This article argues that legal professionals must proactively respond to these developments by seeking alternative means of securing a positive outcome for their client. The case of Mohamed Haneef will be used to illustrate these developments and emphasise the growing importance of the media and unconventional tactics to the legal profession.
  • All the right moves? Police 'move-on' powers
        James Farrell
        Executive arms of government are increasingly widening the scope of police powers relating to the use and regulation of public spaces. These powers, referred to as 'move-on powers', allow police to direct users of public space to move on. This article discusses the difficulty in justifying the introduction of move-on powers to reduce anti-social behaviour, as such behaviour is difficult to define without unreasonable levels of ambiguity and subjectivity. This article concludes that these powers are exercised in a discriminatory fashion across Australian jurisdictions, and any attempt to introduce move-on powers in Victoria will simply grant police discretionary powers which do not reduce crime, but will alienate minority groups and prevent the engagement of many groups in community spaces.
  • Reintegrating sex offenders into the community: Queensland's proposed reforms
        Patrick Keyzer and Ian R Coyle
        This article critically analyses a review conducted by the Queensland government to change the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act. While the aim of the review was to advance long-term solutions for the management of high-risk offenders and in particular to ensure that post-sentence detention is utilised as a last resort, the authors argue that it is difficult to see how the reforms proposed will achieve that objective.
  • Recruiting and retaining lawyers: A problem in rural, regional and remote communities
        Trish Mundy
        This article suggests that there is an urgent need to address the shortage of lawyers in rural, regional and remote (RRR) areas of Australia. It considers the nature and extent of the problem, reviews the existing Australian literature on the factors affecting recruitment and retention of lawyers in RRR areas and identifies several initiatives that have been implemented in an effort to address its effects. It recommends the need for a range of strategies which target key pathways in the student/practitioner lifecycle.
  • Criminal priors and the right to be elected: a critical survey
        Oscar Roos and Ben Hayward
        This article surveys the disparate laws that apply in Australia to disqualify candidates with a criminal history from election to the various Australian legislatures. It critiques those laws by reference to the ICCPR and the High Court’s 2007 decision in the 'right to vote' case, Roach v Electoral Commissioner. The authors maintain that, specifically, the current laws in Victoria and Western Australia are draconian and in breach of fundamental human and democratic rights. They propose criteria by reference to which those laws should be reformed.
  • Reflections on law reform and the High Court
        Michael Kirby
        Delivered as the inaugural Neville Wran Lecture at the NSW Parliament in November 2008, this article reflects on the author’s experience in institutional law reform and the appellate judiciary. He offers ways in which each of these institutions might be improved, with suggestions including large and small proposals — some would require a change of constitutional texts or conventions, while others could be introduced immediately with little trouble.

  • Briefs
  • Fare well, Justice Kirby
        Elisa Arcioni
        Justice Kirby will be remembered as an extraordinary High Court justice. In this piece, one of his former associates gives an insider’s view to his working life and chambers. Justice Kirby is revealed as a workaholic who managed heavy judicial responsibilities along with extra-curial activities. He displayed strength of character in both withstanding and working against discrimination. Justice Kirby, while famous across the country and internationally, demonstrated humanity both within and without his judicial chambers.
  • Justice Kirby and references to the Alternative Law Journal
        Simon Rice
        The Alternative Law Journal is unique among Australian law journals in its focus on social justice, human rights, law reform, and critique of the legal system. At the same time the Hon Michael Kirby, in his time as a High Court judge, was conspicuous for a similar focus not only in his public speeches, but also in his decisions. This brief article looks at the decisions where Kirby J invoked the Journal in exploring new areas of law and legal policy.
  • The Haneef case and an independent reviewer of terrorism law
        Mark Rix
        Providing an overview of the ‘celebrated’ case of Dr Mohamed Haneef, this Brief also looks at the cancellation of his visa and issuing of a Criminal Justice Stay Certificate.
  • What’s happening with discrimination in South Australia?
        Anne Hewitt
        South Australia's anti-discrimination legislation has not been substantially updated since 1997. However, an amending Bill was introduced in late 2008. This brief considers the amendments which are proposed, how the Bill differs from the earlier 2006 version, and what is causing the delays in passage of this important legislation.

  • Columns
  • Asia-Pacific: Of Royalty, rumour and the power behind the throne: sedition in modern Malaysia
        Stephen Gray
        Recently a prominent Malaysian blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, was charged with sedition following comments he made on his website, 'Malaysia Today'. His comments implied that the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was involved in the murder of a Mongolian woman, Altantuyaa Shaariibuu. The prosecution illustrates the potential for Malaysia's broad sedition laws to be used selectively against political opponents - a potential which is also borne out in other recent cases.