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  Alternative Law Journal   (Australia)
  Volume 30, Number 6, December 2005
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  • Lawyering, dissent and the surveillance state

  • Articles
  • Orwell or all well? The rise of surveillance culture
        Robert Chalmers
        There have been extensive changes in Australia recently to surveillance law and practice, in response to terrorism, high technology crime and other matters. This article overviews these changes not only in a public sector context, but also in the private sector and commercial domains. In addition it considers briefly the broader context within which these reforms have taken place: advancing technologies and changing cultural attitudes towards surveillance. The relative lack of protection for privacy is highlighted.
  • Accountability for detaining and removing unlawful citizens: the cases of Vivian Solon and Cornelia Rau
        Angus Francis
        The Rau and Solon cases have sparked widespread criticism and concern over the nature and exercise of the detention and removal powers found in the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). This article considers the tension between the notion of accountability that is present in the terms of reference, findings and recommendations of the Palmer and Ombudsman inquiries, the internal reform process begun within DIMIA and the legislative reform package put so far to Parliament, and the notion of accountability that underpins the principal criticisms of these developments.
  • Stifling environmental dissent: On SLAPPS and GUNNS
        Rob White
        This article discusses the use of civil litigation by companies against social activists as a means to stifle full public participation around environmental issues. Drawing on a recent Australian example, it demonstrates how the targeting of such legal action simultaneously defines the 'successful' corporate enemy in the same moment that it constitutes an attack on democratic debate. Read in a certain way, therefore, such writs provide interesting indicators of 'good practice' in activist movements -- insofar as they publicly identify those parties most threatening to (and thus successful in challenging) corporate interests. The discussion provides insight into what could be seen as effective types of social movement work, while not precluding the need for vigorous defence of those engaged in such activities.
  • The right to protest
        Daniel Mcglone
        While it is often said that there is a right to protest, the existence of such a right at law is less clear. There is no positive right to protest recognised by Australian law. It is a concept that has come to be accepted by the courts on occasion because it has increasingly come to be held by the community that such a right exists as part of our democratic system of government. This is not the strongest basis for a legal right, and has potentially become all the more fraught with the introduction of anti-terrorist laws.
  • The pursuit of profit at all costs: Corporate law as a barrier to corporate social responsibility
        Therese Wilson
        This article argues that corporate law, which requires directors to act in the best financial interests of their companies, provides a barrier to any exercise of corporate social responsibility that is not strategically linked to those companies' business interests. It argues that where, as a matter of social policy, the pursuit of profits at all costs cannot be entertained, government should regulate to permit and require an exercise of CSR by corporations, or corporations conducting business within certain sectors, with a view to achieving clear regulatory outcomes.

  • Briefs
  • Terrorism: Laws for insecurity
        Annie Pettitt and Vicki Sentas
        The federal government has recently introduced new anti-terrorism laws. This brief discusses key aspects and concerns with the specific proposals.

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  • Workplace surveillance: A proposed regulatory model for Victoria
        Priya SaratChandran
        The Victorian Law Reform Commission's Workplace Privacy Final Report was released in October 2005 with the Commission concluding that law reform was required. It recommended the State government introduce a Workplace Privacy Act that establishes an independent regulator to oversee the use of privacy-invasive practices in Victorian workplaces. Surveillance is one of the most prevalent practices, with the commission recommending that surveillance at work mostly be regulated by codes of practice, surveillance out of work be subject to prior approval from the regulator and surveillance in toilets and washrooms be banned.
  • Civil liberties: The British Identity Cards Bill 2005
        Keith Ewing
        This brief discusses the issues around the proposed introduction of ID cards in the UK. Although the focus of the Bill is on ID cards, this is only one of its purposes. Indeed such is the content of the rest of the Bill that ID cards have become one of its least offensive features.
  • Workplace laws: An ethical dilemma
        Michael Rawling
        This brief examines moral dilemmas faced by idealistic labour lawyers working in employer practices. It suggests that the changes that will be instituted by the Workplace Relations Amendment (Workchoices) Bill 2005 will intensify these moral dilemmas because employer lawyers will no longer be able to give advice that will restrain employer conduct. Rather, those lawyers will become trapped into implementing an ideologically loaded and regressive labour regime. This may be an intolerable job for some idealistic lawyers.

  • Columns
  • Sticky Beak: Civil liberties and lawyering: Interview with Judge Ian Dearden
        Judge Ian Dearden, formerly a specialist criminal defence lawyer and President of the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties, is now a Judge of the District Court of Queensland. He spoke with the Alternative Law Journal's Yasmin Gunn and Kay Rosolen.
  • Sticky Beak: Civil liberties and lawyering: Interview with Tamara Walsh
        Tamara Walsh, a leading legal voice for social justice reform in Queensland, spoke to the Alternative Law Journal's Anthony Reilly and Graeme Orr about life as an academic activist.
  • Asia-Pacific: Australia at a crossroads: Good neighbour in the Asia-Pacific or stunting development?
        Sanya Reid Smith
        Bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) between developed and developing countries are rapidly proliferating. Australia is currently in FTA negotiations with several developing countries. Australia should be careful not to undermine development in the FTA provisions it insists on in areas such as goods, services, investment and intellectual property.