The Fragility Of Liberty In Australia

January 21, 2014

By PATRICK KEYZER, Professor of Constitutional Law.

Last week the Queensland Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie MP, decided not to appeal two decisions of the Queensland Court of Appeal, handed down on 6 December last year, striking down the Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act.

The Public Interest Declarations Act, enacted on 17 October 2013, was the latest in a decade of reforms to the law governing the preventive detention of serious sex offenders.

The Act authorized the Attorney-General to “request” the Governor of Queensland “in Council” to make a “public interest declaration” that a sex offender released from detention by the Queensland Supreme Court or the Queensland Court of Appeal should be returned to prison if it was in the public interest to do so.

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Fifteen Minutes To Help Change The Face Of The Fitness Industry

May 3, 2013

AFIRM Logo

In conjunction with Fitness Australia and Sports Medicine Australia, the AFIRM team is set to undertake a nationwide survey of the fitness industry concerning risk management practices.

Participate and Win!
The anonymous survey can be completed by fitness professionals who are either casual, part-time, full-time, managers, self-employed and/or owners.  Fitness industry professionals completing the survey go into the draw to win a return airfare, accommodation and ticket to Fitness Australia’s industry breakfast and forum in Sydney in October.  The runner-up will receive an iPad.

If you’re a fitness industry professional keen to have your say and help change the face of the Australian fitness industry, don’t delay, be part of this ground-breaking research project and complete the online survey today. Surveys must be completed by 21 June.

Click here to take the survey


New Reports Offer Insight Into Legal Risk Management In The Fitness Industry

April 30, 2013

The Institute’s recent conference in Sydney not only marked the AFIRM’s inaugural forum to discuss legal risk management in the fitness industry.  Additionally, the aptly named conference, ‘Is Your Fitness Business At Risk?’ also saw the launch of two reports tailored for the Australian Fitness industry.

Offering up-to-the-minute, industry-relevant information, the reports offer fitness industry professionals an insight into liability for workplace health and safety in the Australian fitness industry, and planning and buiding regulations affecting fitness businesses.  The reports are the second set of key deliverables as part of the AFIRM team’s ARC linkage grant: Legal risk management of adverse health outcomes and injury in the fitness industry.

To view the reports click the links below:

Author:   Joel Butler

Liability for Workplace Health and Safety in the Australian Fitness Industry

Authors:  Rebecca Richardson and Jacqui Salter

Planning and Building Regulation for Fitness Businesses


Dynamics Of Virtual Work – European Cooperation In Science And Technology (COST)

April 29, 2013

By MARCUS BREEN, Professor of Communication and Media, editor of the International Journal of Technology Knowledge and Society, and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

April 8-10, Darmstadt, Germany, first COST Action. Invited as a non-EU COST member, funded by the Australian Academy of Science.

23 years after Arjun Appadurai’s essay Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy appeared this COST Action offers a concerted way forward for the discussion of work and labour. Article link

While Appadurai’s five dimensions of global cultural flows are still relevant – ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes, ideoscapes – the context has changed. The European Union and the US are counterbalanced by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Multipolar economies operate at a ridiculously rapid speed, offering less rather than more space for comprehending how the systems fit together. That has produced rather less comfort for regulators and the public interest, as private interests sometimes with the active support of national governments have aggressively encouraged wage / labour arbitrage. Massive profits have become typical of this new context, while government oversight has been minimal.

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Juries and Social Media – Report Out Now!

April 17, 2013

The Institute’s team members were recently engaged by the Victorian Department of Justice on behalf of the Standing Council on Law and Justice to:

1. Conduct a literature review of existing research and studies that discuss the use of social media by empanelled jurors and in particular the purpose and effect of such use and describe this research and these studies.

2. Review any policy implemented in interstate or overseas (Commonwealth) jurisdictions that aims to address potential prejudice caused by a juror’s access to and use of social media, and provide details regarding whether any policy has been successful.

The report is out now and has already received attention in the Sydney Morning Herald today: Trial via social media a problem for courts

To view the report, click here:

Juries and Social Media Report


The Law, Ethics And Morality Of Prank Calls: Wrong, Wrong and Wrong

January 8, 2013

By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Social Media and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

The royal prank call saga has been so disturbing an episode that a worthwhile policy outcome should result from this regrettable human tragedy: the total demise of the prank call.

This blog is not aimed at the 2Day FM disc jockeys who are attempting to deal with the emotional fallout from the prank call that preceded the suicide of a nurse at a London hospital.

They were indeed ‘just doing their job’. We now need to dispense with that job – the practice of making prank calls.

The law and ethics of the matter are quite clear.

The NSW Surveillance Devices Act prohibits the broadcast of recorded private conversations without the permission of the participants.

The Commercial Radio Code of Practice does likewise at section 6.

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Privacy Then And Now – A French Connection To Supplement #Leveson’s History Lesson

January 3, 2013

By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Social Media and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

Lord Justice Brian Leveson – who delivered his 2,000 page report on the British press on November 29 – addressed us in Sydney recently on ‘Privacy and the Internet’.

He steered well clear of commentary about his landmark report and its recommendations.

Instead, he drew upon some of the historical foundations of privacy law as a platform for an exploration of the issues surrounding privacy regulation in the Internet era.

His concluding comments demonstrated that link:

“(W)hile established legal norms are in many respects capable of application to the internet, it is likely that new ones and new laws will need to be developed.

“The rise of the media produced Warren and Brandeis’s famous dissertation on privacy law.

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