Author(s): Donald Rothwell
The Antarctic Treaty, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019, remains as a unique example of an international law instrument that seeks to provide a governance mechanism for a single continent. Both Japan and Australia were original parties to the Antarctic Treaty and have been strong supporters of the Treaty throughout its lifetime. However, in 2019 questions are starting to be raised as to whether a treaty negotiated in 1959 is capable of continuing to provide an appropriate governance framework for Antarctica. These questions relate to the role of the seven Antarctic claimant States, the role of historically prominent non-claimant States such as the United States and the Russian Federation, and the interests of powerful ‘new’ States that are beginning to express a strong interest in polar affairs such as China. This paper assesses whether the Antarctic Treaty is sufficiently robust to address the challenges that confront Antarctic governance in 2019 and into the future. Particular attention will be given to whether it remains possible for Treaty parties to request an Article XII ‘Review Conference’, and also the 1991 Madrid Protocol Article 25 review mechanisms.
Author(s): Kate Ogg
Australia sends many of those who come in search of refuge to regional processing centers in Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Most of these asylum seekers and refugees want to continue their journey to Australia but the Australian Government has vowed that none will be given protection in Australian territory. However, there have been recent developments in the Federal Parliament and Federal Court that have paved the way for certain asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru and Manus Island to come to Australia. In this chapter, I investigate these legislative and judicial developments and argue that they indicate that the place of human rights and international law is becoming increasingly peripheral in Australia’s refugee law and policy and instead transfers to Australia have become medicalized. Australia’s parliamentarians and courts have moved to protect asylum seekers’ physical and mental health but not the rights flowing to them as people, children, and refugees. Asylum seekers and refugees must be moribund before they can use legal processes to transfer to Australia and they come as sick people in need of medical care—not as bearers of legal rights. These developments hamper larger efforts to end or fundamentally reform Australia’s offshore processing regime.
New Directions in Article 1D Jurisprudence: Greater Barriers for Palestinian Refugees Seeking the Benefits of the Refugee Convention
Author(s): Kate Ogg
This chapter investigates new issues that have arisen in relation to article 1D of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), resulting from decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal (NZIPT). These judgments break away from earlier article 1D jurisprudence but there has been little analysis of the alternative approaches adopted. In theory, these precedents provide greater opportunities for Palestinian refugees to obtain the benefits of the Refugee Convention but in fact threaten the principle of continuity of international protection for Palestinian refugees. This is because the judgments adopt a skewed and narrow understanding of the meaning of ‘protection or assistance’ in article 1D and impose an evidentiary paradox by necessitating that Palestinian refugees prove that their decision to flee was involuntary. Further, the CJEU’s approach favours those who have heroic or intrepid narratives and this can serve to disadvantage Palestinian women and girls. Consequently, these decisions create additional and often-insurmountable barriers to Palestinian refugees seeking the benefits of the Refugee Convention not supported by article 1D’s ordinary meaning or the Refugee Convention’s object and purpose.
Author(s): Jeremy Farrall
This article reassesses how members of the UN Security Council exercise influence over the Council’s decision-making process, with particular focus on the ten elected members (the ‘E10’). A common understanding of Security Council dynamics accords predominance to the five permanent members (the ‘P5’), suggesting bleak prospects for the Council as a forum that promotes the voices and representation of the 188 non-permanent members. The assumption is that real power rests with the P5, while the E10 are there to make up the numbers. By articulating a richer account of Council dynamics, this article contests the conventional wisdom that P5 centrality crowds out space for the E10 to influence Council decision-making. It also shows that opportunities for influencing Council decision-making go beyond stints of elected membership. It argues that the assumed centrality of the P5 on the Council thus needs to be qualified and re-evaluated.
Research theme: International Law
Author(s): Will Bateman
Automating the exercise of statutory powers through algorithmic decision-making carries high levels of legal risk. Fundamental public law doctrines assume that legal powers will be exercised by a particular kind of decision-making agent: one with sufficient cognitive capacities to understand the interpretative complexity of legal instruments and respond to highly dynamic environments. Public law doctrines also assume that clear reasons can be given for the exercise of public power and, by default, attribute legal responsibility for the exercise of statutory powers to a human being bearing political and social responsibility. Those doctrines provide the standards against which the legality of algorithmic decision-making in the public sector must be tested and, until they are met, lawyers should be sceptical of suggestions that statutory powers can be automated.
Author(s): Greg Weeks, Dr Janina Boughey, Dr Ellen Rock
Given the degree of power wielded by Australian government officials and entities, it is unsurprising that government decisions and conduct frequently impact on individuals. To find the most appropriate way to resolve a particular case, practitioners must be able to work across the traditional legal ‘silos’, drawing on public and private law principles as well as the important, and often under-valued, roles of non-legal accountability mechanisms. This book familiarises readers with some of the complexities underpinning this area and covers public law remedies, private law remedies, and statutory remedies.
Research theme: Administrative Law
Author(s): Desmond Manderson
The visual arts offer refreshing and novel resources through which to understand the representation, power, ideology and critique of law. This vibrantly interdisciplinary book brings the burgeoning field to a new maturity through extended close readings of major works by artists from Pieter Bruegel and Gustav Klimt to Gordon Bennett and Rafael Cauduro. At each point, the author puts these works of art into a complex dance with legal and social history, and with recent developments in legal and art theory. Manderson uses the idea of time and temporality as a focal point through which to explore how the work of art engages with and constitutes law and human lives. In the symmetries and asymmetries caused by the vibrating harmonic resonances of these triple forces - time, law, art - lies a way of not only understanding the world, but also transforming it.
Research theme: Legal Theory
Author(s): Tim Bonyhady
The fascinating story of a much-maligned and little-understood native Australian rodent.
The long-haired rat breeds and spreads prodigiously after big rains. Its irruptions were plagues to European colonists, whofeared and loathed all rats, but times of feasting for Aboriginal people.
Tim Bonyhady explores the place of the long-haired rat in Aboriginal culture. He recounts how settler Australians responded to it, learned about it and, occasionally, came to recognise the wonder of it. And he reconstructs its changing,shrinking landscape—once filled with bilbies, letter-winged kites and inland taipans, but now increasingly the domain of feral cats.
An astonishing history, The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat illuminates a species, a continent, its climate and its people like never before.
Research theme: Indigenous Peoples and the Law
Author(s): Joshua Neoh
How does one lead a life of law, love, and freedom? This inquiry has very deep roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Indeed, the divergent answers to this inquiry mark the transition from Judeo to Christian. This book returns to those roots to trace the twists and turns that these ideas have taken as they move from the sacred to the secular. It relates our most important mode of social organization, law, to two of our most cherished values, love and freedom. In this book, Joshua Neoh sketches the moral vision that underlies our modern legal order and traces our secular legal ideas (constitutionalism versus anarchism) to their theological origins (monasticism versus antinomianism). Law, Love, and Freedom brings together a diverse cast of characters, including Paul and Luther, Augustine and Aquinas, monks and Gnostics, and constitutionalists and anarchists. This book is valuable to any lawyers, philosophers, theologians and historians, who are interested in law as a humanistic discipline.
Martyrdom, Antinomianism, and the Prioritising of Christians - Towards a Political Theology of Refugee Resettlement
Author(s): Matthew Zagor
This article considers the approaches taken in the United States (US) and Australia to prioritising the resettlement of Christians from Syria and Iraq. Focusing ﬁrst upon respective models and the immediate political factors that lead to their adoption, it analyses in depth the speciﬁc role played by the evangelical constituency in the US, and their theologically-infused concern for the “persecuted church” in “enslaved” lands. Recognising this movement enjoys less inﬂuence in Australia, the article considers the ways in which Australia’s resettlement policies and political narratives have nonetheless increasingly participated in tropes familiar to classical antinomian political theology, not least that resettlement is tied to a redemptive generosity of the State that works to denigrate and undermine the legal obligations demanded by those who arrive irregularly by boat. The article also critiques the use of “vulnerability” as a touchstone principle for the fair allocation of scarce resettlement places, and its propensity to be used for cherry-picking purposes. Finally, as part of the argument that resettlement is susceptible to being used as a vehicle for those motivated by more explicit theological concerns, the article explores the leveraging for political, redemptive, and eschatological purposes of images and narratives of the “martyred” middle-eastern Christian.
Author(s): James Prest
This article presents a critical analysis of Australia's federal renewable energy law. Its operation as a system of tradeable renewable energy certificates is briefly explained, before an analysis of the future of the Renewable Energy Target beyond 2020 is undertaken. The implications of the Federal Government's recently abandoned National Energy Guarantee and the subsequent decision no to expand or extend the Renewable Energy Target are discussed. The article presents an international comparison which demonstrates that Australia's national support for renewable energy is unambitious in relative terms. It argues that in several respects, Australian federal renewable energy is unambitious in relative terms. It argues that in several respects, Australian federal renewable energy law must be extended to address important issues that are presently receiving little legislative or political attention.
Corporatisation of Community Pharmacy and the Constitutional Prohibition of Civil Conscription for Medical Service Providers
This article examines recommendations from the Harper Competition Review recommending the opening up to corporate ownership of the community pharmacy sector in Australia. After studying the outcomes of similar proposals in other nations it examines whether s51 xxiiiA of the Australian Constitution provides a prohibition against such a reduction of the small business option for those pharmacists wishing to develop a pharmacy business in Australia. An analysis of the services provided by community pharmacists finds that services such as the provision of advice on the safe and efficacious use of medicine, the prescribing and administering of vaccinations, the treatment of minor wounds and ailments, the provision of pharmacist-only medicines, diabetes education form part of the core function of community pharmacists. Given that these services are fundamentally medical in nature, in their current role, community pharmacists as Commonwealth-regulated medical service providers for the purposes of s 51xxiiiA are thereby protected against Commonwealth policy or legislation facilitating civil conscription.
Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics
On 16 June 2016 the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth) came into force. This legislation replaced the Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth) which had regulated biosecurity in Australia for over a century. Impetus for the change arose from a number of reviews (the Nairn Report and later Beale Review) into Australia’s biosecurity system. These identified systemic flaws that were causing the country to be vulnerable to incursions of foreign pests and diseases through the administration of an archaic regulatory regime. The Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth) includes new terminology, increased powers for the regulator and additional requirements for industry. The responsible agency, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), has stated that the new biosecurity laws are designed to be user-friendly, to be flexible and responsive to changes in technology and future challenges, to remove cluttered and confusing sections of the Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth) and to achieve the difficult balance of making biosecurity regulation risk-based and equipping the regulator with strong enforcement powers whilst while also being economically prudent and supportive of increasing Australian trade and market access. This article column analyses such claims, including the short, and long term implications of providing biosecurity officers with two sets of authorising legislative powers and sharing the responsibility of biosecurity emergencies with the Department of Health.
Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics
On 28 March 2018 the Australian Senate Community Affairs References Committee issued its final report on transvaginal mesh devices. It found these devices have caused unnecessary physical and emotional pain and suffering to thousands of women who were not told by their doctors of the objective material risks associated with their use. The Senate Committee concurred with the Public Health Association of Australia's (PHAA) description of the complications resulting from transvaginal mesh implants as constituting a serious public health issue requiring a response at both an individual and at a population level, including counselling, public education, clinical interventions and long-lasting protective mechanisms. The committee’s inquiry highlighted significant shortcomings in Australia's reporting systems for medical devices, with flow-on consequences for the health system's ability to respond to in a timely and effective way to related concerns. Amongst other recommendations, the Senate Committee backed the establishment on a cost recovery basis of a national registry of high risk implantable devices linked to a system of mandatory reporting of adverse events.
Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics
A recent Senate Inquiry investigated the Prostheses List (PL) which has been an integral part of the private health care system since its introduction in 1985. The PL sets the price of various prostheses products available for private health insurance patients. In recent years, however, the PL has come under scrutiny due to the inflated prices of prostheses, lack of transparency from the list's creators and regulators, and increased premiums. This column critically analyses the recent Senate report, particularly as to whether it appropriately addressed the various concerns and issues raised in submissions and terms of reference of the inquiry and what ongoing role the PL should have in the Australian Healthcare System.
Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics
Author(s): Sally Wheeler
his article examines contract as a focal point of modern society both in terms of the way that it is used to classify relationships and the way in which it is used to order relationships. I look at how contractual structures and relationships across a variety of speciman scenarios (private sector supply contracts and public service delivery contracts) can be explained using the work of Ian Macneil. He gives us an account of how the socialising contexts of contract relationships evolve and change. Smart contracts offer a new way of constructing relationships. Their advocates suggest that they have the potential to revolutionise the practice of exchange. I consider smart contracts from Macneil’s perspective and work through whether his account of relationality will be able to encompass this new practise.
Research theme: Law and Technology
Australian Renewable Energy Law: Carbon Lock-In or Clean Energy Transition? The Pursuit of Policy Stability and Energy Security at Higher Levels of Renewable Generation
Author(s): James Prest
This article critically analyses recent developments in Australia’s renewable energy law and policy. It identifies seven retrograde steps taken in energy and climate law in Australia in the last five years. Barriers to clean energy law - in the form of recurring narratives employed against the rise of renewable energy across Australia - are examined. Increased levels of renewable energy are portrayed by opponents as a threat to the security and reliability of electricity supply. Yet, the nation is currently experiencing a major renewable energy investment boom, supported by regional policy initiatives that are driving innovation, most recently in energy storage.
Overcoming the Invisible Hurdles to Justice for Young People the Final Research and Evaluation Report of the Invisible Hurdles Project: Integrated Justice Practice - Towards Better Outcomes for Young People Experiencing Family Violence in North East Victo
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
The three-year “Invisible Hurdles Project” was trialled in southern NSW and northern Victoria and successfully broke down intractable mistrust of lawyers and provided legal help to people who usually can’t be reached.
The pilot saw lawyers embed themselves into youth, health and other services reaching 101 people with 198 legal matters which may not have come to light otherwise.
Associate Professor Liz Curran, led the research and evaluation of the project with Pamela Taylor-Barnett assisting - both of ANU School of Legal Practice.
The pilot saw the Hume Riverina Community Legal Service (HRCLS) provided lawyers free of charge who embedded themselves into three partner organisations: The Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS), a school for vulnerable young people, Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre and North East Support and Action for Youth (NESAY).
The report makes many findings and recommendations including The data revealed that non-legal staff responding to clients were also initially distrustful of the lawyers, but now find them a responsive ally which has boosted their capacity to respond effectively. It’s had the knock-on effect of reducing stress and anxiety in themselves and their clients. It can inform other models, policy and funding frameworks as well as future service delivery in multi-disciplinary practices including, health justice partnerships.
This work in progress paper discusses problems encountered with social security data-matching in relation to employment history and the use of "robodebts" in relation to recovery of social security overpayments in Australia.
Research theme: International Law
Author(s): Colin James
Since the Family Law Act was introduced in Australia in 1976, it has endured many amendments with legislators trying to keep the law aligned with their perception of community values. In 2006 the Australian government introduced two ‘objects and principles’ (then s.60B), which seemed innocuous by responding to community concerns, although from opposing sources. The ‘men’s movement’ had complained for years that the Family Court was biased because in parenting disputes it awarded child custody more often to mothers than to fathers. On the other hand, many lawyers and researchers argued that children would be at risk if the Family Court increased the involvement of fathers in contested disputes because of the high incidence of domestic violence and child abuse at the hands of men. The legislators attempted a compromise, a marriage-of-opposites that was doomed to fail and fail it did. In attempting to shift the focus in disputes about children from ‘legal custody’ to ‘shared parenting’, and to satisfy a narrow-interest lobby group, legislators in Australia failed to reflect contemporary community attitudes or to accept research-based, best practice in resolving parenting disputes.
Research theme: Regulatory Law and Policy