Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books, book chapters, journal articles and working papers. The ANU College of Law also publishes a Research Paper Series on SSRN.

Legislation to Encourage Renewable Energy Deployment: A Comparative Review

Author(s): James Prest

Increased pressure to implement timely and effective responses to mitigate global warming - arising from the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC - has underlined the importance of reviewing laws for the deployment of renewable energy (RE). Although debate in Australia has recently advanced towards adoption of more ambitious targets for RE generation, it has focussed largely on laws that create a market in renewable energy certificates (RECS). The Commonwealth mandatory renewable energy target legislation is discussed in light of commitments to expand it to reach a target of 20% of Australia's electricity by 2020. Recent European experience suggests that a commitment to this single strategy could limit the development of the RE industry.

This paper reviews the alternative of Feed-in Tariff (FIT) laws, which require utilities to purchase at a set price the electricity generated by RE generators. In Australia the option of FIT laws has been largely overlooked, with the exception of SA, and with some steps also taken in the ACT, Victoria and Queensland. Yet FIT laws have been adopted by preference in more than 41 jurisdictions overseas. The SA law and the ACT Bill are at threat from promises to "cut red tape" and bring State based targets within a single national scheme.

Review of the European experience suggests that FIT laws have been more effective than RECs laws in three respects: capacity deployment, industry development, and in some cases, price reductions. This suggests that FIT laws should be considered as potentially a more effective means to expand RE generation capacity in Australia.

Given present Federal proposals for the national harmonisation of renewable energy laws, review of the international literature about the comparative effectiveness of various legislative models is vital. State targets are likely to be replaced with a single Commonwealth renewable energy target.

Arguments concerning the compatibility of renewable energy laws with the operation of a national emissions trading system effective from 2010 are considered. It is concluded that RE legislation will be necessary until 2025, contingent on the effectiveness of the carbon trading legislation. Arguments running counter to the proposal by the PM's Task Group on Emissions Trading (2007), that all RE legislation be repealed at Commonwealth and State level are also examined.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme: Environmental Law, Law, Governance and Development, Regulatory Law and Policy

Toxicological and Public Good Considerations for the Regulation of Nanomaterial-Containing Medical Products

Author(s):

Increasing research interest in the new and unusual properties of nanotechnology-related pharmaceuticals and medical devices has led to international and national reviews of safety regulation. Significant considerations emerging here are the relative paucity of metrological and toxicological data, as well as the absence of adequate funding and standardized approaches for its acquisition. Some areas are better researched, such as the toxicity of carbon nanotubes and use of engineered nanoparicle titanium and zinc oxides as broad-spectrum ultraviolet-blocking agents. Such in vitro studies do reveal concerns – for example, related to oxidative stress and granuloma formation – but their uncertain clinical ramifications may require more integration in preclinical drug discovery of research characterizing structure–toxicity relationships and limiting safety liabilities. Regulatory considerations for medically related nanoproducts should also involve improving cost-effectiveness systems and ensuring that industry involvement in standard-setting does not become a means of reducing competition. It is also important that nanotechnology policy and regulation encourages new models of safe drug discovery and development that are more systematically targeted at the global burden of disease.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme:

'Otherness' on the Bench: How Merit is Gendered

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper focuses on the construction of merit as the key selection criterion for judging. It will show how merit has been masculinised within the social script so as to militate against the acceptance of women as judges. The social construction of the feminine in terms of disorder in the public sphere fans doubts that women are appointable - certainly not in significant numbers to the most senior levels of the bench. It is argued that merit, far from being an objective criterion, operates as a rhetorical device shaped by power. The paper will draw on media representations of women judges in three recent Australian scenarios: an appointment to the High Court; the appointment of almost 50 percent women to Victorian benches; and the scapegoating of a female chief magistrate (resulting in imprisonment) in Queensland.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

The Gender Trap: Flexible Work in Corporate Legal Practice

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

Despite the fact that women comprise well over 50 per cent of law graduates in many parts of the world, women lawyers continue to be clustered disproportionately in the lower echelons of the profession. This paper considers the role of flexible work as a gender equity strategy and is illuminated by interviews with lawyers in élite corporate firms in Australia. It is argued that far from being a panacea, flexible work is being invoked to confine women to subordinate roles and to restrict access to partnerships. Not only is there a residual suspicion of the feminine in positions of authority and resistance to the idea of bodily absence from the workplace, the contemporary market discourse has erased a commitment to social justice and equality.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

Digital Copyright and Disability Discrimination: From Braille Books to Bookshare

Author(s):

In Australia, blind people are able to access texts in braille and books on tape, but the demand for these media is decreasing. Blind people today are increasingly reliant on texts in electronic form, and these are much less readily available in Australia. Electronic texts are more portable and less cumbersome than large braille volumes, and are much faster to navigate than audio recordings. However, in Australia it is difficult for blind people to get access to a wide range of electronic texts and there exists no scheme enabling such access. At the same time sighted people are using electronic text and other digital media at an ever-increasing rate. In order to approximate the same level of access as sighted people, blind people require access to accessible electronic versions of all published material.

The authors suggest that given the legal imperatives of Australia's domestic legislation, treaty obligations and social values, that there exists a moral imperative to create a scheme providing blind people with access to digital print media.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: International Law, Law and Technology, Private Law

The Demise of Diversity in Legal Education

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper explores the contradictions arising from the simultaneous commitment to globalisation and diversity. The backdrop to the study is the marked shift to the right that has occurred in State and federal politics, emulating the global trend that has resulted in neo-liberalism supplanting social liberalism as the dominant ideology.

Neo-liberalism, or market liberalism, necessarily locates its subjects within the market where they are expected to vie with one another for survival and success.

Globalisation is one manifestation of neo-liberal competition policy which, along with corporatisation and privatisation, displays little interest in diversity politices, other than as a means of enhancing market image. Indeed, the feminine is constructed as incompatible with corporatisation and competition. Just as the political shift to the right has witnessed a dilution, if not a complete disbandonment, of formal social justice measures. there has been a tendency to dismantle feminist legal studies subjects, as well as to contract critical and theoretical content of all kinds. The paper considesr how neo-liberal and globalising imperatives are impacting on legal education in (1) the appointment of academic staff; (2) the shaping of the curriculum; (3) the profile of the 'consumers' of legal education; (4) the cartography of legal knowledge.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

Feminism and the Changing State: The Case of Sex Discrimination

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper examines the ambiguous relationship between feminism and the state through the lens of sex discrimination legislation. Particular attention will be paid to the changing nature of the state as manifested by its political trajectory from social liberalism to neoliberalism over the last few decades. As a creature of social liberalism, the passage of sex discrimination legislation was animated by notions of collective good and redistributive justice, but now that neoliberalism is in the ascendancy, we see a resiling from these values in favour of private good and promotion of the self through the market. This cluster of values associated with neoliberalism not only serves to reify the socially dominant strands of masculinity, it also goes hand-in-glove with neoconservatism, which is intent on restricting the inchoate freedoms of women. The erosion of social liberal measures has caused many feminists to feel more kindly disposed towards the liberal state. Some attempt to unravel the contradictions relating to feminism and the state with particular regard to the key discourses of equality of opportunity.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

Australia

Author(s): Donald Rothwell

This is a chapter on Australia for a forthcoming book that will provide a comparative perspective on the role of domestic courts in enforcing treaties. The book will be published by Cambridge University Press.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CMSL

Research theme: International Law

Regulating Impartiality: Electoral Boundary Politics in the Administrative Arena

Author(s): Ron Levy

The author examines impartiality in cases of politically contentious decision making. Many jurisdictions delegate decisions over matters such as the establishment of fair election ground rules to independent bodies. Some of these bodies, including Canada's Federal Electoral Boundaries Commissions (FEBCs), attract widespread trust and are by most accounts substantially impartial. In contrast, commissions empanelled to draw electoral boundaries in the United States, and to a lesser extent in certain Canadian provinces, are often plagued by partisanship.

The author canvasses approaches to controlling partisanship, relying on a series of interviews conducted with boundaries commissioners and on interdisciplinary literature on trust and trustworthiness in governance. Commentators often favour bolstering formal constraints on FEBC discretion. However, the author concludes that traditional administrative law models favouring such constraints are often inadequate. In politically sensitive cases these methods frequently catalyze partisanship. Proposals for more nuanced design - design sensitive to the complex interactions between law and administrative culture in cases where the potential for partisanship is high - are better but rarer. The author focuses in particular on the use of ambiguity in legal and institutional design. Although this approach is counterintuitive in light of rule-of-law assumptions favouring clarity, it has nevertheless gained traction in commentary and has long been at work in practice. The author argues that extensively ambiguous design, as displayed by the complex federal readjustment processes in Canada, has helped to develop the widely admired impartial decision-making cultures of the FEBCs.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law, Governance and Development

State/Territory Human Rights Legislation in a Federal Judicial System

Author(s): James Stellios

The Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have enacted human rights legislation. These legislative schemes empower the respective Supreme Courts to make declarations of inconsistency where legislation cannot be interpreted consistently with legislatively declared human rights. The declarations have no impact on the validity of legislation or on anyone's rights. State and Territory Supreme Courts, however, operate within a federal judicial system, and various constitutional difficulties deriving from Ch III of the Constitution present significant obstacles to the effective operation of these schemes. This article considers these constitutional difficulties and suggests that future State and Territory human rights legislation will have to be designed with these constitutional constraints in mind.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, International Law

Loyalty and Membership: Globalization and its Impact on Citizenship, Multiculturalism, and the Australian Community

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This chapter argues that differing views underpinning the debate about dual citizenship are mirrored in policy discourse about the place of multiculturalism in Australia. Globalization has and continues to have a substantial impact upon legal status and membership and identity in both the nation-state and in the international legal system. These legal changes reflect the shifting notions of membership both in the Australian domestic framework and in the international framework. Moreover, these changes must be taken into account in balancing rights and responsibilities in a diverse society, so that multiculturalism and cultural diversity continue to be affirmed within the legal framework and public policy in the same way dual citizenship has been accepted.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Looking for the 'Heart' of the National Political Community: Regulating Membership in Australia

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

When a community determines who can come into its territory, and who can later become full members, it reflects upon and reaches, in the words of United States academic Linda Bosniak, 'deep into the heart of the national political community, and profoundly affects the nature of relations among those residing within.' Given Australia is fundamentally a nation of people who have at some point relatively recently been outsiders, let in by those who have arrived ahead of them, there is a lot unresolved within the 'heart' of Australia.

In this article, I draw from my work on Australian citizenship to argue that the phenomenon of offshore processing is part of an overall policy that forces outside of the community, and further from citizenship and membership, the 'alien'. It is a product of the Australian constitution which defines who its members are, by who they are not. This is a consequence of a constitution that gives the Commonwealth immense power over 'aliens' - a power that reflects back upon those who are not aliens, and impacts upon the identity of all Australian citizens. Finally, it is a result of a belief by those in power that the state has an absolute right to determine who comes into its borders.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Migration and Movement of Peoples

The (Limited) Significance of the Individual in Section 117 State Residence Discrimination

Author(s): Amelia Simpson

The High Court has yet to resolve a clash of paradigms pervading the reasoning in Street v Queensland Bar Association, the leading case on the Constitution's s 117 prohibition of interstate residence discrimination. Some among the seven separate judgments in that case view s 117 as a non-discrimination rule grounded in intrinsic concern for the individual. Others understand the provision in instrumental terms, viewing its protection of individuals as nothing more than a vehicle for securing federal-structural goals. Neither view clearly prevailed in Street or in subsequent cases. This article explains why a federal-structural understanding of s 117 should be favoured, for reasons of constitutional principle and of consistency with other areas of constitutional law. It also considers what that means for s 117's application in the future, as to the kinds of evidence, reasoning, and comparative guidance that will be most pertinent.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory

From the Hudood Ordinances to the Protection of Women Act: Islamic Critiques of the Hudood Laws of Pakistan

Author(s): Moeen Cheema

This paper is an attempt to present an impartial review of the Islamized laws pertaining to sexual offences in Pakistan and to highlight the major structural and theoretical problems therein, paying particular attention to the perspectives of the modernist Islamists, human rights lawyers as well as traditionalist Islamic scholars. We hope to demonstrate that there is a set of fundamental theoretical disagreements between the modernist and traditional Islamic accounts which preclude the possibility of full agreement on the scope, remit and applicability of these laws. Over the last two decades the Shariat (Islamic) courts, although appearing to be responsive to some of the human rights criticisms and political opposition, have been unable to define the underlying philosophical premises on the basis of which they interpret and apply these laws. The legislature too has failed to resolve the fundamental tensions and recent legislative interventions represent a compromise between the two perspectives, while also accommodating the human rights critique through a number of procedural safeguards. This is typical of recent efforts at law reform in the context of 'de-Islamization' and means that in reality the real debate concerning the nature and scope of Islamic laws regulating sexual conduct is only being deferred.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law, Governance and Development, Legal Theory

Using Assessment Practice to Evaluate the Legal Skills Curriculum

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien

A comprehensive audit of the skills curriculum offered to students in a Bachelor of Laws program yielded important insights about the collective impact of assessment tasks on the hidden and operational skills curriculum. This qualitative case study supports the views (1) that assessment tasks provide significant skills practice and performance opportunities for students; (2) that assessment provides students with important cues about what type of learning is valued; and (3) that review of assessment practices across the curriculum can provide important information for curricular reform.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education

Exploring the Group-Identity Function of Criminal Law

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien

In every country where the question has been studied, incarceration rates for members of some minority groups greatly exceed those for the majority population. The problem of disproportionate incarceration is not therefore a problem of one ethnic group or one set of historical circumstances. It is a human problem that is fundamentally connected to social group identity. This essay conducts a preliminary exploration of the role that criminal law serves in group-identity formation. It suggests that building a common or super-group identity may be necessary to achieve greater justice in increasingly multi-ethnic and mobile societies.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education

Regulating Impartiality: Electoral Boundary Politics in the Administrative Arena

Author(s): Ron Levy

The author examines impartiality in cases of politically contentious decision making. Many jurisdictions delegate decisions over matters such as the establishment of fair election ground rules to independent bodies. Some of these bodies, including Canada's Federal Electoral Boundaries Commissions (FEBCs), attract widespread trust and are by most accounts substantially impartial. In contrast, commissions empanelled to draw electoral boundaries in the United States, and to a lesser extent in certain Canadian provinces, are often plagued by partisanship.

The author canvasses approaches to controlling partisanship, relying on a series of interviews conducted with boundaries commissioners and on interdisciplinary literature on trust and trustworthiness in governance. Commentators often favour bolstering formal constraints on FEBC discretion. However, the author concludes that traditional administrative law models favouring such constraints are often inadequate. In politically sensitive cases these methods frequently catalyze partisanship. Proposals for more nuanced design - design sensitive to the complex interactions between law and administrative culture in cases where the potential for partisanship is high - are better but rarer. The author focuses in particular on the use of ambiguity in legal and institutional design. Although this approach is counterintuitive in light of rule-of-law assumptions favouring clarity, it has nevertheless gained traction in commentary and has long been at work in practice. The author argues that extensively ambiguous design, as displayed by the complex federal readjustment processes in Canada, has helped to develop the widely admired impartial decision-making cultures of the FEBCs.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law, Governance and Development

Corrosive Leadership (or Bullying by Another Name): A Corollary of the Corporatised Academy?

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

The literature reveals that the incidence of bullying is increasing in corporate workplaces everywhere. While the data is scant, it suggests that bullying in universities is also on the increase. Interviews with Australian academics support this finding. It is argued that the trend has to be understood in light of the pathology of corporatisation, which is designed to make academics do more with less. The focus on productivity parallels the harassment to which workers in the private sector may be subjected in the hope that they will work harder and maximise profits. Avenues of redress are considered which show that dignitary harms remain inchoate as legal harms. While common law and anti-discrimination legislation regimes may occasionally offer a remedy to targeted individuals, it is averred that these avenues are incapable of addressing the causative political factors that induce corrosive leadership.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

The Arctic in International Law: Time for a New Regime?

Author(s): Donald Rothwell

Long neglected in terms of international governance and management, the Arctic is slowly attracting greater attention as a region in need of an effective regime. Whilst the Arctic is not plagued by unresolved territorial disputes, there is the spectre of rising tension over yet to be asserted maritime claims over the vast Arctic Ocean. When this issue is added to the growing alarm over the impact of climate change upon the Arctic, which brings with it not only associated significant environmental change but also increased access within the region, it becomes clear that a region which for all of the Twentieth Century was pushed to the side when it came to the regulation of international affairs has the potential to take centre stage as state interests are awoken and global concerns advance. This paper reviews some of these recent developments with a particular focus upon outer continental shelf claims to the Arctic Ocean, navigational rights and freedoms within the Northeast and Northwest Passage, and the development of the Arctic Council. It argues that the circumstances are ripe for the development of an Arctic Treaty, borrowing from some of the concepts and principles which have been adopted in Antarctica.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CMSL

Research theme: International Law

The Retreat from the Critical: Social Science Research in the Corporatised University

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper considers how the contemporary environment is inducing a less critical approach towards research and impacting on academic freedom. It argues that it is not only the interventionist acts of Ministers and terror censorship that academics need to worry about, for the need to satisfy funding bodies is more insidiously exercising a depoliticising effect on research.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

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