Australia: Victorian Government Bulletin: In the media, in practice and courts, cases and legislation

Last Updated: 1 September 2019
Most Read Contributor in Australia, October 2019

In the media

New credit reporting arrangements to facilitate better lending deals for consumers and protect vulnerable consumers
New credit reporting arrangements will improve transparency for credit providers of customers who have entered into financial hardship arrangements and enable people experiencing financial difficulty. Changes to the Privacy Act will support the Government's mandatory comprehensive credit reporting regime, which will increase lending competition and deliver better deals for Australian consumers (02 August 2019). More...

LCA: Citizenship stripping should rely on conviction by court, may be unconstitutional
The Law Council of Australia has expressed serious concerns regarding current laws that allow terror suspects to be stripped of Australian citizenship ahead of the PJCIS hearing. The government should not pursue a policy of exclusion that could see potential terrorists shipped to another jurisdiction, which may not have adequate security infrastructure and respect for the rule of law (02 August 2019). More...

Commission plans to reform discrimination law
An 11 point plan for reforming federal discrimination law was released by Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher. The discussion paper identifies the problematic operation of permanent exemptions in the SDA, DDA and ADA (01 August 2019). More...

Strengthening Australia's counter-terrorism laws
The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Bill 2019, will make it harder for high risk terrorist offenders to get out of jail – even when they have served their full sentence – by closing a loophole which prevented some from being served with continuing detention orders (01 August 2019). More...

Australia appoints first-ever independent examiner to investigate corporate human rights abuses overseas
The Human Rights Law Centre welcomes the Federal Government's appointment of Mr John Southalan as the first-ever Australian independent examiner charged with investigating reported instances of corporate misconduct by Australian multinationals (31 July 2019). More...

Respected judge to lead Victorian Law Reform Commission
The Andrews Labor Government has announced the appointment of former Justice the Hon. Anthony North as the Chairperson of the Victorian Law Reform Commission (30 July 2019). More...

ACCC points finger at digital giants
The ACCC has published a report of its inquiry into the impact of digital platforms on competition in Australia's media and advertising markets. The ACCC report contains 23 recommendations spanning competition law, consumer protection, media regulation and privacy law (29 July 2019). More...

Consumer watchdog calls for new measures to combat Facebook and Google's digital dominance
The ACCC recommends substantial changes to Australian Consumer Law, to address the huge inequalities in bargaining power between digital platforms and consumers when it comes to terms of use, and particularly privacy (29 July 2019). More...

New security guide for MoG changes
The Australian Cyber Security Centre has developed a new publication to assist Agencies and businesses going through Machinery of Government or other changes to manage the increased cyber security risks the changes bring (29 July 2019). More...

OAIC welcomes privacy law update to protect Australians' personal information
The national privacy regulator welcomed the Australian Government's recognition that privacy laws must be strengthened to ensure they are fit for purpose in the digital age (26 July 2019). More...

Protocol to provide balanced framework for Legal Professional Privilege claims
A new protocol dealing with legal professional privilege (LPP) being developed by the Law Council of Australia and the Australian Tax Office will help avoid unnecessary and protracted disputes over claims of LLP (26 July 2019). More...

Passing of TEO Bill sets dangerous precedent, undermines PJCIS
The Law Council of Australia is disappointed the Federal Government's Temporary Exclusion Orders (TEO) Bill has passed the Senate, reiterating concerns about its constitutional validity. Providing ASIO with the power to secretly and immediately detain persons whether or not they are suspected of terrorism-related activities is a clear overreach (25 July 2019). More...

VLRC calls for submissions for review of committals
The Commission has been asked by the state government to determine whether the process can be made more efficient while reducing the trauma to victims of crime and ensuring fair trial rights. Options under consideration include reforming the process or abolishing committals completely (24 July 2019). More...

New CTH Bill to create offences for activists who incite trespass, damage, or theft against farmers
The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019 (CTH) was introduced to the House of Representatives by Attorney-General, Christian Porter. The Bill aims to deter individuals from sharing personal information of farmers to incite offences against them. Under the Bill, it would be illegal for groups and individuals to promote such events online on any carriage service (23 July 2019). More...

Statutory review of the amalgamated AAT
The Government has tabled the Statutory Review of the amalgamated Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal was amalgamated with the former Social Security Appeals Tribunal, the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal, following the commencement of the Tribunals Amalgamation Act 2015 on 1 July 2015 (23 July 2019). More...

Whole-of-Government Legal Services Panel commences
The Morrison Government has launched a new era in the provision of legal services to the Commonwealth, with the commencement of the first Whole of Government Legal Services Panel. The Panel, comprising more than 60 specialist legal providers from across Australia and across a wide range of service expertise, will provide the bulk of the Commonwealth's external legal services until 2024 (16 August 2019). More...

'Creeping crisis' of legitimacy for Australian public service
Australia's public sector faces a "creeping crisis" of effectiveness and legitimacy caused by blunt management tools and cultural inertia, according to a wide-ranging survey of public servants (15 August 2019). More...

Lawyers fear Australia more open to hacks, leaks after High Court ruling on Glencore
Could Australia become a more desirable place for hackers to leak stolen and legally privileged documents (15 August 2019). More...

Family violence reporting tool goes live across Victoria
Frontline police officers across Victoria now have access to a new family violence reporting tool to ensure timely and more accurate incident reports can be filed in the field. The new tool allows police to make better decisions based on the information they collect when they respond to a family violence incident, improving accuracy and ensuring prompt referrals (14 August 2019). More...

Why an Australian charter of rights is a matter of national urgency
If anyone doubts the need for a charter of rights in Australia, the Banerji decision of the High Court handed down demonstrates why legislative protection for our common law freedoms has become a matter of national urgency (13 August 2019). More...

Get the balance right on farm trespass laws, says Law Council
Proposed farm incitement of trespass laws would duplicate existing state and territory provisions and could stifle legitimate public debate, says the Law Council of Australia. While the Law Council recognised trespass, property damage and theft was unlawful and could cause harm to farming properties, all jurisdictions already had laws criminalising the incitement of such conduct (12 August 2019). More...

Online platform probe open for comment
The Treasury has launched a 12-week consultation process to collect stakeholder views on the findings of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's inquiry into online digital platforms and implications for news media businesses, advertisers and consumers (12 August 2019). More...

New whistleblower guide hits high note
The ASIC is calling for public input on proposed guidance for private companies facing legal obligations to implement whistleblower management policies. ASIC has produced a consultation paper and draft regulatory guide to assist in the consultation process (12 August 2019). More...

CCC to conduct public hearing into access and misuse of confidential information
The CCC has launched Operation Impala to examine the misuse of personal and sensitive information by public sector agencies. A public hearing will be held in November 2019 (09 August 2019). More...

"A sorry tale indeed": Ombudsman calls for end to saga affecting owners of Ninety Mile Beach land
Owners of land that cannot be built on along Gippsland's Ninety Mile Beach should be refunded rates and waste charges, Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass has recommended, ending a 65-year-long saga, where a developer lured people, mostly migrants from Europe, to buy land promoted as a 'slice of paradise on Victoria's Gold Coast'. (07 August 2019). More...

ACMA issues $88,200 in infringement notices under NBN rules
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued its first infringement notices under rules designed to ensure telcos provide consumers with adequate information about their National Broadband Network (NBN) services (07 August 2019). More...

In practice and courts

LSC: Public consultation re proposed new rules regarding practice administration
The Legal Services Council has opened the 30-day public consultation period on proposed new rules regarding practice administration (26 July 2019). More...

VICBAR: Subpoenas for production of documents in the My Health record system
The Australian Digital Health Agency has contacted the Bar requesting we draw to our members' attention the provisions of section 69 of the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth) and the limited circumstances in which the Agency can be required to disclose health information included in a healthcare recipient's My Health Record to a court or tribunal or coroner (02 August 2019). More...

OVIC: Agency reporting obligations - August 2019 Reporting
While OVIC analyses these submissions, your agency's protective data security obligations under the Framework remain unchanged. This includes reporting obligations under Standard 12. Agencies must submit their 2019 attestation to OVIC by 30 of August, 2019. For more information about the August 2019 reporting requirements, please see the letter to agencies Option 1 – Single Organisation 2019 Attestation Template and Option 2 – Multiple Organisation 2019 Attestation Template.

VICBAR: Equitable briefing policy reporting 2018-19
The 2018-2019 financial year has recently ended, and annual reports of briefing entities who have adopted the Law Council's Equitable Briefing Policy are due by 30 September 2019. The Equitable Briefing Policy Reporting Template and Guidelines provide information on the reporting requirements and the reporting template.

VLRC Reminder: Reform of committals system: VLRC calls for submissions
The Victorian Law Reform Commission is calling for submissions to a review that could lead to important changes to the state's committals system. Options under consideration include reforming the process or abolishing committals completely. More...

Victoria Parliament Consultations
Inquiry into the Conduct of the 2018 Victorian State Election
The Committee is inviting people to submit their views on how the election was conducted and suggestions on how things could be improved. Issues to be examined include enrolling, being a candidate and voting. Submissions close on 30 August 2019. More...

Attorney General: Purchasing legal services - Whole of Australian Government Legal Services Panel
The Whole of Australian Government Legal Services Panel commenced on 15 August 2019.
The panel consists of five broad Areas of Law, comprising a number of Practice Areas as set out here.

LCA Note: Glencore International Ag and Ors v Commissioner of Taxation of the Commonwealth of Australia and Ors
High Court judgment: The Law Council of Australia has issued a note on the decision of the High Court of Australia in Glencore International Ag and Ors v Commissioner of Taxation of the Commonwealth of Australia and Ors (15 August 2019). More...

Investigation into Wellington Shire Council's handling of Ninety Mile Beach subdivisions
Read our full report on an Investigation into Wellington Shire Council's handling of Ninety Mile Beach subdivisions.

Inquiry into the impact of animal rights activism on Victorian agriculture - public hearings
Industry representatives will present to the Legislative Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee in Bairnsdale and Warragul. Unauthorised activity on farms and other topics will be discussed. More...

OVIC: Myki incident- lessons for organisations
OVIC has published an investigation report about the disclosure of myki travel information by Public Transport Victoria, now part of the Department of Transport. This post summarizes some lessons from this investigation for organisations that hold data about people and their activities – particularly those organisations that want to release or use their data holdings in a de-identified form (15 August 2019). More...

OVIC: Myki incident- FAQs for the public
OVIC has published an investigation report about the release of individuals' public transport data. This post contains some frequently asked questions for members of the community who may be concerned about this incident (15 August 2019). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Digital Platforms Inquiry: Final report
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: 26 July 2019
The dominance of the leading digital platforms and their impact across Australia's economy, media and society must be addressed with significant and holistic reform, according to this final report of the ACCC's Digital Platforms Inquiry. More...

Data is a development issue
Susan Ariel Aaronson; Centre for International Governance Innovation: 24 July 2019
This paper uses a wide range of metrics to show that most developing and middle-income countries are not ready or able to provide an environment where their citizens' personal data is protected and where public data is open and readily accessible. More...

Party leadership changes and challenges: A quick guide
Parliament of Australia: 29 July 2019
This quick guide outlines the current rules relating to the election of leaders for the four largest federal parliamentary parties: The Liberal Party, the Nationals, the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens. Appendices provide prime ministerial changes since 2007 together with a list of the changes and challenges to leaders of the Liberal Party, the Nationals, and the ALP. More...

Disclosure of myki travel information
Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner: 15 August 2019
This report on the investigation into the release of myki data demonstrates that deficiencies in data governance and risk management can undermine the protection of privacy, even where the project is well-intentioned. More...

ANAO Annual Report 2018-19
ANAO: 14 August 2019
This annual report documents the performance of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in the financial year ended on 30 June 2019. The report addresses all applicable obligations under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014; the Auditor-General Act 1997. More...

Implementation of ANAO and parliamentary committee recommendations
Australian National Audit Office: 05 August 2019
The objective of the audit was to examine whether selected entities implemented agreed ANAO performance audit, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, and other parliamentary committee recommendations. More...

Whistleblower policies: Consultation paper
Australian Securities and Investments Commission: 07 August 2019
This consultation paper seeks feedback on our proposed guidance for entities that must have a whistleblower policy – public companies, large proprietary companies and proprietary companies. More...

Cases

'QZ' and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (Freedom of information) [2019] AICmr 57
Freedom of Information – whether reasonable steps taken to locate documents – whether disclosure would have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment of personnel – whether contrary to public interest to release conditionally exempt documents – (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 ss 11A(5), 24A and 47E(c)

Self Care Corporation Pty Limited and Department of Health (Freedom of information) [2019] AICmr 56
Freedom of Information – access Grant – whether documents contain commercially valuable information – whether disclosure would unreasonably affect an organisation in respect of its lawful business affairs – whether contrary to the public interest to release conditionally exempt documents – (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 ss 11A(5), 47(1)(b) and 47G(1)(a)

Russell v Eaton & Anor [2019] VSC 464
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – application for judicial review of judgment of the County Court of Victoria imposing fines for contravention of ss 9(1)(d) and 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 – application dismissed.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application for adjournment of trial – application for recusal of trial judge on ground of apprehended bias – applications refused – Crimes Act 1958 ss 71, 322G, 623 – Criminal Procedure Act 2009 s 254 – Summary Offences Act 1966 ss 9, 23 – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 Order 56.

Comptroller-General of Customs v Leggo [2019] VSC 501
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – statutory interpretation – appeal from the Magistrates' Court on a question of law under s 109 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Vic) – whether Magistrate misconstrued definitions of 'firearm' and 'imitation' in Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (Cth) – whether Magistrate's conclusion that imported handgun was not a 'blank-fire firearm' involved errors of statutory interpretation – whether Magistrate failed to give an adequate statement of reasons – error shown – appeal allowed – proceeding remitted to Magistrates' Court for rehearing – Magistrates' Court Act 1989 s 109 – Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (Cth) r 4F(4) (definition of 'firearm' and 'imitation').

Martin v Magistrates' Court of Victoria & Anor [2019] VSC 493
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application for extension of time to commence proceeding outside of 60 day period prescribed by O56.02(1) of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 – whether special circumstances warrant the grant of extension of time – special circumstances exist – extension of time granted.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – application for certiorari quashing orders of Magistrates' Court imposing conviction and passing sentence beyond jurisdiction – whether abuse of process or improper purpose bringing proceedings by way of Order 56 where appeal pursuant to s 272 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) available – discretionary – certiorari granted.

Hashimi v Yong & Ors [2019] VSC 496
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – judicial review – opinion of a Medical Panel – Order 56 – certiorari to quash the determination of the Medical Panel – procedural fairness – causation – whether conclusions of the Medical Panel were able to be reasonably anticipated – whether the Plaintiff had a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a determinative issue – error established – Accident Compensation Act 1985 ss 82(1), 98C – Workplace Injury Rehabilitation Act 2013 ss 5(1), 284.

Chopra v Department of Education and Training [2019] VSC 488
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – appeal from procedural orders of Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – whether leave to appeal from Tribunal should be given – no real prospect of success – proposed appeal of procedural orders would fragment proceeding and would be pointless – leave to appeal refused – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic), s 148.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION – deemed decision to refuse access to documents requested under Freedom of Information Act 1982, s 53 – interaction between Freedom of Information Act 1982, s 53 and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, s 51A – no inconsistency – in reviewing a deemed refusal, Tribunal can consider whether access should be refused under Freedom of Information Act 1982, s 25A – Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), ss 25A, 50(1)(ea), 53; Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic), ss 51A, 159.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – whether error in Tribunal's management of proceeding – no error – not appropriate to refer questions of law to Supreme Court – fairness did not require further directions hearing – Tribunal did not mislead appellant – Tribunal dealt fairly with appellant as self-represented litigant – whether Tribunal gave inadequate reasons – Tribunal not obliged to give reasons for interim orders – reasons were given and were adequate – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic), ss 96, 100, 117.

Williams v University of Melbourne (Review and Regulation) [2019] VCAT 1215
Freedom of Information Act 1982 ss 8, 30(1), 30(2) – access sought to guidelines relating to Graduate Access Melbourne program – whether document exempt as internal working document –whether document contains matter provided for the use or guidance of, or which is used or may be used for, the purpose of making decisions or recommendations, or enforcing enactments or schemes.

Country Fire Authority v Bryant (Review and Regulation) [2019] VCAT 1141
Freedom of Information Act 1982 – dispute within Country Fire Authority Brigade - investigation - applicant seeks documents relevant to the investigation – whether documents exempt under sections: 30(1) internal working documents exemption, 33(1) personal affairs exemption and/or 35(1)(b) document is provided in confidence exemption.

Legislation

Acts

Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) (Consequential Amendments) Act 2019
31/07/2019 - Act No. 54 of 2019
Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) (Consequential Amendments) Act 2019

Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Act 2019
31/07/2019 - Act No. 53 of 2019 Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Act 2019

Bills

Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Bill 2019
Finally passed both Houses 01 August 2019 - Amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 and Privacy Act 1988 to create the Consumer Data Right to provide individuals and businesses with a right to access specified data in relation to them held by businesses.

Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019
House of Representatives Third reading agreed to 01 August 2019 - Amends the Criminal Code Act 1995 to introduce two new offences in relation to the incitement of trespass or property offences on agricultural land. The Bill contains exemptions for journalists and those who are making lawful disclosures of information, including whistleblowers.

Identity-matching Services Bill 2019
HR Second reading moved 31 Jul 2019 - The Bill will facilitate the secure, automated and accountable exchange of identity information between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, pursuant to the objectives of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services.

Royal Commissions Amendment (Private Sessions) Bill 2019
Senate Second reading moved 31 Jul 2019 - Amends the: Royal Commission Act 1902 to: enable a Royal Commission to hold private sessions where a regulation is made authorising it to do so; enable the Chair of a multi-member Royal Commission, or a sole Commissioner, to authorise Assistant Commissioners to hold private sessions; and impose limits on the use and disclosure of private session information and certain information given to the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission; and Freedom of Information Act 1982 to make consequential amendments.

Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2019
Senate Second reading moved 31 Jul 2019. Amendments include certain serious criminal offences as a new category of 'prescribed offence' for the purposes of the automatic disqualification regime in relation to registered organisations; establish an offence for a disqualified person to continue to act as an official or in a way that influences the affairs of an organisation; allow the Federal Court to disqualify officials from holding office in certain circumstances or if they are otherwise not a fit and proper person; allow the Federal Court to cancel the registration of an organisation on a range of grounds

Landholders' Right to Refuse (Gas and Coal) Bill 2015
Senate Restored to Notice Paper 31 Jul 2019. The bill: provides that Australian landholders have the right to refuse the undertaking of gas and coal mining activities by corporations on their land without prior written authorisation; sets out the requirements of a prior written authorisation; provides for relief which a court may grant a land owner when prior written authorisation is not provided; prohibits hydraulic fracturing for coal seam gas, shale gas and tight gas by corporations; and provides for civil penalties.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment (Sunsetting of Special Powers Relating to Terrorism Offences) Bill 2019
Assent Act no: 61 Year: 2019 – 12 Aug 2019
Amends the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 to extend the operation of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation's questioning and detention powers for a further 12 months to 7 September 2020

Victoria

Act commencements
No 37 Racing Amendment (Integrity and Disciplinary Structures) Act 2018
Date of commencement: 1 August 2019; Section 6, Part 3 (sections 8-25), Part 5 (sections 33, 34), Part 6 (section 35) of this Act came in by forced commencement on 01 August 2019 s.2(2)
No 33 Justice Legislation Amendment (Family Violence Protection and Other Matters) Act 2018
Date of commencement: 31 July 2019 - Sections 14(1), 17, 18, 20, 21, 28, 29, 72-75, 79-106, 108-115 of this Act came into operation on 31 July 2019 (SG306 30.7.2019)

Statutory Rules
No 65 Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal and Improving Parliamentary Standards (Prescribed Public Entities) Regulations 2019 23 July 2019
No 66 Racing (Integrity and Disciplinary Structures) Regulations 2019 30 July 2019

Victorian legislation can be accessed here.

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