In the media
Toy gun owners warned of tougher gel blaster penalties
as new laws due to kick off in Queensland
It is an offence in Queensland to carry an unconcealed gel blaster in public from February 1, with police urging owners of the toy guns to be fully aware of their responsibilities or face harsher penalties including jail time (15 January 2021). More...
Claim of corrupt family court judges
The Australian Bar Association (ABA) joins with the Law Council of Australia in rejecting the claim reported by Fairfax Media on 12 and 13 January 2021 that 'the Family Court of Australia has many corruption issues' including 'corrupt' judges (13 January 2021). More...
Lawyers facing money laundering charges after CCC
investigations before the courts
Two prominent solicitors charged with money laundering and fraud after separate and unrelated investigations by Queensland's criminal watchdog have had their matters mentioned in Court this week (13 January 2021). More...
Data Privacy Day: Understanding COVID-19's
Sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance, Data Privacy Day is designed to "inspire dialogue and empower individuals and companies to take action" on the way personal information is collected, stored and used (12 January 2021). More...
New sentencing data just a few clicks away
The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council has launched its first online Sentencing Trends tool, going beyond the usual web browsing experience to help the community find the information they want about sentencing (07 January 2021). More...
New partner agency portal
Coming in early 2021 and replacing the old Partner Agency Portal, the new portal will look similar to our partners but will have new functionality, including two factor authentication to improve security and protection against cyber-attacks, data breaches and malware (06 January 2021). More...
Update to the joint statement on global privacy
expectations of video teleconferencing companies
Moving forward, the joint signatories will undertake further engagement with these companies and will issue a more substantive public statement on their findings, learnings, and outcomes from this activity in 2021.(24 December 2020). More...
Release of national action plan to reduce sexual
harassment in the Australian legal profession
Eliminating sexual harassment in the legal profession is part of the Law Council's long-running commitment to inclusion and diversity in the legal profession. The release of the National Action Plan to Reduce Sexual Harassment in the Australian Legal Profession heralds the start of a united and coordinated process to address the issue (23 December 2020). More...
Law Council response to committee's final report
into the litigation and class action industry in Australia
"The Law Council agrees in principle with a number of the 31 recommendations made in the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services' final report on Litigation Funding and the Regulation of the Class Action Industry in Australia (23 December 2020). More...
Appointment of acting Inspector-General of Intelligence
The Hon Dr Christopher Jessup QC has been appointed as Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (23 December 2020). More...
ATO made 'flawed decisions' on denying small
businesses JobKeeper, says tax ombudsman
The tax ombudsman says the ATO has made flawed decisions on some people's eligibility for the stimulus measure payments, and needs to give taxpayers clearer guidance (21 December 2020). More...
In practice and courts
Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation
Regulatory Powers (Standardisation Reform) Bill 2020 [Provisions]
Judges' Pensions Amendment (Pension Not Payable for Misconduct) Bill 2020
Legal and Constitutional Affairs References
Nationhood, national identity and democracy
Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social
Foreign Interference through Social Media
Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated
Exemption of delegated legislation from parliamentary oversight
Finance and Public Administration References
The current capability of the Australian Public Service (APS)
CDPP publications and guides
11 January 2021 Unfitness to be tried/to plead [NLD]
06 January 2021 Guidelines for dealings between Investigators and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
CDPP alert: Hoax CDPP emails
The Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is warning members of the community to beware of scammers claiming to be from the CDPP(15 January 2021). More...
Guide to childrens television classification
ACMA: 21 December 2020
This guide is to help applicants understand how: to interpret the children's classification criteria for C programs and P programs and applications for C and P classification are assessed. More...
The AAT Bulletin is a weekly publication containing a list of recent AAT decisions and information relating to appeals against AAT decisions, including immigration and citizenship. Issue No. 1/2021, 1 January 2021. More...
Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) consultation: The
Digital Identity Legislation Consultation Paper
The paper outlines key issues surrounding the development of the legislation and poses specific questions about its design, scope and content. The closing date for submissions is 18 December and readers interested in making a submission can access the Digital Identity Consultation Page here.
Commonwealth Integrity Commission: consultation
The Australian Government has released an exposure draft of legislation to establish the new Commonwealth Integrity Commission and make other consequences legislative amendments. A fact sheet about the key features of the CIC has also been released. The consultation page includes links to the draft legislation and further information about other issues under consideration. Closing date 12 February 2021.
Attorney General reminder: Privacy Act review issues
Public submissions on the Issues Paper would be accepted until 29 November 2020. The Attorney-General's Privacy Act Review Issues Paper, including information on how to have a say, can be accessed here.
Consultation on proposed new conduct rule
The Law Council of Australia has released a consultation paper proposing that a new rule 11A be added to the Australian Solicitors' Conduct Rules. The proposed rule clarifies how existing ethical principles relating to conflicts of interest may be applied when providing short-term legal assistance services. The consultation closes on 7 December 2020. More...
Stay safe online: Data privacy day
Millions of people are unaware of and uninformed about how their personal information is being used, collected or shared in our digital society. Data Privacy Day aims to inspire dialogue and empower individuals and companies to take action (13 January 2021). More...
ACMA consultation: draft broadcasting services
(Australian content and children's television) standards
The consultation focuses on practical implementation and drafting issues relating to the program standards, and closed on 7 December. Feedback will then be considered, with the new standards planned to begin on 1 January 2021. More...
ACMA position paper: Misinformation and news quality on
digital platforms in Australia
A position paper to guide code development-includes a model code framework for consideration, including objectives and outcomes to be achieved for the benefit of Australian users of digital platforms. The ACMA anticipates to have in place a single, industry-wide code by December 2020. The position paper, Misinformation and news quality on digital platforms in Australia - A position paper to guide code development has been published on the ACMA website.
ACMA reminder, NBN consumer experience rules
ACMA has enhanced NBN consumer experience rules to protect Australians during the final phase of the NBN migration. The enhancements have been made to the following rules: Service Continuity Standard; Service Migration Determination; Consumer Information Standard; Complaints Handling Standard. The enhancements to the Service Continuity Standard and Service Migration Determination will start on 14 December 2020, while most enhancements to the Complaints Handling Standard and Consumer Information Standard will start on 1 April 2021. More...
LSC: Regulation of litigation funding schemes
The Legal Services Council has amended the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 with effect from 22 August 2020 so the prohibitions in s 258(1) and (3) of the Legal Profession Uniform Law do not apply in relation to litigation funding schemes now regulated as managed investment schemes. The new rule will operate for 12 months to allow for consultation. More...
Australian bushfires disaster emergency declaration -
Understanding your privacy obligations
The Attorney-General has made the Privacy (Australian Bushfires Disaster) Emergency Declaration (No. 1) 2020 (the emergency declaration) under Part VIA of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). The emergency declaration was made in response to bushfires in Australia resulting in death, injury and property damage occurring from August 2019 into 2020.The emergency declaration expires on 20 January 2021.
Guiding those experiencing family violence and other
safety risks through the family law system
The Lighthouse Project Pilot commences in Brisbane and Parramatta on 11 January 2021. The Pilot introduces risk screening, triage and case management, and the Evatt List to the Federal Circuit Court (FCC). The FCC released Practice Direction No. 3 of 2020 - Lighthouse Project and Evatt List which sets out the procedure for Lighthouse Project related family law proceedings in the Court. Further information can be found on the FCC website here.
CCC Template for section 48A policy
14 December 2020 -The CCC has provided this outline to assist UPAs with what such a policy should include and a draft template which may be reproduced or drawn on for guidance in the development of their own policy. More...
OIC Qld: An act of many tools
The Right to Information Act 2009 and Information Privacy Act 2009 (the Acts) create a right of access to information. The Acts recognise that this right is not absolute, allowing decision makers to refuse access where release would be contrary to the public interest (17 December 2020). More...
OIC Qld: Data Privacy Day helps to build greater
awareness and trust: 28 January 2021
This underlines a large part of the OIC's work, which aims to build trust through transparency, so Queenslanders and Queensland government agencies are aware of their privacy rights and responsibilities. In the lead up to the day, the OIC will be sharing privacy tips on Twitter and LinkedIn. (13 January 2021). More...
Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council: New sentencing
data just a few clicks away
Breaking down 15 years of data, the Council's Sentencing Trends resource includes interactive graphs and information to support people in exploring sentencing trends for adults and children. The Sentencing Trends resource can be accessed for free on the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council's website here (07 January 2021).
Queensland Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper - a
legal framework for voluntary assisted dying
The Queensland Law Reform Commission is seeking feedback on the Consultation Paper "A legal framework for voluntary assisted dying". The Consultation Paper explores a legal framework for voluntary assisted dying.. For more information please see the consultation page and the terms of reference. Note: The Commission continues to work hard on this review, and hopes to meet a reporting date of 10 May 2021. This document is intended to inform the public about the Commission's task and its processes, and how it hopes to complete the review by 10 May 2021.
Department of the Premier and Cabinet consultation
Annual report 2019-20 feedback survey
By taking a minute to complete this survey, you will help us improve our annual reports so readers can use them more effectively. Open until 30 June 2021. More...
COVID-19 update on courts, commissions, tribunals
See current COVID-19 updates for the courts, commissions and tribunals see here.
For titles and property law updates please see here (updated 11 January 2021).
Queensland courts now has a central COVID-19 response page, available here, that lists information from the individual courts - updated 11 January 2021.
Published - articles, papers, reports
ANAO: 14 January 2021
This edition of audit insights summarises key messages for all Australian Government entities from a series of recent Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performance audits assessing the planning and implementation of regulation activities. It discusses the importance of using available data and intelligence information to develop and execute risk-based regulatory activities targeted in proportion to the impacts of non-compliance. More...
PGPA Act flipchart and list
Released 04 January 2021
Flipchart of Commonwealth entities and companies - The Flipchart is a reference of all non-corporate and corporate Commonwealth entities and companies. Commonwealth entities and companies are government bodies that are subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act).
OAIC 2020 highlights infographic
OAIC: 15 December 2020
See our infographic to learn more about how we worked to increase public trust and confidence in access to government-held information and protection of personal information in 2020. More...
The law on judicial bias: A primer
ALRC: 14 December 2020
The first background paper provides an introductory summary and overview of key aspects of the law on judicial bias as it relates to the Australian federal judiciary. More...
Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian
Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2020
ANAO: Report No 25, 17 December 2020
This report complements the Interim Report on Key Financial Controls of Major Entities financial statement audit report published in May 2020. It provides a summary of the final results of the audits of the Consolidated Financial Statements for the Australian Government and the financial statements of Australian Government entities for the period ended 30 June 2020. More...
The Australian Taxation Office's Management of Risks
Related to the Rapid Implementation of COVID-19 Economic Response
ANAO: Report No 24, 14 December 2020
The objective of the audit was to assess whether the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has effectively managed risks related to the rapid implementation of COVID-19 economic response measures. More...
Commonwealth Ombudsman's activities in monitoring
controlled operations: 2019-20
Ombudsman: 09 December 2020. More...
Law Council update
The Law Council produces a fortnighly newsletter which highlights the Law Council's important activities and advocacy, along with any relevant media and events stakeholders would be interested in. More...
'WN' and Inspector General of
Taxation (Freedom of information) 
Freedom of Information - Whether disclosure would have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of an agency - Whether contrary to public interest to release conditionally exempt documents - (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 ss 11A and 47E(d)
'WJ' and Services Australia
(Freedom of information)  AICmr
Freedom of Information - Whether disclosure of personal information unreasonable - Whether contrary to public interest to release conditionally exempt documents - (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 ss 11A(5), 47F
'WI' and Attorney-General's
Department (Freedom of information) 
Freedom of Information - Whether reasonable steps taken to locate documents - (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 s 24A - Documents explaining and justifying the rationale for prohibiting a patient from access to the treatment recommended by licenced medical practitioners
Onus v Minister for the
Environment  FCA
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - application for judicial review challenging the lawfulness of the Minister's decision dated 6 August 2020 not to make declarations under ss 10 and 12 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (Cth) (Act) in relation to the effect on an area and certain trees claimed to be of particular significance for Aboriginals relating to the construction and alignment of a section of the Western Highway between Ararat and Buangor in Victoria - six grounds of judicial review raised - challenge to the lawfulness of the Minister's decision in relation to the application for a declaration under s 10 of the Act dismissed - Minister's decision in respect of the application for a declaration under s 12 of the Act found to be invalid in law and set aside - whether the Minister's decision regarding ss 10 and 12 was severable - Minister directed to refer the s 12 application for reconsideration and determination according to law by another Minister with responsibility for administering the Act
Complainant 201908 v Commissioner for
Fair Trading (Discrimination) ACAT
DISCRIMINATION - irrelevant criminal record - quantum of compensation to be determined - available remedies - reassessment of application for motor vehicle traders licence - where apology sought - damages under the Human Rights Commission Act 2005 - compensation for non-economic loss - no exemplary damages awarded - compensation for 'loss of chance' - interest. Human Rights Commission Act 2005 s 53E
Pitman and Commissioner of Taxation
(Taxation)  AATA
TAXATION - whether bankrupt person charged with criminal offences relating to a tax debt may apply to the Tribunal for an extension of time within which to lodge an application for review of a reviewable objection decision - whether dissatisfied with reviewable objection decision - no standing to make an application. Acts Interpretation Act 1901; ss 29 and 33(2A); Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975; ss 25(6), 29(1)-(8), 42A, 42B, 43 and 69BA
Repatriation Commission v
Fill  FCA
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - appeal against decision of Administrative Appeals Tribunal to set aside decision of Repatriation Commission affirming decision that respondents were ineligible for service pension - whether Tribunal made errors of law in assessing rate of service pension under Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986 (Cth) -appeal allowed - matter remitted to be heard and determined according to law
National Emergency Declaration
(Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020
Assent Act no: 129 15 December 2020
Introduced with the National Emergency Declaration Bill 2020 to implement a recommendation of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, the bill amends: 24 Acts, four regulations and four ordinances that contain powers that are used by the Commonwealth when responding to, or supporting the recovery from, emergencies to enable the use of alternative or simplified statutory tests to streamline the exercise of those powers where a national emergency has been declared; and National Emergency Declaration Act 2020 and Radiocommunications Act 1992 to make amendments contingent on the commencement of the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Act 2020.
Regulatory Powers (Standardisation Reform)
Bill 2020 [Provisions]
On 10 December 2020 the Senate referred the provisions of the Regulatory Powers (Standardisation Reform) Bill 2020 to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 19 February 2021. The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 13 January 2021.
National Emergency Declaration Bill
Assent Act no: 128 15 December 2020
Introduced with the National Emergency Declaration (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020 to implement a recommendation of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, the bill: establishes a framework for the declaration of a national emergency by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister; enables ministers to suspend, vary or substitute administrative requirements in legislation they administer in certain circumstances; and enables the Prime Minister to require Commonwealth entities to report on available stockpiles, assets and resources, and options and recommendations to respond to a national emergency.
Electoral Amendment (Territory
Representation) Bill 2020
Assent Act no: 127 15 December 2020
Senate 03 December 2020 - The Electoral Amendment (Territory Representation) Bill 2020 amends the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to provide more equitable representation, through changes to the method for determining the number of House of Representatives members for the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
Electoral and Referendum Amendment
(AUSTRAC) Regulations 2020
22/12/2020 - This instrument amends the permitted purpose in the Electoral and Referendum Regulation 2016 for which the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) may use electoral Roll information.
Broadcasting Services (Australian Content
and Children's Television) Standards
21/12/2020 - This instrument repeals and replaces the Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard 2016 and the Children's Television Standards 2009 to reduce and simplify the Australian content obligations that apply to commercial television broadcasting licensees, while retaining important safeguards for the protection of children.
Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
Stage reached: 2nd reading adjourned on 1/12/2020
The objectives of the Bill include:
- amend the Youth Justice Act 1992(YJ Act) to allow the chief executive (youth justice) to delegate his or her powers to appropriately qualified temporary detention centre employees in the event of a future COVID-19 outbreak
- amend the Electoral Act 1992 to provide flexibility, if required, to facilitate the holding of a by-election in a way that helps minimise serious risks to the health and safety of persons caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency
- amend the process for filling a vacancy in the office of a mayor or councillor that arises during the period starting on a quadrennial election and ending on the day before the first anniversary of the election.
Subordinate legislation reminder
No 144 Electoral Amendment Regulation 2020
5 Amendment of s 8 (Amount of policy development payment to which eligible registered political party is entitled-Act, s 240) (1) Section 5 commences on 1 January 2022.
This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.