In the media

Government concedes COVIDSafe app 'rarely used' in overdue report
The federal government has finally released its first official report into the COVIDSafe app, conceding the app is "rarely" used but attributing that to low community transmission rates and strong manual contact tracing (30 July 2021). More...

Gender studies to drive PS equality
The Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector has published a collection of case studies on gender impact assessments. In a statement, the Commission said "(The Act) requires defined entities to do gender impact assessments of all new policies, programs and services that directly and significantly impact the public, as well as those up for review." (29 July 2021). More...

Crackdown on illegal financial services marketing continues with formal warnings
The ACMA is continuing its clampdown on illegal marketing in the financial services sector with formal warnings issued to five companies for breaches of spam and telemarketing laws (28 July 2021). More....

HRLC: Children continue to be jailed in year since Attorneys-General failed to raise the age
27 July 2021 marks one year since Australia's top legal officers failed to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14, despite being handed an expert report overwhelmingly recommending that all states and territories and the federal government change laws to keep children out of prison (27 July 2021). More...

New judges appointed to Supreme Court of Victoria
The Victorian Government has appointed Dr Catherine Button QC and Judge Mandy Fox as judges, and Ian Irving as an associate judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria (27 July 2021). More...

Audits alone won't solve govt cyber woes: ANAO
National auditor-general Grant Hehir has questioned a proposal that would see his office review the cyber security of federal government agencies on an annual basis while internal assurance mechanisms and incentives are missing (27 July 2021). More...

Politicians' harassment complaints body will have limited scope
An independent complaints body for federal politicians and staffers is set to be up and running by September, but won't look at sexual misconduct allegations from previous parliamentary terms (26 July 2021). More...

Uber found to have interfered with privacy
Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk has determined that Uber Technologies, Inc. and Uber B.V. interfered with the privacy of an estimated 1.2 million Australians.
Rather than disclosing the breach responsibly, Uber paid the attackers a reward through a bug bounty program for identifying a security vulnerability (23 July 2021). More...

Respectful relationships reaches more schools
More non-government schools have now signed up to the Andrews Labor Government's Respectful Relationships program - supporting all Victorian educators to embed respect and gender equality in their school communities (13 August 2021). More...

Amendments needed to sexual discrimination bill
The Law Council acknowledges the publication of Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee's Report on the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021. However, the Law Council believes that amendments are necessary for the Bill to achieve its stated objectives (12 August 2021). More...

COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace
The Morrison Government is continuing to support Australians through the pandemic and is encouraging employers and employees to work together on the issue of COVID-19 vaccination for Australian workers (12 August 2021). More...

LCA: Government to reinstate measures allowing for virtual meetings and electronic document execution
Steps taken by the Australian Government to reinstate temporary measures that will allow companies to use technology to meet regulatory requirements to hold general meetings, distribute meeting related materials and validly execute documents are positive moves for business and the investing public (11 August 2021). More...

Six new judges appointed to the County Court
The Victorian Government has announced six new appointments to the County Court of Victoria, bringing a wealth of expertise and diverse experience to the justice system. These appointments include early replacements of four Judges as part of the Government's $210 million investment to speed up the resolution of court matters (10 August 2021). More...

Significant new funding for the justice system to close the gap
Over $25 million in targeted investments will be directed towards reducing the overrepresentation of adult and youth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system (Targets 10 and 11) (07 August 2021). More...

National approach to prevent elder abuse needs to be a priority
Committed to tackling elder abuse occurring across the country, a national Roundtable convened by the Law Council of Australia, has recommended that the Commonwealth, state and territory Attorneys-General make the development of nationally consistent laws governing enduring powers of attorney a priority (06 August 2021). More...

New watchdog to boost social services protections
The proposed Social Services Regulation Act will streamline and simplify the existing regulation of social services, reducing red tape for the community sector while bolstering enforcement powers to protect people from harm (04 August 2021). More...

DTA ditches digital 'transparency' dashboard
The federal government has shut down its Performance Dashboard, used to improve digital services and provide transparency to the public, as part of a significant restructuring of its digital agency (24 August 2021). More...

Ombudsman lays down law for follow-ups
The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman has issued a factsheet on the extent of implementation of its recommendations by Government Agencies. In its publication Recommendations Implementation Report Factsheet the Office says it periodically publishes reports to ensure Agencies take action to address areas of improvement identified in past Ombudsman reports (23 August 2021). More...

HRLC: Senate votes to ban forced labour imports in vital step to combat modern slavery
The Australian Senate has voted to ban the importation of any goods made with forced labour into Australia, in a move that signals cross-party support for stronger measures to prevent Australian companies profiting from modern slavery overseas (23 August 2021). More...

Public Understanding of Law Survey assists evidence-based decisions
Designing legal services that meet people's needs requires an understanding of the public's experiences and perspectives - it's central to bottom-up, practical access to justice. The Victoria Law Foundation's Public Understanding of Law Survey will assist to achieve this goal (17 August 2021). More...

In practice and courts

Strengthening Australia's cyber security regulations and incentives: Discussion paper
Interested stakeholders are invited to provide a submission to the discussion paper, Strengthening Australia's cyber security regulations and incentives. Submissions on the discussion paper can be made via our submission form before 27 August 2021. More...

ACMA Consultation: Consumer vulnerability: Expectations for the telco industry - consultation 27/2021
We want to create a statement of expectations for the telco industry to improve outcomes for vulnerable consumers. Closing date 08 September 2021. More...

ACMA Consultation: Proposal to amend Do Not Call Register (Access Fees) Determination 2017 - consultation 29/2021
We invite your comments on the Do Not Call Register cost-recovery arrangements. Closing date 20 August 2021. More...

Law Council Update
The Law Council produces a fortnightly newsletter which highlights the Law Council's important activities and advocacy, along with any relevant media and events stakeholders would be interested in.
23 July 2021
10 August 2021
20 August 2021

AAT Bulletin
The AAT Bulletin is a weekly publication containing a list of recent AAT decisions and information relating to appeals against AAT decisions.
Issue No. 15/2021, 26 July 2021
Issue No. 16/2021, 9 August 2021
Issue No. 17/2021, 23 August 2021

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
Constitution Alteration (Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press) 2019
Status: Accepting Submissions Date Referred: 17 June 2021 Submissions Close: 20 August 2021
Reporting Date: 31 December 2021.

Strengthening Australia's cyber security regulations and incentives
On 13 July 2021, the Australian Government opened consultation on options for regulatory reforms and voluntary incentives to strengthen the cyber security of Australia's digital economy. Interested stakeholders are invited to provide a submission to the discussion paper, Strengthening Australia's cyber security regulations and incentives. Submissions on the discussion paper can be made via our submission form before 27 August 2021. More...

Commencement of the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia
The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia has released a full package of details outlining the changes to court operations that will occur on the commencement of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia from 1 September. From September 1, the new court will focus on risk, responsiveness and resolution.

Strengthening Australia's cyber security regulations and incentives: Discussion paper
Interested stakeholders are invited to provide a submission to the discussion paper, Strengthening Australia's cyber security regulations and incentives. Submissions on the discussion paper can be made via our submission form before 27 August 2021. More...

ACMA consultation: Consumer vulnerability: Expectations for the telco industry - consultation 27/2021
We want to create a statement of expectations for the telco industry to improve outcomes for vulnerable consumers. Closing date 08 September 2021. More...

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications: Draft Online Safety (Basic Online Safety Expectations) Determination 2021 consultation
We are seeking submissions on an exposure draft of the Online Safety (Basic Online Safety Expectations) Determination 2021. The draft determination sets out the government's demands for providers that offer a social media service, "relevant electronic service" or "designated internet service", including the nine principle-based "core expectations" included in the Act. View the consultation and consultation paper. Submissions to the consultation close on 15 October 2021.


Sentencing Advisory Council: Updated online sentencing statistics for over 250 offences in the higher courts
The Council has released new sentencing data for the higher courts (County and Supreme Courts) on SACStat, the Council's online statistical database. The new data covers sentencing outcomes in the five years to 30 June 2020 for over 250 offences dealt with in the higher courts.

SACStat user guide
The Sentencing Advisory Council has also published a two-page user guide with handy hints on using SACStat, and a summary of the counting rules for the data. More detailed resources can be found on the SACStat website: 'About SACStat', 'How to Use SACStat', 'Technical Notes' and 'Glossary'. SACStat can be accessed free of charge from the Council's website (21 July 2021).

Library Bulletin
The Law Library of Victoria produces a fortnightly bulletin that summarises the latest legislation and cases for the Victorian jurisdiction, as well as High Court of Australia cases. Download the most recent Library Bulletins:
Law Library Bulletin No 14 (fortnight ending 30 July 2021)
Law Library Bulletin No 15 (fortnight ending 13 August 2021)
Law Library Bulletin No 16 (fortnight ending 27 August 2021)

Body-worn camera evidence trial rolling out
We're preparing for the state-wide expansion of a trial allowing digitally recorded evidence-in-chief, taken from body-worn cameras, to be used in family violence matters. Victoria Police have outlined their timelines for rolling out digitally recorded evidence in chief training to officers and prosecutors to support the expansion of the trial (02 August 2021). More...

Commonwealth and Victorian Courts' COVID updates
The Victorian Government has announced an extension plus additional restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne until Thursday, 2 September 2021. The Supreme Court of Victoria has published a joint jurisdictional statement from the Chief Justice on behalf of the Victorian courts and VCAT in response to the increased regional restrictions. You can access the statement here.

VICBAR: Equitable briefing policy reporting 2020-2021
The 2020-2021 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 2021. If you have adopted the policy as counsel, please provide your annual report for the 2020-2021 financial year using the portal. To assist you with reporting, access the Equitable Briefing Policy Reporting Template and Guidelines.


Inquiry into Victoria's Criminal Justice System - have your say
The Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee is accepting submissions to its Inquiry into Victoria's criminal justice system. Submissions close on 1 September 2021. More...

Inquiry into Whether Victoria Should Participate in a National Electoral Roll Platform - have your say
The Electoral Matters Committee is accepting submissions to its Inquiry into whether Victoria should participate in a national electoral roll program. Submissions close on 22 October 2021. More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Final report - evaluation of the operation and effectiveness of COVIDSafe and the national COVIDSafe datastore
Department of Health: 22 July 2021
A heavily redacted version of a report evaluating the effectiveness of its COVIDSafe contact tracing app after failing to produce the report itself. View the independent report.

Gridlock: Removing barriers to policy reform
John Daley, Grattan Institute: 25 July 2021
Australia's governance is going backwards. Without change, there is little prospect for many substantial policy reforms that would increase Australian prosperity. More...

Australian Government COVID-19 disaster payments: A quick guide
Michael Klapdor; Parliamentary Library Research Publication: 04 August 2021
This Quick Guide was updated on 4 August 2021 to reflect changes to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, and provides background to both COVID-19 disaster payments setting out their eligibility criteria, payment rates, and administration arrangements. More...

The Ombudsman for Human Rights: A casebook
Victoria Ombudsman Investigation report: 4 August 2021
This casebook presents a snapshot of the thousands of matters involving people's human rights that we see each year. They illustrate the rights of children and families, kinship carers, injured workers, activists and prisoners, of everyday Victorians. More...

ANAO annual report 2020-21
ANAO: 26 August 2021
This annual report documents the performance of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in the financial year ended 30 June 2021. 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; the performance measures set out in the outcome and programs framework in the ANAO's Portfolio Budget Statements 2020-21 and the ANAO Corporate Plan 2020-21; and annual reporting requirements set out in other relevant legislation. More...


Patrick and Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (Freedom of Information) [2021] AATA 2719
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION - review of the refusals by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to give access to documents to minutes of the National Cabinet - whether documents are exempt documents pursuant to s 34(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the FOI Act) - consideration of the meaning of "committee of the Cabinet" - whether National Cabinet is a committee of the Cabinet - whether documents are conditionally exempt documents pursuant to s 47B of the FOI Act because their disclosure would or could reasonably be expected to cause damage to relations between the Commonwealth and a State - decisions set aside - order for access made.




Electoral Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Bill 2021
HR 12 August 2021 - the Bill amends the registration eligibility requirements for a federal non-Parliamentary party. These amendments increase the minimum membership requirements for registration from 500 to 1500 unique members. The Bill also amends the prohibitions regarding registrable names, abbreviations, and logos.

Ransomware Payments Bill 2021 (No. 2)
HR 12 August 2021 - Bill to establish a mandatory reporting requirement for Commonwealth entities, State or Territory agencies, corporations, and partnerships who make ransomware payments in response to a ransomware attack. The Bill will require entities who make a ransomware payment to notify the ACSC of key details of the attack, the attacker, and the payment.

Foreign Intelligence Legislation Amendment Bill 2021
Finally passed both Houses 26 August 2021 - to: Enable the Director-General of Security to apply for a warrant authorising the interception of a communication for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence from foreign communications; and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 and Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 to enable the Attorney-General to issue foreign intelligence warrants to collect foreign intelligence on Australians in Australia who are acting for, or on behalf of, a foreign power; and Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 to make other amendments.

Victorian legislation can be accessed here.

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.