In the media

IP Australia focuses on service
IP Australia has implemented a quality framework that takes a principles-based approach to quality to recognise the skills, capability and judgement of its staff. A new Customer Service Charter outlines IP Australia's commitment to quality measured through customer feedback in its annual Customer Satisfaction Survey. The Charter also contains a number of high-level service commitments (22 October 2020).  More...

New committee to guide cyber strategy
The Department of Home Affairs has set up an Industry Advisory Committee to help guide the implementation of Australia's Cyber Security Strategy 2020. The 2020 Cyber Security Strategy was firmly focused on protecting families and businesses, especially as they spent more time online both at home and in their workplaces (22 October 2020).   More...

Agencies join UN bribery network
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Attorney-General's Department have joined with some of the nation's biggest companies to help businesses prevent, detect and address bribery and corruption (22 October 2020).  More...

Aus Post CEO stood aside in Cartier watches probe
Finance minister Mathias Cormann and communications minister Paul Fletcher said the Government expects all government entities, including Government Business Enterprises, to act ethically and adhere to high standards regarding the expenditure of money, as the public also rightly expects, said in a joint statement  (22 October 2020).  More...

Court reforms to protect and empower domestic violence victims
Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said the reforms would allow complainants in domestic violence criminal proceedings to give evidence in closed courts or remotely via audio-visual link, while jurors will be educated on the complexities of abuse  (21 October 2020).  More...

Legislative reforms to provide greater privacy protections for participants in Disability Royal Commission
The Morrison Government is taking further measures to ensure that people with disability and their supporters will be able to recount their experiences and fully participate in the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation of People with Disability (20 October 2020).  More...

Defence policies updated after 2020
The Department of Defence's Science and Technology (DST) Division has updated the National Security Science and Technology Policy and Priorities to strengthen Australia's national security (19 October 2020).  More...

Queen's men appointed as Counsel
Four senior Australian Public Service lawyers have been appointed Commonwealth Queen's Counsel. Appointment as Commonwealth Queen's Counsel recognises advocates and practitioners with significant experience at high levels, and outstanding skills and expertise in a field of Commonwealth law (19 October 2020).  More...

Passenger travel card to go digital
The Department of Home Affairs has announced plans to replace the Incoming Passenger Card completed by Australia-bound travellers, with a new digital system it says will support the quick and secure collection of incoming passenger information. The DPD will facilitate information being collected and shared more efficiently while still using the same authority for collection (19 October 2020).  More...

Law Council President, Pauline Wright, support to Bernard Collaery
The Law Council considers the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 (Cth) currently tilts the balance too far in favour of the interests of protecting broadly-defined national security at the expense of the rights of the accused, and maintains that it is not a proportionate response to addressing the risk that information prejudicial to national security may be released (19 October 2020).  More...

OAIC: Protecting and promoting privacy and information access rights in sharp focus in 2019–20
The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on privacy and created opportunities for greater transparency through the proactive release of government information, according to the OAIC's 2019–20 annual report (15 October 2020).   More...

Public interest journalism deserves legislative protection
The Law Council of Australia believes the announcement that the AFP will not prosecute ABC journalist Dan Oakes for reporting on serious allegations of wrongdoing by Australian special forces in Afghanistan, highlights the need for urgent law reform to protect public interest journalism (16 October 2020).  More...

Principal and teacher charged with fraud offences
Two people will face fraud offences following an ongoing investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). It will be alleged in court they fraudulently accessed leave entitlements. They are both expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 17 December 2020 (14 October 2020).  More...

CCC Chairperson urges candidates to put integrity first
In the lead-up to the State Government election on 31 October, CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC has written to all candidates, urging them to put integrity first, and consider community expectations. Mr MacSporran also reminded candidates not to abuse the complaints process (13 October 2020).  More...

Empowering victim-survivors to speak on their terms
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy announced amendments to the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act to empower victim-survivors to tell their stories – without having to seek court permission. The Justice Legislation Amendment (Supporting Victims and Other Matters) Bill 2020 will provide more control to victim-survivors over how, when and in what way their identity and story is published (13 October 2020).  More...

ACMA moves to block more illegal gambling websites
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is set to request Australian internet service providers (ISPs) block more illegal offshore gambling websites. Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 150 illegal gambling websites have been blocked (13 October 2020).  More... 

In practice and courts

Un-redacted Royal Commission reports released
Two un-redacted reports and a third previously unreleased report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have been made public (20 October 2020).  More...

Office of the National data commissioner exposure draft: Data availability and transparency bill
We are seeking submissions on the exposure draft of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill and explanatory materials, and an Accreditation Framework discussion paper. Submissions are open until November 2020. You can also find a second independent Privacy Impact Assessment that examined the privacy implications of the Bill, and see our response. 

ACMA 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 StandardService Migration DeterminationConsumer Information Standard and 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 (20 October 2020) .  More...

Nomination of legal representative - Australian Tax Office
The ATO recently reviewed the way it engages with legal practitioners who are representing their clients in relation to tax and superannuation matters. As part of this review the ATO consulted with legal practitioners to better understand the role they typically play with respect to taxation and superannuation and their priorities and timelines when dealing with the ATO. Please click here the methods for nomination of legal practitioner with associated timeframes.

AAT annual report 2019020
20 October 2020: Our Annual Report 2019–20 is now available here

AAT bulletin
The AAT Bulletin is a weekly publication containing a list of recent AAT decisions and information relating to appeals against AAT decisions (19 October 2020).   More...

Open Government partnership – Final public consultation on draft commitments for Australia's third national action plan
The Open Government Forum is seeking final feedback on the draft Commitments proposed to be included in Australia's Third National Action Plan (NAP3). The Forum is open to feedback until 6 November 2020. You can read the draft Commitments in full on the OGP website, and are invited to leave your comments on the website on each draft Commitment

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
Report by 20 November 2020The amendments delegate additional powers to Registrars and Deputy Registrars of the Family Court of Australia (known respectively in practice as ‘Senior Registrars' and ‘Registrars') and Registrars of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. More...

Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee Consultations
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Banning Dirty Donations) Bill 2020
The closing date for submissions is 6 November 2020.
Intelligence and Security Legislation Amendment (Implementing Independent Intelligence Review) Bill 2020
On 6 October 2020 the Senate extended the committee's reporting date to 9 December 2020.
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Donation Reform and Other Measures) Bill 2020
Senate extended the committee's reporting date to 3 December 2020

Consultation on Financial Products and the Personal Property Securities Act 2009
The Attorney-General's Department has released its consultation paper on the Personal Properties Securities Act 2009 and Financial Products. This consultation process will inform the Attorney-General's policy considerations and help ensure the law regarding financial property and intermediated securities is clear and fit for purpose in the PPS Act. For more information, please see the Department's inquiry page here. Consultation closes on 30 October 2020

Office of the National Data Commissioner: Exposure draft open for comment.
We are seeking submissions on the exposure draft of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill and explanatory materials, and an Accreditation Framework discussion paper. Submissions are open between 14 September and 6 November 2020. 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 See the Legal Services Council website

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.

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. More...

LCA Submissions
15 October 2020— Law Council.  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


OIC Queensland: Ministerial applications when there is a change of Minister
With the upcoming Queensland election, we wanted to remind departments that manage Ministerial RTI and IP applications that if there is a change of Minister—which can happen post-election regardless of whether there is a change of government—current Ministerial applications cease (19 October 2020).  More...

CCC: Open letter to candidates from Alan MacSporran QC
In the lead-up to the State Government election on 31 October, CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC has written to all candidates, urging them to put integrity first. Read his letter to the candidates (13 October 2020).  More...

Requirement to give notice to A-G and/or Queensland Human Rights Commission
Questions relating to the application and interpretation of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) (the Act) have been raised in the course of proceedings and judgments, without the requisite notice being provided to the Attorney-General and/or Queensland Human Rights Commission as required under section 52 of the Act. More...

Fact sheets: Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
QCAT takes a new look at some decisions made about you, as a child or young person by the Department of Communities - Child Safety services.  More...

Local Government reform
Regulation changes to improve transparency through requirements for meeting agendas, minutes and registers of interests, the ability to appoint Councillor advisors and a new code of conduct for Councillors (in effect 12 October 2020). Read the updated information paper

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 here. Additionally, QLS also provides COVID-19 updates specifically relating to property law and criminal law.

Published - articles, papers, reports

Policy making in a digital world
Lewis Lloyd; Institute for Government: 23 October 2020
Drawing on interviews with policy experts and digital specialists inside and outside government, the report argues that better use of data and new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, would improve policy makers' understanding of problems like coronavirus and climate change, and aid collaboration with colleagues.  More...

Energy Security Board data strategy: consultation paper
Energy Security Board (ESB); COAG Energy Council: 20 October 2020
The Energy Security Board is attempting to drive reforms to increase transparency across the energy sector and even the playing field between energy companies and consumers. This consultation paper outlines ways to close energy sector data gaps through improved access, protection, sharing, integration.  More...

Tech-xit: can Australia survive without Google and Facebook?
Jordan Guiao; Centre for Responsible Technology: 19 October 2020
In the wake of threats by Google and Facebook to scale back or close services in Australia should the federal government proceed with plans to charge them for news content, this report identifies serious risks to Australian businesses, government services and consumers if services are.   More...

Audit Quality report 2019–20
ANAO: 19 October 2020
The report provides transparency in respect of the processes, policies, and procedures that support each element of the ANAO Quality Assurance Framework, and reports audit quality indicators measuring ANAO performance against target benchmarks. This report also includes the achievement of the quality assurance strategy and deliverables set out in the ANAO Quality Assurance Framework and Plan 2019–20.

Australian homelessness monitor 2020
Launch Housing: 19 October 2020
The Australian Homelessness Monitor examines the changes in the scale and nature of homelessness in Australia, as well as how social, economic and policy drivers influence these changes. Recent research shows that the national homelessness rate is set to surge, as short-term coronavirus and housing.  More...

Young people under youth justice supervision and in child protection 2018–19
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: 15 October 2020
This report presents information on young people under youth justice supervision during 2018–19 who had received child protection services in the 5 years from 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2019.  More...

2019–20 annual report from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
OAIC: 15 October 2020
The OAIC has continued to deliver on its purpose to uphold and promote privacy and information access rights throughout the pandemic. The OAIC's annual report also highlights its success in addressing a backlog of privacy cases created by sustained increases in complaints over recent years. View the 2019–20 annual report

Commonwealth Ombudsman's activities in monitoring controlled operations: 2018-19
Ombudsman: 13 October 2020
This report presents the results of the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman's (the Office)inspections of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) under Part IAB of the Crimes Act 1914 (Part IAB), between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019.  More...

Select Committee on the Aboriginal Flag: report
Senate Select Committee on the Aboriginal Flag; Parliament of Australia: 13 October 2020
The Senate Select Committee on the Aboriginal Flag was established in September 2020 to inquire into and report on current and former copyright and licensing arrangements for the Aboriginal flag design. This report outlines the Committee's recommendations. More...

An evaluation of the suspect target management plan
Steve Yeong; BOSCAR: 13 October 2020
Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 233
Subject Evaluation reports; Policing; Recidivism / Re-offending; Domestic violence
Both STMP-II and DV-STMP are effective in reducing crime.  More...

Defence's Procurement of Offshore Patrol Vessels — SEA 1180 Phase 1
ANAO: 12 October 2020
The audit objective was to assess the effectiveness to date of the Department of Defence's procurement and contract management of the Offshore Patrol Vessel program.  More...


'VX' and Australian Taxation Office (Freedom of information) [2020] AICmr 53
Freedom of Information — Whether disclosure would have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of an agency — (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 s 47E(d)

Spinosa v Crime and Corruption Commission & Ors [2020] QSC 321
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – REASONS FOR ADMNISTRATIVE DECISIONS – EXCLUDED DECISIONS – application for a statement of reasons in relation to what are claimed to be decisions by police not to investigate, or further investigate complaints of alleged assaults, and decisions by the Crime and Corruption Commission not to investigate, or further investigate, allegations of police misconduct – whether such decisions are excluded decisions, for the purposes of part 4 of the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld)
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE – APPLICATIONS – applications to dismiss the proceeding under s 48 of the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld), if it is taken to be an application for a statutory order of review

Innes v Electoral Commission of Queensland & Anor (No 3) [2020] QSC 320
PROCEDURE – COSTS – RECOVERY OF COSTS – where the applicant was unsuccessful in his application to contest the 2020 Sunshine Coast mayoral election – where his application alleged incompetence and “unfairness” on the part of the Electoral Commission of Queensland and made serious allegations about the conduct of the second respondent - where, because of the nature of some of his allegations, the Attorney-General for the State of Queensland intervened on matters which engaged the Human Rights Act 2019 - where the applicant submits that his application was of “significant public interest” - whether there are reasons for departing from the ordinary rule that costs follow the event 

Independent Assessor v Councillor Conduct Tribunal & Anor [2020] QSC 316
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – JURISDICTIONAL MATTERS – where the applicant applied to the first respondent pursuant to the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld) to make a determination in respect of alleged misconduct by the second respondent – where the applicant then purported to revoke and rescind its application – where the first respondent advised that it would proceed to determine the application – whether the first respondent had jurisdiction to hear and determine the application
STATUTES – ACTS OF PARLIAMENT – INTERPRETATION – INTERPRETATION ACTS AND PROVISIONS – EXERCISE OF POWERS AND DUTIES – GENERALLY – where the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld) allowed the applicant to apply to the first respondent to make a determination in respect of alleged misconduct by councillors – where s 24AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) provided that the power to make an instrument or decision includes a power to amend or repeal the decision – where the application of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) could be displaced by a contrary intention appearing in any act – whether the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld) displaced s 24AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld); Acts Interpretation Act 1954 Qld s 4, s 24AA; Local Government Act 2009 Qld s 150W

Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd & Ors v Wagner & Ors [2020] QCA 221
DEFAMATION – DAMAGES – GENERAL DAMAGES – ASSESSMENT – IN GENERAL – where a jury found that a 60 Minutes program imputed that the respondents caused a manmade disaster by flooding that destroyed the town of Grantham and killed twelve people – where the jury found that the sixth appellant, an experienced journalist who featured in the program, conveyed a similar imputation by his words – where the program also was found to impute that the respondents sought to conceal the truth about the role their quarry played in the flood and that the respondents disgracefully refused to answer to the public for their failure to take steps to prevent the quarry wall they owned from collapsing and causing the flood – where the trial judge made separate final judgments for damages for defamation in favour of each respondent against the Nine Network appellants on the one hand and the sixth appellant on the other – where the judgments operated cumulatively – whether the trial judge erred in making a separate award and judgment against the sixth appellant, which operates wholly cumulatively upon the award made against the Nine Network appellants – whether the Nine Network appellants and sixth appellant were sued as joint or several concurrent tortfeasors – whether the award of damages gives rise to double recovery or satisfaction
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – POINTS AND OBJECTIONS NOT TAKEN BELOW – WHEN ALLOWED TO BE RAISED ON APPEAL – OTHER MATTERS – where the respondents submit that having regard to the conduct of the parties at the trial, the appellants should not be able to raise the question whether there was joint liability or liability as several concurrent tortfeasors on appeal – whether the argument should be permitted to be advanced on appeal
DEFAMATION – DAMAGES – GENERAL DAMAGES – ASSESSMENT – SPECIAL MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE JURY – AGGRAVATION – CONDUCT OF THE PARTIES – DEFAMATION – DAMAGES – GENERAL DAMAGES – ASSESSMENT – SPECIAL MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE JURY – MITIGATION – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – DEFAMATION – DAMAGES – GENERAL DAMAGES – ASSESSMENT – IN GENERAL – where the appellants submit that each award of damages did not bear an appropriate and rational relationship with the harm sustained by the relevant respondent – where in the alternative the appellants submit that each award of damages was manifestly excessive such that it bespeaks error – whether the damages awarded by the trial judge bore an appropriate and rational relationship to the harm sustained by the respondents

Hall & Anor v Queensland Building and Construction Commission [2020] QCAT 379
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – where review about scope of works decision – where scope of works depends upon the wording of the policy terms of the statutory insurance scheme – whether works “reasonable and necessary” or otherwise “necessary” to rectify defects 

Marzini v Health Ombudsman (No 4) [2020] QCAT 365
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – COSTS – regulation of health practitioner – review of immediate registration action – registration action revoked before hearing – approach to costs orders – whether the interests of justice require an order for costs. Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 100, s 102

Chibanda v Medical Board of Australia [2020] QCAT 362
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – where the applicant previously held special purpose registration pursuant to s 135 of the Medical Practitioners Registration Act 2001 – where in 2010 the Medical Board of Queensland refused the applicant's application for renewal of his special purpose registration – where in 2010 the applicant applied to the Tribunal to review the decision of the Medical Board of Queensland – where the applicant subsequently withdrew the application for review – where more than 10 years later the applicant applies for review of the same decision – whether the Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear and determine the application – whether the applicant should have leave to make a further application for review of the decision.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – where the applicant seeks review of decisions and other relief – where the Tribunal lacks jurisdiction to review decisions or order the relief sought – whether the application should be dismissed as misconceived or lacking in substance. Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 9, s 10, s 17, s 19, s 20, s 46, s 47




Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Financial Transparency) Bill 2020 [No. 2]
Second reading moved 19 October  2020
Amends the: Aged Care Act 1997 to require residential aged care providers to disclose their income, costs of food and medication, staff and staff training, accommodation, administration and monies paid to parent bodies in annual financial transparency reports to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner; and Corporations Act 2001 to ensure residential aged care providers include detailed financial information in annual financial statements.

Services Australia Governance Amendment Bill 2020
HR Third reading agreed to 20 October 2020
Amends: 17 Acts to make consequential amendments as a result of the establishment of Services Australia as an executive agency under the Public Service Act 1999 on 1 February 2020; and the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988, Human Services (Centrelink) Act 1997 and Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 to make governance changes in relation to Services Australia.

Family Law Amendment (Risk Screening Protections) Bill 2020
House of Representatives  Introduced and read a first time 19 October 2020
Amends the Family Law Act 1975 to provide that: family risk screening information is confidential and cannot be disclosed except in limited circumstances; family safety risk information is inadmissible in court, except in limited circumstances; and court workers (such as registrars and family counsellors) have immunity when involved in family risk screening procedures. 


Subordinate legislation
No 238 - Justices (Computer Warrants) Amendment Regulation 2020
This regulation commences on 27 October 2020.

Acts Commencement
Electoral and Other Legislation (Accountability, Integrity and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2020 (Qld)
The key policy objective of Chapter 2 is to improve the actual and perceived integrity and public accountability of State elections and ensure public confidence in State electoral and political processes
Commencement: (1)Chapter 2 commences as follows—  (c)the following provisions commence on 1 July 2022— (4)Chapter 5 commences as follows—  (b)the remaining provisions of chapter 5 commence on 12 October 2020.

Subordinate Legislation as made – 02 October 2020
No 244 Local Government Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2020

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.