In the media

ACCC warning on 'screen scraping' and CDR data
Any information gained by combining CDR data with other sources, including screen scraping, would be treated as CDR data, the ACCC said, requiring higher standards of consent, privacy and security (28 March 2021).  More...

New law protects pets from domestic violence
Domestic violence victim-survivors and their companion animals will have greater protections from abuse under new laws that commenced this weekend (28 March 2021).  More...

Changes making it easier for sex assault victims to access their own files pass House of Representatives
Victims of sexual assault in Parliament House will now be able to access case files handed to an internal inquiry, after the government agreed to amend a new law to the Archives and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (25 March 2021).  More...

Time for a Government response to pathways to justice report
The President of the Law Council of Australia has issued a Media Statement saying the Law Council of Australia believes it is time for the Australian Government to take the lead in responding to the ALRC Pathways to Justice-Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Report (25 March 2021).  More...

Government delivers consent law reforms
The protection of women was again at the forefront of the legislative agenda of the Palaszczuk Labor Government as it delivered significant consent law reforms in Parliament (25 March 2021).   More...

ACMA moves to block more illegal gambling websites
The ACMA is set to request Australian internet service providers (ISPs) block more illegal offshore gambling websites. Following numerous complaints about these services, the ACMA undertook investigations which found them to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (24 March 2021).  More...

Strengthening protections for domestic violence victims
The Family Law Amendment (Federal Family Violence Orders) Bill 2021, introduced in the House of Representatives, will establish criminally enforceable federal family violence orders, with breaches carrying a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison. The orders will operate in the same way as state and territory domestic violence orders (24 March 2021).  More...

Integrity summit to focus on lobbying and the public sector
Representatives from integrity agencies across Australia will put lobbying practices and their influence on the public sector under the microscope at an integrity summit to be held in Brisbane. The summit will hear from integrity practitioners who are responsible for overseeing or administering legislation pertaining to lobbying government officials (23 March 2021).  More...

 What factors influence police and court bail decisions
BOCSAR has found that legal factors had the largest impact on police and court decisions to refuse bail. The strongest predictors of bail refusal were whether the offence carried a presumption against bail, offence seriousness, concurrent charges, prior offending and prior imprisonment (23 March 2021).  More...

Police blow whistle on social media
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has issued a warning that the users of social media are posting too much personal and professional information, making them easy targets for criminals (22 March 2021).  More...

Audit finds cybersecurity offline
A performance audit of the Agencies responsible for ensuring the Australian Public Service complies with cyber security requirements has found their activities failing to be fully active, and  did not accurately self-assess their implementation of the Top Four mitigation strategies (22 March 2021).  More...

Report calls out 'submissive' public service
A report into the so-called sports rorts scandal has described an "exercise in pork barrelling" by the federal government and highlights a culture of "over submissiveness and deference" on the part of public servants (22 March 2021).  More...

Gaetjens report
The committee's final report, tabled on 19 March 2021, recommends the government immediately fund all projects that were assessed as meritorious and recommended by Sport Australia but dismissed in the final ministerial funding decision.

Path cleared for demerger process to begin
The Morrison Government has cleared the way for individual parts of amalgamated registered organisations - unions or employer organisations - to begin the process of breaking away from their larger organisations. Regulations detailing the demerger process, including the rules for conducting ballots of members, were made by the Governor-General and take effect  (19 March 2021).  More...

APS workforce strategy released
The Australian Public Service Commission has released it first 'one-APS' approach to workforce management in what the Commissioner says is a major milestone on the road to reform. The strategy, Delivering for Tomorrow is part of the commonwealth's APS reform agenda which aims to create a better and more efficient public service (18 March 2021).  More...

New strategy unveiled for APS workforce
The APSC has released a new workforce strategy for the APS, setting out its operation as a single enterprise with a high performing workforce that delivers outcomes effectively and efficiently for all who use its services (19 March 2021). More...

Cybercrime prompts warning to consumers
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has issued a warning to consumers and businesses to change their usernames and passwords following a data dump of stolen credentials on the dark web (18 March 2021).  More...

Anti-Racism Framework in the picture
Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, Chin Tan said his Concept Paper for a National Anti-Racism Framework detailed key components that needed to be included in the Framework and he would soon commence a series of roundtables with peak anti-racism organisations to progress the plan (18 March 2021).   More...

PM asks solicitor general for advice on what duties Christian Porter should delegate
The attorney general will not deal with matters relating to the federal court and the ABC, but concerns have been raised about other areas. Scott Morrison has asked the solicitor general for advice on how to handle potential conflicts of interest with the attorney general (17 March 2021).  More...

ATO awards $11m contract for face scanning technology
A UK-based biometrics company will provide face scanning technology for the government's myGovID program. The technology means users will be able to confirm their myGovID digital identity by scanning their face on a mobile device in order to access digital government services. The government says facial scanning will prevent digital identity fraud.  (17 March 2021).  More...

Law Council comments on Family Law Second Interim Report
In particular, the Law Council endorses the recommendation that the Australian Government increase funding to Legal Aid Commissions and Community Legal Centres, to enable those services to boost their support for disadvantaged and vulnerable families within the family law system (16 March 2021).  More...

HRLC: New laws would only serve to trap Queensland children in the criminal legal system
New laws proposed by the Queensland Government will entrench children from marginalised backgrounds in the quick sand of the youth legal system (15 March 2021).  More...

In practice and courts

Federal Circuit Court of Australia - judicial appointment
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Christopher John Bowrey, a family law solicitor in Townsville, as a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in the Townsville Registry, commencing Monday, 22 March 2021. The Media Release is 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, including immigration and citizenship. Issue No. 6/2021, 22 March 2021.  More...

AustLII cyber law on the map
AustLII has announced the upcoming launch of the Cyber Law Map, an annotated guide to Australian cyber-related legislation and case law which is intended to be an evolving wiki categorising cyber law and case information. The non-commercial venture is to be launched on 25 March and will be freely available.  More...

AHRC: Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces

The Commission will not be investigating nor making findings about individual allegations of bullying, sexual harassment or sexual assault as part of the Review.  The Commission will report on its findings and recommendations in a report to be tabled in Parliament in November 2021. The Terms of Reference outline the scope of the Review in more detail. More...

OAIC: amendments to the Privacy (Market and Social Research) Code 2014
Initiated and developed by the Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO), the code sets out how AMSRO members must comply with the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988 in the conduct of market and social research. The Privacy (Market and Social Research) Code 2021 will commence on 22 March 2021 (04 March 2021).  More...

OAIC submissions
Commonwealth Integrity Commission - Draft legislation - 10 March 2021
Online Safety Bill 2021 - Submission to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee (March 2021) - 10 March 2021
Exposure Draft - Online Safety Bill 2020 - 10 March 2021

ACMA Consultations
Credit betting prohibitions in the Interactive Gambling Act - consultation 4/2021
We are looking into whether interactive gambling credit betting prohibitions are operating effectively. Closes 31 March 2021.  More...

OAIC: Independent review of the credit reporting code
In April 2021, the Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner will tender for an independent review of the Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code 2014 (the CR Code). This review is an opportunity to explore how the CR Code is operating in practice.(26 March 2021).  More...

OAIC Submissions
Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee - Inquiry into the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 - 24 March 2021

OAIC: Our FOI disclosure log
The information described in our disclosure log has been released by the OAIC under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act):  
Reference number FOIREQ21/00013 Date of access 23 March 2021 FOI request
A copy of Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) report for the joint OAIC ACCC Complaint Handling System for the Consumer Data Right - Other information Partial access provided  -  24 March 2021.  More...

ANAO Consultations
Due to table: April, 2021 Open for contribution Administration of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency The objective of this audit is to assess the effectiveness of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and its administration of the National Bushfire Recovery Fund. Due to table: May, 2021 Open for contribution - Australian National University's Governance and Control Frameworks - The objective of this audit is to examine the effectiveness of the Australian National University's governance and control frameworks.

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 StandardService Migration DeterminationConsumer Information StandardComplaints 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...

ACMA Consultations
Credit betting prohibitions in the Interactive Gambling Act - consultation 4/2021 
We are looking into whether interactive gambling credit betting prohibitions are operating effectively. Closes 31 March 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 See the Legal Services Council website

Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee
Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 [Provisions] and Data Availability and Transparency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020 [Provisions] report by Thursday, 29 April 2021
Operation and management of the Department of Parliamentary Services On 22 February 2021, the reporting date was extended to 19 May 2021

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
National Emergency Declaration Act 2020 The deadline for submission to the inquiry is 26 March 2021
Judges' Pensions Amendment (Pension Not Payable for Misconduct) Bill 2020  report by 5 April 2021


Queensland Courts

New issue of DFVP Act Benchbook, issue 8 24 March 2021
The updated issue of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act Benchbook  , issue 8 has now been published

Updated Electronic Lodgement of Estate Applications Protocol 22 March 2021
Section 22 of the protocol  l has been updated to remove reference to the original death certificate. The original death certificate is to be exhibited to the original affidavit that is scanned and lodged in accordance with the protocol. 

OIC Qld: New guideline: Achieving effective privacy and information security training
OIC has published a new guideline, Achieving effective privacy and information security training, which draws on both the OIC's work in auditing agencies and recommendations made by the Crime and Corruption Commission in their Operation Impala report (23 March 2021) More...

OIC Qld: Follow-up audit of awareness of privacy obligations
On 23 March 2021, the Speaker of the Queensland Legislative Assembly tabled the report implementing the recommendations of our 2018-19 audit.  Over the last two years, the audited agencies have implemented all 12 recommendations. The three agencies now mandate periodic refresher training and have set up systems and processes to monitor and report on completed training.   More...

Department of the Premier and Cabinet consultation
Annual report 2019-20 feedback survey
Open to 30 June 2021 - help us improve our annual reports so readers can use them more effectively.

Bills and Papers
Queensland Law Reform Commission: A legal framework for voluntary assisted dying-Review update, February 2021 | Qld
Due to the size and complexity of the Commission's task, the reporting date was altered to 10 May 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 referenceNote: 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...

Published - articles, papers, reports

The National Brief No 2
The Australian Bar Association: 16 March 2021
The second instalment of the ABA's monthly brief, the National Brief, has now been published and is available here.

CDPP Publications

Suppression Orders, Non-publication orders and Pseudonym orders [NLD]
19 March 2021'NLD Suppression Orders Non-Publication Orders and Pseudonym Orders.pdf

2020 APS Employee Census CDPP Highlights Report
19 March 2021 - The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) tracks the views of APS employees about leadership, engagement, wellbeing and performance management. More...

Cyber Security Strategies of Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entities
ANAO Report No 32: 19 March 2021:
The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of cyber security risk mitigation strategies implemented by selected non-corporate Commonwealth entities to meet mandatory requirements under the Protective Security Policy Framework, and the support provided by the responsible cyber policy and operational entities.  More...

Award of Funding under the supporting reliable energy infrastructure program
ANAO Report no 31: 18 March 2021
The objective was to examine whether the award of funding under the Supporting Reliable Energy Infrastructure Program was informed by an appropriate assessment process and sound advice that complied with the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines.  More...

ALRC InBrief 16 March 2021

Judicial impartiality seminar stimulates important discussions On Tuesday 2 March 2020 the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) co-hosted a panel seminar with the Australian Academy of Law at the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney. The expert panel explored issues of public confidence, apprehended bias, and the modern federal judiciary. More...


Polaris Coomera Pty Ltd v Minister for the Environment  [2021] FCA 254
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - application for judicial review of Minister's decision under s 75(1) Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) - where proposed development declared a controlled action - whether denial of natural justice - whether improper exercise of power - whether inadequate reasons - whether error of law - whether decision irrational - application dismissed with costs
Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth) ss 5, 13 and 16

Bell v Native Title Registrar [2021] FCA 229
NATIVE TITLE - decision of delegate of Native Title Registrar to accept further amended claimant application for registration under s 190A of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) - application for judicial review of that decision under Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth) (ADJR Act)
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - procedural fairness requirements - standing and procedural fairness - concept of "legitimate expectation" - applicants not afforded opportunity to be heard - notice not required under NT Act - applicants aware decision to be made by delegate - no procedural unfairness - no practical injustice suffered
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - standing - standing and constitutional concept of "matter" - standing necessary to enliven Court's jurisdiction - meaning of "person aggrieved" under s 5(1) of the ADJR Act - standing where applicants competing native title claimants - Hazelbane v Doepel [2008] FCA 290; 167 FCR 325 distinguished - applicants "persons aggrieved" by delegate's decision

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - improper exercise of power - whether delegate identified wrong issue under s 190B of the NT Act - nature of function under s 190B(5) - whether delegate failed to take into account a relevant consideration - no reviewable error
Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth), ss 3(4), 5(1)-(2), 11(3); Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth), s 39B
Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth), r 8.21; Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1989 (ACT)

'WU' and Department of Defence (Freedom of information) [2021] AICmr 9
Freedom of Information - Access grant - Personal privacy - Whether disclosure of personal information would be unreasonable - (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 s 47F.  

'WV' and Department of Veterans' Affairs (Freedom of information)  [2021] AICmr 10
Freedom of Information - Whether reasonable steps taken to locate documents - (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 s 24A 

Quinlan v ERM Power Ltd & Ors (No 2) [2021] QSC 51
COMMUNICATIONS LAW - WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION AND PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE LEGISLATION -- determination of costs of the strike out applications - where s 1317AH of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) provides that a claimant in a proceeding in relation to a matter arising under s 1317AE of the Act must not be ordered to pay costs incurred by another party to the proceedings, except in accordance with s 1317AH(3) - where one of the exceptions is where the court is satisfied the claimant's unreasonable act or omission caused the other party to incur the costs - whether the plaintiff's opposition to the strike out applications amounted to an unreasonable act or omission, such that the court should make an order that he pay part of the defendants' costs

The Trust Company Limited v Valuer-General [2021] QLC 9
STATUTES - ACTS OF PARLIAMENT - INTERPRETATION - GENERAL APPROACHES TO INTERPRETATION - where parties did not agree about the operation of s 22 of the Land Valuation Act 2010 - whether it is necessary to make adjustment to site market value when there is an existing development approval - where the appellants contended a value must be assigned to the development approval so that it may be removed - where the Value-General disagreed with this approach - whether the Valuer-General's approach includes the development approval as part of the unencumbered estate in fee simple - where the Court held that the existing use assumption does not affect the hypothetical estate in fee simple - where the Court considered it incongruent with the plain words used in s 22 to exclude the value of the development approval ¬- where the appellants argued the Valuer-General's approach wrongly included the value of an intangible improvement as part of the site value - where the Valuer-General did not assert this - where extrinsic material indicates an intention to exclude the added value of a development approval in valuing a property - where the Court considered added value must mean a value other than that inherent in the authorisation of the use - where the Court held that s 22 does not require the valuers to adjust the value of the subject properties to remove the value of their development approval



Archives and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021
HR Third reading agreed to 25/03/2021
This Bill would strengthen the confidentiality of information given to the Independent Review into the workplaces of Parliamentarians and their staff conducted by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, by excluding  a  right  of  access  under  the Freedom  of  Information  Act  1982 These  proposed  amendments  would not  prevent  the  Independent  Review  from publishing such information as it considers appropriate.

Family Law Amendment (Federal Family Violence Orders) Bill 2021
HR 24/03/2021 - The Family Law Amendment (Federal Family Violence Orders) Bill 2021 (the Bill) would amend the Family Law Act 1975 (the Family Law Act) to establish new federal family violence orders which, if breached, can be criminally enforced. Federal family violence orders would offer stronger protection for victims of family violence than existing family law personal protection injunctions which can only be enforced civilly.

Online Safety (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021
Senate 17/03/2021 - Introduced with the Online Safety Bill 2021, the bill: repeals the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015; makes consequential amendments to 10 Acts; amends the Crimes Act 1914, Export Market Development Grants Act 1997 and Online Safety Act 2021, when enacted, to make amendments contingent on the commencement of certain other Acts; and contains transitional and application provisions.

Online Safety Bill 2021
Senate 17/03/2021 - Introduced with the Online Safety (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021, the bill: retains and replicates certain provisions in the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015, including the non-consensual sharing of intimate images scheme; specifies basic online safety expectations; establishes an online content scheme for the removal of certain material; creates a complaints-based removal notice scheme for cyber-abuse being perpetrated against an Australian adult; broadens the cyber-bullying scheme to capture harms occurring on services other than social media; reduces the timeframe for service providers to respond to a removal notice from the eSafety Commissioner; brings providers of app distribution services and internet search engine services into the remit of the new online content scheme; and establishes a power for the eSafety Commissioner to request or require internet service providers to disable access to material depicting, promoting, inciting or instructing in abhorrent violent conduct for time-limited periods in crisis situations.


Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Act 2021 
23/03/2021 - Act No. 22 of 2021 as made


Spam Regulations 2021 
22/03/2021 - These regulations exclude fax messages from the definition of commercial electronic message, and specify conditions with which an electronic address must comply for the purposes of the Spam Act 2003.

Student Identifiers Amendment (Authorised Collection, Use or Disclosure-Regional University Centres Program) Regulations 2021
22/03/2021 - This instrument amends the Student Identifiers Regulation 2014 to provide for the collection, use or disclosure of student identifiers by bodies corporate to whom a grant has been made under the Regional University Centres Program.

Privacy Amendment (Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator) Regulations 2021 
22/03/2021 - This instrument amends the Privacy Regulation 2013 to prescribe the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (an authority of South Australia) as an organisation under subsection 6F(1) of the Privacy Act 1988. 


Bills Updated

Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
Stage reached: 2nd reading adjourned on 24/03/2021

Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
Stage reached: Passed on 23/03/2021

Subordinate legislation - 26 March 2021
No 26 Public Health (Further Extension of Declared Public Health Emergency-COVID-19) Regulation 2021

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-  Chapter 2 commences as follows- (b)section 22, to the extent it inserts new part 11, division 5, commences on 1 January 2022.

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.