In the media 

Increased judicial appointment transparency and intention to boost legal aid funding applauded
The Law Council of Australia has backed moves to promote greater transparency and accountability of judicial appointments, and an indication that legal aid funding will be boosted, as outlined by the federal opposition (1 February 2019).  More... 

Developer donation ban discriminates against LNP, court told
Former party president Gary Spence argues Queensland not prone to corruption like NSW. Spence has taken a case to the high court arguing that the ban on Queensland state and local council politicians taking developer donations breaches the implied freedom of political communication (30 January 2019).  More... 

Citizenship bill weakens rights protections
Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow has told a parliamentary committee that enhanced citizenship stripping powers would weaken human rights protections and conflict with our obligations under international law (30 January 2019).  More...  

Australia's global corruption ranking sparks urgent calls for federal integrity body
Australia has failed to improve on its record low ranking in a global measure of government corruption, prompting renewed calls for a powerful federal integrity commission to be established “without delay and political wrangling” (29 January 2019).  More...

LCA: UN must investigate Wang Quanzhang’s trial amid apparent breaches of international law
The Law Council of Australia will call on the United Nations to investigate international concerns over China’s handling of Wang Quanzhang’s trial, after the prominent human rights lawyer was sentenced to four and a half years in prison (29 January 2019).  More...

Online Harassment and Cyberhate costs Australians $3.7b
New research from The Australia Institute estimates the cost of online harassment and cyberhate to have cost Australians an estimated total of $3.7 billion dollars in health costs and lost income (28 January 2019).  More... 

Cyber watchdog warns on dark web PS data
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has urged organisations and individuals across the Australian Public Service to check if their email addresses and/or passwords are included on recently released lists of stolen data (28 January 2019).  More...  

Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into class action proceedings and third-party litigation funders
The Australian Law Reform Commission’s final report into class action proceedings and third-party litigation funders has been publicly released after being tabled in Federal Parliament (25 January 2019).  More... 

Inquiry into Class Action Proceedings Final Report
On January 24 2019, the Attorney-General for Australia tabled in Parliament the ALRC report, In Inquiry into Class Action Proceedings and Third-Party Litigation Funders. The ALRC recommends a Government review of statutory enforcement regimes for regulators so to facilitate effective and consistent statutory redress schemes to fill gaps and create an alternative to some class action proceedings (25 January 2019).  More... 

Auditor sees problems in ID system
An audit of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s (ACIC) administration of a hi-tech personal identification system has found the Agency failed at almost every step (24 January 2019).  More... 

Julie Gilbert has no idea what her insurer knows about her medical history
To get income protection and life insurance, Julie Gilbert had to grant the insurer access to her medical history, but, advocates want the industry to change, saying the practice goes too far and is an "unfair breach" of Australians' privacy (24 January 2019).  More...  

You always have a choice with My Health Record
After 31 January 2019, a My Health Record will be created for everyone who has not opted out of the system. However, the new permanent delete functionality means Australians will always have the choice not to have a record and they can remove all of their data from the My Health Record system and no copy will be kept (23 January 2019).  More...  

Federal anti-corruption body must have power to make arrests and conduct searches, judges say
A group of high-profile judges have called for a proposed federal anti-corruption body to be given the powers of a royal commission. The Coalition released its preferred model for a national integrity commission late last year but the body was quickly criticised for a lack of public hearings, below-par resourcing, its selective treatment of politicians and the high threshold of criminal suspicion required to commence an investigation (23 January 2019).  More... 

Clive Palmer loses bid to have criminal charges dropped
Clive Palmer says the charges, brought against him by ASIC, are "doomed to fail" and are an attempt to make him ineligible from running in the upcoming federal election, but the Supreme Court has denied his bid to have the charges dropped (23 January 2019).  More...  

Telco accountability is key for Consumer Safeguards Review: ACCAN
Australians are being put at risk due to inadequate consumer protection frameworks around the reliability of telecommunications services, ACCAN has warned the Government’s latest Consumer Safeguard Review. Telecommunications services are a critical part of modern Australian life, powering everything from our businesses to our healthcare services (23 January 2019).  More... 

Report on Government Services
The Report on Government Services is a vital tool in providing information to the community and holding all Australian governments accountable for the effectiveness and efficiency of government services. The 2019 Report continues this important information provision. There remain, however, data limitations in some key areas (22 January 2019).  More... 

Lawyers call for police complaints system overhaul as shocking new reports of police abuse emerge
Lawyers, advocates and victims of police abuse are again calling on the Andrews Government to take action and introduce an independent body to investigate police misconduct, as horrific new cases of police brutality come to light (21 January 2019).  More...

In practice and courts

Consultation opens on Public Interest Determination
An application from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for a Public Interest Determination is now open for public comment. The application to the OAIC under s 72 of the Privacy Act would allow the AFP to disclose limited personal information about homicide offenders and suspects to the Australian Institute of Criminology without breaching Australian Privacy Principle 6. It is intended to replace a previous determination which expired on 1 October 2018. Submissions were due by 1 February 2019. More information available here

Report on Government Services
The annual Report on Government Services (RoGS) provides information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia.  More... 

Report on Government Services 2019: Part C, Chapter 7 - Courts
The focus of this chapter is the court administration functions of Australian and State and Territory courts. Data are reported for the Federal Court, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court, the criminal and civil jurisdictions of the supreme courts (including probate registries), district/county courts, magistrates' courts (including children's courts), coroners' courts and the Family Court of WA (22 January 2019).  More... 

AAT Bulletins 2019
The AAT Bulletin is a weekly publication containing a list of recent AAT decisions and information relating to appeals against AAT decisions.
Issue No. 4/2019 (29 January 2019)
Issue No. 3/2019 (21 January 2019) 

Reminder: Australian Digital Health Agency three month "opt-out period" for My Health Record
As announced by the Australian Digital Health Agency, every Australian will be offered a My Health Record unless they choose not to have one during the three-month opt out period which was extended to 31 January 2019. During the opt out period individuals who do not want a record will be able to opt out by visiting the My Health Record website here

2019 COAT National Conference
The 2019 Council of Australasian Tribunals (COAT) National Conference will be held 6 - 7 June in Melbourne.  More... 

Current consultations
Review of the Telecommunication and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. This review is in addition to two separate statutory reviews, amendments to include a review due to  commence by April 2019. Submissions closed on 1 February 2019.  More... 

Freedom of Speech Legislation Amendment (Censorship) Bill 2018, Freedom of Speech Legislation Amendment (Insult and Offend) Bill 2018, Freedom of Speech Legislation Amendment (Security) Bill 2018
On 3 December 2018, the Senate extended the committee's reporting date to 8 March 2019.  More... 


Queensland Government Consultations
Have your say on modernising Queensland's laws on civil surveillance and the protection of privacy
Have your say on how Queensland should modernise civil surveillance and protection of privacy laws in the context of current and emerging technologies.  More... 

OIC Queensland website review
The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) is currently reviewing its website to look at where we can make changes to deliver a better experience for our stakeholders. This survey will close on 5 February 2019.  More...  

Published - articles, paper, reports 

Review of the National Disability Agreement: Study report
Productivity Commission: 1 February 2019
The report has found that a new National Disability Agreement (NDA) between the Australian, State and Territory Governments is needed to facilitate cooperation, enhance accountability and clarify roles and responsibilities.  More... 

Inquiry into Class Action Proceedings Final Report
ALRC: 25 January 2019
Third party litigation funders are not subject to any comprehensive Commonwealth or state and territory regulation to address the structure, operation and terms on which they participate in the Australian legal system. The report raises complex issues which will need thorough consideration and the Government will carefully consider each of the report's recommendations.  More... 

Australian-Chinese author’s detention raises important questions about China’s motivations
Tony Walker; The Conversation: 25 January 2019
The unexplained detention of author and diplomat, Yang Hengjun, has raised more questions about the motives of a Chinese government under stress from within and without.  More... 

Serious offending by people serving a Community Correction Order: 2017–18
Dennis Byles, Geoff Fisher; Sentencing Advisory Council (Vic): 24 January 2019
In this report, the Council examines the number of people sentenced in 2017-18 for committing a serious offence while serving a community correction order.  More... 

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s administration of the Biometric Identification Services Project
Performance audit (Auditor-General Report No. 24 of 2018-2019): 21 January 2019
The objective of this audit was to assess the effectiveness of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s administration of the Biometric Identification Service project.  More... 

Criminal histories of Australian organised crime offenders
Georgina Fuller, Anthony Morgan and Rick Brown (2019)
Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice (Australian Institute of Criminology)
Organised crime is one of the most persistent and complex threats currently affecting Australia and was estimated to have cost up to $47.4 billion in 2016-17. While the nature of organised crime offending is well understood, much less is known about the criminal histories of those who engage in such offending.  More... 


Stambe v Minister for Health [2019] FCA 43
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Application for review of exercise of Ministerial discretion pursuant to s 90A(2) of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) granting approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits at particular premises – whether procedures required by law to be observed were not observed – whether Minister failed to consider comments, information and documents provided by applicant pursuant to invitation by Minister to do so – where Minister’s consideration informed by Ministerial briefing note – where Minister adopted draft reasons prepared by departmental staff subsequent to exercise of discretion – consideration of availability of inferences concerning which materials read by Minister – in the circumstances, Minister failed to consider materials provided by applicant – application allowed on ground one.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Application for review of exercise of Ministerial discretion pursuant to s 90A(2) of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) granting approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits at particular premises – whether Minister failed to take into consideration relevant considerations or took into account irrelevant considerations – matters raised by applicant were neither irrelevant nor mandatory considerations – whether Minister’s decision involved an error of law in definition of “community” adopted – no error in definition adopted by Minister – grounds two and three dismissed.
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – Consideration of scope of Ministerial discretion pursuant to s 90A(2) of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) – interpretation of scope of Minister’s obligation under s 90D(3) of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) to consider comments, information or documents provided by a person at Minister’s invitation.

Ellis v Central Land Council [2019] FCAFC 1
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Appeal from a judgement of a single Judge of the Federal Court of Australia – whether the primary judge erred in placing determinative weight on the operation of s 77A of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth) (ALR Act) in circumstances where no party submitted s 77A was relevant – whether the primary judge erred in failing to find that the appellants had been denied procedural fairness – whether the primary judge erred in her consideration of certain grounds run below, including by misunderstanding or mischaracterising the ground – whether the Central Land Council Committee (the Committee) lawfully formed a state of satisfaction under s 19(5)(a) of the ALR Act that the traditional Aboriginal owners of the Amoonguna land understood the nature and purpose of certain proposed leases and licences and, as a group, consented to them – whether it was legally unreasonable for the Committee to make its decision concerning the grant of the leases and licences without awaiting the provision of a commissioned anthropological report.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Cross-appeal – whether the affixing of the common seal of the Land Trust to the grants without a written authority signed by three members of the Land Trust invalidated the grants – whether s 5(2) of the ALR Act had the effect that the common seals had been validly affixed – whether later written authorities amounted to ratification of the earlier affixation of the common seal on the instruments of grant – whether the common law indoor management rule is applicable – claim that noncompliance with s 4(5) of the ALR Act was not invalidating – cross-appeal dismissed.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Whether the grantees had an equitable interest arising from their agreements that the leases and licence be granted to them – whether s 19(6) of the ALR Act preserved the validity of the grants – concluded view on these issues not necessary.
EVIDENCE – Whether the primary judge imposed an erroneously high standard of proof on the appellants or otherwise erred in making findings of fact – whether the primary judge misunderstood and/or misapplied the rule in Jones v Dunkel [1959] HCA 8; 101 CLR 298.

'PU' and Merit Protection Commissioner (Freedom of information) [2019] AICmr 4
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION — Whether documents contain deliberative matter prepared for a deliberative purpose —Whether contrary to public interest to release conditionally exempt documents — Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) ss 11A(5) and 47C. 

'PR' and Comcare (Freedom of information) [2019] AICmr 2
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION — Whether disclosure of personal information unreasonable — Whether contrary to the public interest to release conditionally exempt documents — Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) ss 11A(5) and 47F. 

'PQ' and Australian Taxation Office (Freedom of information) [2019] AICmr 1
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION — Whether documents subject to legal professional privilege — Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) s 42 

Queensland College of Teachers v Teacher BRT [2019] QCAT 12
EDUCATION – TRAINING AND REGISTRATION OF TEACHERS – ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – Non-publication order – where not in public interest to publicly identify child or school – where child vulnerable and prone to depression – where publication could harm child by affecting his reputation and lead to further victimisation.

Young v Assistant Commissioner of Police Dawson [2019] QCAT 8
POLICE – INTERNAL ADMINISTRATION – DISCIPLINE AND DISMISSAL FOR MISCONDUCT – QUEENSLAND – Where four matters of misconduct were found following a police disciplinary hearing – where three particulars of one matter of improper conduct in engaging in negative workplace behaviour were challenged as to substantiation. 

Crime and Corruption Commission v Assistant Commissioner Codd & Anor [2019] QCAT 7
POLICE – INTERNAL ADMINISTRATION – DISCIPLINE AND DISMISSAL FOR MISCONDUCT – QUEENSLAND – Where police officer provided a watch-house photograph to a member of the public – whether provision of the photograph was for a justifiable operational reason consistent with the functions of the police service – whether provision of the photograph was improper – safety considerations. 

Vaughan v Parole Board Queensland [2019] QSC 10
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – ERROR OF LAW – Where parole suspended by Parole Board member and confirmed by Parole Board – where Parole Board subsequently rescinded decisions confirming suspension – where Parole Board stated it would not consider certain matters – where Parole Board lifted suspension of parole and amended conditions of parole order – where suspension lifted three days after decision – where Parole Board did not give notice of amended conditions and medical report prior to amending conditions – where Parole Board gave information notice and medical report after amendment – where the applicant made submissions – where Parole Board confirmed the amended conditions – where the applicant applied for judicial review of the Parole Board’s decision to defer lifting suspension for three days and to amend the conditions – whether the Parole Board had exercised statutory power for suspension – whether the Parole Board took into account irrelevant considerations – whether Parole Board failed to accord natural justice. 



Act Compilation

Ombudsman Act 1976
23/01/2019 - Act No. 181 of 197 - An Act to provide for the appointment of a Commonwealth Ombudsman, a Defence Force Ombudsman, a Postal Industry Ombudsman, an Overseas Students Ombudsman, a Private Health Insurance Ombudsman and a VET Student Loans Ombudsman, and to define their respective functions and powers.

Australian Crime Commission Act 2002
23/01/2019 - Act No. 41 of 1984 - 4A. When a State offence has a federal aspect.

Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006
22/01/2019 - Act No. 85 of 2006.

Interactive Gambling Act 2001
22/01/2019 - Act No. 84 of 2001 - Prohibited interactive gambling services.

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.