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Border Force, search, examine, warrant, electronic device, phone, laptop, SIM card, risk, border, breach, Customs Act
17 Jan 2024

Can Border Force search your mobile phone?

Concerns regarding Border Force’s search powers It has been reported that the Australian Border Force searched more than 40,000 mobile phones and other data storage devices of travellers entering the country in just five years. During 2021, border officials demanded passwords to examine 822 mobile phones belonging to people entering the country, sometimes copying data […]
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misfeasance, tort, public office, public official, robodebt, Royal Commission, Criminal Code Act, criminal charges, civil charges, malice, harm
28 Nov 2023

Misfeasance in public office and the robodebt debacle

What is misfeasance in public office? The tort of misfeasance – it sounds like an evil spell in Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, and in a way it’s similar. Misfeasance is a legal term relating to the abuse of power by a person holding public office. Misfeasance and the robodebt scandal The term […]
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deepfake, AI, artificial intelligence, bullying, misinformation, disinformation, image-based abuse, fake news, privacy, cybersecurity, data protection, child protection, defamation, e-safety, online
24 Nov 2023

AI-generated deepfake images create bullying danger

Concerns with the use of artificial intelligence on the internet are growing, due to its potential to design powerful toxins, control robo-missiles, perpetuate online scams, spread misinformation and lies, and create AI-generated deepfake imagery and porn. Children exploiting deepfake imagery for bullying Australia’s online safety regulator reports AI-generated sexually explicit imagery and deepfake porn are […]
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outsourcing, employer, employee, ground crew, Qantas, sacked, dismissed, industrial action, enterprise bargaining, Fair Work Act, penalty, restructure, workforce
23 Nov 2023

Qantas acted illegally in sacking 1700 ground crew and outsourcing their jobs

The recent unanimous High Court ruling declaring Qantas’s actions illegal in sacking nearly 1700 workers and outsourcing their roles is very significant, although possibly not for the reasons most people might think. Outsourcing as a strategy to avoid industrial action The judgment does not mean employers cannot reduce the size of their workforce by outsourcing […]
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nuclear waste, nuclear waste dump, traditional owner, Barngarla, Kimba, South Australia, Lucas Heights, ballot, Federal Court, waste dump, consult, consultation, storage, radioactive, enriched waste, submarine, AUKUS
11 Oct 2023

Court rejects nuclear waste dump after challenge by traditional owners

Coalition government claimed dump site had support of local community When the previous coalition government announced a national nuclear waste dump would be built on a 211-hectare farm near Kimba in South Australia, it proclaimed it had the support of local people. The dump would take low-level radioactive medical waste and temporarily store intermediate-level nuclear […]
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Aboriginal fishing, traditional fishing, cultural fishing, indigenous fishing, fisher, Fisheries Management Act, Native Title Act, fishery, Aboriginal, Indigenous, ATSI, ecosystem, environment, catch, bag limit, catch limit, prosecution, abalone, permit, permit system, hunting, gathering, ocean
12 Sep 2023

Traditional Aboriginal fishing in NSW: end to prosecutions long overdue

Indigenous people in New South Wales continue to be targeted and prosecuted under the Fisheries Management Act for participating in traditional Aboriginal fishing practices, leading to disconnection from Country, loss of intergenerational knowledge and adverse health outcomes. Indigenous environmental management practices and cultural traditions Indigenous Australians have managed their lands and waters for millennia, ensuring […]
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bail, police bail, police, NSW, court, arrest, accused, Bail Act, unacceptable risk, witness, offence, prosecution, bail conditions, innocent, guilty
07 Sep 2023

Who is entitled to get bail?

It used to be that everyone had the right to bail, based on the legal assumption that people are entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty. But over the years the general presumption in favour of bail has been tightened. It can now be refused if the person is arrested for a serious crime, […]
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jury duty, juror, court, lawyer, judge, sheriff, accused, crime, evidence, judgment, trial, criminal trial, conflict of interest, victim
17 Aug 2023

I’ve been called up for jury duty. What happens now?

Before you could be called up for jury duty to decide the guilt or innocence of an accused, the fate of the person before the court was usually decided by a priest in the belief that God would intervene on behalf of the innocent. Court trials before juries existed In the past there was no […]
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speak ill of the dead, defamation, defamatory, defamed, deceased, reputation, legal action, ALRC, Australian Law Reform Commission, injunction, declaratory order, correction, Defamation Act, publication, identifiable, social media, internet, claim
19 Jul 2023

Yes, you can speak ill of the dead

For thousands of years we have been told not to speak “evil” of the dead. Some say it dates back to the 6th century BC philosopher Chilon of Sparta, who warned it would harm the deceased’s enjoyment of the afterlife. Mind you, Chilon also said “obey the law”, and Australian law says you certainly can […]
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farm trespass laws, farm, farming, agriculture, ag-gag laws, animal welfare, animal advocate, animal cruelty, animal rights, video, covert, footage, private property, slaughterhouse, transparency, whistleblower, live export, greyhound, horse racing, cruelty
18 Jul 2023

NSW farm trespass laws upheld by High Court

In 2022 the High Court upheld the NSW farm trespass laws, also known as the “ag-gag laws” that make it a criminal offence for animal welfare advocates and others to publish covert video footage taken as a result of trespassing on private agricultural property. Challenge to constitutionality of farm trespass laws Animal protection group Farm […]
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break and enter, intruder, trespass, entry, premises, dwelling, lease, residential tenancy, agreement, lessee, indictable offence, intimidation, aggravation, corporal violence, Crimes Act, Crown, Court of Criminal Appeal, appeal, High Court, convicted, apprehended violence order
13 Jul 2023

High Court rules it’s not “break and enter” if the intruder’s name is on the lease

Ex-partner accused of break and enter In a recent case involving a break and enter charge, woman was terrified when her former boyfriend kicked down the front door, breaking three locks, forced his way into the apartment, shook her and threw her phone to the floor when she tried to call police. The two had […]
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mental health impairment, crime, criminally, responsible, murder, hallucination, forensic, mental health, mental disorder, tribunal, persecution, victim, perpetrator, cognitive, impairment, anxiety, bipolar, depression, psychotic
20 Jun 2023

When does the defence of mental health impairment apply?

Mental health impairment and “not criminally responsible” verdicts In a recent court case, a man set a fire to a stranger’s house and laughed and cheered as the victim inside burned to death. The judge found that he had a mental health impairment and was not criminally responsible for murder. There was clear evidence Harley […]
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AI, artificial intelligence, ChatGPT, regulation, law, hallucination, AI control, AI system, AI regulation, digital, technology, deepfake, National AI Centre
15 Jun 2023

New laws coming to curtail artificial intelligence (AI)

Lawyer’s use of AI program confirms its unreliability A New York lawyer was embarrassed to admit using artificial intelligence (AI) program ChatGPT when preparing his courtroom legal argument, after it was exposed to have cited several court cases that didn’t exist. When the judge and opponent lawyers couldn’t find the cases, the lawyer discovered ChatGPT […]
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sleepwalking, asleep, parasomnia, sexsomnia, criminal, defence, mental health, cognitive impairment, offence, rehabilitation, prosecution, jury, acquitted, guilty, not guilty
09 Jun 2023

“But I was asleep” – the sleepwalking defence in criminal trials

One of the strangest defences that has been used in criminal trials is that the accused was asleep or sleepwalking when they committed the offence. Mens rea in the context of sleepwalking The legal term mens rea refers to criminal intent, requiring a person to have awareness or knowledge that they are doing wrong in […]
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ChatGPT, AI, artificial intelligence, chatbot, Microsoft, defamation, generative AI, accuracy, falsehood, OpenAI, whistleblower, defamatory, publishing, publication, claimant, bot
18 May 2023

Inventiveness of ChatGPT poses risk of defamation

The sudden emergence of ChatGPT and artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots as a feature of everyday life has opened up a new frontier in digital communication and content creation. However, the capacity of the technology to create false information raises the threat that those who disseminate such falsehoods can be sued for defamation. What is ChatGPT? […]
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21 Apr 2023

Guilty or not guilty – could computers replace judges in a court of law?

Weighing up the pros and cons of a case, discarding irrelevancies, assessing the likelihood of statements being the truth or a lie… it’s all in a day’s work for a judge in a court. But could computers replace judges, if programmed correctly? Could a computer weigh the evidence and decide whether the defendant is guilty […]
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Rights of Nature, natural world, environment, natural environment, climate change, climate catastrophe, personhood, legal rights, law, animals, plants, Animal Welfare Act, Whanganui River, Ganges River, Murray Darling Basin, Great Barrier Reef, Blue Mountains, rivers
30 Mar 2023

“Rights of nature” redefining humanity’s place in the natural world

The looming climate catastrophe has engendered the “Rights of Nature” movement, which strives to redefine the relationship between humanity and the world we inhabit. The natural world is arguably recognised as a living entity with legal “personhood” and the same rights as humans to be protected, survive and thrive. Climate change and ecological deterioration Chances […]
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workplace surveillance, surveillance, monitoring, employer, employee, Covid, workplace, Privacy Act, Workplace Surveillance Act, webcam, keystroke, screenshot
15 Mar 2023

Workplace surveillance and employee monitoring on the rise

British and US surveys have found that since Covid lockdowns, when many more people started working from home, the number of businesses that undertake workplace surveillance and monitor employees’ activities is estimated to have more than doubled. A UK Trades Union survey found one in seven workers said surveillance had increased since the start of […]
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