Submission to the Victorian Government’s consultations on the state’s first LGBTIQ strategy – 31 July 2020
We support clear and consistent government standards to foster equality and inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) Victorians. We have lodged a submission to the Victorian Government’s consultations on the state’s first LGBTIQ strategy, advocating for priorities to remove discrimination and improve inclusive services across all government bodies, services and agencies. Our recommendations include modernising Victoria’s anti-discrimination, sexual harassment and vilification laws to ensure all LGBTIQ people are protected from unfair and harmful behaviour because of who they are.
Submission to the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence – 20 July 2020
In our submission to the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence, we highlighted:
- the way in which the justice system can be an actor of safety and accountability in responding to family, domestic and sexual violence
- the importance of access to legal services for people to address a range of legal issues that arise due to their family violence situation
- we reinforced the intersection between family law and family violence; noting that the majority of matters that enter the family law courts involve allegations of family violence.
- highlight the role of a safe, accessible, inclusive family law system that centres decision making on the best interests of children at minimising prolonged conflict post separation.
Through our submission we recommended that the next National Action Plan on reducing violence against women and children includes legal services – and in particular family law services.
In collaboration with the Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria and Women’s Legal Service, this submission provides VLA’s reflections on how the family violence service system, and users’ experience of it, has changed since the Royal Commission into Family Violence, what is still required in the family violence reforms and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family violence reforms.
This submission does not attempt to comment on all areas of family violence reform. We focus on the justice system response to family violence and seek to draw the FVRIM’s attention to some of the challenges and opportunities that we believe should be prioritised in the next stage of family violence reform including noting the necessary time still required for implementation to continue and take effect.
We make a range of recommendations under four broad headings:
- ensure the ambition for holistic, systemic reform to family violence occurs
- recognise legal services are an integral part of responding to family violence
- recognise the different responses required for particular communities
- improve the broader systems response to people who have experienced family violence
National Legal Aid letter regarding the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 (Cth) – 30 June 2020
In a letter endorsed by all Legal Aid Commissions across Australia, National Legal Aid has voiced concerns to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s Review of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 (Cth). We do not support powers of apprehension and compulsory questioning of minors aged 14 years and older as framed in the Bill, and make a case for stronger safeguards and protective mechanisms should the committee support the powers.
Preventing the escalation of legal problems during COVID-19 – Submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 – May 2020
We have made a series of recommendations to the Senate’s inquiry into the Australian Government’s COVID-19 response. We welcome urgent measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19, including additional funding for family violence and mental health services, new JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments, and temporary holds on Centrelink debt enforcement and mutual obligations requirements. We highlight emerging trends in the demands for legal need during COVID-19, and make recommendations for further measures to address family violence and reduce family law system delays, broader social security supports for vulnerable cohorts, increased flexibility, responsiveness and cooperation in the NDIS, fast tracking the release of vulnerable people from immigration detention and access to healthcare and income supports for refugees living in the community, stronger protections against workplace discrimination, and additional funding for legal assistance services to meet increased demand in the aftermath of COVID-19.
It starts with a home: Ten legal issues that cause – or are caused by – homelessness in Victoria submission to the Victorian Homelessness Inquiry – March 2020
In 2018–19, Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) provided legal assistance to over 6,300 Victorians who identified as being homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Through this work we see the two-way relationship between homelessness and legal issues in Victoria:
- homelessness can cause or contribute to a person or family’s legal issues
- legal issues can cause or contribute to a person or family becoming homeless.
This submission shares the stories of 11 people highlighting the intersections between people’s experience of homelessness and their life and legal issues, including in relation to their families, income, health and mental health, ability to live free from discrimination, and engagement with the criminal justice system.
Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights and Technology Project – March 2020
In our submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission, Victoria Legal Aid has called for greater regulation of future technology use by governments in service delivery to ensure people’s human rights are upheld. We have called for AI informed decision-making to only be implemented following public consultation and user-testing with people directly affected, modernising Australian laws to prevent a repeat of the hardship caused to hundreds and thousands of Australians targeted by Robodebt, and a focus on transparency, accountability and oversight in regulating new technology.
Submission to the Council of Attorneys-General Working Group – The Age of Criminal Responsibility Review – February 2020
This National Legal Aid submission to the Council of Attorneys-General’s Review of the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility we have called for the age to be raised to 14, and replaced with alternative responses which are child recovery and development focused, tailored to the child’s needs and circumstances and embedded in an outcomes framework.
We share the experiences of 16 clients from Victoria and NSW.
New framework for income reporting to Centrelink – Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee’s inquiry into the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Bill 2020 – 14 February 2020
Informed by our work, we prepared a brief submission on the Australian Government’s proposed new social security framework which has been introduced to allow for Single Touch Payroll and other changes to how people report their employment and other income to Centrelink when they’re receiving social security payments. We advocated for clarification of key aspects of the Bill which should be improved by defining key terms and making clear that the ATO data cannot be averaged over a 52 week period to raise a debt.
Victorian Anti-Vilification inquiry – Joint Submission from Victoria Legal Aid and Victorian Aboriginal Legal Services – 31 January 2020
We have partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service to lodge a joint submission Fair and accessible anti-vilification protections for all Victorians to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections. Our submission highlights the need for broader protections from hate speech (i.e. gender, disability and LGBTIQ+ grounds), an improved civil test and additional harm-based civil protections, reviewing criminal offences, stronger enforcement powers for VEOHRC and additional measures, including powers to deal with online hate speech, research and support services for prevention.
We have concerns about new exceptions in the proposed Federal Religious Discrimination Bill. We have lodged two submissions on the first and second exposure drafts of the Religious Discrimination Bill. The submissions state that federal anti-discrimination laws should protect people from discrimination based on their religion, similar to existing protections in Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act. Our position is informed by our work providing over 1300 legal advices on discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and vilification last year. \
In our submission to the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System, we are advocating for a family law system that is safe, accessible, inclusive, and that centres decision making on the best interests of children. To achieve this, we recommended in our submission that the family law courts are adequately equipped to reduce delays and that the legal assistance sector is properly resourced to support vulnerable families. We are also supporting the introduction of earlier determinations of family violence in family law proceedings, and recommending greater availability of legally assisted family dispute resolution services to avoid families needing to go to court. Lastly, we continue to promote the critical role of multidisciplinary approaches such as the Family Advocacy and Support Service which respond to both legal and non-legal needs.
Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Free and Equal Inquiry Discussion Paper: A model for positive human rights reform in Australia – November 2019
We have called for a national Charter of Rights to ensure Federal laws, policies, decisions and actions better protect people’s human rights in their daily lives. The inquiry is collecting input on the most effective ways to ensure that human rights are taken into account in government decision-making. Our submission highlights the important benefits of the Victorian Charter in improving public service standards, ensuring human rights are considered in developing new legislation and upholding our clients’ human rights. We highlight the gaps in human rights protections at a Federal level and illustrate the need for an Australian Charter to instil a rights-respecting culture within government, secure fairer decisions for our clients, incorporate human rights into new laws and policies and ensure Federal laws are interpreted and applied consistently with human rights. The critical need for a national rights charter is summarised in our news story.
Submission to Australian Human Rights Commission’s Free and Equal Inquiry Discussion Paper: Priorities for Federal Discrimination Law Reform – November 2019
Our submission to the AHRC’s inquiry into Federal discrimination laws provides clear guidance based on our practice experience to build a modern and accessible legal framework for preventing and addressing discrimination. We propose a range of reforms to remove existing barriers to people understanding and asserting their rights and shifting the focus of our regulatory framework to prevention through a positive duty on duty holders, rather than relying on individual complaints. VLA strongly supports the modernisation and consolidation of Federal discrimination laws to address the daily impact of discrimination on people’s health, wellbeing and life opportunities.
Submission to the Commission for Children and Young People’s Inquiry into the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children and young people in the criminal justice system – November 2019
With a limit of 20 pages, our submission focuses on key recommendations for addressing the system inequalities that continue the cycle of overrepresentation. Most of the principles and suggestions we make should equally apply to young adults.
Submission to the Review of the NDIS Act and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee – November 2019
Together with other legal aid commissions we made a submission to the independent review into the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The Review is looking at how a ‘Participant Service Guarantee' with legislated timeframes for major decisions, could improve the current scheme. The submission states that a Participant Service Guarantee should provide a framework for enforceable minimum standards that decision makers can rely on to recognise their responsibilities, and participants, carers and families can use to understand their rights. A specific and enforceable framework would help to make sure the NDIS operates effectively. This includes a service safety net for clients with complex needs who cannot get the services they have been funded to receive.
Submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into Centrelink’s Compliance Program – September 2019
In a new submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee with National Legal Aid we have called for Centrelink’s robo-debt scheme to be stopped and replaced with a fairer, accurate system people can trust.
We share the experiences of 11 clients from around Australia and lay out 10 recommendations to redesign the system.
Submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into the Impact of changes to service delivery models on the administration and running of Government programs – August 2019
We have made a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s review Victoria’s committal system, in response to their Issues Paper. Victoria Legal Aid support retaining committal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court, emphasising that a well-run committal can narrow the issues for trial or facilitate early resolution. We make recommendations for improved practices by all parties with a focus on timely disclosure, increased communication and early involvement and oversight by senior lawyers on both sides, and mechanisms to improve the experience of complainants and witnesses.
We note the significant resource implications of moving pre-trial proceedings to the higher courts, and the paucity of evidence from other jurisdictions that it can improve delay or efficiency. In our submission, that same investment instead directed at properly resourcing the courts, prosecution, investigators, defence, and witness services, would have a much greater and measurable impact. Note – this version of the submission does not include the appendix, which cannot be published for confidentiality reasons.
Submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry regarding the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2019 – August 2019
Our submission, Assessing seriousness of offending in character cancellation: avoiding unnecessary and costly changes, draws on VLA’s specialist migration work (almost 2000 services last year), as well as our work across crime and family violence. We make three key points:
- Australia’s criminal courts are the most appropriate forum for determining the seriousness of offending, risk and penalties.
- The Bill would create uncertainty and injustice.
- There would be significant unintended consequences, carrying heavy costs for the immigration detention, criminal justice, family violence and administrative law systems.
The submission recommends that the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee reports on the significant risks associated with the Bill and recommends that the Bill not proceed.
Submission to the Victorian Parliament's Inquiry into a Legislated Spent Convictions Scheme – June 2019
We supports the introduction of a legislated spent convictions scheme to reduce unfairness and promote participation in employment and community life by people who have previously been involved in the criminal justice system.
A person’s rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community should be a priority for the whole community, and efforts must be made to remove hard barriers to achieving this objective. Access to employment and participation in community life support social inclusion, and are protective factors against further offending.
Submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission Review of the Family Law System Discussion Paper – November 2018
We have made a further submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Family Law System review, in response to a Discussion Paper which makes over 120 proposals for change. In our submission we welcome the paper’s clear focus on safety, accessibility and early intervention services. We have identified six broad areas and made 32 recommendations for further consideration as the ALRC develops its final report and recommendations. These include better co-ordination of legal and non-legal support services, stronger obligations for financial disclosure in property disputes, improved availability of legally assisted dispute resolution and provisions for safe information sharing between jurisdictions.
Our submission On the Merits – Getting important and complex decisions right contains the stories of four clients whose lives have been directly and significantly impacted by decisions relating to:
- their access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme
- their visa and whether they were able to continue to live in Australia with their family
- overwhelming robo-debts.
Submission to Australian Law Reform Commission Review of the Family Law System Issues Paper – May 2018
We have made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into the family law system, making a series of recommendations to ensure the system is accessible, inclusive, equitable and safe. We believe the family law system should support families to resolve their disputes early, where safe to do so, through an expanded and legally assisted family dispute resolution service. The system should also hold the users of family violence to account, and prioritise the safety of victim survivors, including children.
We have made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, welcoming the proposed amendments in the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2017. Based on our practice experience we believe the proposed changes will reduce duplication and confusion for families with complex legal matters across the family law, family violence and child protection jurisdictions. While supporting the proposed amendments we also recommend that additional resources be provided to the courts and legal aid services to accommodate an increased family law workload, and for the provision of family law training to judicial officers, court staff, child protection workers and lawyers in state and territory courts to enable them to make informed decisions.
Submission to the Sentencing Advisory Council issues paper on the creation of a Sentencing Guidelines Council for Victoria
We welcome the introduction of a Sentencing Guidelines Council to provide greater public confidence in, and understanding of the sentencing process, and to promote greater consistency in the sentencing process.
In our submission to the Sentencing Advisory Council we reaffirm our strong support for judicial independence and discretion, and highlight its importance to the administration of justice. In our view, the new Council should have a majority of members from the judiciary. But we also recommend that the choice of community representatives on the Council reflect the experiences of vulnerable and over-represented groups in the criminal justice system, like women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We believe rigorous, transparent, and genuine community consultation will be a vital part of the process to develop sentencing guidelines.
Submission to the Victorian Ombudsman on a pilot investigation of Dame Phyllis Frost Centre to help inform the practical changes needed in Victoria to implement Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
We have welcomed the decision to undertake a pilot inspection to OPCAT standards of the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre. We have extensive practical experience with the Centre, through providing legal assistance to clients there. We support the focus of OPCAT on the prevention of human rights abuses by identifying risk factors and protective safeguards. We have also noted the importance of taking into account the cultural background of prisoners when assessing whether there is a risk of torture or other cruel or inhuman punishment of treatment.
Submission to the Parliamentary inquiry into the exte rnal oversight of police and PSO corruption and misconduct in Victoria – 3 August 2017
We have written to IBAC and their Committee looking into the external oversight of police corruption and misconduct in Victoria. We believe there must be a robust, independent an external body that investigates allegations of police misconduct and corruption, because without it, public confidence in policing will inevitably be undermined. However, the current system which hands the investigation process back to the police is inappropriate for independent assessment of serious complaints.
Submission to the consultation paper on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – 1 July 2017
We contributed to the Human Rights Commissioner’s OPCAT in Australia Consultation Paper. We regard the Australian Government’s intention to ratify OPCAT by the end of the year as an important measure to strengthen respect for the right to freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. As the statutory authority tasked to ensure access to justice in Victoria, we are committed to working with the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Commonwealth Government and all relevant stakeholders in pursuit of the goal to prevent breaches of fundamental human rights.
We have made a submission to the senate inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017. We are concerned that the proposed changes in this Bill may have an impact on recipients of ‘robodebt’ notifications. Our submission recommends that the amendments be rejected as they appear to be an attempt to broaden the Department’s power to gather information through coercive means.
Submission to Parliamentary inquiry into a better family law system to support and protect those affected by family violence – A Better Family Law System
Our submission on A Better Family Law System calls for reform to the family law courts to focus on safety. In our view, prioritising safety in the family law courts includes, in our view: earlier judicial decision-making about family violence allegations, increased family violence support services at family courts, more regular family violence training of family law professionals, more resourcing and better integration across the family law system, and the elimination of direct cross examination. We also suggest ways to make small family property settlements more accessible by creating a new simplified claims option.
Submission to Sentencing Advisory Council 'Swift, Certain and Fair Approaches to Sentencing Family Violenc e Offenders' discussion paper
We have made a submission to the Sentencing Advisory Council on ‘swift and certain’ approaches to the sentencing of family violence offenders in response to a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Attorney-General Hon. Martin Pakula MP asked the council for advice on the desirability of, and ways of ‘accommodating’ such approaches. The council has released a discussion paper, Swift, Certain and Fair Approaches to the Sentencing of Family Violence Offenders, which raises issues particularly relevant to our summary crime practice prompting the council to invite us to make a submission.
Submission to the Disability Discrimination Commissioner 'Shaping our future: Discussion on disability rights'
The Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, was appointed in 2016. He is conducting a national consultation to help progress and guide development of his priorities and seek input from the disability community on how he can most effectively work to advance the rights of people with disability. We made a submission to the Commissioner in April 2017 highlighting what needs to change to see the rights of people with disability better protected, what is being done well that could be built on to achieve systemic change and what the Commissioner could do to most effectively advance the rights of people with disability. Our submission makes practical suggestions for change and evaluates what is currently working in the context of employment, criminal justice, access to the disability support pension, indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment, mental health insurance discrimination and in relation to the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
We have made a submission to the senate inquiry which is investigating the operation of Centrelink’s automated data-matching initiative (commonly referred to as ‘robo-debt'). The submission details our concerns about the fairness and appropriateness of how the automated data-matching system is operating and its impact on the most disadvantaged in the community.
We have written to the Victorian Parliament to contribute to their Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee's inquiry into drug law reform. We are continuing to see an increase in the number of people affected by drug use who come into contact with the criminal justice system. In particular, our practice experience suggests that ice use is increasingly prevalent. We know that people experiencing disadvantage and social exclusion are more vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse and we welcome an approach that treats drug use as a heath issue requiring treatment.
We have contributed to the review of Victoria’s bail system by Justice Coghlan. In our view, the current regime set out in the Bail Act, though complex, is workable, flexible and effective. It provides bail decision makers with sufficient scope and discretion to balance risk to community safety with the presumption of innocence and the need to avoid unnecessary detention. We consider that any legislative change aimed at further limiting the availability of bail will have a dramatic impact on the criminal justice system. We do believe the Bail Act could be simplified, the quality of information for bail decision makers could be improved and early intervention services must be strengthened.
Submission for Australia Country Visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women – February 2017
Ahead of meeting with the during her February 2017 visit to Australia, we wrote to her setting out our key concerns relating to her priority areas. We noted the need for an improved legal sector response to family violence, including reform to prevent direct cross-examination of women by family violence perpetrators. We emphasised the impacts of family violence on women prisoners, and the child protection consequences of family violence, especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers who seek help when experiencing family violence. We called for 'being a victim of family violence or stalking' to be a protected attribute under human rights legislation.
The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit is into the Auditor-General’s report Qualifying for the Disability Support Pension. Our submission to the Inquiry makes recommendations to improve the quality of Centrelink decision-making and ensure that people with disabilities who meet the eligibility requirements for the Disability Support Pension are assessed accurately and efficiently.
If passed, the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill will establish new processes and requirements about the making of medical treatment decisions where the person being treated does not have decision-making capacity. Victoria Legal Aid recommends that further consultation be undertaken with consumers to ensure the Bill provides adequate safeguards and clear and effective procedures.
Infrastructure Victoria is developing a 30-year strategy for Victoria’s infrastructure needs, including consideration of how to reduce demand on justice infrastructure and how to provide vulnerable people with access to housing. Victoria Legal Aid submitted on the draft strategy, with a focus on ensuring the strategy will support the needs of disadvantaged Victorians into the future. We advocated for the role of legal assistance in integrated service delivery models, the inclusion of justice reinvestment principles and programs, appropriate recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, ensuring disadvantaged tenants can sustain their tenancies, and appropriate mental health care facilities to meet current demands.
Submission to the Victorian Ombudsman inquiry into Office of Housing maintenance debts – October 2016
We have written to the Victorian Ombudsman in relation to their investigation into the Office of Housing’s processes for determining and pursuing maintenance debts against public housing tenants. This submission to the Ombudsman’s investigation is based on VLA’s practice experience assisting disadvantaged tenants. We participated in this process because we were concerned the department did not undergo appropriate assessment of why tenants’ debts had arisen, failed to properly take into account the profound disadvantage of many tenants in the public housing system and that their practice may have breached the Victorian Government’s Model Litigant Guidelines.
Update: The Victorian Ombudsman released its report Investigation into the management of maintenance claims against public housing tenants on 30 October 2017.
The Royal Commission sought feedback on their consultation paper on Criminal Justice. The issues examined in the paper included third-party offences, delays in prosecutions, evidence of victims and survivors, tendency and coincidence evidence and joint trials, appeals and post-sentencing issues. Victoria Legal Aid provided a written response to the consultation paper.
The Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill currently before the House of Representatives proposes to discontinue income support for people who are in psychiatric confinement and have been charged with a 'serious offence' (forensic patients). These measures were previously introduced in the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 and subject to inquiry by the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee. If introduced, these measures will have a significant and detrimental impact on the rehabilitation and reintegration of forensic patients in Victoria.
Victoria Legal Aid recently made a submission to the ‘Enabling Justice Project Consultation Paper: People living with an acquired brain injury using their experiences of the criminal justice system to achieve systemic change’ issued by the Centre for Innovative Justice.
Our Executive Director, Criminal Law Services, Helen Fatourous presented a paper at the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference, 22 July 2016.
The Department of Justice and Regulation sought feedback on their discussion paper, Equity and fairness in jury selection. The discussion paper included proposals relating to blind and deaf jurors, peremptory challenges and challenges for cause. Victoria Legal Aid provided a written response to the discussion paper which has been captured in our publicly available submission.
The Department of Justice and Regulation, through consultation with the Appeals Cost Board, developed a range of possible reforms to the Appeal Costs Act 1998. The Department sought input from relevant stakeholders on four specific amendments to the Act. Victoria Legal Aid provided a written submission to the review addressing these proposed amendments.
The Department of Social Services is reviewing the . Together with National Legal Aid, we made a submission to the review advocating for the need for access to legal services for applicants appealing decisions of the National Disability Insurance Agency to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
It is anticipated that the review will be completed by early to mid-2018.
On 2 December 2015 the Senate Community Affairs References Committee announced a Commonwealth inquiry in relation to . Victoria Legal Aid provided a written submission and oral evidence to the inquiry.
Our submission to the Victorian Government’s outlines that in order to address gender inequality, Victoria must improve the legal and policy response to the parental responsibilities of workers and sex discrimination in the workplace.
In our submission to the Sentencing Advisory Council on effective mechanisms for sentencing guidance, we focus on the need for evidence-based decision making. We question whether there is a need for a new form of legislative guidance, and whether strategies like mandatory sentencing are capable of improving public confidence and consistency of sentencing approach. We argue that on the evidence, schemes that limit judicial discretion do not work, are unjust, and disproportionately impact the disadvantaged.
Our experience is that judicial discretion is central to the administration of justice. If the aim is to improve consistency and public confidence, we argue that guideline judgments are likely to be most effective, together with non-legislative measures such as community education and research.
It is anticipated that the review will be completed by early to mid-2018.
The inquiry will report on its findings and recommendations by July 2016.
Our submission to the Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work makes recommendations to increase protections for workers subject to labour hire arrangements and other forms of insecure employment, particularly women workers, migrant workers, workers with disability and victims of family violence.
The inquiry is due to release its final report by 31 July 2016.
In our submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission on we look at how victims of crime can be more meaningfully supported and engaged in criminal trial processes, and make recommendations to help provide them with improved access to justice.
We describe how we have successfully used the charter to help our clients who have had their human rights breached. We also identify opportunities to strengthen and improve the charter to make it more accessible and enforceable.
In our submission to the we present the experience of our staff in helping clients who use crystal methamphetamine. We make recommendations about reducing the impact of ice use on our clients, their families and the community.
The taskforce will develop a national ice action strategy by the end of 2015.
Our submission to the Attorney-General highlights the changes required to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) to ensure that it operates fairly and to overcome a major shortcoming, being its reliance on individual complainants for enforcement.
August 2016 update – the religious exceptions in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)allow broad discrimination on the basis of sexuality, gender identity, marital status, parental status and religion. Exceptions to the Act occur when they conform with religious beliefs or where they are ‘reasonably necessary to avoid injury to the religious sensitivities of adherents of the religion’. For instance, a religious school could be allowed to discriminate against a gardener because the gardener has been divorced or are is a same-sex relationship, even though this is irrelevant to their role. Reforms announced by the government will reinstate the original wording of religious exceptions in the Act. This will limit exceptions to situations where conforming with religious beliefs is a requirement of employment.
In our submission to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into the Workplace Relations framework we identify ways to improve existing workplace protections, based on our experience helping vulnerable employees with discrimination claims.
The report is expected to be tabled by the end of 2015.
In our supplementary submission to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into the Workplace Relations framework we respond to the Commission's draft report, particularly its recommendation to cap compensation, and recommend ways to better protect migrant workers.
In our submission to the we outline some of the challenges with the child support system experienced by both parents who provide and receive child support. We make some suggestions to better support vulnerable parents to meet their obligations and reduce the complexity of the scheme.
*Note: page 2 includes figures updated since the submission was accepted by the inquiry.
The Standing Committee expects to table its report in 2015.
Our submission focuses on unmet civil legal need, the effectiveness of the mixed model of legal assistance services, Community Legal Centre administration and reform in Victoria and the valuable role of independent boards in service design and delivery.
The Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences and Other Matters) Act 2014 was passed in October 2014.
In our submission, we highlight the important role that the legal assistance sector plays in providing access to justice. Our submission also described how effective strategic advocacy is cost effective and can deliver lasting benefits for the community.
In our submission to the Commonwealth Government review of the Act we highlighted the way in which discrimination in employment on the basis of pregnancy is a significant bar to women accessing paid parental leave entitlements.
Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.
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Reviewed 16 May 2022