Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

A review of Australian federal and state legislation, usually before they pass both houses.

Great bill that might end up a dog’s (or cougar’s) breakfast

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-02-08

The evil cackling you hear in the background is me thinking about how many harmless people could be locked away for up to three years if Nick Xenophon’s proposed legislation, with laudable aims, gets through.  Ain’t I a nice guy giving losers the chance to raise their concerns to government, and maybe keep their loser activities from becoming criminal?

The Senate Inquiry into the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2010 got me wondering how many Australian women approaching or over "a certain age" (whatever that is) will have to delete their facebook and or myspace profiles, and start again with a new profile created from scratch, unless female behaviour has changed radically in the last 15 years or so.

Oh well, it’s an easy way to get rid of all the silly groups and pages they have joined!

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Posted in Australia, Language Use, Legislation, Politics | 2 Comments »

Senators Bob Brown and Joyce on the same side

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-12-01

Whoa!  Do mine eyes deceive me?  Senators Brown and Joyce officially in agreement to the extent of jointly sponsoring a bill with Xenophon?

…and on something that aims, at a sustainable environment, being nice to cuddly animals, and improving the working conditions of laborers?

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Posted in Australia, Biology and Health, Environment, Legislation, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Religious exemption from anti-discrimination law: the inescapable conclusion

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-07-22

As a hypothetical, let’s say that anti-discrimination laws allow discrimination by certain organizations based on the nature of the organization, such as religious institutions, including schools, wanting to be able to employ only those (whether as teachers, janitors or receptionists) of the same sect.

Then we invite the Education Minister to an interview:

  • Interviewer: Minister, how important do you think it is that children in our education system are not only given basic facts, but are provided with the skills to develop questions and hypotheses, analyze information, and come to the best conclusions based on the information available to them?
  • Minister: (cannot answer anything but "very" unless wanting a change of portfolio).
  • Interviewer: So, essential to the nature of a state education system, indeed any education with support from the state, is the need to question?
  • Minister: (cannot answer anything but "yes" unless wanting a change of portfolio).
  • Interviewer: The dictionary would define "skepticism" as questioning, wouldn’t it.
  • Minister: Ummmm, (quivering voice, starting to see what is coming) yes.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Australia, Civil rights, Education, Legislation, Philosophy, Politics, Theology and Religion, Victoria | Leave a Comment »

Our law permits religiously-motivated violence to infants

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-06-03

Non-therapeutic male circumcision is discussed in a recent Australian Policy Online report.

Personally, I’d see non-therapeutic male circumcision in the same category as intimate or genital piercing, and covered by a section of the Summary Offences Amendment (Tattooing and Body Piercing) Bill 2008 (Vic) Division 6:

44(2): A body piercer must not perform body piercing on the genitalia, anal region, perineum or nipples of a person under the age of 18 years, whether or not consent has been given to the body piercing.

It’s worth noting that the Current Issues Brief No. 3, 2008 from the Research Service of the Victorian Parliament discusses the Victorian bill, and regulations in other Australian jurisdictions, the paper does not even contain the word circumcision.

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Posted in Australia, Biology and Health, Civil rights, Law, Legislation, Victoria | 12 Comments »

Greens and Libs in love-fest

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-05-11

You don’t often see a love-in between the Liberal/National coalition, the Greens and independents with the ALP left out in the cold, do you?  Yet this happened with the following preamble to the minority section of the report (2008-05-08) from the Senate Inquiry into the Water Amendment (Saving the Goulburn and Murray Rivers) Bill 2008.

All non-Government Senators participating in this inquiry, representing the Liberal and National Parties, the Australian Greens and Senator Nick Xenophon, share a strong consensus that:

Unlike the Carbon Pollution Reward Scheme, where Greens and Coalition both disagreed with Labor for exactly opposite reasons, the Greens and the Coalition were singing from the same song sheet.

The bill was put up by SA Liberal Senator Birmingham, in an attempt to protect the water in the Murray-Goulburn basin by outlawing new extractions for use outside the basin, (including the hated Brumby "North-South"/"Sugarloaf" pipeline) and received overwhelming support in submissions.

The committee ALP majority report boils down to "All the way with Brumby – because he is such a trustworthy guy – so the bill should be rejected".

The minority report detailed the public call for the bill to be passed (ahem, look at the first member of the public they quote on p19), and made three excellent recommendations:

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Posted in Australia, Environment, Legislation, Politics | 1 Comment »

Overview of Carbon Polluter Rewards Scheme submissions

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-03-31

This is a quick review of the public submissions on the CPRS bills, and a reminder that you only have little more than a week (2009-04-08) to get your general climate policy submissions into the Senate Climate Policy Committee.  Email your thoughts to

Anyway, on to the review of those submissions published on the Carbon Pollution Rewards Reduction Scheme: (and mine is here).

I’ve summarized the submissions, with a few sample snippets (both for good and ill – DES MOORE’S MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL).

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Environment, Legislation, Politics | 6 Comments »

My CPRS Submission is in

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-03-24

You’ve only got until the close-of-business tomorrow (2009-03-25) to get your submission in on the Carbon Polluter Rewards Scheme.  I got mine in today.

As you can see from the submission list form letters are squashed together… and are labelled as such, discounting somewhat the impression they will make on senators.

It’s worth reading Josh Gan’s submission, there are only 16 published so far (and many from self-serving types who pay only lip-service to the problem of climate change) if you get a chance before sending your own submission to – it need only be a paragraph or two outlining what you think really needs attention with the CPRS legislation – probably on the free rewards permits to polluters.

I’ll put mine up here ASAP.  Feel free to comment here if you’ve done the right thing!

Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Environment, Legislation, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Submission made to Gene Patents Inquiry

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-03-19

After discussing the gene patent inquiry a while back, I almost forgot to send my thoughts in… but I did.  Most of the submissions were pretty good, and the criticism of American patent law by American Law Professors (Sub 17 and Sub 17 Attachment 1) is a beauty.

It is also worth looking at the Australian Law Reform Commission’s submission (Sub 18), which was pretty much "we had this inquiry in 2004, nothing was done, we still say the same things, so get off your loathsome spotty behinds and DO something this time."

I was happy that I stressed that specific legislation and regulations could be counterproductive in the future, as no other published versions (I didn’t refer to them until after I wrote mine) mentioned this, although a later one did, and much better than I.  I also think I was the only person to suggest crowd-sourcing the scientific community to reject intellectual property claims that were really discoveries or prior art.

Anyway… my submission is over the fold (with a touch of reformatting…. no spelling errors changed) or you can pull down my PDF which is a bit prettier.

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Posted in Australia, Biology and Health, Economics and Business, Governance, Law, Legislation, Politics | 1 Comment »

Positions vacant for big-fanged garlic-hating nocturnal haematologists

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-03-16

I’ve had a quick look at the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority Bill 2009 and Commentary/Explanatory Memoranda.

It is one of the bills associated with the other Carbon Polluter Rebate Scheme bills that are currently in committee and open for submissions until 2009-03-25 via email to

At first glance, it doesn’t look too bad… but on second glance, my eyebrows either went up or became furrowed… I cannot figure out which.

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Environment, Ethics, Governance, Legislation, Politics | Leave a Comment »

OMG! I give Fielding two brownie points in one day!

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-11

I’m antithetical to almost everything in the subtext of "Family First" Senator Fielding’s platform, his power base, the way he works behind closed doors, etc, etc.

But I do have to give him a couple of big ticks today:

Even the Greens’ dissenting report was quite good… better than their usual set of platitudes with little analysis.

Still, I wish the Dems were still in parliament… their forensic skills are sorely missed.

The only brownie point to Rudd for the majority view is that while it was self-congratulatory and somewhat selective in it’s quoting from the submissions it did quote (especially selective with Saul Eslake’s submission, which was quite scathing as I reported yesterday), at least it wasn’t as idiotic as the section from the Coalition.

Posted in Australia, Governance, Legislation, Politics | 1 Comment »

Phone-in and blog launched by Oz Law Reform Commission

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-09

A new government blog as a means of conversation with citizens has been launched, by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), together with a two-day "phone-in".

Unlike "Conroy’s stillborn attempt at openness" (2008-12-28), the new blog is concerned with one issue as part of the "Government Secrecy Review" (2009-01-20).

The ALRC has been a lot smarter than Conroy: even if you aren’t interested in this particular consultation, it is well worth while browsing around the site if you are interested in how any consultation could be organized.

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Posted in Australia, Governance, Information Management, Law, Legislation, Politics | 1 Comment »

Saving the Goulburn-Murray bill: Overwhelming support

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-07

I’ve just reviewed all 31 public submississions that were sent to the Senate Inquiry into the Water Amendment (Saving the Goulburn and Murray Rivers) Bill 2008.

There was overwhelming support for the bill, which would make Joh Brumby’s Nightmare come true.

If the bill doesn’t get through the federal parliament, it’s because there is a dirty political deal being done to avoid embarassing an ALP state premier.

There were no transcripts I could review, so the breakdown of submissions is as follows:

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Posted in Australia, Environment, Governance, Legislation, Politics, Victoria | 2 Comments »

Stimulus inquiry: make your submission NOW

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-07

Are you critical of the Rudd "stimulus package"?

If so, get your comments to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee ( before the weekend is over, ideally after looking at the following:

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Governance, Legislation, Politics, Society | 2 Comments »

Law of the Red Crystal

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-04

Submissions recently closed for the Senate inquiry into Defence Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2008, a bill with a few technical amendments, but one very important one that everyone should understand.

Red Crystal, a.k.a the Third Protocol Emblem of the Geneva Convention, a thick-bordered red lozenge (90 degrees) with a white centre and white background

Red Crystal Emblem

It legislates for recognition and use of the Red Crystal, a.k.a. the "Third Protocol Emblem of the Geneva Convention".

The Red Crystal Debate stems from the offence some take from the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, the barely-understood Red Lion, as well as the totally unrecognized Red Star of David that Israel insists upon.

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Posted in Australia, Biology and Health, International, Language Use, Legislation, Politics, Society, Theology and Religion | Leave a Comment »

Saving the Goulburn-Murray Bill – Why no submissions published?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-01-27

Public submissions to the Commonwealth Saving the Goulburn and Murray Rivers Bill close Friday 2009-01-30, and unlike most Senate inquiries, when my submissions have been published within 1 or 2 working days, this is not the case for this inquiry: after the end of three working days mine isn’t published.  Actually, NO submissions from anyone have been published.

I hope it’s not because it’s a private member’s bill from a Liberal Party member.

I hope it’s not because Brumby’s North-South pipeline would probably be blocked by this bill, a pipeline with massive bipartisan public condemnation (especially from Goulburn and Murray catchment areas), where expected scathing criticism in submissions, and passage of the bill, would leave either or both federal and state ALP governments red-faced.

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Posted in Australia, Environment, Governance, Legislation, Politics | 3 Comments »

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