Menu

On the Record - The e-bulletin


Community Legal Centres: Community, Compassion, Justice
Issue #7 June 2008


This is the seventh edition of On the Record, the quarterly e-bulletin of the NSW Community Legal Centres. Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are independent community organisations providing equitable and accessible legal services. To find out more about CLCs in NSW visit www.nswclc.org.au

For more information about On the Record, or any of the events happening in the Community Legal Centres, contact Jean Parker at the State Office of the Combined Community Legal Centres Group (CCLCG) jean_parker@clc.net.au or phone 9212 7333

If you do not wish to receive future issues of On the Record, please follow the instructions for unsubscribing below. If you know others who may wish to receive the e-bulletin, feel free to forward this email, and they will be able to subscribe themselves to our list with the link below. Or you can subscribe by filling out the form on our website. You can also change which email address the e-bulletin goes to, and update other details by following the links at the bottom of the email.

Contents:


1. NSW Community Legal Sector News:

Rudd Government recognises CLC work with $10 million one-off funding injection
Public Purpose Fund approves grant to 15 CLCs

Over 200 participate in successful CLC State Conference 2008

CCLCG State Office expands Learning and Development Program

2. Community Law:

Access to Legal Services and Information for Russian Speakers in Redfern-Waterloo
Mt Druitt & Area Community Legal Centre deals with increase in home repossessions

Disability Discrimination Legal Centre scopes disability issues for Aborigines around Lismore

HIV/AIDS Legal Centre looks at privacy issues for Aboriginal patients

Illawarra Legal Centre presence at 'The Spirit of the Lagoon' community festival

Redfern Legal Centre helps access payments from the Queensland Redress Scheme

Illawarra Legal Centre submission in support of Community Placement Workers

3. Human Rights in Action:

HIV/AIDS Legal Centre wins Federal Court appeal on migration health criteria
PIAC case sees Radio 2UE apologise for vilifying gay couple

Kingsford Legal Centre staff part of successful NGO human rights reports to UN

Women's Legal Services solicitor coordinates law reform for national network

Win for Hunter CLC client in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

PIAC submissions calls for Reparations Tribunal for the Stolen Generations

Redfern Legal Centre solicitor fights subpoena of counseling notes in Sexual Assault case

Disability Discrimination Legal Centre case proves Failure to Provide Ballot Paper in Braille is Unlawful Discrimination

Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) calls for national human rights inquiry

Women's Legal Services NSW win appeal for victim of sexual assault in foster care

CLC Presence at 2020 Summit

4. Publications:

Answers for Artists; a Guide to Basic Legal Issues for Artists. Available in Chinese/English and Arabic/English - Arts Law Centre of Australia
Disclosure Guide - HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC)

Business Structures and Governance: A Practical Guide for Artists and Arts Organisations - Arts Law Centre of Australia

5. Events and Developments:

Inaugural Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) Walk for Justice
Environmental Defender's Office (EDO) Northern Rivers Public meeting in opposition to power station proposal

Penrith Seminar for separated Women: Hawkesbury Nepean Community Legal Centre and Women's Legal Services NSW

Coastal Law and Climate Change Workshop: Bateman's Bay: EDO

6. What are the Community Legal Centres and What is CCLCG?

 

1. NSW Community Legal Sector News:


Rudd Government recognises CLC work with $10 million one-off funding injection:

"Community legal centres and legal aid provide valuable assistance to disadvantaged people in a range of areas, including family and criminal law, tenancy issues, employment disputes and consumer credit and debt...The Rudd Government recognises that without such support people can be prevented from fully participating in society, causing their problems to escalate and entrenching disadvantage." Federal Attorney General Robert McClelland said in announcing the funds, $2 million of which has gone to NSW CLCs.

The funding announcement comes after a Commonwealth review of the Community Legal Services Program, which showed that CLCs can't meet the client demand in rural regional and remote areas on current resource levels. The Review found that CLCs are assisting genuinely disadvantaged clients, with eight in 10 earning less than $26,000 a year. Most CLC clients are female, 58 per cent on welfare, and 9 per cent have a disability. "I pay tribute to the dedication of all those who contribute to community legal centres or who undertake legal aid work," Mr McClelland said.


Public Purpose Fund approves grant to 15 CLCs:

A successful submission by Legal Aid NSW to the Public Purposes Fund (PPF) has provided 3-years of funding to 15 of NSW's smallest CLCs. The centres, including almost all centres in rural and regional NSW, previously received either no or very small amounts of funding from the NSW Government.  The funding from the PPF is for a wide variety of programs developed by the centres themselves. These include: Care and Protection Early Intervention Advocacy (Elizabeth Evatt CLC); state education discrimination matters (Disability Discrimination Legal Centre); provision of outreach to key NSW towns in the Southern Riverina (Albury-Wodonga CLS); Isolated Client Advocacy Program (Western NSW CLC); and the establishment of an outreach in the Tweed Valley (Northern Rivers CLC).


Over 200 participate in successful CLC State Conference 2008:

From the 7th-9th of April 2008 Community Legal Centre staff and people from the broader justice sector came together for a stimulating conference -  Justice: CLCs celebrating change and connecting communites. Day 1 of the gathering pioneered a conference for regional, rural and remote (RRR) CLCs, who met to network and hear from specialist CLCs about connecting specialist legal services with rural clients. Day 2 brought together people from across the justice sector. This part of the conference was opened by Laurie Glanfield, Director General, NSW Attorney General's Department, who was followed by the keynote presentation: "Will Indigenous Rights Change Australia?", an address by Les Malezer, Chairperson of the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA). Day 3 of the conference was a chance for discussion and workshops within the CLC network.

The conference was highly successful and more than 200 people attended including a significantly high number from our rural, regional and remote centres. Feedback during the conference and afterwards has been enormously positive.

The CCLCG State Office is compiling papers and summaries of the Conference proceedings. These will be available on the CCLCG website by the end of June. See www.nswclc.org.au or call Jean on 9212 7333 to request papers.


CCLCG State Office expands Learning and Development Program:

The Public Purpose Fund has provided 3-year funding for CCLCG's Learning & Development Program, and a one-year extension of funding for the Aboriginal Legal Access Program (ALAP). Both programs were piloted from December 2007 to June 2008 with earlier funds from the PPF. ALAP is yet to be fully evaluated so the additional one year funding will allow this evaluation to take place. Consultants Westwood Spice conducted an evaluation of the earlier Training Program and found that it had made substantial achievements including a doubling of training opportunities provided directly by CCLCG and a tripling of external training opportunities publicised to NSW CLCs. With the 3-year funding, the program will strengthen current initiatives and introduce innovative learning opportunities such as mentoring and online learning.

2. Community Law:


Access to Legal Services and Information for Russian Speakers in Redfern-Waterloo:

At the end of 2007 and early 2008, Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) and South Sydney Community Aid Co-op developed and delivered a community legal education project for Russian speaking people in the Redfern - Waterloo Area. The project was delivered co-operatively between the two centres and drew on the flexibility, responsiveness, co-operation and local knowledge of both community organisations.

The project began with Redfern Legal Centre's Russian background Practical Legal Training (PLT) student participating in the Russian speakers group conducted by South Sydney Community Aid Co-op to help participants build skills in understanding Australian legal terms, concepts and institutions.

These sessions covered areas including:
Courts in Australia; Differences between civil and criminal law and practice; Role and function of NSW Anti-Discrimination Board and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission; Role and function of Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal NSW; Australian Industrial Relations Commission and Industrial Relations Commission of NSW; Lodging complains against financial organizations to Australian Banking Industry Ombudsman and lodging complaint against insurance Company to Insurance Ombudsman; How to make a complaint against Police and your rights, including lodging a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman; Explanation how to engage the lawyer, what are the costs and how they could be calculated; Obligation of lawyer to disclose the cost before engagement; How to fight against unacceptable noise in your neighbourhood; Domestic violence matters, how to protect yourself and Explanation of when and how the Police could enter private premises in order to prevent domestic violence.

Part of the program also included development and delivery of a training session for Redfern Legal Centre workers on the expectations of Russian speaking people in approaching legal services.

In the wake of the program Redfern Legal Centre has observed an increase in the number of Russian speaking people who seeking legal advice, now that they realise they have a legal problem, and now that they are confident to contact the Legal Centre. For more information contact Elizabeth Morley at the Redfern Legal Centre on 9698 7277.


Mt Druitt & Area Community Legal Centre deals with increase in home repossessions:

Centre staff have seen a significant increase in enquiries from homeowners who have; Received a notice under s.52 (b) Real Property Act 1900, Received a Statement of Claim seeking possession of the client's home, Become subject to a writ for possession from the Supreme Court, and Received a letter from the Sheriff warning of intended eviction from the family home.

The average defaulting mortgagee cannot afford private legal advice regarding their predicament. The usual scenario sees a lender obtaining default judgment for possession in the Supreme Court, as the borrower desperately seeks a buyer for their home, or refinancing from those lower-tier lenders not yet affected by the 'sub-prime' mortgage collapse in the U.S.A.

Borrowers will often mistakenly believe that arrangements discussed during telephone conversations with loans-managers will result in the lender ceasing its efforts to undertake a mortgagee-sale and enforcing its rights to possession of the borrower's home.

Each client's case is different, but in many instances appropriate legal assistance can result in the homeowner keeping their home, or at least making suitable arrangements for an orderly vacation of their property. For more information contact Mt Druitt and Area CLC on 9675 2009.


Disability Discrimination Legal Centre scopes disability issues for Aborigines around Lismore:

Disability Discrimination Legal Centre (DDLC) is using an Aboriginal Legal Access Program (ALAP) Grant from CCLCG to undertake a Scoping Project of Northern Rivers Indigenous Disability. A key feature of this project is a week-long tour (26 - 30 May 2008) of the Northern Rivers area meeting up with Indigenous disability groups in regional and rural communities. The Aboriginal Disability Network is assisting DDLC. For more information contact DDLC on 9310 7722 or info@ddlcnsw.org.au

 
HIV/AIDS Legal Centre look at privacy issues for Aboriginal patients:

HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC) is investigating development of a resource and training program on privacy issues for Aboriginal clients dealing with medical problems. Confidentiality and disclosure of HIV can be sensitive matters in Aboriginal communities as with all communities, and can be a barrier to access to testing and treatment. HALC has begun liaising with some Aboriginal and HIV services to scope out the project. For more information contact Brady at the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre on 9206 2060.


Illawarra Legal Centre presence at 'The Spirit of the Lagoon' community festival:

Illawarra Legal Centre participated in the Southside Festival at Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation. 'The Spirit of the Lagoon' was a community festival about caring for the place where we live. The day was filled with music, bushcare workshops, drumming, an outdoor café and performances from Casey Donovan, fire twirlers, and the Wadi Wadi Mixed Tribe Indigenous Dancers. Storytelling was so inspiring that a young participant summed it up when he shouted, "free the spirit of the lagoon so the turtle can come back". All agreed.


Redfern Legal Centre helps access payments from the Queensland Redress Scheme:

Redfern Legal Centre with Mudgin-gal held a public meeting earlier this year alerting local residents to the Queensland Redress Scheme.  Press releases have been consistently sent out to remind people that the closing date for applications is 30 June 2008.

Redfern Legal Centre now has 15 clients making claims from the scheme. Many of these clients have led very disconnected lives, struggling to maintain any close relationships and often experiencing depression and addictive behaviors. Given that many of these people were taken into care because they were considered to be in inadequate parental care, little was done for them other than to give them some clothing, some food and a roof over their head. Some were the victims of direct physical or sexual abuse by either staff, other adults or children.

The calling of the meeting and the writing up of people's stories, have in themselves been of value, and the appreciation in the clients' faces when they see their stories written on paper has been clear. The process of making these claims has been an extraordinary journey both for the clients and for the staff at Redfern Legal Centre. For more information contact Redfern Legal Centre on 9698 7277.


Illawarra Legal Centre submission in support of Community Placement Workers:

Workers and management at Illawarra Legal Centre wrote submissions for a public session of Wollongong City Council in support of the continuing work of Community Placement Workers. These grassroots positions are to be withdrawn, despite the fact that they provide innovative support to communities that face multiple challenges of poverty, homelessness and social isolation. For more information contact Illawarra Legal Centre on 4276 1939.

3. Human Rights in Action:



HIV/AIDS Legal Centre wins Federal Court appeal on migration health criteria:

HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC) recently won a Federal Court appeal in a migration health waiver issue.  The win affirms the previous cases in this area - Seligman and Robinson, and confirms that HIV is to be treated on the same terms as other conditions in relation to migration health criteria.  The Court determined that Medical Officer of the Commonwealth reports are required to be made within a reasonable time of the decision on the migration application.


PIAC case sees Radio 2UE apologise for vilifying gay couple:

Gary Burns, a Sydney gay activist, complained of homosexuality vilification in 2003 after hearing presenters John Laws and Steve Price talking about The Block television show on Radio 2UE.

In 2004, the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal found that the comments made by Mr Laws and Mr Price were capable of inciting severe ridicule of homosexual men and therefore breached the vilification provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW).

Radio 2UE, Mr Laws and Mr Price originally appealed this decision.  However the appeal settled with Mr Price apologising on-air for his and Mr Laws' comments. In addition, Mr Price and 2UE are to apologise for any hurt that their comments may have caused homosexual men.

Gary Burns said, 'I have been fighting this case for five years, not for any personal financial gain, but on behalf of the gay community and the protection of our rights not to be publicly ridiculed. The Tribunal's decision still sends a clear message that people in the powerful positions of Mr Laws and Mr Price should be aware that they have responsibilities as broadcasters. All I wanted was an apology and now I've got it.

In addition to Mr Price's on-air apology and a written apology to be published in The Sydney Morning Herald shortly, 2UE has also agreed to make a donation of $10,000 to the HIV-AIDS charity the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation and to promote the foundation in a community service advertisement voiced by Mr Burns.

Mr Burns' lawyer, Lizzie Simpson of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said of the settlement, 'Sometimes litigation is not about money.  Gary was the engineer of this very creative settlement. Its terms reflect his belief in the public interest in defending gay men's rights to freedom from discrimination and vilification'.

For information contact, Mark Warren, Media and Communications Adviser, PIAC 02 8898 6526, mwarren@piac.asn.au or 0414 617 806.


Kingsford Legal Centre staff part of successful NGO human rights reports to UN:

Kingsford Legal Centre, along with the National Association of Community Legal Centres and the Human Rights Law Resource Centre have undertaken a joint human rights project. The project involves the preparation of two NGO reports to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and the UN Human Rights Committee, which are responsible for monitoring the implementation of the ICESCR (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) respectively.

The first of the two reports, entitled Freedom, Respect, Equality, Dignity: Action, was submitted to CESCR in April with support in whole or in part of over 100 local, national and international NGOs. The Report is a comprehensive and constructive analysis of the state of economic, social and cultural rights in Australia and makes a range of targeted recommendations to address disadvantage and poverty.  The Report was very well received by CESCR and has been invaluable to the formulation of CESCR's "List of Issues" it would like Australia to look at. The CECSR will officially review Australia's performance under the ICESCR some time next year. You can read the report online here: http://www.naclc.org.au/multiattachments/2260/DocumentName/CERDAustralianNGOReport.pdf


Women's Legal Services solicitor coordinates law reform for national network:

Women's Legal Services law reform and policy solicitor, Edwina MacDonald, is the current law reform coordinator for Women's Legal Services Australia - the national network of women's legal services. Current work includes liaising with Commonwealth Attorney-General and his Department about how the family law system can better respond to domestic violence; co-ordinating a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into paid maternity leave and to the Commonwealth government on the Green Paper on Homelessness. Edwina also represents the National Association of Community legal Centres on the Family Court Chief Justice's Forum.


Win for Hunter CLC client in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal:

Hunter CLC recently advised an indigenous client who came to the Centre for advice about the rejection of his application for an unsupervised explosives handling license by WorkCover. The client had lodged an internal appeal against this decision which had also been rejected by WorkCover.

The client had a very solid work record and had previously held a special license to transport explosive material. He is also a man who has the responsibilities for a family with a very young child. At his request the staff review committee agreed to represent him in an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. WorkCover were represented by the Crown Solicitors Office at the one-day hearing.

Several weeks later Hunter CLC solicitors received the Judicial Members Decision granting the client the unsupervised handling licence, much to the pleasure of the client.


PIAC submissions calls for Reparations Tribunal for the Stolen Generations:

A Senate Committee has acknowledged that 'monetary compensation is only one component of reparations' and concluded that 'the issue of reparations for the stolen generation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.'

The report said that a Reparations Tribunal model, proposed by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Australian Human Rights Centre (AHRC), might provide a valuable framework for consideration in the development of a reparations scheme.

These comments are not reflected in the report's recommendations. Despite acknowledging that the 'overwhelming majority' of the evidence it received supported compensation for the Stolen Generations, the Senate Inquiry's recommendations avoided compensation and broader reparation in favour of establishing a National Indigenous Healing Fund. 

Although the report provided little detail about how the Healing Fund would work, it appears to be modeled on the Canadian Aboriginal Healing Foundation, established in 1998.  'The Canadian Foundation has done some great work', said Laura Thomas, PIAC's Indigenous Justice Program Solicitor, 'but it failed to fully address the issues and last year the Canadian Government agreed to a much broader package including a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and individual compensation payments. It is disappointing that the Committee's strong statements about reparations are not reflected in its recommendations and instead they have recommended a model that has been superseded in Canada.'

'After the recent Australian Government apology, the provision of compensation would be an additional and important contribution to the lives of many members of the Stolen Generations,' said Andrea Durbach, Director of the AHRC.  'The Senate Committee has acknowledged that the Government is under an obligation to devise a national reparations strategy as a matter of priority and compensation is a component of reparations.'

Senators from the Australian Democrats and the Greens endorsed PIAC's Reparations Tribunal proposal, calling for immediate legislation to provide full reparations to the Stolen Generations, including financial compensation.

To view PIAC's submission to the Senate Committee Inquiry go to http://www.piac.asn.au/publications/pubs/08.04.10-PIAC-StolenGens.pdf

PIAC's proposal for a Stolen Generations Reparations Tribunal is contained in its report Restoring Identity: http://www.piac.asn.au/publications/pubs/restore_20020927.html
For further information contact Mark Warren, PIAC, 02 88986526, 0414617806, mwarren@piac.asn.au



Redfern Legal Centre solicitor fights subpoena of counseling notes in Sexual Assault case:

A Redfern Legal Centre client was sexually assaulted by her then partner.  She reported the assault to police and was examined in hospital.  She also received some follow-up care and counselling from her GP.  In due course, the assailant was arrested and charged.

While preparing for the trial, the defendant's solicitor (a private firm) issued a subpoena to our client's GP for the GP's counseling notes and records.  A few days before the subpoena was returnable, the DPP alerted our client to the existence of the subpoena.

In such cases the victim of a sexual assault is able to assert a privilege over records of confidential counseling communications.  The judge is required to balance the harm caused to the victim by allowing access to the records against the probative value of the records.  However, in order to assert such a privilege, the victim has to seek leave to intervene in the criminal trial.

With less than a day to go before the return of subpoena, after attempting to arrange for the Crown to make the objection to access on the victim's behalf, and failing to get Legal Aid support, Redfern Legal Centre decided to take on the matter in-house. The defence wasn't ready to argue the point about access to the documents, and so the argument was adjourned. This happened five times before the defence was finally ready to deal with the argument!

Four months after the subpoena had been issued, Judge Berman finally heard the argument and decided that the defence should not have access to the doctor's notes. Mid way through the trial, the defence decided to have another go at getting the doctor's notes. Again the Judge decided that the defence should not have access to the documents.

The presence of a CLC solicitor made all the difference for a client facing a very difficult and drawn-out court experience.


Disability Discrimination Legal Centre case proves Failure to Provide Ballot Paper in Braille is Unlawful Discrimination:

The NSW Electoral Commission discriminated against a blind person, by failing to provide him with a ballot paper printed in Braille, a tribunal has found. The decision, handed down by the NSW Administrative Decisions' Tribunal, stated that the NSW Electoral Commission indirectly discriminated against Darren Fittler, who is blind, on the basis of his disability when it failed to provide him with a ballot paper printed in Braille for the Randwick City Council election in March 2004.

Mr Fittler was represented by the NSW Disability Discrimination Legal Centre and Ms Kate Eastman, of Counsel, on a pro bono basis. Ms Joanna Shulman, the Principal Solicitor of the NSW Disability Discrimination Legal Centre, said 'This is a significant decision which upholds our notions of participatory democracy and in particular the right to a secret vote as the central feature of our democratic electoral system. By requiring Mr Fittler to vote with assistance, rather than independently, the Electoral Commission was requiring him to give up his right to a secret ballot.'

Mr Fittler is extremely hopeful that this decision will result in all voters being given the opportunity to vote regardless of whether or not they have a disability. 'Ultimately, I am hopeful that this decision encourages electoral commissions across Australia to introduce accessible voting', he added. For more information contact DDLC on 9310 7722 or info@ddlcnsw.org.au


Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) calls for national human rights inquiry:

PIAC and other CLCs are involved in the NSW Charter Group, which campaigns for a Charter of Rights for NSW. The Group is encouraging anyone interested in the establishment of an inquiry into effective national protection of human rights to contact the office of Federal Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland MP expressing their support.

The NSW Charter Group is hoping that the Federal Attorney will make the announcement for the establishment of the inquiry on or even before the 60th anniversary of the United Nations on 10 December. Meanwhile, there have been a number of pro Charter articles in the media recently including one on Crikey by barrister Stephen Keim and another by Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The articles are:
Stephen Keim, 'What's so wrong with a judiciary dealing with rights?' Crikey.com, 30 April 2008, at http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20080430-Bill-of-Rights-for-the-good-of-all-but-devised-by-some.html

Richard Ackland, 'Horror stories unfairly bedevil charter of rights', 9 May 2008, Sydney Morning Herald at http://www.smh.com.au/news/richard-ackland/horror-stories-unfairly-bedevil-charter-of-rights/ 2008/05/08/1210131163034.html

For more details on the NSW Charter group contact Brenda Bailey at PIAC on 8898 6522 or brenda@piac.asn.au


Women's Legal Services NSW win appeal for victim of sexual assault in foster care:

In February Women's Legal Services NSW won an appeal to the District Court. The appeal overturned the decision of a Magistrate in the Victims Compensation Tribunal concerning a claim about "unrelated acts" in the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996 NSW. Our client was the victim of numerous sexual assaults while in a foster home.

Senior Counsel, Robert Beech-Jones, with Junior Counsel, Regina Graycar, successfully argued that the client was not afforded procedural fairness, as the Magistrate did not answer the case put to it by our client about why the acts of violence were unrelated. Further, the Magistrate was in error in incorporating the concept of "pattern of abuse" in Schedule 1 into the determination of whether an act is related or not under s.5 of the Act. That is, a determination of what is a related act is to be made prior to any application of Schedule 1. There is no textual or other support for incorporating Schedule 1 into s. 5 of the Act. The matter was remitted back to the Tribunal for a re-determination.

There is no written judgment as Justice Quirk gave an oral judgment. The Tribunal is waiting on the transcript in order to redetermine the matter. For more information contact Women's Legal Services on 9749 7700.


CLC Presence at 2020 Summit:

Robin Banks, the CEO of PIAC (the Public Interest Advocacy Centre) participated in the 2020 Summit. Robin gave the following account of the Summit:

"I was delighted when I opened the paper back in March to find my name included on the list of participants in 'The Future of Australia Governance' stream at the Australia 2020 Summit. Preparation for the   Summit meant trying to at least skim read the many hundreds of submissions made to the Summit by people from all works of life across Australia. Reading these showed just how engaged and interest many Australians are about the way in which government interacts with the people. They provided extremely thought provoking ideas that then informed our discussions in Canberra on 18 and 19 April 2008. And the discussions were fantastic: such a diversity of the Australian   community represented and such passion for the future of Australia.

Within the Governance stream we split up into four groups and I was in the Parliamentary Reform and Citizenship engagement group. We looked both at reforming parliamentary structures and processes to improve governance and also at how the government(s) might better engage with the people to develop more responsive and creative government policy direction. Despite lots of media to the contrary, there was time for lots of ideas and for the voices of all in the group to contribute.

The outcome of our discussions was one big idea: 'collaborative governance' and a number of strategies for achieving this. Along with those in the Governance stream I certainly look forward to continuing the conversation with the government and the community about how we achieve more effective engagement into the future."

Robin can be contacted at PIAC on 8898 6500.

4. Publications:



Answers for Artists; a Guide to Basic Legal Issues for Artists. Available in Chinese/English and Arabic/English - Arts Law Centre of Australia

Answers for Artists is a resource designed for artists from Cultural and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds which covers basic legal issues that affect their arts practice. The new guide covers the legal issues of Copyright, Moral Rights, Contracts and Insurance + Liability. The guide includes practical scenarios about each issue illustrating how they apply to artists. Answers for Artists is available as a hardcopy booklet, with accompanying postcard. You can order FREE copies of the guide by downloading the order form on the Arts Law website: www.artslaw.com.au or by calling 9356 2566.


Disclosure Guide - HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC):

The Guide was launched by Justice Kirby at a function at The Tim Olsen Gallery, supported by the Woollahra Hotel and Di Lusso Winery.  The publication provides a guide to legal issues surrounding disclosure of one's HIV status. To get copies of the Guide contact HALC on 92062060 or email halc@halc.org.au

Business Structures and Governance: A Practical Guide for Artists and Arts Organisations - Arts Law Centre of Australia

Arts Law's latest handbook, Business Structures and Governance: A Practical Guide for the Arts is now available. It contains information about business structures frequently used by artists and arts organisations in Australia, including partnerships, co-operatives, unincorporated and incorporated associations, and companies. The guide can be used to help you decide which structure will be most suitable for you and your organisation. It provides helpful information about starting up an organisation and meeting your ongoing legal obligations. Copies can be purchased at the Arts Law website: www.artslaw.com.au or by calling 9356 2566.

5. Events and developments:



Inaugural Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) Walk for Justice:

Over 200 PILCH NSW members (and non members!) participated in the inaugural sponsored PILCH Law Walk for Justice on 19 May. The NSW Attorney General and the Chief Judge at Common Law of the NSW Supreme Court led the way on the 5km track taking in Sydney's most beautiful harbour views. Team Freehills took out the prize for the team that raised the most money and Jake Kilby raised the most money as an individual.  Overall the event raised over $11,000 which will go towards PILCH programs, and generated tremendous good will among the walkers. We still have a long way to go in 2009 to match the efforts of London walkers who raised over $300,000 pounds! Next year PILCH NSW will look to include a CLC to join us as the co-beneficiaries of the Law Walk.

For more information contact Amy Kilpatrick at PILCH on 8898 6550.


Environmental Defender's Office (EDO) Northern Rivers Public meeting in opposition to power station proposal:

EDO Northern Rivers, in conjunction with the North Coast Environment Council and Residents Against Power Plants (RAPP), is organising a public meeting on the evening of Thursday 12 June 2008 at Laurieton on the proposed Heron's Creek Power Station. The meeting will discuss the legal and energy implications of a proposal by International Power to build a diesel-fueled power station at Heron's Creek, on the NSW mid north coast. Speakers are Associate Professor Hugh Outhred from the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at the University of NSW, and Ian Ratcliff, Senior Solicitor at the EDO Northern Rivers.

Thursday 12 June 7 p.m, Laurieton RSL Club, Seymour St, Laurieton. For more information please contact Mark Byrne, Education Officer, EDO Northern Rivers on 1300 369 791.


Penrith Seminar for separated Women: Hawkesbury Nepean Community Legal Centre and Women's Legal Services NSW:

Hawkesbury Nepean Community Legal Centre and Women's Legal Services NSW have combined to run small and interactive workshops for women who have separated and are seeking to make arrangements for their children post-separation. The workshops are free and are being held in Penrith. The workshops will cover the changes to the Family Law
Act in relation to children and the requirement to attend mediation prior to filing for orders for children in a court, what to expect in mediation and preparing for mediation.

Whilst the information will be applicable to all mediation for family law matters, there is a particular focus on mediation provided through Family Relationship Centres. Participants will be provided with resources and morning tea.

The workshops will be held on 20June, 1 July and 25 July and run from 10am-12.30pm. To book a place in one of these FREE workshops, please contact Women's Legal Services on 9749 7700.


Coastal Law and Climate Change Workshop: Bateman's Bay: EDO

The Environmental Defender's Office (EDO) is hosting a free workshop on Coastal Law and Climate Change. The workshop will cover various issues relating to coastal law and the potential avenues for future laws and policies to effectively address the impacts of climate change on coastal areas.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (light lunch included) Saturday 28 June, 2008,  Soldier's Club, Beach Rd, Bateman's Bay. For more information and to register, email education@edo.org.au. or call (02) 9262 6989. RSVP by 24 June 2008.

 
6. What are the Community Legal Centres and What is CCLCG?


Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are independent community organisations providing equitable and accessible legal services. NSW CLCs work for the public interest, particularly for disadvantaged and marginalised people and communities. Community Legal Centres not only provide legal advice and assistance, but also encourage and enable people to develop skills to be their own advocates. We promote human rights, social justice and a better environment by advocating for access to justice and equitable laws and legal systems. Centres work towards achieving systemic change through community legal education, and through law and policy reform.

The Combined Community Legal Centres Group (NSW) Inc (CCLCG) is the peak body for (CLCs) in NSW. We are resourced by a small State Office which is funded by the NSW Government. CCLCG has 39 member organizations including generalist and specialist community legal centres. For more information on the NSW Community Legal Centres or CCLCG go to www.nswclc.org.au or call 9212 7333.

News

View the news archive

What's new

Annual Report 2016/17

Strategic Plan 2015-18