Abortion laws in NSW: Beyond Decriminalisation

As the NSW parliament prepares for the introduction of a bill to decriminalise abortion in that State, Ashlee Gore writes that many believe abortion is already legal and freely available in NSW, and that while decriminalisation will be important for women’s choice and autonomy, there will remain many other medical, social and interpersonal barriers that restrict the exercise of this autonomy after the law has changed.

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On bailing teenagers accused of sexual offences

*Content warning: This post contains references to sexual violence.*

A recent Victorian court decision to release a teenager charged with sexual assault on strict bail conditions has prompted an outcry from Victoria Police and the state opposition. Today's post from an anonymous Australian lawyer challenges us to consider a more progressive legal and moral standpoint- from an anti-carceral feminist perspective, imprisonment for the sake of harsh punishment will not lead to the teenager's reform and rehabilitation.

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Stemming the revolving door phenomenon: the importance of strategic advocacy in the community legal sector

The community legal sector is well positioned to identify need for systemic change, to act upon that need and to generate policy improvements with significant public impact. Jacki Holland of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand discusses how, by engaging in strategic legal advocacy, community lawyers can venture beyond traditional case by case approaches to tackle systemic and common legal problems through novel means generating broad community benefit. 

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Rocks and hard places: Traversing the terrain of the community legal centre funding crisis

The economic argument for community legal centres is strong, and the Productivity Commission has recommended an immediate injection of cash to shore up their operations. Despite this, their funding is still being cut. Dr Chris Atmore (@ChrisPolicy; Senior Policy Adviser at the Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria) outlines why CLC funding should be an election issue in the run-up to July 2.

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Is a constitutional principle making states too cautious with law and order policies?

The so-called Kable principle has imposed constitutional restrictions on the way States can use their courts and judges when designing law and order policies. In the article below, Dr Anna Olijnyk and Dr Gabrielle Appleby say the principle has been able to achieve important protections for individual rights, in a roundabout way. But they ask whether a lack of certainty and understanding about how it works is also making States too cautious in the justice arena.

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Outer sight, out of justice

A new approach is needed to delivering justice in the growing outer urban areas. This article by Shorna Moore, Senior Policy Lawyer at Wyndham Legal Service Inc, challenges narrow definitions of justice and argues for a 'precinct model'. The Outer Sight, Out of Justice Project uses critical stakeholder engagement, innovative public-private funding models and thought-leadership to challenge current policy thinking and processes.

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Using International legal processes to influence government policy

Strategic participation in international legal processes can be extremely valuable for NGOs undertaking policy and law reform work. The Universal Periodic Review, a process of the United Nations Human Rights Council, is one method by which Australia’s human rights record is assessed on the international stage. Internationally and in Australia, the UPR is proving to be a useful mechanism for NGOs to engage with governments on issues of human rights and related law and policy. Anna Lyons, Senior Lawyer at Justice Connect Homeless Law  explains.

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