Skip navigation

Frank Walker Lecture 2020

The Society is pleased to announce that the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG will deliver the Annual Frank Walker Lecture this year on the topic "Redressing Miscarriages of Justice: Safety Nets, Second Appeals and an Unsafe Convictions Commission". Join the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers as we celebrate the life and times of the late Attorney-General the Hon Frank Walker QC, MP.

For more information and to register, click here. 

Read more

Vale Susan Ryan AO

Most would be aware of the recent passing of Hon Susan Ryan AO, Minister in the Australia Government '83-88, architect of the nation’s sex discrimination laws, and later Age Discrimination Commissioner. A trailblazer and inspiration to many that came after her, it is difficult to put into words the significant contribution she made to Australian life. The Society is thankful for her contribution to law reform in the country, and for over a number of years giving her time to our members, including in 2017 as the speaker at the Society’s annual Women’s Dinner. Our condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time.

Read more

Questions on Notice - Community Legal Sector Funding during COVID-19

Following the Society's recent submission to the Australian Government's inquiry into the response to COVID-19, Shadow Attorney-General Paul Lynch MP put questions on notice to the NSW Attorney-General requesting further clarification about the timing of the distribution of legal centre funding after the Federal Government's announcement on 6 May 2020. Members and supporters in the sector who assisted with the Society's submissions may be particularly interested in reading the NSW Government's response - read it by clicking here.

Read more

Submission to the Joint Select Committee on the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020

On 21 August 2020 the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers lodged a submission with the Joint Select Committee on the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020. The submission provided in principle support for the expansion of religious anti-discrimination protections  through amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW). However, the Society argued that expansion of religious discrimination laws is a complex area, fraught with difficulty due to the risk that any expansion of such laws infringes on other attributes protected by already existing discrimination laws in Australia, and argued that numerous provisions in the draft Bill should be rejected. To read the submission, click here.

Read more

Submission to the Select Committee on the impact of technological and other change on the future of work and workers in New South Wales

On 7 September 2020 the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers lodged a submission with the Select Committee on the impact of technological and other change on the future of work and workers in New South Wales. The submission argued that the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 (NSW) should be amended to reflect changes to workplace technology and the way we work after the COVID-19 pandemic. To view a copy of the submission, click here.

Read more

Fundraiser for the Eden-Monaro By-Election

Join us for a fundraiser and update to the legal profession with Shadow Attorney-General the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, MP. Tickets available online via the NSW Labor website: 
The Eden Monaro by-election will be a difficult election - and the country is watching. 

To help support the campaign, the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers will be hosting a fundraiser for Kristy McBain, a former lawyer, Mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council, and Labor’s candidate for the seat, to help her retain this seat for Labor. 

Read more

Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Australian Government's Response to COVID-19

The Society has lodged a submission with the Select Committee on COVID-19's inquiry into the Australian Government’s response to the pandemic. The Society's submission addresses the Australian Government's response in respect to the community legal sector, announced on 6 May 2020. The submission follows consultation with our members and supporters in the sector. 

Ultimately, the Society submits that the timing of the Australian Government’s additional funding to the community legal sector, announced almost two months after significant socio-economic reform that would, on the face of it, cause substantial economic disruption and a cascade of legal problems, was too late in the pandemic cycle to allow for the speedy allocation of funds to the sector. 

View a copy of the submission here.

Read more

Statement regarding Application to Vary the Legal Services Award

The NSW Society of Labor Lawyers has issued a statement regarding the recent application by a number of law firms to vary the Legal Services Award 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Society is calling upon its members and supporters in the legal profession to join their relevant trade union so that during this pandemic the lowest paid workers in our practices are properly represented, and after the pandemic is over, we build a better, more compassionate legal profession.

You can view a copy of the Society's statement here.

Read more

The Second Frank Walker Memorial Lecture 2016

“The Things That Must Be Done...” **

Some Genuine Decision-Making Power: Dealing with the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the prison system

Bob Debus - 16 February 2016 - Download a PDF of the speech here.

Last year Judge Greg Woods presented the inaugural Frank Walker Memorial Lecture. He gave an account of the exceptional range and lasting significance of the reform of the justice system and the expansion of civil liberty achieved during Frank’s term as Attorney General and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

Greg was head of the Criminal Law Review Division of the Attorney General’s Department during a good deal of that time. I observe that the abolition of the Division last year took place within the new Justice Superministry in which the Minister for Police is senior to the Attorney General. That is a constraint on the role of the Attorney General for which I can find no precedent in the history of New South Wales.

Read more

Guide to the JobKeeper Scheme - by David Chin SC, Ian Neil SC and Chris Parkin

The Federal Government recently introduced the JobKeeper Payment for businesses struggling in Australia - a payment to secure jobs in our rapidly changing economy. A guide has been independently prepared by David Chin SC, Ian Neil SC and Chris Parkin, to provide an overview of the legal issues relating to this payment.*
We have organised a legal briefing with the authors to take place next Wednesday 22 April 2020, at 5PM, where each of the authors will be speaking to the guide, but also more broadly about employee rights in the age of COVID-19. From the legal position of stand downs to issues around temporary flexibility arrangements - the virus has seen a prevalence of new and novel employment law issues that warrant discussion.
* The NSW Society of Labor Lawyers was not involved in the drafting of the JobKeeper Payment Guide and, as per the Guide, the contents do not constitute legal advice, which should be sought to...

Read more