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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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Presentation to NSW Labor Lawyers CLE "How employees pursue and employers avoid underpayment in Australia"

On 31 March 2020 NSW Labor Lawyers hosted a CLE event entitled "How employees pursue and employers avoid underpayment in Australia". The CLE was presented by Ruth Nocka, Partner at Dentons, and Adam Guy, barrister at HB Higgins Chambers. The seminar traced the law of underpayments in Australia, including choice of forum issues, remedies, and how businesses can avoid non-compliance. A copy of Adam Guy's presentation is available online here.

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Presentation to NSW Labor Lawyers CLE "How employees pursue and employers avoid underpayment in Australia"

On 24 March 2020 NSW Labor Lawyers hosted a CLE event entitled "The changing landscape of environmental litigation". The CLE was presented by Matt Floro, Solicitor at EDO NSW, who was solicitor on the record in the groundbreaking Rocky Hill mine litigation. Mr Floro discussed the new wave of environmental litigation in Australia. A copy of his presentation is available online here.

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Submission to the inquiry into the unlawful underpayment of employees' remuneration

The New South Wales Society of Labor Lawyers has lodged a submission with the Senate Standing Committees on Economics’ inquiry into the unlawful underpayment of employees’ remuneration.

In the submission, the Society calls for significant reform to address the widespread and endemic incidence of underpayments in the Australian economy. The headline recommendation is a financial year audit, to be conducted by companies with over 100 employees, of their compliance with industrial instruments. The Society said:

 

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Enterprise agreement termination CLE seminar papers now available

Seminar papers from the Society's recent CLE seminar, "Termination of Enterprise Agreements - The New Fair Work Battle?" are now available online. To download the seminar papers, please visit the following links: 

  1. Adam Walkaden, National Legal Officer at the CFMMEU
  2. Philip Boncardo, Barrister at Wardell Chambers

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Final Report on Class Actions and Third Party Litigation Funding

The Australian Law Reform Commission has released its much-anticipated final report on class actions and third party litigation funders. A copy of the report is available online here. The Society provided a submission advocating for a number of reforms to provide greater access to justice for plaintiffs utilising the class action procedure. A copy of the submission is available here.

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