Tribute to Gough

It is now trite to say that Gough Whitlam was a great leader. A foundation of his greatness was his ability as a (Labor) lawyer.

When Whitlam was sworn in as Prime Minister on 5 December 1972 he was also sworn in, for a period of fourteen days only, as Attorney General.


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Elections Funding

Dear Members of Parliament,

Re: Elections Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2014 I write on behalf of the Executive of the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers (Labor Lawyers) to express our concerns about the Elections Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2014 (the Bill), introduced this week.

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Foreign Fighters

The NSW Society of Labor Lawyers (NSW Labor Lawyers) is making this submission to the PJCIS to raise concerns about a number of aspects of the Counter-Terrorism (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014.

The NSW Society of Labor Lawyers is a voluntary organisation of progressive lawyers in NSW. We have over 200 financial members and a network of approximately 600 people. NSW Labor Lawyers aims, through scholarship and advocacy, to effect positive, just and equitable changes to Commonwealth and NSW legislation.

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The NSW Society of Labor Lawyers has provided a submission to Commonwealth Government's Exposure Draft of of the Freedom of speech (Repeal of S. 18C) Bill 2014

In summary, the submission argues: 

  1. There is no compelling case for any change to section 18 of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (the Act), particularly in the form of the Government’s proposals. 
  2. The changes proposed by the Government would result in bad law, effectively denuding the Act of most of its weaponry to combat racial hate speech. 
  3. There is no evidence to suggest that public discourse is adversely affected by the current section 18C, and the accompanying exemption in section 18D that allows for (otherwise racially vilifying) comments that are made reasonably and in good faith. 
  4. The ‘Bolt case’ provides no rationale for a change to the legislation, given the Court found Mr Bolt’s articles were not written and published reasonably and in good faith

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Zoe's Law - A letter to NSW Members of Parliament

Download the letter here

To all members of the NSW Parliament, 

As the Upper House of the NSW Parliament gets ready to debate this Private Member’s Bill, the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers (‘Labor Lawyers’) wishes to make known its strong opposition. 

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One Punch Laws Spell Injustice

The NSW Society of Labor Lawyers today expressed its disappointment and concern over the passage of the Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment (Assault and Intoxication) Bill 2014 through the NSW Parliament.

The Bill creates a new offence of “assault causing death”, and an aggravated form of that offence where the offender is an adult and is intoxicated. The aggravated intoxication offence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years imprisonment.

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High Court Decision a Win for Democracy

December 18 2013

The NSW Society of Labor Lawyers today welcomed the High Court’s decision holding parts of the O’Farrell government’s campaign finance laws unconstitutional.


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Legal Tweaks 2013

Forward by Mark Dreyfus QC

We on the progressive side of politics do not accept the conservative view that catastrophe is the only legitimate impetus to social change. Rather, we hold that society is improved through a constant process of reform.

The reform of the law is an important part of this wider process of societal improvement, and I welcome the contribution of the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers to promoting law reform through this year’s edition of Legal Tweaks.

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Legal Tweaks 2012

Forward by The Hon. Nicola Roxon MP

The legal practitioners profiled in this booklet are not all members of the Labor Party, or of the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers. But they share the Society’s desire to see sound, progressive law reform. This publication is a way for us to share their insights on how the law can be changed – ‘tweaked’’ – simply and effectively, for the benefit of the wider community.

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Society launched by Commonwealth Attorney-General

On Thursday night, Commonwealth Attorney-General Nicola Roxon MP officially launched the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers.

The launch, hosted by Slater & Gordon, was attended by over 100 guests, including current and former members of NSW parliament, members of the profession and law students.

The Attorney-General spoke of the affinity between the ideals of the legal profession and of the labour movement. She observed that both are committed to a fair and equitable society, and that Labor governments have delivered some of the most important legal reforms that Australians value: the Family Law Act, the Racial Discrimination Act, the Native Title Act, and more.

Hugh McDermott, President of the Society, outlined the purpose of re-forming a society for Labor lawyers, the work that has been done to re-establish the Society, and what the plans are for the future.Ms Roxon outlined her policy agenda, and noted the role that organizations such as the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers can play in assisting the Commonwealth Government to deliver progressive legal reform.

Hanna Quadrio, Vice President of the Society, offered a vote of thanks to Ms Roxon, and outlined the Society’s plan to put together a publication, 100 Legal Tweaks for Australia, and encouraged...

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