By Bec Devitt and Eva Csik

13 April 2012

Sentencing Advisory Council releases report on sentencing children and young people in Victoria

The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council has released a report which aims to fill the gap in publicly available data on the sentencing of young offenders in Victoria.

Sentencing Children and Young People in Victoria Report includes a discussion of ways in which to keep children and young people away from the criminal justice system. It also presents statistical information regarding offences heard and sentence outcomes, and also identifies and analyses the changes over a ten year period (2000-2009) in the types of offences sentenced by the court, demographics and sentence outcomes.

A major finding provided in the report was that most offences dealt with by the Children’s Court are mostly non-violent and many of them are minor. Amongst other things, the report highlighted the strong correlation between rates of reported parental neglect and abuse and offending behaviour amongst young people.

Australian Human Rights Commission releases new guidelines for preventing discrimination based on criminal records

The Australian Human Rights Commission has recently revised the Guidelines for the prevention of discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record after receiving a significant number of complaints from people alleging discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record.

The Commission’s President, Catherine Branson QC, has said that an employer can be open to a claim of discrimination if they fail to give someone a job or dismiss an employee on the basis of a criminal record.

While some employers are aware of their responsibilities under the law, they don’t always know how to put them into practice.

Developments on the national disability insurance scheme

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has acknowledged that the national disability insurance scheme will require more commonwealth funding.

It has also been reported that an agency will be set up from July 2012 to work on the scheme, which would operate along the lines of Medicare and provide life-long taxpayer funded support for people with disabilities.

The government is attempting to bring forward trials for the scheme from mid-2013 instead of mid-2014 as was recommended by the Productivity Commission.

Australian pro bono lawyers prepare application to the European Court of Human Rights

The Law Institute of Victoria has highlighted the assistance provided by Victorian pro bono lawyers to Jock Palfreeman, a 25-year-old Australian man sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by Bulgaria’s highest Court. The Victorian lawyers have applied to the European Court of Human Rights on the basis that Mr Palfreeman did not receive a fair trial due to a number of concerns throughout the legal proceedings.

Autumn 2012 protest will remember Baxter and Gundy

As part of the 2012 year of action, the Indigenous Social Justice Association – Melbourne has launched a protest to mark the third anniversary of the death of transgender woman, Veronica Baxter and the 23rd anniversary of the fatal shooting by NSW police of Aboriginal man, David Gundy.

The rally will commence at 11am on Saturday 12 May on the steps of the old GPO, corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne. The Rally will feature speakers from Victoria’s transgender community and veteran campaigners to stop Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Click here for more information about the deaths of Veronica Baxter and David Gundy.






Review – Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia

By Georgia Cerni

Sophie Cousins’ book Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia is, in many respects, a proposal. For Cousins, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided Australians with an opportunity to reconsider the ways our society currently functions. Cousins aptly makes her case – while in some ways the pandemic reinforced burgeoning inequalities, it also presented us the chance to apply collectivist values to solve systemic problems.