Human rights at the forefront

On 31 October 2018, the Queensland Government introduced new human rights legislation into Parliament. Although not constituting a statutory bill of rights, the Human Rights Bill 2018 (Qld) (“the Bill“), if passed, will increase the focus of government, courts and tribunals on internationally recognised civil and political rights,[1] while providing modest new remedies for some […]

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Procedural fairness not readily ousted

Administrative decision makers are subject to a common law duty to accord procedural fairness for decisions which affect rights, interests and legitimate expectations, unless the governing statute clearly provides otherwise.[1] This is a subset of the broader principle of legality, that courts will not interpret legislation as abrogating or contracting fundamental rights or freedoms unless […]

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Not all errors are equal

The nature of jurisdictional error has long confounded and confused. Not all errors of law are equal.  Some errors deprive decision makers of authority, others do not. Some errors may be reviewed; the review of others may validly be excluded. There is a distinction of principle between errors characterised as jurisdictional errors and errors characterised […]

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When is a decision subject to judicial review?

The Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) (JRA) provides an avenue for a person aggrieved by an administrative decision to seek judicial review. However, the right of a person to make an application for review of a decision[1] and the power of the Court to make orders[2] depend on the existence of ‘a decision to which […]

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Two wrongs don’t make a legal right

Equal treatment is a fundamental principle of justice. This is well understood in the abstract, but what it might mean in practice and how it might be enforced is less clear, as is demonstrated by an important recent UK decision[1] that will be monitored closely by Australian lawyers. The case As a result of cartel […]

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Personal Property Securities Act – Register or Regret

State and local governments have large asset portfolios and enter hundreds – if not thousands – of property dealings every year. The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 Cth (the Act) has critical implications for common property transactions. Government property owners: need to be alert to the real risk of losing title to goods if appropriate […]

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Changes in the pipeline for data protection in Queensland

2018 has been a big year in data. Spurred on by recent well publicised global data breaches such as the Cambridge Analytica‘s data harvesting of Facebook in the lead up to the 2016 US presidential elections), this year has seen the introduction of ground-breaking new data laws both in Australia and internationally. This article explores […]

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Ipso Facto Reforms

On 1 July 2018, the Australian Government’s ipso facto reforms (the Reforms) came into effect.[1] Rather than prohibiting the inclusion of ipso facto clauses, the Reforms impose statutory limitations on the enforcement of certain rights found in contracts, agreements or arrangements. It is crucial that government and government agencies understand these Reforms and take them […]

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Ethics of Public Sector Decision Making

Governments keep getting bigger. The exercise of their powers is more far-reaching than ever before. As powerful as government may be, there is no such thing in Australia as unlimited official power. Governments can only exercise the powers vested in them. Governments exist only to serve the public interest and the courts will hold them […]

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Government quashes MIT concessions for foreign investors in major Easter-eve crackdown

The cost of capital for new investment in Australian infrastructure and much of the property sector will increase following changes announced yesterday to the taxation of Managed Investment Trusts (MITs) that are “stapled”, i.e. the MITs lease property assets to brother/sister operating companies. The key changes will increase the MIT withholding rate to 30% on […]

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Temporary Local Planning Instrument proposed for Gold Coast

The City of Gold Coast is seeking to adopt a new Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) to better manage flood hazards in the City.  If approved, the TLPI will have retrospective effect for 2 years from 8 December 2017. Implications The TLPI will impact on all premises located within the Council’s Flood Overlay which include […]

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Council water charges found to be unlawful

The Supreme Court has held that water service charges issued by Mount Isa Council are unlawful due to non-compliance with the Local Government Act 2009.  This decision has important implications for Local Government and land owners in relation to the methodology and calculation of utility charges. Implications       A utility charge is a type of rate and charge […]

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