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Discriminating on the basis of criminal records: the need for reform

We all make mistakes: often they are embarrassing or hurtful, sometimes they have more serious consequences. However, where the police and courts get involved, they can have long-lasting impact on people’s lives.

Discrimination on the ground that a person has a criminal record is widespread in Victoria, particularly in obtaining and maintaining employment. There has been a significant increase in the number of criminal record checks undertaken in Victoria: Victoria Police data shows a 6000 per cent increase in checks between 1992-93 and 2003-04. Indeed, in the employment sphere, ‘criminal record checks are fast becoming a routine part of the recruitment process’. In this context, it is increasingly concerning that laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s irrelevant criminal record lack any real teeth.

Pillowtalk and evidence: High Court rejects privilege against spousal incrimination

In ACC v Stoddart,[1] the High Court recently held that there is no common law privilege against incriminating one’s spouse, which had been thought to exist for several centuries. What impact will this decision have?

National Coal Seam Gas: An Important Step in Protecting Water

A new national agreement designed to protect water resources from coal seam gas extraction and coal mining could offer a level of protection so far unseen in Australian environmental legislation. Any states serious about protecting water for farming and the environment should be signing up.

theconversation.edu.au/national-coal-seam-gas-agreement-an-important-step-in-protecting-water-5654

 

 

 

Mining's small change

(This piece first appeared in The Age 16 February)

*Peter Carey is a professor of accounting in Deakin University’s faculty of Business and Law
*Neil Fargher is a professor of accounting in the Australian National University’s College of Business and Economics

Contador and The Need for Speed

On the day the CAS handed down its decision on the Contador case Cadel Evans was quoted in the cycling press repeating two of the institutional mantras of professional cycling. The first being that often claimed by the UCI and by others such as Lance Armstrong that the sport is at the forefront in the battle against drugs: “Cycling has done more than enough to show it’s doing the right things when it comes to the fight against drugs … Now it’s time for other sports to look to cycling and replicate what we do so the fight against drugs in sports can maybe be beaten one day across all sports.

Contador not guilty of doping? But ....

 

On Monday, after an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI), to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS,) Contador was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France title and banned from competing until August.

The three panellists from the Court of Arbitration found that the most likely source of the banned substance clenbuterol was a contaminated supplement that Contador took. However, this is despite the fact that there was no evidence before the tribunal that the source of the clenbuterol was from a supplement.

But Contador never offered that as a reason, he argued against the food supplement contamination and stuck by this story that it was from contaminated meat. Because of this CAS didn’t take the supplement story into account as a mitigating factor - even though they found it was the most likely source.

Heinz Girgarre Tomato Sauce Factory closure and the McDonalds connection

Fluorescent tomato sauce for the pies sold at the SCG this week would have been a great promotion for both Heinz and the Jane McGrath Foundation.

However, in mid year when the sauce for my McDondald’s fries was fluro pink - it was cause for real concern. On inspection, the packaging on the faulty product read “Heinz, manufactured in Qingdao”.  You may remember Qingdao as the coastal city engulfed in fluro green seaweed prior to the China Olympic Yachting events.

I have visited Qingdao several times as my brother teaches at a Qingdao University. Whilst the area is less polluted than other areas of China, the tomato farms are small and fragmented compared to their Australian counterparts. As such, quality control of herbicides, pesticides and fertiliser would be almost impossible. Whilst Qingdao factories, although not old, operate without the environmental, labour and consumer protection laws that exist in Australia.

Improved justice the job facing Roxon

While much has been made of the fact that Nicola Roxon is our first female attorney-general, celebrations will be short-lived as Roxon faces significant tests in this new role.

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