August 13, 2006

It Is Time to Bail

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:56 pm by thelawthoughts

After almost two years of doing this, I think I have had enough. Life is busy enough without voluntary stress!

I’ve decided to stop blogging, at least for a while, but I will leave my posts up. Thanks to all who have read and commented in the last two years!



August 9, 2006

Petro Georgiou’s speech on the Migration Bill

Posted in politics, refugees at 7:09 am by thelawthoughts

The Australian runs the full text of Petro Georgiou’s speech to Parliament today on the Migration reforms proposed by our government.

Please, people, read it. I promise it is worth it, if only to be shocked at how far these reforms really do go.

Petro, you are a good, good man.

Non-Law Stuff

Posted in politics at 6:18 am by thelawthoughts

I’ll get my political gripes out of the way for today in one hit. So:

1. We are sending more troops to Afghanistan. Very convenient timing. Remind people of the TERRORISTS and how much we need to ensure SECURITY when they start complaining about land rights and asylum legislation, and of course interest rates and oil prices. Which leads me to:

2. Despite the recent rate hike (and I mean the first one, not the one the other day), debt levels and housing loan numbers are going up. Alarmingly, the number of loans for investment properties went up 4.5%. People, people, people, DON’T complain about rising oil prices and interest rates if you are going to keep borrowing at the same time. Investment is not a necessity, the whole point of rate rises is to make you think ‘Hmm, maybe I won’t spend this money’. It is not about a bunch of nasty men in suits making you spend an extra .25% when you buy that investment property you ‘simply must have’.

Basically, as soon as people stop spending so much money, interest rates will stop going up.

Non-Copyrightable Stats

Posted in copyright, judgments and transcripts at 5:54 am by thelawthoughts

Marty Schwimmer at the Trademark Blog points to a case in the US where it was held that MLB does not own the statistics of baseballers, and therefore cannot prevent others making money from running fantasy leagues which use those statistics.

Well, yeah. I am not surprised that this was dealt with by summary judgment (albeit 49 pages. 49 page summary judgment? Sheesh). My mother even knows that facts are not copyright. It is the way one reduces those facts to material form that becomes the copyright material.

So here is my question – do fantasy league owners use stats generated by the MLB and published by them? If they do, surely that is infringement. If, for example, I run a little basketball fantasy league between my friends, charge them $10 each to enter and get the stats from, that much be infringement. Only if I compile the stats myself am I not reusing the expression of another.

What am I missing here?

Latest on the Asylum changes (updated)

Posted in politics, refugees at 12:52 am by thelawthoughts

Well, not that I have any news the ABC doesn’t.

However, some quick observations. Backbenchers are not taking the moral high ground? No, they are ‘looking at us from the ditch’. Get real, Mr. Thompson.

Good on Petro. If you are going to spend 10 years in Parliament doing nothing, this is as good a law as you could get to stand up against.

Good on you Barny. Instead of dismissing backbench protests, Uncle Barnaby is prepared to listen. He says ‘I think the people who advocate the position for greater breadth in the asylum laws are not moral bankrupts, nor are they stupid people…I think they have a valid position and you should give them the dignity of listening to them.”

Well, yeah. Newsflash, John Winston. If you try and pass crap, badly thought out, morally bankrupt laws which flout your international obligations, without listening to protest from within your party, you get floor-crossers. This is not a case of a few people holding the party hostage. It is a case of not taking into account the view of the party room in a democratic way. They keep saying what they are saying; their position is not new.

Migration laws in this country are about as tight as they ever need to be. It is not as if the country is baying for more restrictions on migrants. So, the latest backbench revolt cannot even be quelled by the argument that these laws are politically expedient. My argument would be that the tighter the law gets, the more angry the electorate is getting.

UPDATE: Charles Richardson, in today’s newsletter, argues as follows:

“[P]erhaps it’s time to turn the spotlight the other way, and look at the 120-odd Coalition MPs and senators who are going to vote for the legislation. Instead of asking “why are there dissidents?”, we should be asking “why are there so few of them?”.

After all, this legislation proposes to tear up Australia’s international obligations more comprehensively than anything that was done in the immediate post-Tampa period. And at that time the government had the excuse of a number of refugee boats arriving in a short period, plus desperate political imperatives at home.

Now it has neither. Moreover, the legislation was transparently drafted in response to Indonesian pressure – normally not a vote-winner in either the party room or the electorate.”

Gang Rape (updated)

Posted in criminal law at 12:42 am by thelawthoughts

No, NSW police, don’t play down the June 8 gang rape in Darling Harbour. Don’t ‘allay’ our fears. Don’t tell us it’s a ‘once-off’.

Just find these people, now. Then put them away until they are 80.

UPDATE: A man has been arrested over the attack.

August 8, 2006

HC Follow Up

Posted in high court, judgments and transcripts at 1:26 am by thelawthoughts

Further to my previous post, I am going to run a little poll. I can’t work out polling software so comments are welcome, please.

What is the most interesting High Court case this year?

1. Waller – suing a doctor for wrongful life for failure to advise of genetic condition in IVF baby?

2. Theophanus – examination of the interplay between criminal law and ability of the government to seize superannuation of that person?

3. Koroitamana – whether children born in Australia are aliens? I did think this was already decided by Singh a few years ago but I must admit to not having read it yet.

4. Buckley – whether evidence of sex with animals could be taken into account when deciding on an indefinite sentence (my pick)?

5. Cummins – if only because he is a bankrupt barrister with lots ofassets in the wife’s name and a strange lack of tax returns for x years?

6. One of the hundreds of industrial law cases decided this year?

7. Something else? You must specify.

Let’s see what we get.

Is our High Court Boring?

Posted in high court, judgments and transcripts at 1:16 am by thelawthoughts

I have missed the High Court handing down five decisions recently, although when I read the catchwords I am not sure if I have missed very much. When freezing orders to confiscate property can be made, when a limitations period begins to run in the context of post-traumatic stress disorder, apprehended bias of a judge, allowed tax deductions for CityLink, whether an indictment was a nullity because a count was wrongly included and a miscarriage of justice after a badly worded jury direction.

Granted, there was an extradition case which looks quite interesting, but these cases in general just don’t get me excited. They seem to be niche cases, there is very little ground shifting going on. No Mabo or Walton Stores. Now, granted, these cases don’t come around very often, and I’m not reading as many cases as I should, but have any REALLY big cases been decided this year? Or is it just this ho-hum stuff about, well, not much?

I read somewhere a little while ago that Australian authority is being relied on less and less in other common law jurisdictions than it was in the days of, say, the Mason or Barwick courts. Is this because the High Court is deciding less important cases? I am really interested in people’s view of this so please pipe up!

Deakin Law School Link

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:09 am by thelawthoughts

Somehow, I have got myself on the ‘law blogs’ page of the Deakin Law School website.

It must be because I love Mirko so much. In any case, it is nice to be there. I don’t know that they got the right link, however, because I am under ‘The Law Blogs: Neatly Categorised’.

August 7, 2006

Nothing to Do?

Posted in random at 6:35 am by thelawthoughts

If you have 3 minutes and 13 seconds to waste, Joshua Gans points us in the direction of the final of the rock-paper-scissors championship. Skip the first 1.30 or so.

EU Death Penalty Debate

Posted in criminal law, EU, law reform, murder at 6:24 am by thelawthoughts

Poland wants to reopen the death penalty debate within the EU.

The EU administration has firmly rejected the possibility any such discussion. Why are we still having this tired old debate? The death penalty does not satisfy the main aims of penal theory. It does not rehabilitate (for obvious reasons). It does not deter (or else the US wouldn’t need to keep injecting people with lethal drugs). Apart from anything else, it is so scary to live somewhere where the state has the ability, historically used arbitrarially, to kill people. How can a State tell people not to kill, when the same State kills people itself? It just doesn’t make sense.

I liked the caption – ‘Lech Kaczynski advocates traditional Catholic values’. The Beeb is not noted for its irony, so I can only guess it is unintended, but it is dripping with irony. When will some Catholics realise that ‘traditional values’ do not mean killing people? They mean ‘love thy neighbour’, ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. Forgiveness is possibly the word I heard most in my childhood, yet people touting these ‘traditional values’ say in the same breath that State sponsored killing should be REintroduced.

Sometimes I wonder whether society has really progressed at all.

Native Plants in your Garden?

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:17 am by thelawthoughts

Harry Clarke has an excellent post on why we should all plant natives species in our yards. I couldn’t agree with him more.

August 3, 2006

Israel and Lebanon

Posted in international law, politics, terrorism, UN at 1:28 am by thelawthoughts

I know virtually nothing about the current conflict, apart from the fact it is happening. However, the question that strikes me first is the following:

How can we, as an international community, stand by and let the US support the actions of a country that makes no attempt to prevent civilian casualties in such a conflict?

That is, whilst the US is the most powerful country in the world, surely the rest of the world has enough guts to say ‘Look, you can’t support a regime that bombs and kills children whilst pretending they are seeking military targets’.

Am I the only one thinking that?