Reform ‘won’t fix defamation’

Original article by Chris Merritt
The Australian – Page: 19 : 27-Jul-20

Minter Ellison partner Peter Bartlett has questioned whether the proposed new defence for public interest journalism will be effective. It is based on a British provision that requires a journalist to prove that they reasonably believed that the publication of a statement was in the public interest. Bartlett warns that if the new defence is interpreted in the same way as the British defence, it is likely to have a similar impact as the existing defence of statutory qualified privilege, which has not been successfully used by the media. The Council of Attorneys-General will approve a model defamation bill on 27 July.

CORPORATES
MINTER ELLISON, AUSTRALIA. COUNCIL OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Curb on mega-payouts to celebrities

Original article by Chris Merritt
The Australian – Page: 2 : 24-Jul-20

A proposed national model law will be on the agenda of a Council of Attorneys-General meeting on 27 July. The national model laws includes changes to defamation laws, including replacing the existing defence of statutory qualified privilege for media companies with a new defence of public interest journalism. The model bill will also seek to address the rising cost of defamation payouts, amid a growing trend for judges to bypass existing caps on damages for causing harm to a person’s reputation.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. COUNCIL OF ATTORNEYS-GENERAL

New Hope blasts loophole for activists

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 23-Sep-19

New Hope Corporation’s CEO Shane Stephan has called for the abolition of laws that exempt environmental activists from penalties for engaging in secondary boycotts. He says it is not right that anti-coal activists can target suppliers to the mining industry with action that would otherwise be illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act. New Hope recently advised that 150 workers at its New Acland mine will be retrenched at the end of October. A proposed $900m expansion of the mine has been on hold for more than a decade.

CORPORATES
NEW HOPE CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX NHC, WASHINGTON H SOUL PATTINSON AND COMPANY LIMITED – ASX SOL, ADANI MINING PTY LTD

IR reform urgent for economy

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 8-Jul-19

Business leaders have identified changes to the industrial relations system as a priority for the federal government following the passage of its income tax cuts package. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox and Australian Resources & Energy Group CEO Steve Knott say the reform agenda should include changes to the ‘better off overall test’ for enterprise agreements, passing the Ensuring Integrity Bill and Proper Use of Worker Benefits Bill, and a review of unfair dismissal and adverse action laws. They argue that major changes to the Fair Work Act are not necessary.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN RESOURCES AND ENERGY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Coalition to reshape workplace landscape

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 27-Jun-19

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter says the federal government’s review of industrial relations laws will take 6-9 months. He adds that the government may pursue legislative changes before the next election if such reforms would increase jobs, boost wages and strengthen the economy. Amongst other things, the review will consider changes to unfair dismissal laws, the processes for approving enterprise agreements and a revised definition of ­casual employment. The government’s more immediate legislative priorities include passing the Ensuring Integrity Bill and stricter regulation of workers’ entitlement funds.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

IR law too complex to get pay right

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 26-Jun-19

Former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the employee underpayment scandal demonstrates that Australia’s workplace relations system is too complex and needs to be reviewed. She argues that "fundamental misunderstandings" about industrial awards and enterprise agreements are causing workers to be underpaid. Employers’ groups have advocated changes to the procedures for approving enterprise bargaining agreements, amid a blowout in the average number of days the Fair Work Commission takes to approve them and a sharp increase in EBAs that are approved only after employers agree to additional undertakings.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, BEAUREPAIRS, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), ACTU, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, COLES SUPERMARKETS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED. CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK

Allens calls for copyright rejig to meet AI age

Original article by Lucas Baird
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 2-Jan-19

Andrew Wiseman of law firm Allens has called for an overhaul of Australia’s copyright laws to provide protection for original material that has been generated by artificial intelligence systems. He argues that other countries are addressing the issue of the copyright status of such works, and that it is regularly discussed at international conferences. However, John Fairburn of Minter Ellison cautions against acting too quickly without fully considering the issue.

CORPORATES
ALLENS, MINTER ELLISON

Fruit crisis: PM gets tough with 15 years’ prison

Original article by Richard Ferguson, Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 7 : 20-Sep-18

The federal government wants to increase the maximum penalty for contaminating food with the intent of causing injury from 10 years to 15 in response to the crisis affecting the nation’s strawberry industry. The Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force are working with state police forces to investigate the growing number of reports of fruit tampering, although some are believed to be hoaxes. In addition to strawberries, there have been reports that sewing needles have been found in apples and bananas. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has indicated that Labor will support the proposed reforms.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, AUSTRALIAN BORDER FORCE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, COLES SUPERMARKETS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW

Gig workers oppose Labor’s job proposals

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 20-Sep-18

A Senate committee has released a report which has recommended greater regulation of the gig economy in order to protect workers in the sector. Amongst other things, the inquiry into the future of work has recommended broadening the definition of an employee to include workers in the gig economy, who are generally regarded as independent contractors. However, some people who work as ride-sharing drivers say the flexibility of their working hours is a key attraction and they will quit the sector if there is any change to their employment status.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, UBER AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, TAXIFY, RIDE SHARE DRIVERS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA

Push to throw out baseless unfair dismissal claims

Original article by Joe Kelly, Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 25-Jul-18

Changes to the Fair Work Commission’s procedures for dealing with unfair dismissal cases are among the recommendations of a review undertaken by ex-federal small business minister Bruce Billson. Amongst other things, he has recommended earlier intervention by the FWC to reject unfair dismissal claims against small businesses that are deemed to have no merit. Meanwhile, a new report from the Institute of Public Affairs shows that the number of people employed by small businesses in Australia has fallen by seven per cent over a decade.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, CONCEPT WIRE INDUSTRIES