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Demonstrations are held to alert the government to the need for a change in the law. For these to be successful a large group of people must show their support for the change in the law and attend the demonstration. They all aim to bring the issue to the attention of the community and the law-makers with the objective of influencing a change in the law.



A petition is a formal, written request to the government for action in a particular area that is considered outdated, or unjust. It usually has a collection of signatures on it, which have been gathered from supporters. A petition is forward to a local member of parliament to present at the next sitting of parliament. A petition can also be conducted on the internet, using email address rather than signatures.


What is VLRC

The Victorian Law Reform Commission. It came into operation on the 6th of April 2001. It is an independent, government-funded organisation. It was established to investigate areas of law in which the government feels there is a need for a reform and to monitor and co-ordinate law reform activity in Victoria


Methods of Influencing Change

- Use of Media


Informal Pressures

Individuals or groups who are not connected with the law-making process and cannot be instrumental in changing the law. However informal presses can influence law-makers to change the law.
-Increase Public Awareness
-Encourage Parliament to investigate the Issue.
These may come from Individuals, political parties, pressure groups and Trade Unions


Use of Media

The media's role in influencing change in law is extremely important. The media allows the law makers to gauge public opinion and informs them of the changes in vales and attitudes within society. If other methods of influencing change in society such as petitions and demonstrations they need to have media coverage to enlarge their impact.


Role of VLRC

To undertake research and make recommendations for changes in the law on issues that are referred to the VLRC by the state attorney- general. This is called a reference. The VLRC also has the power to recommend minor changes to the law with a reference from the attorney-general


Formal Pressures

Come from within the formal structure of the lawmaking process and include:
-CABINET: Which is responsible for deciding what changed in law should take place.
-GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT: Decide what changes in the law are required in their area.
-PARLIAMENTARY COMMITEES: Parliaments ask them to investigate the need for change.
-LAW-REFROM BODIES: Responsible for investigating the need for changes in the law as needs arise.


Restrictions on Parliaments Ability to make Laws

-Conflicting views within the community
-Economic Viability
-Public Debate
-Constitutional Restrictions
-Hostile Upper House
-A Hung Parliament
-Outdated Legislation
-Lack of Time


Changes in society

For example peoples buying habits = Laws Changing over time to protect the consumer and make sellers an manufacturers ensure there products are safe


Reasons why Laws may need to be Changed

-Encouraging changes in values in Society
- Changing Values in Society
- Changes in Society
-Advances in Technology
- Greater need for protection of the Community
- Greater awareness of the need to protect rights
-Greater demand for access to the law


Advances in Technology

Constantly improving and opening new frontiers = As it improves new situations need to be covered by the law, to reduce the opportunity for individuals and groups being exploited or harmed.


Weaknesses of parliament as a law making body

-Parliament is not always sitting and so can not always change the law as the need arises.
- There are often conflicting views within society that hinder parliament in the law making process.
- Investigation and implementation are very time consuming and parliament may not be able to keep up with the changes in society, because there are many issues that require parliament attention.
-Investigations may be lengthy and expensive
-Cant always respond to changes in the community.


Strengths of parliament as a law making body

- Parliament can change the law as a need arises.
- It is a parliamentary's primary role to make laws.
-Parliaments is elected by the people and therefore responsible to the people.
- Parliament can investigate the whole topic and make a comprehensive law.
- Parliaments access to expert information and therefore is more able to keep up with the changes in society rather than the courts.


Parliamentary Counsel

Is a lawyer who has the responsibility of drafting legislation and who is given instructions from cabinet about the purpose and the extent of the proposed legislation.


Role of Parliamentary Counsel

-Examine and analyse the instructions given by cabinet.
-Examine constitutional, legal and other implications of the policy.
- Discuss the proposals with the relevant government department to ascertain intention.
- Decide how the policy's can be implemented.
-Prepare a draft bill
- Send draft to relevant government department for consideration
-Ensure legislation is legally effective


Statement of Compatibility

-Member of parliament introducing the bill must lay before the house a statement of compatibility, which states whether the bill is compatible with the charter of human rights and responsibilities, giving reasons. A bill can still be passed if it is in someway not compatible with the charter but there would be exceptional circumstances


Purpose of a Bill

-Relevant minister outlines the purpose.
- They present an explanatory memorandum.
-Explaining reasons for the bill, and outlining its provisions.
-Debate Adjourned



Senior legal advisor of the scrutiny acts and regulation committees examine all the clauses and schedules of each bill



A public official announcement dealing with a matter of great importance


Second reading

-Statement of Comparability
-Purpose of the bill


Greater need for protection of the community

-Community needs to be protected to continue to function in a safe way.
-Main aim of the law is to protect individuals from harm
- Laws are therefore needed to make un-lawful those actions that may harm the community.


Changing values in society

In our society, values and attitudes have changed over the years. The majority of people are law-abiding citizens however if a law is not accepted by the community it could lead to more and more people being willing to disobey the law. therefore for the law to be acceptable it must change to keep up with these changes