Flashcards in Unit 3: AOS 1: Reasons why laws need to be changed, Methods of changing the law, and progress of a Bill through Parliament. Deck (43)
Explain changes in society's values and give an example.
Laws must change as society's values and attitudes change over years. The majority of people within society are law-abiding citizens, however if a community does not accept a law more citizens are more likely to disobey the law. Laws must change when societies values change. This can be seen when in 2015 when the Victorian Government passed the adoption amendment (adoption by same-sex couples) Act 2015. This Act needed to change as societies values and attitudes changed and they are more accepting of same sex relationships and the notion of eqaulity.
Explain advances in technology and give an example.
Technology is constantly improving and opening new frontiers. As technology advances new situations are required to be covered by the law to reduce opportunity for individuals and groups being exploited or harmed. This can be seen in the Telecommunications (Intercept and Access) Ammendment (Data Retention) Act 2014 (Cth). Requires telecommunications companies to retain some metadata (e.g emails, calls, texts), from their customs for 2 years to enhance 'power' of intelligence and security bodies.
Explain protection of the community and give an example.
The protection of a community as it ensures the community functions in a harmonious way. One of the major roles of the law is to protect individuals from harm. Laws are therefore needed to make unlawful those actions that may harm the community or individuals members of the community. As new situations come up new laws are required. This can be seen in the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 (Cth). A bill creating new ways dual nationals can lose their Australian citizenship by committing crimes, thus protecting the community from individuals who may cause harm.
Define Formal Pressures
Formal pressures for change include actions of formal law reform bodies that are apart of the formal structures of Parliament. Such as the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) was established to assess the need for changes int he law.
Define Informal Pressures
Individuals and groups can also attempt to influence law-makers to bring about changes in the law. These groups are outside the formal structures of parliament. Their activities are classified as informal pressures for change.
A petition is a written request containing signatures for parliament or government to take action on an issue.
Explain the method of a petition for influencing change in a law.
A petition is a written request containing signatures for parliament or government to take action on an issue. In both Commonwealth Parliament and State Parliament, a member of parliament may present a petition to Parliament on behalf of the people in their electorate. During each sitting of Parliament, the president or speaker will ask member to read any petitions. These are recorded into Hansard, parliament does not have to act in them.
What is an example of a petition
Media personality Derryn Hinch and many others pressure the Victorian Government to have a public register of convicted sex offenders created a petition but got rejected.
Explain the method of using the media to influence a change in the law.
The media such as television, letters to the editor and talk-back radio allows law-makers to guage public opinion and informs the law-makers of changes in values and attitudes within society. It also allows for other influences such as demonstrations and petitions to have an impact as they require media coverage. The internet contains forums such as Facebook, twitter etc they are useful tools as the public can participate in them, creating public awareness of a point of view resulting in increased support.
What is an example of use of media
A letter to the editor from Loraine Little, in response to the article Let'd start saving lives, which regarded the legalisation of safe injecting rooms in Victoria.
Demonstrations involve taking action to publicly display support for an issue alerting the government that there in a need to change the law. This may be in the form of a march rally or boycott.
Explain the method of demonstrating to influence a change in the law.
Demonstrations involve taking action to publicly display support for an issue alerting the government that there in a need to change the law. This may be in the form of a march rally or boycott. Demonstrations draw attention to an issue and reflect the public support and media attention. However if demonstrations involve acts of violence or unlawful behaviour it may result in adverse media attention and reduce public support.
What is an example of demonstrations
Cab demonstrations block Bolte Bridge
What is the VLRC
The VLRC is an independent, government funded organisation. It was established to develop law reform and monitor and coordinate law reform in Victoria.
Explain the VLRC
The main role of the VLRC is to undertake research and make recommendations for changes in the law on issues referred to it by the Attorney-General. The Commission can also make recommendations on issues that have not been referred to it by the Attorney General.
What are the Roles of the VLRC
-Make recommendations for law reform on matters referred to it by the Attorney General. This includes conducting research, consulting and reporting on law reform project.
-Make recommendations on minor legal issues that are of general community concerns.
-Suggest to the Attorney-General that they refer a law in need of change to the Commission.
-Educate the community of areas of law relevant to the commissions work.
-Monitor and co-ordinate law reform activity in Victoria
What occurs once the VLRC has completed their report?
The report containing recommendations is given to the Attorney- General who tables the report in Parliament within 14 days,
Does the VLRC change the law?
The VLRC does NOT chnage the law. The VLRC makes recommendations to change the law, it is up to the parliament to change the law.
What is an example of the VLRC
The VLRC was asked by the state government to conduct further research into medical canabis.
What are the strengths of the VLRC
-Government has asked the VLRC to investigate an area therefore the government is more likely to act on it's report on the need for change.
-Can guage public opinion by receiving public submissions and holding seminars in which people can have their say.
-Is able to investigate a new law that covers a whole issue.
What are the weaknesses of the VLRC
-Can only investigate issues referred to it by the government or minor issues that it can look into without a reference.
-There is no obligation on the part of the government to follow any of the recommendations made.
-Investigations can be time-consuming and costly.
What are the strengths of petitions
-Can make direct contact with the government when the petition is tabled in Parliament.
-Can show a high degree of support when a lot of signatures are obtained.
-Can arouse public awareness of an issue when collecting signatures.
What are the weaknesses of petitions
-Many petitions are presented to Parliament and Parliament cannot respond to them all.
-Are not as visual as other methods such as demonstrations so less likely to gain support.
-It may be difficult to obtain large numbers of signatures. This can be time consuming.
-The minister tabling the petition may have little influence on government policy for new laws.
What are the strengths of demonstrations
-If numbers are large then the media will be likely yo report on the demonstrations.
-With media support, they are likely to gain wide support in the community and nationally for a cause.
-Can arouse public awareness of the issue.
What are the weaknesses of demonstrations
-They have to be publisiced well to get the numbers to attend to make an impression.
-Unless there is on-going support and media attention, they are likely to have little effect
-They are time-consuming to organise
What are the strengths of the media
-Can gain a grounds of support for an issue if the issue is widely reported, such as through radio, T.V, newspapers etc.
-The government is fully aware of the issues that the media is covering and can guage public support about an issue through the media.
-Without the support of the media, other methods of influencing changes in the law will have little effect.
What are the weaknesses of the media
-Can show that there are very strong conflicting views on issue.
-The government will only take on board an issue id it fits in with their legislative program and there is a high level of community support.
-Change in the law usually requires bipartisan support, or at least support of the minor parties and independents.
Who are the parliamentary counsel
A parliamentary counsel is a lawyer who has the responsibility for drafting legislation and who is given instructions from cabinet about the purpose and the extent of the proposed legislation.
What is the role of the parliamentary counsel?
-Examine and analyse the intructions given by Cabinet
-Examine constitutional, legal and other implications of the policy.
-Discuss proposals with relevant government department to ascertain intention
-Decide how policies can be implemented
-Prepare a draft Bill