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Nauru: Majority of Voters Reject Changes to Constitution

(Mar. 3, 2010) On March 1, 2010, it was reported that two-thirds of the voters in Nauru had voted against proposed changes to the island nation's constitution in a referendum that was held on February 27, 2010. (Nauruans Vote Against Proposed Constitution Amendments, PACIFIC ISLANDS NEWS ASSOCIATION (PINA), Mar. 1, 2010, available at http://www.pina.com.fj/?p=pacnews&m=read&o=3824357504b8aea28cfbffdbb5c07e.) The […]

New Zealand: Government Releases Electoral Finance Reform Proposals

(Feb. 18, 2010) On February 16, 2010, the New Zealand government announced plans to introduce new legislation to amend the rules relating to campaign finance and spending on election advertising. (Press Release, Hon. Simon Power, Electoral Finance Reform Package Announced (Feb. 16, 2010), available at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/electoral+finance+reform+package+announced.) The rules have been the subject of considerable controversy […]

Australia: Court Finds Internet Provider Not Responsible for Illegal Downloads

(Feb. 12, 2010) On February 4, 2010, in what is being called a “landmark judgment” that has possible international ramifications, the Federal Court of Australia ruled against a number of major Hollywood film studios in finding that an Internet service provider (ISP) was not liable for the copyright breaches of its customers. The judge noted […]

Australia: Securities Regulator to Have Greater Powers, Tougher Penalties

(Feb. 3, 2010) On January 28, 2010, the Australian federal government announced plans to increase the maximum penalties that can be imposed for market misconduct. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) will also have greater powers to investigate and prosecute market offenses. (Press Release, Hon. Chris Bowen, Greater Powers to the Corporate Regulator to […]

New Zealand: “Three-Strikes” Law To Be Introduced

(Jan. 22, 2010) On January 19, 2010, New Zealand's National Party government announced that it had reached an agreement with one of its coalition partners on a policy that will make repeat violent offenders ineligible for parole if they are convicted of their third serious offense. (Press Release, Judith Collins, National and ACT Agree to […]

Australia: New South Wales Government Responds to Report on Same-Sex Adoption Laws

(Jan. 14, 2010) On January 6, 2009, the government of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, released a letter in response to a parliamentary report that had recommended changing the law to allow same-sex couples to adopt children. In the letter, the Minister of Community Services, Linda Burney, indicated that, while the recommendation was “not without […]

Malaysia: Court Rules Catholic Magazine Can Use the Word “Allah”

(Jan. 5, 2010) On December 31, 2009, the High Court of Malaysia ruled that a Christian publication has a constitutional right to use the word “Allah” to refer to God. (Catholic Magazine Herald Can Use Word “Allah,” BERNAMA (Malaysia), Dec. 31, 2009, available at http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=465442.) The case was filed in February 2009 by the Herald, […]

Australia: Plans for Mandatory Internet Filtering Announced

(Dec. 30, 2009) On December 15, 2009, Australia's Minister of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Hon. Stephen Conroy, announced that the government intends to introduce legislation by mid-2010 requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block overseas content given a Refused Classification (RC) rating. (Press Release, Hon. Stephen Conroy, Measures to Improve Safety of the […]

Malaysia: Goods and Services Tax to Be Implemented in 2011

(Dec. 24, 2009) The Goods and Services Tax Bill 2009 was tabled in the Malaysian Parliament on December 16, 2009. The Second Finance Minister, Ahmad Husni, stated that the government expects a goods and services tax (GST) at a rate of 4% to be implemented by mid-2011. (Goods and Services Tax Bill Tabled in Dewan […]

Australia: New Guidelines on International Cooperation in Death Penalty Cases

(Dec. 24, 2009) On December 18, 2009, the Australian government announced that new guidelines governing international law enforcement cooperation in possible death penalty cases had come into effect. (Press Release, Brendan O'Connor & Hon. Robert McClelland, International Law Enforcement Cooperation (Dec. 18, 2009), available at http://www.ministerhomeaffairs.gov.au/www/ministers/oconnor.nsf/Page/MediaReleases_2009_FourthQuarter_18December2009-InternationalLawEnforcementCooperation.) The guidelines set out a list of factors that […]