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Australia: Northern Territory Parliament Passes Bill to Decriminalize Abortion, Improve Access

(Mar. 28, 2017) On March 21, 2017, Australia’s Northern Territory Parliament voted to pass the Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Bill 2017 (NT) (Northern Territory Legislation website). The Bill amends part VI, division 8, of the Criminal Code Act (NT), which currently criminalizes the administration of a drug or use of an instrument with the intention of […]

New Zealand: Bill Establishing River as Having Own Legal Personality Passed

(Mar. 22, 2017) On March 14, 2017, the New Zealand Parliament voted to pass the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) Claims Settlement Bill (the Bill). (Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) Claims Settlement Bill, Government Bill 129-2, as reported by the Māori Affairs Committee, New Zealand Legislation website.) The Bill “gives effect to the Whanganui River Deed […]

Solomon Islands: Adoption Act Amended to Enhance Requirements for Intercountry Adoptions

(Mar. 15, 2017) On February 21, 2017, the National Parliament of Solomon Islands voted to pass the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016. (Press Release, National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Parliament Passes the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 (Feb. 23, 2017); Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016, National Parliament of Solomon Islands website.) The Bill, which amends the Adoption Act 2004, […]

Samoa: New Approval Guidelines for Arming Police Passed

(Mar. 14, 2017) On March 7, 2017, the Samoan Parliament voted to pass the Police Powers Amendment Bill 2017, which sets out the approval requirements for police officers in the country to be armed when carrying out their duties. (Police Powers Amendment Bill 2017, Parliament of Samoa website; Lagi Keresoma, Samoa Parliament Approves New Police Powers Bill, […]

Australia/New Zealand: Joint Regulatory System for Patent Attorneys Comes into Effect

(Mar. 1, 2017) On February 24, 2017, legislation implementing a joint Australia-New Zealand system for regulating patent attorneys came into effect. (Press Release, Arthur Sinodinos & Jacqui Dean, Trans-Tasman Patent Attorney Regulatory Regime in Effect (Feb. 24, 2017), Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science website.) The relevant New Zealand legislation was enacted in November 2016. […]

New Zealand: High Court Finds Megaupload Founder Eligible for Extradition

(Feb. 22, 2017) On February 20, 2017, the High Court of New Zealand affirmed the district court’s December 2015 ruling that Kim Dotcom and three other appellants are eligible for extradition to the United States. (Ortmann & Ors v United States of America [2017] NZHC 189; Press Release, High Court of New Zealand, Ortmann & Ors v […]

Australia: Bill Passed Requiring Notification of Data Breaches

(Feb. 15, 2017) On February 13, 2017, the Australian Senate voted to pass the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 (Parliament of Australia website). The House of Representatives had passed the bill on February 7, 2017. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) currently has a voluntary notification system for data breaches and has […]

Vanuatu: Right to Information Law Comes into Force

(Feb. 10, 2017) On February 6, 2017, Vanuatu’s first freedom of information law came into effect, following the unanimous passage of the law by the Parliament on November 24, 2016. (Right to Information Becomes Law in Vanuatu, RADIO NEW ZEALAND (Feb. 8, 2017); Jane Joshua, PINA and MAV Laud Historic RTI Law, VANUATU DAILY POST (Feb. 7, 2017); […]

Australia: Police Response to Aboriginal Death in Custody and Ensuing Riot Ruled Discriminatory

(Dec. 9, 2016) On December 5, 2016, the Federal Court of Australia found in favor of an Aboriginal community from Palm Island, Queensland, in a class action case involving claims that officers of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) engaged in racial discrimination in responding to a riot that took place in 2004 following the death […]

Australia: Parliament Passes 15% “Backpacker Tax” Rate

(Dec. 7, 2016) On December 1, 2016, on the last parliamentary sitting day of the year, the Australian Parliament voted to pass a bill establishing a 15% income tax rate for temporary foreign workers known as “working holiday makers” (WHMs, or “backpackers”) commonly referred to as the “backpacker tax.” The tax rate to be applied to […]