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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 […]

Australia: Import Ban on Lever-Action Shotguns with Magazine Capacity over Five Rounds to Continue

(Nov. 28, 2016) On November 21, 2016, during a late-night session, the Australian Senate voted on a motion, put forward by Senator David Leyonhjelm, to disallow a regulation that would continue an existing ban on the importation of lever-action shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than five rounds.  (Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates, Senate, 21 November […]

New Zealand: Trans-Pacific Partnership Bill Passed

(Nov. 22, 2016) On November 15, 2016, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill (TPPA Amendment Bill).  (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill, New Zealand Parliament website (last visited Nov. 16, 2016); text of the latest version (133-3) of the Bill on New Zealand Legislation website.)  The Bill amends various pieces of […]

Australia: Amendments to War Crimes Provisions Relate to Fight Against Islamic State

(Oct. 17, 2016) On October 12, 2016, the Australian government introduced a bill into the Parliament to amend provisions related to war crimes contained in the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).  (Criminal Code Amendment (War Crimes) Bill 2016, PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA (last visited Oct. 13, 2016).) The proposed changes were first announced by the Prime […]

Australia: Bill to Establish State Relationship Register for Same-Sex Couples Introduced

(Oct. 7, 2016) On September 22, 2016, the South Australian government introduced into the State Parliament a bill that will enable unmarried couples, both same-sex and heterosexual, to register their relationships with the government.  The Relationships Register Bill 2016 (SA) provides for such couples to receive a certificate of registration and have their relationships legally […]

Malaysia: Steps Taken Towards Ratification of Trans-Pacific Partnership

(Sept. 29, 2016) On September 24, 2016, it was reported that the Malaysian Secretary-General for International Trade and Industry, Datuk J. Jayasuri, had stated that the country is on track to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by early 2018.  (Amir Hisyam Rasid, (Update) Malaysia Amending 18 Laws in Preparation for TPP Ratification, NEW STRAITS TIMES […]

New Zealand: Bill Requiring Standardized Packaging of Tobacco Products Passed

(Sept. 20, 2016) On September 8, 2016, the New Zealand Parliament enacted the Smoke-Free Environments (Tobacco Standardised Packaging) Amendment Act 2016 with a vote of 108 in favor and 13 against.  (Press Release, Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, Standardised Packaging Bill Passed (Sept. 8, 2016); Smoke-Free Environments (Tobacco Standardised Packaging) Amendment Act 2016 (Amendment Act), New Zealand […]