Allens

Government

Our experienced Government legal team regularly publishes articles and updates – the full list of publications appears below. These publications provide a snapshot of the latest legislation, court cases, policy changes and contentious issues affecting Government. If you'd like to be notified when we add new Government publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Read about Allens' track record in this dynamic area.

Government Publications

  • Client Update: Implications of the Critical Infrastructure Centre for foreign investment in Australia

    24 February 2017

    The Australian Government's Critical Infrastructure Centre, launched earlier this year, is part of the government's plans to manage national security concerns arising from foreign investment in Australian critical infrastructure. The Centre has released a discussion paper calling for input into how it can best work with governments, industry and investors to manage these risks. This paper provides greater insight into the Centre's role but there remain areas to be clarified. Partners Wendy Rae and Jeremy Low, Mergers & Acquisitions Counsel Andrew Wong and Associate Nicholas Kefalianos examine this issue from the perspective of Australia's foreign investment framework.

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  • Client Update: Federal Government addresses uncertainty around Indigenous Land Use Agreements

    17 February 2017

    The Federal Government has moved to provide certainty for those who rely on registered Indigenous Land Use Agreements, following the Full Federal Court's decision that called the legal status of these agreements into question, by introducing amending legislation. Partner Ben Zillmann and Senior Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the key elements.

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  • Allens insights: Trends over the past year in the Australian projects and infrastructure sectors

    8 February 2017

    A substantial pipeline of both private and public infrastructure projects has attracted a variety of local and offshore project finance providers wishing to gain exposure to returns from these attractive Australian investment opportunities. Allens Partners Nick Adkins, Scott McCoy and Rob Watt look at how this is unfolding, the increase in non-bank lenders competing for projects, the various funding models at play, and the opportunities available in the near future.

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  • Client Update: Registering Indigenous Land Use Agreements - it's all or nothing

    6 February 2017

    In McGlade v Native Title Registrar, the Full Federal Court has found that the Native Title Registrar does not have the jurisdiction to register an agreement on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements unless the agreement is signed by all registered native title claimants. This is a significant change from the current legal position and has potentially far reaching consequences not just for future agreements, but will also call into question the validity of many existing agreements. Partner Ben Zillmann and Senior Associate Andrea Moffatt consider the implications of the decision.

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  • Focus: Increased whistleblower protections, and more to come...

    24 November 2016

    The Federal Parliament has passed an industrial relations bill that includes significant increases to the whistleblower protections applicable to unions and employer organisations. In what would be a comprehensive overhaul of Australia's whistleblower laws, the Federal Government has separately agreed to support the introduction of equivalent (or better) whistleblower protections in the public and private sectors. Partner Rachel Nicolson, Senior Associate Chris Holland and Lawyer Karina Plain report.

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  • Unravelled: Productivity Commission report into superannuation system bodes well for the future

    6 September 2016

    At first glance, the recent Productivity Commission Draft Report on How to Assess the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the Superannuation System (August 2016) could be dismissed as nothing more than a procedural step along the road to the ultimate goal (as recommended by the FSI) of developing an alternative system of allocating default members to superannuation funds. However, to dismiss the Report so easily would belie the wealth of detail contained in it and the quality of research undertaken by the Commission. In particular, much of the value of the Report lies in the numerous observations made on the current state of the industry in its weighty 285 pages.

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  • Client Update: Court determines Native Title compensation for the first time

    25 August 2016

    Yesterday afternoon, the Federal Court handed down a decision which, for the first time, provided judicial consideration of how to calculate native title compensation. A decision on this issue has been long awaited, ever since the Native Title Act commenced in 1994. Partner Ben Zillmann, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Senior Associate Giselle Kilvert summarise the key aspects of the decision and its significance.

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  • Unravelled: Post-election policy recap

    9 August 2016

    As the dust settles following the recent federal election, it is a good time to reflect on what we can expect from the re-elected Coalition Government for the financial services sector. There are two main groups of policy proposals that are going to need to get through Parliament. The first is the fairly significant superannuation changes announced in the 2016/17 Budget in May. The second is the series of changes the Government announced in its response to the Financial System Inquiry. This brief article provides a refresher on each of them.

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  • Allens insights: Value capture and getting smart

    30 June 2016

    The Australian Government has identified value capture and innovative financing as key elements of its Smart Cities Plan. The move will have significant implications for traditional project finance. By Paul Kenny, Sector Leader, Government, and Phillip Cornwell, Project Finance, Consultant at Allens.

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  • Focus: Qld, NSW and Vic impose stamp duty surcharge on foreign purchasers of residential land

    20 June 2016

    Queensland will impose a stamp duty surcharge of 3 per cent on direct and indirect acquisitions of residential land in Queensland by foreign purchasers, with effect from 1 October 2016. A similar stamp duty surcharge has been announced by the New South Wales Government with effect from 21 June 2016. This follows the introduction of a stamp duty surcharge on foreign purchasers by the Victorian Government last year which Victoria proposes to raise to 7 per cent from 1 July 2016. Partner Adrian Chek, Senior Tax Counsel Marc Johnston and Associate Jay Prasad report.

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  • Special Report: Understanding the opportunities and navigating the legal frameworks of distributed ledger technology and blockchain

    17 June 2016

    Authored by a multidisciplinary team from Allens, Blockchain Reaction is designed to assist business stakeholders, decision makers and in-house counsel across a variety of sectors to understand the technology and how it is being used, as well as navigate the regulatory and legal opportunities and challenges.

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  • Allens insights: Capturing value - NSW's ambitious infrastructure programme

    18 May 2016

    Allens Partners Paul Kenny and Tim Stewart hosted a roundtable with the NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian in Sydney involving fund managers and financiers to talk about how the private and public sector can work together to deliver on NSW's ambitious infrastructure programme.

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  • Client Update: Bankruptcy and insolvency law reforms and the innovation agenda

    3 May 2016

    The Federal Government has released a Proposals Paper on possible changes to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that will form part of its broader National Innovation and Science Agenda. Reform to bankruptcy and insolvency law has been identified as an area that could contribute to changing 'the culture in our economy'. Partner Chris Prestwich, Managing Associate Valeska Bloch and Lawyer Tim Chiang look at the main aspects of the reforms.

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  • Unravelled: Dodd Frank - promoting financial stability and other purposes

    7 March 2016

    The Dodd Frank Act is a bit like the US financial system it is trying to regulate – vast, complex and hard to wade through. It creates a bunch of new regulators on top of what was already a pretty solid cast and gives them wide-ranging powers. They can not only set capital and liquidity requirements for banks and make rules about what they can and cannot do, but they can also shut down or sell off parts of their businesses. But are these regulators smart enough or well enough resourced to identify the risks?

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  • Unravelled: Would you like best interests with that? Conflicted remuneration, American style

    7 March 2016

    Last month, we were fortunate enough to host Barney Frank, co-architect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010, to discuss financial regulation reform. Coincidentally, a couple of weeks later, we were treated to a presentation on US financial regulation reforms by a US lawyer, David W. Powell, at the annual superannuation lawyers' conference. Powell's presentation focussed on US efforts to expand 'fiduciary' duties for financial advisers, including those advising on Individual Retirement Accounts. IRAs now constitute a large chunk of US retirement savings. There are some interesting comparisons to be made between the proposed US rules and existing Australian financial advice laws. But perhaps most interesting of all is the proposed 'best interest contract exemption'.

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  • Unravelled: Transparency and Accountability - and not just for Wall Street

    7 March 2016

    The regulatory law repercussions of the GFC remain endlessly fascinating. As an example, take the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010. It runs to 848 pages. Title VII addresses, perhaps optimistically, 'Wall Street Transparency and Accountability'. My favourite provision is section 716, headed 'Prohibition Against Federal Government Bailouts of Swaps Entities'. This heading suggests that, if there is ever another AIG, it can't be bailed out. Too-big-to-fail solved by legislative prohibition. If only it was that easy.

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  • Focus: Predictive coding: the future of electronic document production?

    25 February 2016

    A recent decision of the English High Court may pave the way for the use of 'predictive coding' in large scale discovery and regulatory investigations in Australia. Partners Nick Rudge and Duncan Travis, Managing Associate Kate Austin and Associate Emily Giblin look at the benefits and risks of the new software.

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  • Client Update: Polluter pays principle in action

    23 February 2016

    In a recent decision of the Victorian Supreme Court, a Melbourne municipal council was held liable to compensate a landowner for the costs that were incurred by the landowner in the course of complying with a clean-up notice issued under the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic), despite the pollution having occurred prior to the commencement of that Act. Partner Chris Schulz and Associate Kate Kirby discuss the key issues raised in the case.

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  • Client Update: New guidelines for unsolicited proposals for State-owned land in WA

    28 January 2016

    The WA Government has issued its formal guidelines for unsolicited proposals for the sale or lease of State-owned land. By embracing the possibility of unsolicited proposals, as opposed to encumbering every development opportunity with a procurement process, and by expressing a willingness to engage with private sector proponents on an exclusive, non-competitive basis, the WA Government is seeking to encourage the private sector to bring innovative development proposals directly to the State. Partner Andrew Pascoe looks at the new guidelines.

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  • Focus: World Bank compares public procurement globally

    12 January 2016

    The World Bank has released its Benchmarking Public Procurement 2016 report, which provides comparable data on regulatory environments that affect the ability of private companies to do business with governments in 77 countries. Partner Leighton O'Brien* (who contributed to the report's analysis of Australia's public procurement practices) and Lawyer Patrick Easton look at the report and the lessons it provides Australian procuring entities on global best practice in public procurement.

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  • Focus: Arbitration Roundup

    22 December 2015

    We look at how Australia keeps up to date with international best practice by amendments to ACICA arbitral rules and international arbitration laws; potential improvements and innovations identified in the 2015 Queen Mary University of London International Arbitration Survey; the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism under the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement; and in Hong Kong, increasing support for third party arbitration funding and the introduction of arbitrator 'report cards'. This issue has been edited by Partner Andrea Martignoni and Senior Associate Catherine Li.

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  • Focus: The investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    14 December 2015

    The release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has renewed the debate about the ability of foreign investors to sue governments under investor-State dispute settlement mechanisms which are commonly part of international trade agreements or investment treaties between States. Partner Peter O'Donahoo, Managing Associate Hilary Birks and Associate Chris Holland report on the investment protections available in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and how the parties have attempted to strike a balance between a State's right to regulate and the rights of foreign investors.

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  • Focus: COP21 and the Paris Agreement

    14 December 2015

    Over the weekend in Paris, two weeks of negotiations culminated in the adoption by all parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of a conference decision and Paris Agreement to address climate change. The combined Paris Outcome commits parties to limit global temperature rise to 'well below 2°C' with an aspirational target of a 1.5°C limit. Co-Heads of the Allens Climate Change Group, Andrew Mansour and Emily Gerrard (who attended COP21) provide initial comments on the Paris Outcome below.

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  • Client Update: Governance of energy market fundamentally sound, but with potential for improvement

    30 October 2015

    The final report of the Review of Governance Arrangements for Australian Energy Markets has made a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of each governing body in the Australian energy market, while concluding that the governance arrangements are fundamentally sound. Partner and Government Sector Leader Paul Kenny and Associate Monique Donato report.

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  • Audio: NSW Budget goes big on infrastructure

    24 June 2015

    The NSW Government has announced a range of infrastructure projects, including the Sydney Metro project. Partner and head of the firm's Infrastructure & Transport sector Leighton O'Brien spoke to BRR Media about the range of infrastructure projects outlined in yesterday's Budget and how they will be funded.

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  • Focus: Digital first: Government releases alpha Digital Service Standard

    4 May 2015

    The Australian Government has released its alpha Digital Service Standard, which establishes criteria that all Australian digital government services must meet to ensure they are simpler, faster and easier to use. The Digital Service Standard is part of the Coalition government's push to deliver government services digitally from start to finish. In this article, Partner Ian McGill, Senior Associate Valeska Bloch and Associate Byron Frost examine the Digital Service Standard and its impact on government agencies and service providers.

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  • Audio: Reflections on NSW State Election

    1 April 2015

    Following the re-election of the Baird Government, Allens Partner and Infrastructure and Transport Sector Leader Emma Warren and Partner Leighton O'Brien talk to BRR Media about what the result means for the infrastructure pipeline in New South Wales. Emma and Leighton reflect on the projects flagged in the Rebuilding NSW – State Infrastructure Strategy released late last year and the potential roles that the private sector and the Commonwealth Government will play in supporting the roll-out of new infrastructure in the State.

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  • Focus: WA Electricity Market Review - Government says 'yes' to Contestability, but 'no' to privatisation

    27 March 2015

    The WA State Government has rejected recommendations for significant and transformational structural changes to the state's electricity market in response to the recently released Electricity Market Review Options Paper, opting instead for measured and incremental change. Partners Andrew Pascoe and Ben Farnsworth comment on the announced policy agenda, its 'winners and losers' and what we can expect from here in relation to electricity market reform in Western Australia.

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  • Focus: Social benefit bonds - their role in the funding challenge for social infrastructure and services

    20 March 2015

    With the recent Intergenerational Report having further highlighted the need to deliver social outcomes in an efficient way, Partners David Donnelly and James Darcy report on the potential role of social benefit bonds in providing social infrastructure and services.

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  • Focus: A series of 'firsts' under the National Electricity Law

    3 March 2015

    The Federal Court has issued the first court-ordered civil penalties for breaches of the National Electricity Rules, demonstrating a willingness to apply an 'agreed pecuniary penalty' negotiated by regulators and respondents. This decision is important not just to the energy sector but also to businesses operating in other highly regulated industries. Government sector leader and Partner Paul Kenny and Associate Amelia Hanscombe report.

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  • Focus: Market-led Proposals Guideline - a new framework for assessing unsolicited proposals in Victoria

    27 February 2015

    The Victorian Government has declared Victoria 'open for business' by releasing new guidelines that provide the framework for how it will assess unsolicited proposals from the private sector for the delivery of projects and services. These new guidelines, which build on the previous government's unsolicited proposals guideline, provide strong guidance for proponents in relation to how they may successfully pitch a unique idea to the Victorian Government. In addition, the new guidelines provide greater transparency for the community via the new public register of proposals that are under consideration by the Government. Government sector leader and Partner Paul Kenny, Senior Associate Penny Alexander and Associate Amelia Hanscombe report.

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  • Client Update: First Asset Recycling Initiative agreement signed

    24 February 2015

    The Federal Government announced late last week that the first agreement under its $5 billion Asset Recycling Initiative has been signed with the ACT Government, demonstrating the Federal Government's commitment to the Initiative despite the underlying legislation remaining stalled by the Senate. Government sector leader and Partner Paul Kenny, Managing Associate Emin Altiparmak and Lawyer Ellie Mulholland report.

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  • Client Update: What does the change of government mean for Queensland's energy and resources sector?

    13 February 2015

    With the results of the Queensland election having now been declared and the Labor Party invited to form government (with the support of an independent), Partner Ben Zillmann , Managing Associate John Hedge and Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the key policies announced by Labor before the election that could impact on the energy and resources sector.

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  • Focus: Public authorities - reduced protection against negligence

    19 December 2014

    In coming to a recent decision, the Queensland Supreme Court has taken a narrow view of a section of that state's civil liability legislation that was designed to limit the liability of public authorities in Queensland. Partner Nicholas Ng and Senior Associate Goran Gelic report on this decision and its implication of greater liability exposure.

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  • Focus: Investigations - ICAC has its wings clipped

    11 December 2014

    By a two to one majority, the NSW Court of Appeal has held that the Independent Commission Against Corruption had no power under the ICAC Act to investigate an allegation to the effect that, as a result of conduct involving an alleged intention to pervert the course of justice, a public official had been diverted from performing an investigation of a suspected crime. The decision has potentially wide ramifications and ICAC is seeking special leave to appeal to the High Court as a matter of urgency. Partner John Warde and Senior Associate Jonathan Light report.

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  • Focus: Insolvency Law Reform Bill - harmonisation not radical reform

    27 November 2014

    The Federal Government has released its package of reforms to Australia's personal and corporate insolvency laws. Included is a draft Bill that proposes to streamline the regulatory framework applying to insolvency practitioners with the aim of increasing efficiency in external administrations and boosting confidence in the competence of practitioners. Partner Chris Prestwich, Senior Associate Angela Martin and Lawyer Kaelah Ford report on some of the key features of the Bill.

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  • Focus: Senate passes Emissions Reduction Fund legislation

    10 November 2014

    The Senate has passed legislation for the establishment of an emissions reduction fund to purchase carbon abatement, which also includes a framework for a safeguard mechanism under which large emitting facilities may be penalised for exceeding their emissions baseline. Partner Grant Anderson and Lawyer Daniel Coelho report.

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  • Client Update: Innovation and competitiveness agenda to benefit the resources and energy sectors

    6 November 2014

    The Federal Government has released its Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, the industry-led growth and innovation component of its broader Economic Action Strategy reform. Industry participants in the resources and energy sectors will benefit from proposals which aim to increase competitiveness and drive economic growth in these prioritised sectors. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Lawyer Ellie Mulholland report on the proposals.

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  • Client Update: Implementing Australia's free trade commitments with Japan, Korea and Chile

    6 November 2014

    The Commonwealth has recently made regulation to implement Australia's commitments under its free trade agreements with Japan, Korea and Chile which will ease certain foreign investment review and life insurance business regulations for investors from those countries. Japan Sector Leader and Partner Tim Lester, Managing Associate Emin Altiparmak and Lawyer Tristan Kelly report.

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  • Focus: Victorian Government releases major energy sector statement

    3 November 2014

    The Victorian Government has issued a statement setting out its view of the state's strategic objectives for the energy sector and the Government's energy priorities. Energy, Resources & Infrastructure Partner and Government Sector Leader Paul Kenny, and Associate Monique Donato, provide an overview.

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  • Client Update: Employment area expanded to cater for demand associated with Badgerys Creek airport

    5 September 2014

    The NSW Government has released for comment a draft amendment to its Statement Environmental Planning Policy for the Western Sydney Employment Area. The amendment will provide for the expansion of the Western Sydney Employment Area to meet the expected demands of economic growth in Western Sydney generated by the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek. Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March report.

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  • Focus: New opportunities for charities as 'directness' requirement ruled out

    4 September 2014

    The Federal Court has recently ruled that there is no requirement for a public benevolent institution to provide direct relief to people in need. Its interpretation of the expression 'public benevolent institution' theoretically has the potential to expand eligibility well beyond traditionally accepted boundaries. At an immediate and practical level, the decision raises the question of how far regulators will accept that the boundaries of indirect provision of relief can be stretched. Special Counsel Glenys Hodges and Associate Scott Lang report on the implications of this significant development in the law of charities.

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  • Focus: Queensland's new framework for the development of the deep gas and oil industry

    1 September 2014

    The Queensland Government has released a plan to encourage the viability of the emerging 'unconventional' deep gas and oil industry. Partner Igor Bogdanich, Managing Associate John Hedge and Lawyer Ellie Mulholland analyse the recommended changes to Queensland's onshore petroleum regulatory framework, which are aimed at reducing regulatory and commercial barriers to investment, and ensuring that the industry develops in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

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  • Focus: A new tool in the fraud and anti-corruption kit

    19 August 2014

    The Federal Government has established a new Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre to deal with allegations of white-collar crime. Partner Rachel Nicolson, Senior Associate Tessa Meyrick and Associate Freya Dinshaw consider the impact of the new federal body and the changing enforcement landscape in Australia.

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  • Focus: UN resolution could be the start of a binding treaty on business and human rights

    13 August 2014

    The UN Human Rights Council has recently passed resolutions that provide for the establishment of a working group to develop an international legally binding human rights instrument for transnational corporations, as well as commissioning a report on the pros and cons of this approach. Partner Rachel Nicolson, Senior Associate Dora Banyasz and Associate Freya Dinshaw consider the implications of a new binding treaty for business and human rights.

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  • Allens insights: Implementation of Australia's PCEHR system reviewed

    11 August 2014

    At the end of 2013, the Federal Minister for Health announced a panel review into Australia's Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system to consider implementation and uptake issues. The subsequent report, made public in May 2014, puts forward 38 recommendations to address the issues identified, which includes the recommendation that the PCEHR system should be transitioned to an opt-out model.

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  • Focus: First steps in Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

    25 July 2014

    The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has released its interim report. The report indicates that there is likely to be bipartisan support for constitutional amendments giving specific recognition to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It appears unlikely, however, that there will be bipartisan support for a constitutionally entrenched anti-discrimination provision. Partners Malcolm Stephens and Ian McGill report.

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  • Unravelled: Increasing ASIC's enforcement powers

    8 July 2014

    In its submission to the Financial System Inquiry, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission has again raised the issue of the penalties that are available to it to punish and deter corporate wrongdoing. ASIC's submission recommends that a 'holistic review' be conducted into the availability and adequacy of penalties available under ASIC-administered legislation.

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  • Unravelled: ASIC's proposed competition objective

    8 July 2014

    In its submission to the Financial System Inquiry, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has proposed the addition of a statutory objective to enable ASIC to consider the impact of its decision making on competition when exercising its statutory powers and functions. This paper explores some of the potential implications if this proposal were to be accepted. It also considers ASIC's proposal within the broader context of the Harper review of competition policy currently underway, which may review ASIC's powers, functions and objects as part of its review of the institutional framework for competition regulation.

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  • Client Update: Senate report card on ASIC

    30 June 2014

    While the media has focused on the more sensational recommendations of last week's Senate report on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, there are a number of other interesting comments and themes that provide some clues about future regulation by the Federal Government, surveillance by the commission and enforcement action. It also poses real questions about whether the Future of Financial Advice laws can have any real impact on vertically integrated businesses. The Allens Financial Services Regulation team considers some of the report's findings.

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