Community & Associations Newsletter – April 2017
Welcome to the latest edition of the Carroll & O’Dea Community & Associations newsletter. In this edition, our contributors:
- Analyse the final chapter in the claim for land rights made by the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service over the Crown lands of the former Berrima Gaol.
- Provide an update on the debates surrounding section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
- Examine some of the pitfalls faced by not-for-profit organisations that engage in joint ventures or social enterprises.
- And deliver some good news on Carroll & O’Dea’s continued commitment to issues of access to justice.
The Carroll & O’Dea Community & Associations Team
CASE NOTE: BERRIMA GAOL CASE  HCA 50
The High Court of Australia has written the final chapter in the claim for land rights made by the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service (“ALS”) over the Crown lands of the former Berrima Gaol, finding in favour of the Crown. This decision brings to an end a legal battle that has spanned 5 years – 2 years more than it took convicts in irons to build Berrima Gaol prior to its opening in 1839.
18C: NECESSARY PROTECTION AGAINST RACIST VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION
UNNECESSARY BARRIER TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
On 28 February 2017 the Federal Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights tabled its report into freedom of speech in Australia.
The Committee was asked to consider whether Part II A of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 was operating effectively and, specifically, whether Sections 18C and 18D of the Act provide unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech in Australia.
Section 18C of the Act makes it an offence to do anything that causes others to feel offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated because of their race, colour or national ???? or ethnicity.
The Committee was unable to reach a consensus. The Committee’s report referred to a number of proposals that had the support of at least one Committee member including no amendments to section 18C and 18D, replacing the terms “offend”, “insult” and “humiliate” in Section 18C with “harass” and the introduction of an objective test for 18C such as “reasonable member of the Australian community.”
NOT-FOR-PROFITS: JOINT VENTURES OR SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
Many charities and Not-for- profit organisations are asset rich and cash poor.
It is not uncommon for an entrepreneur to identify an asset owned by a Not-for-profit and approach the entity with a proposal to develop the asset so that a return can be realised in cash by the Not-for-profit.
What pitfalls lie ahead if the Not-for-profit agrees to participate?
Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers prides itself on giving back to the community. For many years, the Firm, as part of its Pro Bono Program, has assisted JusticeConnect with its MOSAIC program.
The MOSAIC program focuses on providing legal assistance to asylum seekers, refugees and recently arrived migrants whose second language is English.
In mid-2016, JusticeConnect’s MOSAIC program underwent significant change due to a withdrawal of Government funding. However, Carroll & O’Dea remains committed to providing legal assistance in the MOSAIC program and in co-operation with Justice Connect attends centres in both the Sydney and Parramatta CBDs. Thus our lawyers continue to provide free legal advice for eligible clients as part of the MOSAIC program.
JusticeConnect is a not for profit organisation that is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission. If you would like to know more about this program or want to make a difference to someone facing disadvantage, you can find out more at https://www.justiceconnect.org.au/donate