Privacy debate continues.

July 25, 2011 |

The weekend coverage of the Privacy debate followed a predicted predictable line, with a few rays of hope and sunshine.  As Insiders host Barry Cassidy said yesterday, you will not find too many journalists supporting a tort of privacy.  And how!

In the Australian Chris Merritt slipped into his traditional bellicose stride when dealing with the whiff of any new rights in the offing. He warmed up with Undoing free speech a sop to placate Bob on Friday.  It is more assertion than argument.

THE federal government seems intent on allowing the Greens to destroy Labor’s credentials on free speech.

After permitting the Greens to vandalise the federal shield law for journalists’ sources, the government has decided to embrace the thinking of the Greens on privacy law.

A wild simplification. The interest in greater protections of privacy goes well beyond a political party.  And the interest in this area has been longstanding.

This will have the effect of reversing privacy law reforms that were enacted by Labor state governments just six years ago.

Which ones?

It will also leave federal Labor even further removed from the grand plans for transparency and accountability that were contained in the party’s 2007 election platform.

Pure and utter assertion and just plain wrong.  Having a statutory tort of privacy is not inconsistent with a government transparency and accountability. It does not follow.

In its rush to placate Bob Brown, federal Labor has forgotten that Labor state governments took a completely different position in the last debate over privacy.

Maybe, maybe not.  But so what. If the debate revolves around the proposals by the Australian, Victorian or New South Wales Law Reform recommendations that there be a statutory right of privacy then the trigger for the debate is hardly relevant.

In 2005, when privacy was debated during the push for national defamation laws, every Labor state lined up on the free-speech side of the argument.

This is such a broad overarching generalised comment as to be almost meaningless.

What a pity Julia Gillard and Privacy Minister Brendan O’Connor are prepared to repudiate that proud Labor history. Unless federal Labor returns to its roots and rids itself of the Greens influence, its plans for a statutory privacy tort will brand Labor as the party that wound back free speech. Labor was already struggling on this front. Its 2007 policy promised a new era of open government based on real protection for whistleblowers in the federal public service.

Again polemic over reasoned argument. There is a tort of privacy in the US and that is a jurisdiction that has a far stronger protection of free speech than Australia. Free speech and privacy protections can live side by side.

It’s been a while: where is Labor’s draft legislation?

Fair point.  Very fair.

The same policy invoked the name of convicted whistleblower Allan Kessing as an example of one wrong that needed righting.

For more than a year, O’Connor has had a pardon application from Kessing. For almost six months, O’Connor has known about growing doubts about Kessing’s conviction because evidence was withheld from his defence team.

The lack of action on these key issues had already fed doubts about Labor’s direction. That direction now looks like reverse.

That all sounds reasonable but what, pray tell, does it have to do with a statutory right to privacy.  Sometimes, as in always, it pays to look at the issue of substance rather than political theories.

A privacy tort is clearly aimed at intimidating the media, particularly News Limited, publisher of The Australian, the newspaper Brown loves to hate.

Just wrong.  A privacy tort is not restricted to the media.  And in Giller v Procopets neither parties had any connection with the media.

The effect will be to raise the cost of doing business for the entire media industry. The privacy lobby is dominated by lawyers for a reason: a privacy tort would be a rich vein for lawyers.

What privacy lobby is this.  There are a whole range of groups interested in the subject, the Australian Privacy Foundation, Electronic Frontiers Australia and any number of academics.  Some are lawyers some not. Lawyers tend to be interested in rights issues but don’t necessarily profit financially from advancing rights. They advocate because they believe.  Hardly a novel concept.  As for this rich vein, that is just strange speculation.

It would replace much of the legal work that was lost when the privacy elements in the defamation defence of truth were removed back in 2005.

No.  It is a stand alone tort if implementated as per the ALRC report.  Different issues and different concepts.  What is the basis for this generalised assertion.

Since those changes, the media has known that if it publishes the truth it will be protected from defamation. Before those changes, defamation operated as a quasi-privacy tort. By reversing that, the costs of running a media business will grow. That will raise the barriers to entry and entrench the position of existing media outlets such as The Australian.

A claim for defamation is not the same as any tort of privacy as currently recommended.  Characterising the pre reform defamation actions acting a quasi privacy tort is wrong.  At best it is just a characterisation based on a value judgment, not a legal analysis.  Legally it is simply in error.  Privacy extends beyond publication of a libel or a slander for one thing.

Today’s piece, Privacy plan the ultimate in anti-free speech, media lawyer says, is disappointing as journalism and appalling as legal analysis.  It says:

THE federal  government’s plans for a new way of suing the media for privacy breaches will expose journalists and their employers to unprecedented penalties, including fines or jail for refusing to comply with court orders.

Does the Government actually have a plan?  There is to be a discussion paper and there has been generally favourable comment about a statutory right to privacy by Brendan O’Connor who has kept his views about the specifics to the anodyne.  Perhaps the Merritt is referring to his interpretation of the ALRC Report’s recommendations.

If the government’s plan goes ahead, all media outlets could be forced to publish or broadcast court-ordered corrections and apologies, and hand over some of their profits.

Courts would also be empowered to issue declarations against particular media outlets, stating that they had engaged in serious invasions of privacy.

Again, what plan.  There are light years between a reports recommendations, the exposure draft of any bill, the actual bill that is introduced into Parliament and any resulting legislation.  Assuming of course things progress to that end point.

Media lawyers said that until now no Australian government had ever tried to force these requirements on the media.

And it hasn’t as yet.  But let’s work with the assumption that it will.  The Court’s regularly ordered a party to a civil action before the ACCC to put in an advertisement setting out the nature of the contravention of the Trade Practices Act.  State Superior Courts can make declarations and it is within their very broad exercises of their discretions to make publication orders.  The other point missing in all of this is that any tort of privacy does not apply to media to the exclusion of others.

Justin Quill, of Kelly Hazell Quill, said the plan to force media outlets to publish material with which they disagreed was the equivalent of taking away the media’s right to express its point of view. “It is the ultimate in anti-free speech,” Mr Quill said.

And what plan is Quill referring to?  Again taking what he is saying as correct on its face, there is such a plan, what the orders relate to is a finding by the Court as to a contravention.  That is different to publishing material they disagreed with.  How many advertisements have the press published that conforms with their viewpoints?  Assume the unlikely circumstance where a media corporation is prosecuted by the ACCC for anticompetitive conduct and loses.  One of the orders that the Court is likely to make is a publication order in its paper/radio station/television or whatever form of media it owns.  How is that so controversial and extraordinary.  It is the publication of a finding of by the Court.  It is not requiring the media organisation to change its view.

As well as the new penalties, the government’s plan would cut across the newly enacted federal and NSW shield laws by empowering judges to order the media to “deliver up” documents — potentially exposing confidential sources. “It would mean journalists would potentially be held in contempt for refusing to discloses their sources,” said media lawyer Peter Bartlett, a former chairman of national law firm Minter Ellison.

Again, there is no exposure draft of any legislation.  Even taking the ALRC report on its face what exactly are the penalties to which the article refers.  It is not beyond the wit of drafters to permit the operation of shield laws with a statutory right of privacy.  It is also a matter of judicial discretion.  A court can make orders remedying the breach of privacy without requiring an exposure of sources.  The legislation can ensure this to be the case.  Why is it impossible to do?

Convictions for contempt for refusing to comply with court orders under the new privacy regime could result in journalists being given criminal convictions or jailed.

Contempt of a court order can result in most individuals being exposed to a conviction and jail.  That assumes the prerequisites of the contempt are made out.  Courts of all persuasions in all civil jurisdictions take a very dim view of their orders being flouted.  There has always been a strong policy and legal basis for them to deal with breaches by contempt actions.  But this is hardly a novel outcome.  By the same token contempt proceedings are thankfully rare and it is even rarer for parties to be jailed.  For a useful analysis of contempt proceeding it is worth reading Ali v Collection Point Pty Ltd [2011] FCAFC 87 (15 July 2011).    But before we get to this sad end point why is it assumed that criminal convictions and jail is the likely outcome.  And why is it assumed the media is the likely target.

The plan would also allow courts to issue injunctions preventing the publication of news reports — and possibly entire editions of publications — if judges considered they contain serious invasions of privacy.

Again, what plan?  It depends on what the Bill says.  Assuming there is such a power the legislature can set the bar high or low and introduce a range of factors that must be met.  Obtaining an injunction is no easy thing in civil actions.  Courts are reluctant to grant them unless there are strong reasons for doing so.  If damages provide an adequate remedy a court is generally unlikely to grant an injunction, all other things being equal.  But what is the inherent injustice of having a power to injunct an ongoing breach of privacy?  Orders injuncting a party from doing something are drawn very specifically and very narrowly.  Predicting the injunction of entire publications is assertion more than argument.  What is the basis for making this broad brush assertion. What is missing in this analysis is that a tort of privacy would apply

Mr Quill said this aspect of the plan would be widely used by celebrities and public figures and would expose the media to tactics that were not available under the normal law of defamation.

For someone who doesn’t know even what the discussion paper says this is an extraordinary prediction.  Presumably he is taking the UK example of parties obtaining injunctions.  Again there may be a role for them in privacy rather than defamation actions. They are different causes of action.  Whether there is such a scope depends on what the legislation says.

The federal government is considering a plan drawn up in a 2008 report by the Australian Law Reform Commission. It recommended that the federal government should create a statutory tort or “cause on action” that would allow people to sue each other — and the media — for serious invasions of privacy.

True enough as far as it goes.  More accurately the Government is issuing a discussion paper.  How much it embraces the recommendations of the ALRC is yet to be seen.

However, Mr Bartlett said there was a flaw in the ALRC’s proposal. He said the commission had drawn up its plan for the new civil action without first examining whether privacy breaches in Australia justified such a move.

“If you read the report, the academic analysis that justifies the conclusion is not in the report,” Mr Bartlett said.

“Where is the evidence that we need this thing in Australia?”

Mr Quill said there was “absolutely no factual basis” justifying such a sweeping legal change.

Please!  This is an entirely specious argument.  There have been any number of actions constituting a horrible breach of some-one’s expectation of privacy.  Barrrie Cassidy gave an example on Insiders yesterday.  The story he was alluding to is, I suspect, that of the Current Affairs piece about a Sydney electrical repair shop, where reporter Jane Hansen confronted the owner of the shop, Benny Mendoza, accusing him of overcharging and in one case of not doing any work at all on the item. The story alleging overcharging went to air on Monday 18 August 1997. On Thursday 21 August, Mr Mendoza, a father of two, hanged himself in his garage. It was an appalling piece of foot in the door journalism. What about the photographs of Senator Bob Woods and his wife, published in the Daily Telegraph in 1996 and labelled by the Australian Press Council as ‘a blatant example of the unjustified breach of privacy.’  Consider the fact sitaution in Giller v Procopets.  And there are plenty of other examples involving both media and individuals.  That there have been few actions to enforce a privacy right reflects the difficulty in bringing such an action with the law as it currently stands.  More to the point the analysis of Bartlett and Quill is completely erroneous.  They seem to assume that before a Law Reform Commission can not review the state of the law and find there is a gap that should be filled.  It is poor logic and self serving. A report is not a pleading.  Does Bartlett say that the Victorian Law Reform and the New South Wales Law Reform Commissions have also engaged in erroneous analysis.  Did there need to be a mass of evidence before the legislature enacted section 52 of the Trade Practices Act.  There is a basis for a tort of privacy in New Zealand, in the US and the evolving law in the UK.  Is Australia so dramatically different to each of these societies?

As well as the new penalties, the ALRC wants courts to be able to impose financial penalties, or awards of “damages”, as well as the much higher “aggravated damages”. Those suing the media would be entitled to these payouts even if they had not suffered any damage as a result of the media’s actions.

Again, what an ALRC report recommends and what ends up in legislation are often two different things.  Aggravated damages are not generally awarded.  That is not to say they are novel.  They have been available to courts for many years and have their place in civil claims.  What exactly are the penalties the report refers to? The report is not at all clear.  An award of damages is not a penalty.  Aggravated damages are not a penalty either.  The comment about “those suing media would be entitled to these payouts… ” makes little sense to me.

The Press Council failed to persuade the ALRC to include several defences for the media in the proposed tort. These would have enabled the media to avoid liability:

lWhen the plaintiff has consented to the publication of the material that forms the basis of their complaint.

lWhen the media can show that the material they had published was already in the public domain.

lWhen the media can show that they published the material in order to show that the plaintiff had not been telling the truth.

The only defences endorsed by the commission would enable liability to be avoided if the media was relying on a legal right, such as privilege.

Fair enough.  Perhaps those recommendations will be accepted as a consequence of the response to the discussion paper.  It his hardly a sign of bad faith by the ALRC to reject a submission.

Mark Day’s piece,Privacy move threatens to muzzle critics, is an interesting and sensible discussion in an otherwise disappointing discussion to date.  He says, in part:

The matter at the core of the public debate on privacy is not about medical or financial records, but rather the media’s habit of intruding into private activities. This is where people are not equal. Most of us would accept it is not valid to photograph and publish pictures of a bloke coming out of a brothel or a gay sauna, but if that person is a minister of the crown, or a political candidate running on a platform of closing brothels or gay bars, or a church minister preaching family values on a Sunday — well, the goalposts are moved and personal behaviour as it relates to an individual’s public position is relevant.

Most of us would not want our financial dealings probed, but if the only way to catch a drug dealer is by demanding an explanation for large licks of cash flowing through their bank accounts, then there is a public interest in invading that person’s privacy.

Film stars cannot invite the public to watch them perform on screen, then expect they won’t be the subject of the public’s attention in real life. Celebrities whose livelihood depends on public patronage and who involve themselves in the symbiotic media publicity game cannot expect they can throw a switch to “private” any time it suits them.

If the privacy issues were confined to a few people in public positions there would be little cause for a protective law. But in recent years the privacy landscape has widened, largely through the development of social media. Here, “ordinary” people — not a pejorative term, but one used to distinguish them from the public figures referred to above — frequently offer information about themselves on sites such as Facebook. Many do not realise that by doing this they are putting their information in a public place and the media are entitled to draw from it. This won’t normally happen unless the person becomes a subject of media interest, often for reasons entirely unrelated to their presence on Facebook.

People who have had relatives killed in, say, road or aircraft crashes often complain victims’ pictures have been taken from Facebook. In their grief they can’t see it was the individual, not the media, who made this possible.

There are other issues not directly involving media action. What happens when “sexting” goes viral? (Ask former US congressman Anthony Weiner.) What of CCTV street surveillance pictures? What rights do individuals have over their own images in public places — particularly if they’re shown where they weren’t supposed to be?

The media has been exempted from many provisions of the Privacy Act for good reason. Despite its many failings, the media plays an important role in keeping public life honest and transparent — criminals and lesser wrongdoers are frequently brought to justice through investigative journalism, and democracy would be the poorer without it.

I think it is likely a law will be framed at some stage to protect against “serious” breaches of privacy, however that may turn out to be defined. The courts have been moving that way for years with common law torts.

It would be better if the media worked with government to help propose a reasonable law, with robust mechanisms to allow for the full and proper protection of the public interest.

A sensible general comment at a very, very early stage in the discussion process. Why the heading of the article is so at odds with the piece begs another question. Peter Van Onselen inPolitical parties violate our rights to privacy highlights the lack of purity of the political parties in dealing with privacy issues.  Political parties are exempt from the operation of the Privacy Act.  It is an excellent read.

George Brandis’ article Privacy report calls for more press freedom is a curate’s egg, good in parts.  It is worth considering the main commentary on the ALRC Report:

The sheer size of the ALRC report – three weighty volumes totalling 2694 pages – discourages careful scrutiny by time-poor politicians and journalists. This assists the simple-minded conclusion, fostered by the spin-doctors, that because the report itself is so big, there must be a big problem. However, those who take the trouble to navigate their way through it will find that there is hardly anything in the report which gives credence to the PM’s newly discovered concern about the abuse of press freedom. On the contrary, of the numerous privacy issues with which the report deals, hardly any relate to the conduct of the media.

True enough and fair enough.  The ALRC report covered a wide range of privacy issues.  Putting aside the commentary about the Prime Minister’s comments it is true that there has been spin doctoring going on, on many sides of the issue.

Only one of the 74 chapters of the report deals specifically with the conduct of journalists. This is limited to consideration of whether the exemption of journalists from the operation of the existing Privacy Act should remain. Far from concluding that the Australian media has “hard questions” to answer when it comes to their respect for privacy, the ALRC, in the course of the most exhaustive review of privacy protection ever undertaken in this country, concluded that the journalism exemption should not just remain but be extended, by widening the definition of the conduct which is captured by the term. It also recommended that the definition of “media organisation” should be widened.

Fair enough comment.

Nowhere in the discussion of journalistic practices did the ALRC cite instances of abuse which warranted greater restrictions on press freedom in the name of privacy. On the contrary, by recommending the broadening of the exemptions of journalists from the operation of the Privacy Act, it implicitly concluded the opposite.

As far as it goes this is unexceptional.  But this comment does not detract or address the ALRC’s recommendations about a statutory right of privacy.  The recommendations are not inconsistent.  A statutory tort of privacy or whatever moniker one puts on the cause of action is not directed against the media per se.

As the authors of the report observed, those recommendations were made “in deference to the critical importance of freedom of expression, particularly freedom of political communication, in our democratic system of government”. To the extent that the ALRC considered there was any room for improving safeguards in relation to journalistic practices, it recommended that be done by enhancing the adequacy of the self-regulatory regime.

This is true. But Brandis deftly avoids the recommendations about a statutory right to privacy.

The government was given the ALRC report in May 2008. A leisurely 18 months later, then cabinet secretary senator Joe Ludwig published the government’s response. It accepted 113 of the recommendations in full, accepted another 28 in principle, accepted another 34 either in part or with amendment, “noted” two and rejected 20. However not one of the four recommendations concerning the conduct of journalism was addressed in the response.

True enough.

“The time, it is to be hoped, is gone by, when any defence would be necessary of the ‘liberty of the press’ as one of the securities against corrupt or tyrannical government. No argument, we may suppose, can now be needed, against permitting a legislature or an executive … to prescribe opinions to [the people] and determine what doctrines or what arguments they shall be allowed to hear,” wrote John Stuart Mill in On Liberty in 1859. What Mill thought was no longer necessary in mid-Victorian England more than a century and a half ago, is now, all of a sudden, necessary in Australia as the national government, in collaboration with its Greens alliance partners, launches an assault on those media organisations that dare to criticise it. The misleading use of the ALRC report on privacy, to create a straw man argument to justify that campaign, is but the latest instance of the PM’s very tenuous relationship with the truth.

Again putting aside the political commentary it is hard to argue with the tenants of the paragraph.  But it does not address the issue of a stautory right to privacy.  There may be a lack of purity in the circumstances leading to the discussion on Privacy being re opened last week but that is a different issue to the actual issue itself.

On Insiders Brendan O’Connor was interviewed on the Privacy Issue and said:

BARRIE CASSIDY: The fresh look at the privacy issue arises from a three-year-old report. Somebody has a good memory.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: Well the Australian Law Reform Commission report is a very comprehensive report, 2,700 pages. But it goes to a whole number of areas in our society and one of which of course is whether we have a statutory, whether we need a statutory right of privacy in this country.  And I think given the scandal overseas and some mass breaches of privacy in Australia there are some questions as to whether we have sufficient protection afforded to ordinary citizens in this country. And for that reason I’ve brought that recommendation forward.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you talk about the scandal overseas. It’s already illegal to hack into telephones. You don’t need to change that.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: Well that’s right. There are criminal sanctions against certain behaviour in this country.

BARRIE CASSIDY: So why then is the experience in the UK relevant to this?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: Well the Law Reform Commission has said well do people have sufficient protection when their privacy is seriously invaded? And do they have redress if indeed their privacy is invaded in such a manner? And I think these are very important questions for us to consider. And I do see them in the context of striking the right balance between freedom of expression on one hand and the right to privacy on the other.  These are two ideals the Government supports. We just need to know whether we’ve got the balance right.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But give us a sense of what really concerns you about the way the media operates in Australia.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: Well it’s not just about the media. As I’ve tried to make clear in relation to the tort of privacy it’s about whether a person has afforded proper protection. So for example it could be just a case where a man who’s a former boyfriend of a woman sends sexually explicit material to her family and to her employer and invades her privacy in such a manner that she deserves redress. Do we have sufficient laws in place? The Law Reform Commission says that’s not sufficient to date and I think we should examine that. In relation to the media, the media do have a responsibility to make sure that they have regard to a person’s privacy. I mean we saw gross violations overseas. But I have said very clearly that if it’s in the public interest then I don’t expect people to be able to invoke that right to privacy. So if the personal information goes to matters of a public interest then it would override that right.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Yeah but are you saying though that the media in Australia are too intrusive, even occasionally?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: Well I think there are examples where there’s been serious invasion. I think what happens is you see material that might be titillating. And we’re all complicit because we’ll read the information. But it might be titillating one day, forgotten the next. But for the person whose information has been disclosed and used as fodder for the media, that has ruined their life. And I think we have to take those things into consideration.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Then it comes down to a question of definition. And you’re walking that fine line between freedom of speech and the right to privacy.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: Well as it should be the case. And that’s why courts would determine on the facts whether in fact the right to disclose is, prevails upon the right to privacy. These are competing ideals as I say. But neither of these ideals are absolute. There are qualifications for both.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you are picking on this at a time when clearly you’re surfing in off what’s going on in the UK. So even if it’s not opportunistic it’s certainly tactical to do it now.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: Well it’s timely; no less timely than Mr Hartigan putting in place protocols to respond to the concerns that he has about what the scandals overseas mean to his organisation here. I think…

BARRIE CASSIDY: But that doesn’t represent in any sense guilt on his part or even a suspicion of guilt.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: No absolutely not. But what there is as a result of the quite scandalous gross invasions of privacy overseas is a concern I believe in the community that we need to make sure we have sufficient protection afforded to ordinary citizens.
Now I’ve seen references to the rich and powerful. I’m talking about people who deserve proper protection. And I think the Law Reform Commission has made clear that they don’t believe there is such protection and the Government wants to look at it.

BARRIE CASSIDY: And it’s the timing of the thing though when Senator Stephen Conroy is going on about his annoyance with News Limited constantly. Is he freelancing or is this a concern that runs through Government?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: Well look you know editors of newspapers will have a go at ministers and ministers might have a go back. These things happen. I mean these are unrelated to the, I didn’t sort of invent the Law Reform Commission’s report or contrive the recommendations. They were going to be attended to either this year or next.  I’ve brought them forward because I do believe as a result of the worldwide interest in the scandals where you’ve seen gross invasion of – I mean to think that you could hack into a murdered child’s phone to get information for a story seems to me quite disturbing. Now…

BARRIE CASSIDY: But that’s illegal. It’s illegal. You don’t need to change the laws to deal with that.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR: It’s illegal. But what does the parent – if there was something like that happen in this country, what would the family members of that child be able to do in terms of civil redress? Now I’m not suggesting there wouldn’t be criminal sanctions but what civil rights would they have? What redress remedy would they have to that invasion, that gross invasion of privacy? Now I’m not suggesting it happens here. But I do think there are invasions of privacy. And with the technological change and the way in which information flows there are questions about whether we have sufficient laws to protect ordinary Australians.

The subsequent discussion involving the panelists, found here, is instructive.  Barrie Cassidy was quite moderate.  Michael Sutchbury of the Australian, was in full carp mode.  Quite extraordinary. Amongst his choicier prognostications about the evils of privacy reform are:

  • “..we’ve got the Australian Law Reform Commission Report Volume Three, by the time you get to page.. 2536 they talk about the right to personal privacy.” And!  Its hardly controversial that the ALRC report covered a lot of areas.  Hence the 3 volumes.  So what if the considerations come in late in Chapter 3.  As with all reports the rankings of importance or quality is not dictated where in the report it is found.
  • “… you can always find examples on either side of this”.. CASSIDY ” Well and therefore if there are other examples..”  SUTCHBURY ” .. I would agree more with Murrsay Gleeson, former Chief Justice of Australia, who warned against this whole push from the law reform commission … Now I find it not a very good report at all .. its just a bunch of lawyers putting a very very wordy make work scheme for lawyers out there along the rubric of we should stop people from privacy being invaded.. ” Classic! Nonsense but a a full throated beserker charge at any thought of reform.  Nothing like wrapping yourself with the cloak of an unattributed paraphrased quote of sorts from Gleeson and then an ad hominum attack on the ALRC.  I suppose he didn’t like the wordy reports from the Victorian and New South Wales Law Reform Commissions.

Not Sutchbury’s finest hour.  The Balance of the discussion was quite reasonable.





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