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Sydney news: NSW’s legal fraternity worried about new bail laws

Written by Javed Iqbal

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

The legal community fears unintended consequences of bail changes

a woman with her hand on her hip looks and smiles
Joanne van der Plaat said the reforms could have unintended consequences.(Delivered: Law Society of NSW)

The NSW Law Society has expressed its fear over hasty changes to the bail law, including that it could deter guilty charges and clog the justice system.

Its concern comes when New South Wales Attorney General Mark Speakman promised to introduce two amendments to parliament this week, including that persons accused of serious offenses should be remanded in custody.

“This would only add pressure to a criminal justice system that is still struggling with COVID-19-related backlogs,” said NSW Law Society president Joanne van der Plaat.

She said a balance must be found between reducing the risk of further insult and acknowledging that an accused is innocent until a court finds them guilty.

“While the government has described the introduction of these reforms as ‘quick and decisive’, the Bar Association has
considers that insufficient time has been given to allow a thorough and considered consultation and to ensure
the reform is based on evidence, “said Mrs van der Plaat.

“Hasty reform can lead to flawed laws.”

Aboriginal Legal Service says the proposed changes could put more Aboriginal adults and children in jail and derail progress in closing the gap.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Aboriginal legal service and the community-controlled sector were not consulted on this major reform, despite the government’s stated commitment to work in partnership to close the gap,” said top executive Karly Warner. “We were blind.”

The ‘toughest’ laws ever to tackle organized crime

The perrot sits with folded hands at a table.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has unveiled his government’s plans to tackle organized crime. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)

The government of New South Wales has unveiled plans to introduce what it calls the “toughest laws ever” to fight organized crime.

According to the plan, the police will have more power to seize important financial assets and unexplained wealth.

It also includes new injunctions against high-risk individuals who are likely to use encrypted messages to evade police.

The New South Wales Government says by preventing criminals from gaining access to money, it will curb drug trafficking and other illegal operations.

“To really shut it down, we need to shut down the flow of dollars that are burning for it,” said Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet.

“These reforms will better arm law enforcement agencies with the powers they need to confiscate unexplained wealth and create new offenses and stricter penalties for those seeking to launder money stemming from criminal activity.”

The legal reforms will be presented to the Folketing later this year.

Labor promises toll relief in the budget response

The bridge with traffic on
The Sydney Harbor Bridge is a main thoroughfare for commuters. (ABC News)

New South Wales Labor has promised to convert the revenue from tolls on the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the tunnel into tolls for motorists if it wins the state election in March.

Opposition leader Chris Minns will make the announcement in his budget speech this morning.

“This is the first step towards toll relief for motorists in New South Wales,” Minns said, “under Labor, and we will have more to say as we get closer to the next election.”

Up to $ 134 million a year on average is generated in state revenue from bridge and tunnel tolls, which under Labour’s plan would help fund their toll scheme.

As of July, the government promised that motorists would receive up to $ 750 a year as a toll rebate when a motorist has spent more than $ 375 on tolls.

The opposition plans to build new kindergartens

Children play with toys in a kindergarten
NSW Labor wants to co-locate 100 new kindergartens with primary schools.(AAP)

New South Wales Labor says it will build 100 public kindergartens in the first four years if it wins the next election.

The opposition says kindergartens will be co-located in public schools across the state and funded by money already set aside for toddler initiatives in the state budget.

Labor’s Education spokeswoman, Prue Car, said the plan would be a major step toward universal preschool education for all four-year-olds.

“This is an important first step in many issues that need to be addressed in early childhood: Build public preschools in public schools to give our children the best start in life and counteract rapidly declining educational outcomes,” she said.

Larger penalties for illegal fighting

People walk away
Trade unions in NSW have launched a wave of strikes during 2022.(ABC News)

The NSW government wants to change the legislation to impose tougher sanctions on unions taking “illegal” strikes and labor struggles.

That plan comes as after a year of rolling strikes in the state, with the NSW Teachers Federation and Independent Education Union set to go out next Thursday, June 30th.

Under the proposed changes, the maximum penalty will increase to $ 55,000 for the first day of the alleged violation, plus $ 27,500 for each day it continues.

For a second or subsequent offense, a maximum penalty of $ 110,000 may be imposed, followed by an additional $ 55,000 for each day the offense continues.

These sanctions are currently available in Queensland courts.

Finance and Staff Minister Damien Tudehope said the increased fines were designed to deter unions from disrupting essential services.

“Illegal strikes have had incredible detrimental consequences for students, families and workers across the state,” Mr Tudehope said.

“We have the Industrial Relations Commission and associated legal framework in place to deal with labor disputes in a fair and equitable manner.”

At present, fines of $ 10,000 for a first offense and $ 20,000 for a second offense apply. The costs of continuing so-called illegal fighting are $ 5,000 and $ 10,000 a day for first and second offenses, respectively.

Exhibition of works of art by Nazi collaborators for a change

Bronius' Bob Sredersas stands in front of a painting while holding a cigarette.
Bob Sredersas donated about 100 works of art to the Wollongong Art Gallery.(Delivered by: Michael Bach)

Wollongong’s Lord Mayor says the council’s art gallery will change the way it displays the works of art collected by benefactor Bronius “Bob” Sredersas after it turned out that he was collaborating with Nazis.

A report by a researcher from the Sydney Jewish Museum confirmed results that the Lithuanian art collector was serving as an officer in the Nazi intelligence service during World War II when Germany occupied his country.

Sredersas, who died in 1982 and donated about 100 works of art by respected Australian artists, including Grace Cossington-Smith and Arthur Streeton, has a room named after him in the gallery.

Mayor Gordon Bradbery says the gallery after meeting with the author of the report yesterday will now look at new ways to present the information about the artworks.

“The main problem is that we are now moving on to how we represent that collection in the city gallery,” he said.

“To get our heads around the right wording to be respectful of the Jewish community, more specifically the Holocaust victims and at the same time be honest and upfront with its past.”

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