Australia About to Change Slavery/Forced Labour Laws

JBWriter

Happy Sapien
Quick update about the ACNC's progress to date re: complaints received/current investigations here: https://s1-us3.ixquick-proxy.com/do...6343q&ekdata=53bfec1cecdb0e9a56b03888cbcd2856

Australia’s charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission (ACNC) has received 119 complaints about charities since it began operating in December - the majority from members of the public alleging fraud.

Not all complaints made about charities fall within the ACNC’s jurisdiction,” according to ACNC Assistant Commissioner, Murray Baird.
“However, of the complaints and referrals received, 72 were referred to the ACNC’s Compliance and Strategic Intelligence team, resulting in 37 investigations.

“Of the cases received and assessed by the ACNC, 28 per cent have been related to allegation of fraud, which is the most common risk category,” Baird said.

If the ACNC uses enforcement powers and imposes sanctions as a result of an investigation into a charity, Baird says this will be included on the charity's listing on the ACNC Register.

However, that part of the ACNC website will not be operational until July 1, 2013 when charities will begin posting their annual statements.

JB.
 

Maria Cuervo

Gold Meritorious Patron
Australia is one of the "five eyes" nations along with Canada, US, UK, NZ. The five eyes is an intelligence conjunctive. That said, they are a power and they coordinate with each other more than with any other nations concerning information sharing (causing much jealousy and consternation, sigh). It's possible that what a five eyes nation does could affect what the others do. So if this rule change happens, it would be swell.


A little something has been going on in the Australian federal parliament that is about to bear fruit (well, it'll be 2013 now, because parliament is over for 2012). If this happens it may have nice effects later in the other five eyes nations.

Specifically, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012, once it is passed by the Senate and signed off by the Governor General, will amend the laws dealing with the crime of Slavery by:


  1. Extending the definition of "coercion" to include a range of psychological forms of coercion that are used by people engaged in slavery, namely:
    "coercion by force, duress, detention, psychological oppression, abuse of power, or taking advantage of a person’s vulnerability.";​
  2. Introducing some new offences, including "servitude" and "forced labour";
  3. Making it an offence to harbour a victim; and
  4. Making it easier for victims to claim reparation.


Some choice excerpts from the Explanatory Memorandum to the bill

(note: if you download the word version of the EM, you'll have to change the name of the file to end in docx and delete the rest of the ending):



  • "Slavery and people trafficking are amongst the most abhorrent of all crimes. These heinous offences are major violations of human rights, and may result in traumatic and lifelong consequences for victims and their families. The Australian Government is committed to combating all forms of slavery and people trafficking, including by ensuring that our strong regime of criminal offences remains relevant and responsive to emerging issues.
  • The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that the broadest range of exploitative behaviour is captured and criminalised, including by introducing new offences of forced labour, forced marriage, and harbouring a victim, and by clarifying existing offences and their definitions to enhance operational effectiveness. The Bill also increases the availability of reparation orders to individual victims of Commonwealth offences, including people trafficking."
  • "The Bill also establishes a continuum of slavery and slavery-like offences - with an offence of slavery at the most grave end of the spectrum, and an offence of debt bondage at the less grave end of the spectrum."
  • "Investigations into slavery and slavery-like offences have revealed that the exploitation of many victims in Australia does not involve abduction, violence or physical restraint. Rather, offenders often use subtle, non-physical means to obtain a victim’s compliance, such as psychological oppression, the abuse of power or taking advantage of a person’s vulnerability. In these circumstances, it has proved challenging to convince juries that the offender’s conduct constitutes the offence. The new definition of coercion is intended to be a non-exhaustive list capturing both physical and non-physical coercive conduct, including the more subtle means by which offenders obtain a victim’s compliance."
  • "The fact that a person may suffer a penalty under the terms of a typical employment contract would not of itself amount to being ‘not free’. It is only if the use of coercion, threat or deception effectively denies the person her or his freedom in relation to either ceasing to provide labour or services or leaving the place where those labour or services are provided.
  • This amendment adds a second tier to the definition of servitude; that the victim is significantly deprived of personal freedom. This is intended to reflect the degree of difference between the offences of slavery and servitude. To establish slavery it must be proved that the accused exercises a power of ownership over the victim. Servitude falls short of ownership, but occurs when the offender’s domination over the victim through coercion, threat or deception is such that the victim is effectively denied her or his freedom in some fundamental respect. This is reflected in the new definition.
  • As a result of new subsection 270.4(3), a person may be in a condition of servitude whether or not escape from the condition is practically possible for the victim, or whether or not the victim has attempted to escape. The new definition of servitude is intended to apply whether or not physical restraint is used for all, or part of, the period of servitude, and not intended to require the victim’s escape to be impossible."
  • "The fact that a person may suffer a penalty under the terms of a typical employment contract would not of itself amount to being ‘not free’. It is only if the use of coercion, threat or deception effectively denies the person her or his freedom in relation to either ceasing to provide labour or services or leaving the place where those labour or services are provided.
  • This amendment adds a second tier to the definition of servitude; that the victim is significantly deprived of personal freedom. This is intended to reflect the degree of difference between the offences of slavery and servitude. To establish slavery it must be proved that the accused exercises a power of ownership over the victim. Servitude falls short of ownership, but occurs when the offender’s domination over the victim through coercion, threat or deception is such that the victim is effectively denied her or his freedom in some fundamental respect. This is reflected in the new definition.
  • As a result of new subsection 270.4(3), a person may be in a condition of servitude whether or not escape from the condition is practically possible for the victim, or whether or not the victim has attempted to escape. The new definition of servitude is intended to apply whether or not physical restraint is used for all, or part of, the period of servitude, and not intended to require the victim’s escape to be impossible."


The Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives by the Attorney General in May 2012. It was supported by both sides of politics and was sent up to the Senate. A Senate Committee report dated 13 September also supports the legislation. The Senate needs to vote on the bill, following which it can become law. Some recommendations by the Senate might result in amendments.


We know that federal authorities have investigated the circumstances of a number of former members of scientology. I believe those investigations will have informed the Attorney General's department in the preparation of this draft legislation.
 
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