Category Archives: NEWS

Federal diversity jurisdiction

NCAT Fact Sheet
Federal diversity jurisdiction
Do the parties in your matter permanently reside in different States? If so, NCAT may not be  able to determine your matter due to federal constitutional law.

(Open original document here – ncat_factsheet_federal_diversity_jurisdiction )


What types of matters are
In February 2017 the Court of Appeal handed down
a decision (Burns v Corbett; Gaynor v Burns
[2017] NSWCA 3) that indicates that NCAT may not
be able to determine matters between residents of
different States. These matters are sometimes said
to be within ‘federal diversity jurisdiction’. It is a
complicated question which matters might be
affected. Generally there must be two natural
people involved and at the time of lodging one must
be a permanent resident of one State and the
opposing party must be a resident of a different
There is no ‘diversity jurisdiction’ problem if one of
the parties is a corporation, a NSW government
agency, a resident of a territory, or a non-permanent
resident of a different State. In addition, there is no
problem if the matter does not involve the Tribunal
exercising judicial power, for example because it is
an administrative review matter in the Administrative
and Equal Opportunity or Occupational Divisions.

What happens if there is a
‘diversity jurisdiction’ problem?
You still apply to NCAT and NCAT will attempt to
help you come to an agreed settlement with the
other party. However, if you do not settle your
dispute or you want to have the agreed settlement
registered and enforced, you will need to go to the
Local or District Court, depending on the size of the
claim. The court is able to make the same orders
that NCAT could have made.

If you go to one of the courts, you will need to take
the following documents with you.

• A copy of the letter from NCAT that tells you that
NCAT declines to hear your matter.

• A copy of the application you lodged at NCAT
• If settlement reached, a copy of the agreed

You will also need to complete the relevant court
Summons and Affidavit. There is a link to these
documents on the NCAT website.

Can you go to the court

If an Act says that NCAT is the only body which can
deal with your matter (for example, the AntiDiscrimination
Act 1977 or s 119 of the Residential
Tenancies Act 2010) – no. For those matters, the
Local or District Court can grant leave for the
application or appeal to be made to the court only if it
is satisfied that the application or appeal was first
made to NCAT.
If a court as well as NCAT can determine your
matter – yes, you can go directly to the court.
Will I have to pay additional
In most cases, you will not need to pay any
additional fees. An additional fee may be payable if
there is a significant change compared to the
application originally lodged with NCAT.
When will the changes
These arrangements are effective from 1 December
2017 due to the commencement of the Justice
Legislation Amendment Act (No 2) 2017. If your
matter has been dismissed/declined prior to that
date you will receive a letter shortly outlining your
options or you can contact the NCAT Registry on
1300 006 228.

Further information
If you want more information about how the court will
deal with your matter, go to Part 3A, Diversity
Proceedings of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Act 2013.

Getting help
LawAccess NSW provides legal information,
referrals and in some cases, advice for people who
have a legal problem in NSW.
Tel: 1300 888 529 TTY: 1300 889 529 TIS: 131 45
Contact NCAT
1300 006 228 |
For more information and assistance visit the NCAT
website or contact NCAT
1300 006 228


Sydney firm acts pro bono in HCA vilification case

Legal proceedings, scales of justice

A self-proclaimed “out loud and proud” law firm based in Sydney’s Newtown has appeared in the High Court of Australia on behalf of Garry Burns.

Mr Burns appealed to the HCA following a determination in 2016 that despite being a victim of homophobic vilification, he had no standing to pursue the matter in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal because the alleged perpetrators were not residents of New South Wales.

The gay rights activist was attempting to sue political aspirant and Katter Party of Australia candidate Tess Corbett, who made comments in the Hamilton Spectator in 2013. Ms Corbett told the publication that she did not want “gays, lesbians or paedophiles working in my kindergarten” and associated homosexuals with paedophiles.

“Paedophiles will be next in line to be recognised in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights,” Ms Corbett was quoted as saying.

When Queensland’s Senate hopeful Bernard Gaynor later endorsed Ms Corbett’s statements, he was suspended him from the Katter Party Australia.

In January last year the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Ms Corbett’s comments had vilified homosexual people. She was ordered by the tribunal to place a public apology in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Burns sought a court-imposed fine against the former candidate for the federal seat of Wannon in western Victoria when she failed to publish an apology.

On appeal, the Supreme Court of NSW said that the tribunal did not have the jurisdiction to deal with either Ms Corbett or Mr Gaynor. Mr Burns subsequently took the matter to the HCA.

Dowson Turco partner Nicholas Stewart (pictured) offered to represent Mr Burns pro bono for the costs aspect of his HCA appearance.

“This is a very technical matter and we are grateful for Garry’s instructions to act pro bono,” Mr Stewart said.

“Without Garry, the LGBTI community would be behind the times and the fact that his matter is before the highest court in our country is testament to his drive for justice for our community.”

The lawyers appeared before the court last week. [Outcome here].

Sonja Freeman, one of the lawyers at Dowson Turco, said that the firm had celebrated recent legal milestones for LGBTI rights, such as marriage equality and LGBTI rights in the Family Court. She noted that efforts to help Mr Burns’ vilification case were just as important.

“Garry Burns is a brave and unrelenting advocate of the Australian LGBTI community. He has fought tirelessly to prevent homophobic discrimination and to bring about a safer environment for the LGBTI community,” Ms Freeman said.

“We want to assist Garry to ensure that tribunals in NSW can assist victims of discrimination and vilification even when perpetrators are located interstate,” she said.

Same-sex marriage: ‘Profound’ shift in community sentiment in favour, HILDA survey says

Updated 2 Aug 2017, 7:48am

Australia’s longest-running annual lifestyle survey has revealed women are having second thoughts about whether a husband is for life, while support is growing for same-sex marriage.

The University of Melbourne surveys the same 17,000 people each year for the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia report (HILDA).

It found Australian attitudes were becoming more progressive, with 67 per cent of women and 59 per cent of men stating that homosexual couples should have the same marriage, parenting and employment rights as heterosexual couples.

“We’ve seen a very profound shift in attitudes to this statement,” report author Professor Roger Wilkins said.

In 2005, only 43 per cent of woman and 32 per cent of men agreed to the statement.

“It’s quite clear that community sentiment has shifted in favour of marriage equality,” Professor Wilkins said.

The survey noted a smaller percentage of agreement among immigrants, Indigenous Australians and lower-income earners.

The HILDA report was commissioned by the Federal Government and its release comes as the Coalition grapples with an internal push for a Parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage, rather than a plebiscite.

The Senate has rejected the plebiscite but conservative Liberal Party members insist the party should stick with the policy.

Liberal senator Dean Smith is drafting a private members’ bill to legalise same-sex marriage and MPs are expecting a partyroom debate on the issue when Parliament returns next week.

Meanwhile, same-sex relationships can now be legally recognised in South Australia by signing onto a special register.

Couples on the register will be provided legal certainty in areas such as entitlements and medical care.

It is also available to heterosexual couples in a de facto relationships and comes with a certificate of registration.

See how attitudes have changed over time

Here are some of the questions from the survey. A response of 1 indicated strong disagreement while 7 indicated strong agreement.

Question: Is it alright for an unmarried couple to live together even if they have no intention of marrying?

Males 2005 Females 2005 Males 2015 Females 2015
5.1 5.0 5.6 5.6

Question: Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples do?

Males 2005 Females 2005 Males 2015 Females 2015
3.3 4.0 4.8 5.3

Question: Children will usually grow up happier if they have a home with both a father and a mother?

Males 2005 Females 2005 Males 2015 Females 2015
5.8 5.1 5.2 4.4

Question: Is it alright for a woman to have a child as a single parent even if she does not want to have a stable relationship with a man?

Males 2005 Females 2005 Males 2015 Females 2015
3.5 3.7 4.3 4.6

‘Til death do us part?

The survey also found that on average, men agreed with the statement “marriage is a lifetime relationship and should never be ended”, however, women, on average, did not.

Question: Is marriage a lifetime relationship and should never be ended?

Males 2005 Females 2005 Males 2015 Females 2015
4.6 4.4 4.3 3.8

“This is, I guess, part of a broader tendency towards more traditional attitudes,” Professor Wilkins said.

“It’s always a good thing for men to be doing what they can to keep their partners happy.”

Professor Wilkins said the survey also revealed a desire for more gender equality in the home and workplace, but he noted the male respondents were more likely to stick to traditional views.

“I guess one explanation for that is that more progressive attitudes tend to improve women’s lot,” he said.

“So men, I guess, may be more reluctant to have progressive views because they may perceive it as harming their interests.”

Topics: marriagefamily-and-childrencommunity-and-society,australiavicmelbourne-3000

First posted 2 Aug 2017, 12:00am

High Court challenge over controversial candidate Corbett


THE case involving alleged vilification of homosexual people by former federal election candidate Tess Corbett of Lake Bolac has made its way to the High Court.


Bernard GayNor and Tess Corbett

The long-running case last fi gured in the New South Wales Court of Appeal in February where it was dismissed with a finding that the court did not have the relevant jurisdiction.

The case was originally taken to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board by Sydney anti discrimination activist Garry Burns, after Katter Party of Australia candidate Ms Corbett, made comments in the Hamilton Spectator.

Ms Corbett told The Spectator in 2013 that she did not want “gays, lesbians or paedophiles working in my kindergarten.” Asked if she considered homosexuals to be in the same category as paedophiles, Ms Corbett replied “yes”. “Paedophiles will be next in line to be recognised in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights,” she

Ms Corbett’s comments were later supported by Queensland Katter party Senate candidate and free speech advocate Bernard Gaynor. Ms Corbett stood down soon after the furore erupted. Mr Burns took the matter to the Anti- Discrimination Board, claiming that her comments incited hatred.

A NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal upheld Mr Burns’ claim and Ms Corbett was ordered to publish an apology in the Sydney Morning Herald, but failed to comply.
Mr Burns then issued contempt of court proceedings against her. Mr Gaynor subsequently appealed the tribunal’s original decision.

The Court of Appeal in February stated that NCAT did not have jurisdiction to resolve Mr Burns’ complaints against Ms Corbett and Mr Gaynor. Mr Burns has now won leave to appeal that decision in the High Court. It is expected to be heard in October or
November this year.

He is seeking a determination as to whether the Administrative Decisions Tribunal had jurisdiction to resolve the complaint under s 49ZT of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), whether the Appeals Panel of the NSW Civil and Administrative 20 Tribunal had jurisdiction to resolve the said complaint, and having regard to both those questions, are the judges’ orders valid.

Mr Burns will seek an order remitting the proceedings back to the Supreme Court of NSW in order to determine the contempt proceedings.

Stop Unlawful Vilification Against Gays


My name is Garry Burns. I am a gay Australian Anti-Discrimination Campaigner who lives in Sydney.

I have been a victim of a gay hate crime on three separate occasions suffering serious injury on one of those occasions.

Gary Burns – Australian Anti-Discrimination Campaigner

My recovery has been to become a successful and prolific political activist against gay hate vilification / discrimination.

My work under the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act ( 1977 ) is public interest work. I do not seek any personal damages for myself but run those cases in the promotion of tolerance & understanding for GLBTI community.

I am now seeking special leave to the High Court of Australia in relation to Jurisdictional & Constitutional issue in relation to one of my matters.

I receive no public funding from the Federal or NSW Government’s to assist me in this work. I have been doing this work since 2002.

I fund all this work by myself but costs are escalating and I’m now seeking donations from those in the community who support the removal of discrimination / vilification against everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

I have costs to pay in relation to filing fees, ink , paper, travel expenses etc. There are fees to pay and I now need your help. I also have to pay part costs to a Plaintiff in a Court of Appeal decision that went against me earlier this year.

Any monetary help no matter how small is greatly appreciated.

Gosford Anglican Church Lifts Billboard Game With YES YES To Marriage Equality

Gosford Anglican Church Lifts Billboard Game With YES YES To Marriage Equality

According to Bower, before last night’s 6 o’clock mass, 200,000 people had read the above post, while by Sunday morning that number had gone up to three quarters of a billion.

The Facebook page updated their profile photo yesterday to Australian Marriage Equality‘s rainbow Australia logo. They also updated their cover photo to a picture from the Republic of Ireland‘s Yes Equality campaign, which saw the notoriously religious nation vote ‘Yes’ in a referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015.

Gosford Anglican Church posted a pro-marriage equality billboard on Monday as the LNPmet to discuss the issue, and another on Friday, which pushed congregants to register with the Australian Electoral Commission.

In that post, Bower says that while he is opposed to the plebiscite, he will participate and vote yes. He also points to the unintended consequences of the huge amount of extra people now registered to vote – “several hundred thousand millennials start[ing] to participate in the political process“.

In Bower’s sermon today, he tried to extrapolate the dynamics of the same-sex marriage debate already unfolding in this country by talking about people who fit neatly into mainstream society as ‘on a boat’, while those on the fringes in marginalised communities are outside of that boat.

He used that metaphor to talk about people being disrespectful of other’s views on social media, and the opportunity presented by – whodathunkit? – actually listening to each other.

It will be a conversation between people who are firmly in the boat, and people who have always been tossed around, on the margins, outside the boat in the storm.

No matter whether we agree with marriage equality or whether we think marriage is between a man and a woman, we oughta be able to be in our boat, but we need to be able to hear the cries of those who are being tossed around on the waves.

There is an insistent call to grow, to develop, to get out of the boat. When we get out of that boat and start engaging with people who may be different to us – who may have different views, who may have a different idea about what that boat should be like – when we start getting our feet wet, we’ll all of a sudden discover that we have begun to climb the mountain.

Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey

Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is conducting the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.

To participate in the survey you need to be correctly enrolled by 24 August 2017.

If you have an enrolment enquiry, call the ABS on 1800 572 113 from 8am to 8pm local time seven days a week. An operator will be able to confirm your enrolment and your postal address for you over the phone.

Frequently Asked Questions