Australia: Courtsiding and reform updates

In a number of our recent blog entries, we promised to keep you posted on a number of legislative changes and legal proceedings in Australia.

As promised, here are the key developments:

Prosecutors have withdrawn the charges against the British man accused of “courtsiding” during the 2014 Australian Open.

Victorian Police have commented on the Office of Public Prosecution’s (OPP) decision not to proceed and note:

This decision, which is based on the circumstances of this case, should not be seen as an invitation for people to attend the Australian Open next year and engage in courtsiding.

While the decision of the Victorian OPP means that this will not be a test case under section 195C of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), at this stage, the criminal proceedings under that same section in relation to the alleged match-fixing activities associated with the semi-professional Southern Stars Football Club of the Victorian Premier League are still on foot.

The Senate has now passed the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (2013), meaning the repeal of many of the measures that were to be introduced as part of the National Gambling Reform Act 2012 (Cth).

While Senator Nick Xenophon has ridiculed the Coalition Government’s intention to pass responsibility for gambling reform back to the state and territory Governments, noting that “[t]hey get $4 billion a year in gambling taxes, they are hopelessly conflicted”, Victoria has already taken steps to implement gambling reform with their  Gambling Regulation Amendment (Pre-commitment) Bill 2013 (as previously discussed here) passing into law and amending the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (Vic) in early February.

This article is co-authored by DLA Piper, Partner, Judith Miller and DLA Piper, Solicitor, Jaimie Wolbers.