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Michael Eburn
Michael Eburn
Dr Michael Eburn received his PhD from Monash University, Melbourne on Australia's domestic arrangements for managing an international disaster response. He is a leading expert in the law relating to emergency management and the emergency services.
 

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Feb. 20, 2013 7:35 pm
The trial judge who is due to hear the class action arising from the Kilmore/Kinglake fire of 7 February 2009 has had to determine who will be able to access an internet feed of the trial proceedings. In his judgement in Matthews v SPI Electricity and SPI Electricity Pty Ltd v Utility Services Corporation Ltd (Ruling No 14) [2013] VSC 37 (15 February 2013) Forrest J said: The trial of this...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:55 pm
Would people take more care if they could be billed for the cost of putting out a fire that they negligently started? That power is available in California but its use is attracting some criticism – see “ California pushes – some say too hard – to recover money for fighting wildfires” Kevin Yamamura, The Sacramento Bee 17 February 2013. In New Zealand there is a power to recover the cost of...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:55 pm
That is the heading of a story published by the ABC relating to roadblocks established by Tasmania Police during the fires in January 2013 . The story says: Police declared the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas a crime scene after fire tore through the picturesque region on January the fourth, destroying one-hundred and 70 properties in the communities of Dunalley, Murdunna and Bunker Bay. ...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:55 pm
I’m not sure if this is an emergency law case, a privacy case or a university administration case, but in either event it may be of interest to readers of this blog as more emergency service professionals undertake tertiary studies. The case of AHC v Fire and Rescue New South Wales AHC v Charles Sturt University [2012] NSWADT 258 dealt with the release of information regarding a student’s...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:55 pm
As I’ve noted before, issues of road rules seem to generate the most interest on this blog. This post is not, however, about the law but about the value of using lights and sirens in the first place. John Killeen, on his blog “Ambulance Visibility” has posted a link to a US study on the effectiveness of, and dangers of, proceeding with lights and sirens. The study comes from New Jersey, USA...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:55 pm
In the Australian Capital Territory v Crowley, The Commonwealth of Australia and Pitkethly [2012] ACTCA 52 the ACT Court of Appeal overturned a verdict of negligence against the Territory over the response of the ACT Mental Health Service and the Australian Federal Police, which provides policing in the ACT to a mentally ill man who was suffering an extreme episode of his illness. The end of...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:55 pm
In Australia, where there is unwarranted fear of being sued, we often hear that we are going the way of the US where everyone sues everyone and liability is a given. It may be true that everyone sues everyone (see I’m Suing, You’re Suing, We’re All Suing In Utica ) but it doesn’t follow that someone is also liable. In a recent decision a US city has been found not liable when police and...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:55 pm
In the Victorian Supreme Court, Forrest J has ordered that any potential plaintiffs who want to claim for damages must register with the law firm Maurice Blackburn by 22 March 2013. This action is a class action and the representative plaintiff, representing the entire class of potential plaintiffs, is represented by Maurice Blackburn. There have been attempts to settle the case but these have...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:55 pm
This blog post was written with my colleague Ruth Townsend and it also appears on her blog site: Health, law, ethics and human rights . Firefighters may be asked to act as first responders to medical emergencies in the Sydney metropolitan area (see ‘ Firies say they can’t step in for medics ’ Sydney Morning Herald, 31 January 2013). Ambulance officers (now generally referred to as...  Read More
Feb. 18, 2013 8:50 pm
Once again the road rules raise their head, this time in the context of ‘rescue’ the State Rescue Board and the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (NSW). It is an offence to operate an ‘unaccredited’ rescue unit. Section 53(2) says: A rescue unit is required to be accredited even though: (a) it is a unit of the NSW Police Force, Fire and Rescue NSW, the Ambulance Service of...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:05 pm
The National Library of Australia is attempting to archive at least a part of the Australian online world. According to their website ( http://pandora.nla.gov.au/about.html ): PANDORA, Australia’s Web Archive, is a growing collection of Australian online publications, established initially by the National Library of Australia in 1996, and now built in collaboration with nine other Australian...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:04 pm
As I’ve mentioned before, nothing appears to attract more attention on this blog than the issue of driving emergency vehicles and the application of the road rules. I also look back on my own CV and see that the first journal article I wrote was ‘Driving Emergency Vehicles and the Law’ (1992) 15(2) Response 10-11. In 2013 the first paper I’ve written for the year is ‘The law of driving under...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:04 pm
The Acting Premier of NSW has signed an order under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (NSW) declaring that the provisions of Part 3A of the Act apply to the current fire emergency. The effect of this order is that an employer commits an offence if they victimise any employee who has turned out as a volunteer (s 60B) with the NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW State Emergency Service,...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:04 pm
I have been contacted by a person involved in organising outdoor music festivals in Victoria who has asked a number of questions regarding legal issues. Some of them are too complex and too specific to answer here, but the issues of general interest I’ll comment on. I’m told: I work with a number of outdoor music festivals in Victoria and we constantly need to keep up-to-date with legislation...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:04 pm
I have been asked by a NSW SES Deputy Local controller about roles and responsibilities when it comes to body retrieval following a fatal motor accident. The unit in question is accredited by the State Rescue Board, under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (NSW), as the primary rescue unit but, says my correspondent: I’m not sure what goes on in all other areas nor where the...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:04 pm
The case against NSW, arising from the 2003 Canberra fires, may be over with the decision of a judgment by Higgins CJ of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Supreme Court – see Electro Optic Systems Pty Ltd v The State of New South Wales; West & West v The State of New South Wales [2012] ACTSC 184 (17 December 2012) but that will not be the end of the matter; already the plaintiff Wayne...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:04 pm
I have been asked to comment on a situation described as “Council, in NSW, is encouraging bush regeneration with the effect that bush growing on 9 hectares of Council managed Crown Land, that is contiguous with a National Park, is encroaching onto a narrow residential two lane roadway that separates 12 properties from the Council land. The bushland canopy is now, in places, extending across...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:04 pm
I have been approached by a new, volunteer community health service operating in New South Wales. The organisation is ‘a registered charity that provides first aid & health monitoring services…’ The team is made up of registered nurses, an emergency medical technician and others with Occupational First Aid certificates. During a meeting to discuss their operations, a representative from a local...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 6:04 pm
In an earlier post ( Fire fighters and paramedics exempted from workers compensation changes ) I noted that there had been changes to Workers Compensation laws in NSW. The changes were meant to limit compensation benefits. Originally the changes would have applied to everyone other than volunteers whose entitlement to compensation was determined by the Workers Compensation (Bush Fire,...  Read More
Nov. 29, 2012 5:42 pm
In response to my last post on Queensland Road Rules, Jtmarks wrote a comment and said: You note in your reply, or at least assume, that rural volunteer firefighters can drive an emergency vehicle in Qld under lights and sirens. How I wish that were true! The very sad fact is that a rural fire volunteer, even a volunteer officer, is not a fire officer as defined under the QFRS provisions....  Read More
Nov. 29, 2012 5:37 pm
The Hon. Jim Dempsey, Minister for Police and Community Safety has announced that former AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty will review the police, emergency and corrective services. See: · Keelty to review Queensland emergency services (Sydney Morning Herald) · Former AFP chief Mick Keelty to review Queensland Police (Brisbane Courier Mail) · Keelty to head police, emergency services review ...  Read More
Nov. 29, 2012 5:37 pm
Once again the question of road rules arises, this time in Queensland and this time a very unique set of facts. The pilot of a rescue helicopter has written stating: I am employed as a Helicopter Pilot in the state of Queensland providing emergency aero medical services predominately to the Queensland Ambulance Service… Part of my management charter has been to provide my staff with...  Read More
Nov. 16, 2012 12:40 am
I have been asked the following question from a Victorian volunteer firefighter: Our small CFA rural brigade owns a “slip-on” firefighting unit comprising water tank, pump and hoses. This can be loaded onto a volunteer’s ute for fire suppression during the fire season. Many brigades in Victoria have these. This unit has been in use for many years, and was particularly useful on Black Saturday...  Read More
Nov. 6, 2012 6:10 pm
Nothing attracts more interest on this blog than the issue of road rules. Following my post on the use of mobile phones , I have been contacted by an RFS volunteer who asked: … it does trouble me that there is a lack of clarity on these issues. As a volunteer member of the NSW RFS, we are often not well informed of such legal requirements, and usually subject to RFS policy directives – which...  Read More
Nov. 6, 2012 6:10 pm
The Canberra Times has another piece on emergency management under the heading ‘ Leaders not up to disasters: new study ’. The article refers to a report by the Noetic Group headed ‘Senior Leadership in Times of Crisis’ (you can download the full report from the Noetic website – http://noeticgroup.com/nrs/news-and-publications/article/?id=noetic-notes-senior-leadership-in-time-of-crisis . ...  Read More
Nov. 6, 2012 6:10 pm
In the emergency management sector there is an intense interest in learning lessons from past events, particularly catastrophic events. In a survey we did of chief officers of Australia’s fire and emergency services, one chief officer said, of after action learning: There’s a learning there. There’s space for improvement. There’s space for change. There’s space for all of that. But is...  Read More
Nov. 6, 2012 6:10 pm
With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the US East Coast, readers of this blog may be interested in the post by US firefighter and emergency services lawyer, Kurt Varone – see Hurricane Evacuation Orders and Liability . The legal principles discussed in this blog would be similar to those used here except that the Australian courts tend not to use the language of ‘the public duty doctrine’ or...  Read More
Nov. 6, 2012 6:10 pm
Although the road rules are meant to be the same across Australia, each state does have the power to make rules that apply on in their state. On 1 November some new Road Rules will come into effect in NSW; the changes are contained in the Road Amendment (Miscellaneous) Rules 2012 (NSW). One area of interest for the drivers of emergency vehicles is the rule 300 that relates to the use of...  Read More
Nov. 6, 2012 6:10 pm
I have previously blogged on a prosecution launched by Italian authorities against officials and scientist for their failure to warn communities of a pending, and unpredictable, earthquake (see ‘ Disaster really brings law into disrepute ‘; and ‘ Italian prosecution continues ‘). Various international news agencies are now reporting that the trial has concluded; all the defendants have been...  Read More
Oct. 18, 2012 8:41 pm
(This post is contributed by Ruth Townsend, my friend, colleague at the ANU College of Law, former paramedic and editor (with Morgan Luck) of Applied Paramedic Law and Ethics, Elsevier Australia, 2012). The recent case of a paramedic in Victoria being charged with the theft and use of Fentanyl highlights some issues regarding access to restricted in paramedic practice. [i] Those issues...  Read More

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If all goes well you will see a change in the layout of BestThinking's Home and Category pages. Topics & Articles and Blogs & Books will no longer be shown in two separate columns.

All 4 content types (Articles, Blogs, Books, and Topics) will be Featured Content together as one continuous stream, although the column structure - one wide and one narrow - will remain the same. The first (wide) column will now flow into the second (narrow) column. This change is in response to Blogs becoming as important a content type as Articles and Topics. This will also give Featured Content more time on the Home page which is helpful regarding search engines indexing this content.

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