This blog is maintained by Michael Eburn (Senior Fellow at the ANU College of Law and the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University, Canberra) to discuss legal issues affecting the emergency services (that is fire, ambulance and rescue services) in Australia.
Why Michael Eburn? I am an academic researcher looking at legal issues. I am the author of Emergency Law (1st ed 1999, 2nd ed 2005, 3rd ed 2009, The Federation Press) the only book on the subject of Emergency law in Australia. I am currently engaged on a 3 year research project, funded by the Bushfire CRC, looking at the impact of law and policy on bushfire management. Our project is entitled ‘Mainstreaming Fire and Emergency Management across Legal and Policy Sectors; Joint Research and Policy Learning‘ and you can read more about it here.
Apart from that book I have written numerous articles and given conference papers and inservice training on legal issues affecting the emergency services. You can see some more details of my work and publications here.
On this blog I will put up my thoughts and reflections on developing issues, in particular developments in the law that I think may impact upon the emergency services and members of those services. I also want to hear from the members of the emergency services, paid and volunteer. If there is an issue that you think needs discussion post it here (or you can email me at email@example.com).
Having said that I have to add the usual lawyers disclaimers. This is not a place for providing specific legal advice, so I wont be able to answer questions that are based on actual events, such as “we responded to a job and now someone wants to sue me, what should I do”. For those jobs you (or more importantly, the service of which you are a member) needs to get legal advice from a practising lawyer. I also wont comment on questions about service decisions, so questions like “My service has just issued a directive/policy/item of PPE and I think it is illegal, what do you think?” wont be answered. Finally I wont get into inter-personal issues “A fellow member said this, is it defamatory or can we kick them out of the service?”. Having said that I want to hear as many things as possible because if I know the issues that are affecting the members I can do more productive and useful work in trying to find answers. If your concern clearly falls in the above categories then understand I may not be able to give an answer, but remember there is no harm in asking and if I think I shouldn’t answer a question or comment on an issue, I’l say that.
I hope this site proves useful and interesting for all and I look forward to our discussions.
5 October 2011