Welcome to the first edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup for 2016! I do apologise that this post has been a bit late in arriving in your inbox, but I’ve been busy enjoying the first few public law events for the year.

In addition to the normal information on events, we are very pleased to provide information on the Saunders Prize, to be awarded for the first time in 2016. The Saunders Prize is named in honour of Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders AO, in recognition of her exceptional eminence constitutional law and her leadership in the creation of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law. The Prize will be awarded to the author of an article or note on a subject of constitutional law, published in in an Australian legal journal in the preceding calendar year, which, in the opinion of the Panel, reflects the highest standards of research and scholarship. Nominations for the prize close on 30 April 2016. Further information can be found at http://www.aacl.asn.au/announcement-saunders-prize-excellence-scholarship-constitutional-law-and-call-nominations

Remember, if you have a conference or significant public lecture that you would like included in this roundup, please contact us at auspublaw@unsw.edu.au.

Gabrielle Appleby

AUSPUBLAW Blog Coordinator


18 February 2016: Lecture: Sangeetha Pillai – Banishment in the 21st Century: Citizenship Stripping in Common Law Nations

CCCS Seminar Series, University of Melbourne

Democratic states are responding to the threat of terrorism, and in particular the problem of fighters returning home from conflicts in Iraq and Syria, by introducing laws for the stripping of citizenship. The United Kingdom is a world leader in this area, and is poised to further extend the reach of government power. Its model of citizenship stripping has also inspired like laws in Canada and Australia. This lecture will examine this important legal phenomenon as it is developing across these nations.

For further information, visit the website.


2 March 2016: Lecture: Bede Harris: Too much law and not enough theory: A critique of the Commonwealth Constitution

CCCS Seminar Series, University of Melbourne

The difficulty of amending the Australian Constitution has had the consequence that debate on systemic reform is virtually non-existent. Yet our constitutional arrangements manifest significant flaws: The Constitution is said to be based upon representative democracy, yet our electoral system is grossly unfair. The Constitution embodies responsible government, yet Parliament has few tools available to it to enforce ministerial responsibility. Australia is signatory to international human rights conventions, yet the Constitution protects only a handful of rights. Therefore, looked at from the perspective of constitutional theory, our Constitution is seriously deficient. Despite this, nothing changes. In part this is due to the poor state of civics education – ignorance of how our Constitution works creates fertile ground for constitutional conservatives to stoke fear of reform in the minds of voters. Yet, paradoxically, polls show that voters are increasingly disengaged from, and disenchanted with, our system of government. Drawing upon examples from other jurisdictions, this paper argues for reforms including the establishment of a truly representative electoral system, effective mechanisms for legislative oversight of the executive and protection for the full range of human rights. Such reforms would ensure consistency between the theories our Constitution is based upon what its text provides, and also create an environment in which citizens were fully engaged in the processes of government.

For further information, visit the website.


14-15 April 2016: The National Law Reform Conference

Australian National University

The National Law Reform Conference will be a forum for research about future directions in six key areas of law in society, including public law(constitutional law, Indigenous constitutional issues, governance, administrative law).

For further information, including the program and registrations, the visit the website.


31 May-1 June 2016 National Conference on Migration, Media and Integration/Social Cohesion


This conference brings together researchers, policy makers, service providers, media producers, community leaders and stakeholders from key government and non-governmental organisations from all over Australia to collectively contribute towards improving policy, research and practice in issues of Migration, Media and Social cohesion.

More information is available on the website.


SAVE THE DATE: 22 July 2016 Castan Centre Conference

More information will be posted on the website as it becomes available.


26-28 September 2016 Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2016: The Politics of Justice and Rights: challenges and future directions

UNSW Australia

The concepts of ‘justice’ and ‘rights’ are at the heart of political theory and practice. A driving question of political scholarship is how best to conceive of a just society with political principles, institutions and policies that protect the rights of all. This concern extends to the global level where the protection of human, animal, and environmental rights are at the forefront of political debate.

The challenges and future direction of rights and justice set the theme for the 2016 Australian Political Science Association (APSA) Conference, hosted by the School of Social Sciences, UNSW. Scholars working in International Relations, Political Science, Political Philosophy, Public Policy, Law and aligned disciplines are invited to submit papers for the conference.

Call for papers now open until 25 March 2016 


12-14 September 2016: Cambridge Public Law Conference

University of Cambridge Centre for Public Law

Theme: ‘The Unity of Public Law?’

From 12 to 14 September 2016, the Centre for Public Law at the University of Cambridge will hold the second in a series of biennial international Public Law Conferences. Under the theme “The Unity of Public Law?” the conference will examine — through comparative, doctrinal, institutional and theoretical lenses — whether Public Law can or ought to be conceived of as a unified discipline. Keynote speakers include The Rt Hon Lord Reed (Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom), The Hon Robert French (Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia) and The Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias (Chief Justice of New Zealand). Registration for the conference is now open. Further information about the conference can be found on the website.