After a big month of public law conferences and lectures across Australia in April, welcome to the May 2016 edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. Remember, if you have a conference or significant public lecture that you would like included in this roundup, please contact us at

Gabrielle Appleby

AUSPUBLAW Blog Coordinator


16 May 2016 – Current Constitutional Controversies Occasional Colloquium Series: Democracy and Political Ignorance

University of Queensland

6:00-8:00pm, Supreme Court Library Conference Room

One of the biggest problems with modern democracy is that most of the public is usually ignorant of politics and government. Many people understand that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don’t see the point in learning much about politics. This creates a nation of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know.

Widespread political ignorance is a major challenge for democracy, and is best mitigated by decentralizing and limiting government. People make better decisions when they choose what to purchase in the market or which state or local government to live under, than when they vote at the ballot box, because they have stronger incentives to acquire relevant information and to use it wisely.

More information available on the website.


22 May 2016: An Evening with Edward Snowden

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Presented by Think Inc and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

After serving as a high-level technology and cybersecurity specialist across US government agencies, Snowden became a hero to all who value governmental transparency as he revealed to the world that the National Security Agency (NSA) was seizing private records from billions of everyday civilians. He has also been branded a traitor by his own government and its allies. The result of his risks and the alarming discoveries that came with them led to the most significant US surveillance policy in almost three decades, making him a public enemy and forcing him to seek political asylum in Russia. Appearing live via video link, the controversial conqueror of social justice will enlighten audiences on how he did what he did, and most importantly, why he did it. Brought to you by Think Inc. – the team behind the Australian tours of Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sam Harris, Maajid Nawaz, Dr Michio Kaku, Dr Cornel West, and The ‘Amazing’ James Randi – An Evening with Edward Snowden provides a rare opportunity to grant an audience with one of the most revered freethinkers of the 21st century.

To buy tickets, Click here


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.


13 June 2016 – Supreme Court of Queensland Oration: The Hon Dikgang Moseneke, Deputy Chief Justice, Republic of South Africa

5:15pm for 5:30pm, Supreme Court of Queensland

As an anti-apartheid activist, the principle of ‘one person one vote’ was central to Dikgang Moseneke’s democratic demands. Now in his role as Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Moseneke seeks to find equilibrium between the democratic will of the people and the supremacy of the Constitution. While critics of the Constitution question its legitimacy, Moseneke holds that constitutional supremacy protects against abuses of public power and creates a government that is more consistent, just and responsive. Reflecting on recent events in South Africa and internationally, Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke examines the balance between the democratic process and robust constitutionalism.

The Hon Dikgang Moseneke, Deputy Chief Justice, Republic of South Africa will also present lectures in Sydney and Melbourne (see below).

More information available on the website.

RSVP to or 07 3006 5130.


SAVE THE DATE 15 June 2016: Public Lecture by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke

6pm – 7.30pm Federal Court No 1, Level 21, Queen’s Square Sydney

Presented by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and UNSW Law

Please see above for the topic of this public lecture. More information on this specific event, including a flyer and registration link, will be available soon on the Gilbert + Tobin Centre’s website.


14–15 July 2016: Postgraduate Workshop in Public Law

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales

The Workshop is an opportunity for higher degree research students in the field of public law to gain experience in presenting their work to their peers and the wider academic public law community in a critically constructive yet supportive environment. Students currently enrolled postgraduate research courses (Masters, PhD and SJD students) in the field of public law are invited to submit abstracts. The Workshop welcomes abstracts that bring a constitutional or administrative law focus to a range of contemporary issues such as human rights protection, native title and Indigenous land rights, national security, federalism, refugees and migration law, executive power, electoral law, and the judiciary.

Registrations with abstracts must be submitted by 13 May 2016.

For more information, see:


22 July 2016 Castan Centre Conference

A fantastic line-up of speakers has now been announced for the annual Castan Centre Conference – Australia’s only annual human rights conference.

More information is available on the conference website.


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.


26–28 September, Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2016, ‘The Politics of Justice and Rights: challenges and future directions’

University of New South Wales

Scholars working in international relations, political science, political philosophy, public policy, law, social policy, public management, criminology, sociology, philosophy, history or related disciplines are invited to submit papers. Jennifer L Hochschild, Professor of Government at Harvard University & American Political Science Association President 2015-2016, has been confirmed as the International Keynote Speaker.

For more information, see:


18–27 October 2016, ‘Open State’

Adelaide, South Australia

Open State is a 10-day program of events exploring how open and transparent decision-making and engagement can address the complex challenges of the future. It involves a number of conferences as well as talks and forums.

For more information on events and speakers see:


Save the Date: 27 October 2016: Sawer Lecture, to be delivered by the Honourable Annabelle Bennett AO.



Save the Date: 28 October 2016 Public Law Weekend



Save the Date: 18 November 2016 Kaldor Centre Annual Conference

9 am – 5pm University of New South Wales


Save the Date: 2 December 2016 Conference in Honour of Professor Michael Coper



Save the Date: 11 December 2016 Final Courts Roundup

Hosted by The Comparative Law Project, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and the Australian Association of Constitutional Law (NSW Branch)


Save the Date: 16 February 2017 Public Law in the Classroom 2017

The annual public law teaching workshop hosted by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and the Public Law and Policy Research Unit, University of Adelaide.