Welcome to the September edition of the AUSPUBLAW, the Australian Public Law Events Roundup. A big shout out thank you to our Gilbert + Tobin of Public Law Centre intern, Andrew Roberts, and our HDR editor, Lynsey Blayden, for compiling the roundup this month.

In addition to our public law events roundup, we would like remind you about the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism, run by the McGill University’s Faculty of Law and the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism. This competition is open to law students, as well as law PhD candidates, junior legal scholars and junior lawyers from around the world. Participants are invited to submit an original essay related to an aspect of federal theory or practice by September 30, 2016. Submissions that examine the past, present and future of Canadian federalism from comparative angles are particularly encouraged. For more information, see the website.

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

Dr Gabrielle Appleby

AUSPUBLAW Coordinator


 National Indigenous Legal Conference

‘Indigenous Recognition: Many Laws, the Many Facets of Law Reform’

Dates: 5–6 September 2016

Location: Australian National University, Canberra

The theme of this year’s conference looks to address:

  • Representation of the Indigenous people in the law reform
  • Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
  • Law reform and Indigenous People
  • Twenty-five years on: the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
  • Initiatives to increase participation rates of Indigenous students in law school, the legal profession and in research

Delegates at the conference will have the opportunity to hear from over 25 speakers including Chief Justice Robert French and Professor Mick Dodson AM.

More information about both the conference and the call for papers is available on the website.

Government Solicitors Conference

Law Society of NSW Government Solicitors Committee

Dates: 6 September 2016

Time: 8:30am–6:30pm

Location: Sheraton on the Park, Sydney

For more information, see the website.

 2016 Allen Hope Southey Memorial Lecture

‘When the High Court Went on Strike’

The Hon Justice Stephen Gageler

Date: 6 September 2016

Time: 6:00pm–7:00pm

Location: University of Melbourne, Melbourne

This lecture covers a little known historical episode from the early history of the High Court when the justices went ‘on strike’. This historical episode will be used as a basis for a broader exploration of the question of judicial independence.

For more information, see the website.

UNSW Law Book Forum

Gabrielle Appleby – The Role of the Solicitor General: Negotiating Law, Politics and the Public Interest

UNSW Law and the Gilbert + Tobin Center of Public Law

Dates: 7 September 2016

Time: 4:00-6:00pm – Book Forum; 6:00-8:00pm – Reception

Location: University of New South Wales, Sydney

Meet author, Gabrielle Appleby, who will be presenting her book The Role of the Solicitor General: Negotiating Law, Politics and the Public Interest (Hart Publishing 2016). The forum will be chaired by Professor Andrew Lynch and include commentary from the Honourable Justice Stephen Gageler (High Court of Australia), Professor Anne Twomey (University of Sydney) and Dr Yee-Fui Ng (RMIT)

For more information, see the website

Manus Island: Lives in Limbo

Discussion between Daniel Webb and Madeline Gleeson, moderated by Emily Howe

Date: 8 September 2016

Time: 6.30 for 6.45pm

Location: Gilbert+Tobin, Sydney

Daniel is the Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Legal Advocacy.  He has recently returned from his third trip to Manus Island.  Madeline is a Research Associate at the Kaldor Centre and the author of Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru.  Emily is the Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Advocacy and Research.

Madeline and Daniel will discuss the current situation on the ground in Manus Island, the future of the Manus arrangements and alternatives to the current deadlock in the Australian asylum seeker policy debate.

Proceeds from the event will go to support the work of the Human Rights Law Centre.

For more information, see the website.

2016 Annual Lecture in Politics and International Affairs

Delivered by Stan Grant

The University of Queensland School of Political Science and International Studies and the Brisbane Writers Festival

Date: 9 September 2016

Time: 6:00pm

Location: UQ St Lucia Campus, Brisbane

The Annual Lecture will be delivered by Walkley Award winning journalist and correspondent, Stan Grant.

Stan is a Wiradjuri man.  A journalist since 1987, he has worked for the ABC, SBS, and the Seven Network and, since 2013, as the International Editor for SKY News.  From 2001 to 2012 he worked for CNN as an anchor in Hong Kong, before relocating to Beijing as a correspondent. As a journalist, he has received a string of prestigious international and Australian awards. In 2015 he won a Walkley award for his coverage of Indigenous affairs and earlier this year he published his bestselling book Talking to My Country.

Register by 1 September 2016. For more information, see the website.

Cambridge Public Law Conference

Theme: ‘The Unity of Public Law’

University of Cambridge Center for Public Law

Dates: 12–14 September 2016

Location: Cambridge, UK

Under the theme “The Unity of Public Law?” the Cambridge Public Law 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 Justice 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.

For more information, see the website.

Selden Society 2016 Lecture Series

Lecture 4: Leading Cases of the Common Law – Mabo v State of Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1

The Hon Margaret White AO

Date: 22 September 2016

Time: 5:15pm–7:00pm

Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of Queensland, Brisbane

Mabo v Queensland (No. 2) is one of the most important judgments ever delivered by the High Court. It concerned an issue arising from events some 200 years earlier, when the Australian continent was first colonised. The issue was whether the effect of colonisation, under the common law, was to vest full ownership of all Australian land in the Crown – or whether the common law recognised land titles rising under pre-existing Indigenous laws and customs.

The Hon Margaret White AO acted as junior counsel for the Queensland Government for the ten years of litigation. She brings a unique and valuable perspective to this landmark constitutional case.

RSVP by 15 September to events@sclqld.org.au. For more information, see the website.

Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2016

‘The Politics of Justice and Rights: Challenges and Future Directions’

Australian Political Studies Association

Dates: 26–28 September 2016

Location: University of New South Wales, Sydney

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 the website.

2016 Tony Fitzgerald Lecture

‘The Decline of Human Rights in an Australian Democracy’

Professor Gillian Triggs

Date: 27 September 2016

Location: State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

The Fitzgerald Biennial Lecture Series is a flagship program that honors the contribution to Queensland made by the Honourable Gerald Edward (Tony) Fitzgerald AC QC. The first lecture was held on the 20 year anniversary of his landmark report on corruption and the good governance in the state.

The Fitzgerald Report marks a watershed in Queensland and Australia’s political history. In addition to the justice and governance reforms, the report and inquiry served as a catalyst and inspiration to many researchers and practitioners working in these fields. The 2016 Fitzgerald Lecture will be presented by Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

For more information, see the website.

The Inaugural Mason Conversation

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and UNSW Law

Date: Tuesday 4 October 2016

Time: 6.15pm for 6.30pm start with a drinks reception to follow

Location: Law Theatre G04, UNSW Law Building, Kensington

The Inaugural Mason Conversation, will feature a dialogue between Sir Anthony Mason, Professor George Williams and audience members. Sir Anthony will discuss present trends and future challenges for Australian law and government, and reflect on influences and milestones in his long career as barrister, judge and public figure. The Mason Conversation is a new annual event co-hosted by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and the Faculty of Law at UNSW. Each year from 2016, the event will feature a prominent person in conversation about contemporary issues in public affairs with a particular focus on public law. The series is named in honour of Sir Anthony and his outstanding generosity and contribution over decades to the University of New South Wales, and in particular to the Law Faculty and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law community. We are delighted that Sir Anthony has agreed to be the first speaker in the Mason Conversation series.

For more information, including registration (free), see the website.

Julius Stone Address 2016: Professor Joseph Raz

‘The Democracy Deficit’

Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence

Date: 13 October 2016

Time: 6:00pm–7:30pm

Location: University of Sydney, Sydney

Is the authority and legitimacy of international organisation threatened or undermined by a democratic deficit, and what, if anything, can be done about it? In his lecture, Professor Raz will include observations about the reasons for the success and for the moral legitimacy of democratic decision-making in states, and their possible role in international bodies.

Legitimacy and the State Conference

Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence

Date: 14–15 October 2016

Time: Friday 8:30am–6:00pm; Saturday 9:00am–5:30pm

Location: University of Sydney, Sydney

Traditionally, legitimacy has been associated exclusively with states. But are states actually legitimate? And why should questions of legitimacy be about only them?

This Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence conference focuses on these two questions. It will examine both critiques and defences of the legitimacy of the state, and will consider assumptions about the nature of authority that inform the usual focus of discussions of legitimacy on the state. Finally, the conference will enquire into the legitimacy of supranational institutions and law beyond the state.

For more information, see the website.

Open State

10 Days of Collaboration, Innovation, Ideas & Enterprise

Date: 18-27 October 2016

Location: 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 the website.

Celebrating 100 years of the Commonwealth Solicitor-General

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law (UNSW) & Australian Association of Constitutional Law (NSW)

Date: Monday 24 October 2016,

Time: 6.00pm – 7.30pm

Location: Banco Court, Level 13, Supreme Court of New South Wales, Sydney

A celebration of 100 years since the passage of the  Solicitor-General Act 1916 (Cth). Opening remarks will be given by Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE QC, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and Commonwealth Solicitor-General, 1964-1969. A panel of the former Commonwealth Solicitors-General will discuss and debate the history, legal position and practice of the office. Panellists include The Honourable Robert Ellicott QC, Dr Gavan Griffith AO QC, Dr David Bennett AC QC, The Honourable Justice Stephen Gageler. The panel will be chaired by Dr Gabrielle Appleby, Associate Professor, UNSW Law, Co-Director of the Judiciary Project, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law.

For more information, including registration (free), see the website.

Selden Society 2016 Lecture Series

Lecture 5: Justices of the US Supreme Court – Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

The Hon Justice Margaret McMurdo AC

Date: 27 October 2016

Time: 5:15pm–7:00pm

Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of Queensland, Brisbane

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman to be appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Throughout her long and distinguished legal career she has borne witness to changing attitudes and opportunities for women in the law. Justice O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006. She was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

As the first woman appointed as presiding judge of an Australian appellate court, the Hon Justice Margaret McMurdo AC explores Sandra Day O’Connor’s influence on generations of women lawyers and judicial officers, in the United States and Australia.

For more information, see the website.

Save the Date: 2016 Sawyer Lecture

The Hon Annabelle Bennett AO

Centre for International & Public Law, ANU

Date: 27 October 2016

Public Law Weekend 2016

Centre for International & Public Law

Australian National University

Date: 28 October 2016

Time: 9:00am–5:00pm

Location: National Museum of Australia, Canberra

This leading administrative law conference will be held at the National Museum of Australia on Friday, 28 October 2016. The Public Law Weekend, run by the Centre for International and Public Law, is one of Australia’s preeminent public law conferences.

The program this year will focus on a range of current and important administrative law issues and developments. The program features distinguished administrative law jurists, commentators and practitioners.

For more information, see the website.

Save the Date: Kaldor Centre Annual Conference 2016

Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

Date: 18 November 2016

Time: 9:00am–5:00pm

Location: The University of New South Wales, Sydney

For more information, see the website.

International and Comparative Law Colloquium 2016

‘Legal Transplants in the 21st Century’

USQ School of Law and Justice

Dates: 24­–25 November 2016

Times: Thursday 8:30am­–5:00pm; Friday 9:00am–1:00pm

Location: USQ Toowoomba

The Colloquium aims to address the transplant and development of a human rights culture, and the reception of international and foreign law, in common law systems. The Colloquium is currently seeking submissions for individual or panel abstracts for consideration by 14 September 2016.

For more information, see the website.

Save the Date: Final Courts Roundup

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

Date: 11 December 2016

Public Law in the Classroom 2017

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and the Public Law and Policy Research Unit, University of Adelaide.

Date: 16 February 2016

Time: 10:30am–4:00pm

Location: University of New South Wales, Sydney

The day will be presented in three sessions, with plenty of time for discussion and sharing of practice in each. The first session will examine the way in which public law theories and values shape our teaching. The second session will showcase cutting edge teaching practices, techniques, and technologies, as well as research into public law teaching and is currently open for abstracts. The final session will be a panel discussion on the possibilities and challenges presented by the research-teaching nexus in public law.

The workshop is now calling for abstracts until 30 September 2016. For more information, see the website.

2017 George Winterton Memorial Lecture

‘Sir Owen Dixon Today’

Professor William Gummow AC QC

Sydney Law School

Date: 16 February 2017

Time: 6:30pm–7:45pm

Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of NSW, Sydney

More than half a century since his retirement and nearly 90 years since he joined the High Court, Sir Owen Dixon remains at the forefront of the judicial pantheon. Yet in the period following his death in 1972 some law teachers and even judges tended, to his detriment, to associate with Dixon the epithet “legalism”; this was seen to cloak undisclosed “policy choices” and, at best, as a crippling formalism. But even a cursory reading of decisions over the last 20 years reveals continued recourse to his judgments.

This paper seeks to indicate how Dixon’s reputation was acquired and the characteristics of his thought and work which today sustain much of that reputation.

For more information, see the website.

Save the Date: 2017 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Date: 17 February 2017

Location: Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney and NSW Parliament House.

20th Commonwealth Law Conference

‘Thriving in a Global World: Building on the Rule of Law’

Commonwealth Lawyers Association

Dates: 20­–24 March 2017

Location: Melbourne

The theme of the 2017 conference, “Thriving in a global world: building on the rule of law” presents a unique canvass to consider legal issues in our globalised world that both innovate and challenge lawyers practicing today.

The conference sessions will focus on current trends in Corporate & Commercial law; the legal profession; the rule of law, and other contemporary legal topics. It is the ideal venue to meet and discuss with professional colleagues topics relevant to your professional area of interest.

For more information, see the website.

Save the Date: Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference of the Transnational, International and Comparative Law and Policy Network

‘The Law and Politics of Control and Power’

Transnational, International and Comparative Law and Policy Network

Date: 26–27 May 2017

Location: Bond University, Gold Coast

A ‘call for abstracts’ will be released in December 2016 and will be due by 20 March 2017. Selected papers will be invited to submit to a special issue of the Bond Law Review, a peer-reviewed journal.

For more information, see the website.

International Association of Genocide Scholars Conference 2017

‘Justice and the Prevention of Genocide’

TC Bernie School of Law and the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Dates: 9–13 July 2017

Location: University of Queensland, Brisbane

Nearly seven decades after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the hopes embedded in that document remain largely unfulfilled. The theme of the 2017 IAGS conference revisits the two core components of the Convention: justice for acts of genocide and prevention of future genocides.

Submissions exploring any topic related to the study of genocide are welcome, and submissions on the following themes are particularly encouraged:

  • Application of international and domestic law for justice, accountability and prevention
  • Theories and methods of prevention of genocide and mass atrocities
  • Indigenous experiences of and responses to genocide, in particular Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
  • Cases of genocidal violence in the Asia Pacific region
  • Sexual and gender-based violence
  • Genocide and disability
  • Justice and prevention in the context of refugees of genocide
  • Representations of genocide in culture, art and museum studies
  • Genocide education
  • Genocide and human rights
  • Intersections between genocide studies and peace studies

Submissions are due 15 December 2016. For more information, see the website.