Welcome to the June edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup.

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.

Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Annual Conference

Bond University

Dates: 6-8 July 2018

Location: Bond University, 14 University Drive, Robina, QLD

The 2018 Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Conference will be held at Bond University on the Gold Coast from 6-8 July.  Professor John Gardner will deliver the opening keynote.

The annual book symposium will focus on Professor Margaret Davies’s recent book, Law Unlimited, with commentary from Associate Professor Ben Golder (UNSW), Dr Honni van Rijswijk (UTS) and Professor William MacNeil (SCU).

For more information, see the website.

Third Biennial Public Law Conference

Melbourne Law School

Dates: 11-13 July 2018

Location: Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria

The Public Law Conference series is the pre-eminent regular forum for the discussion of public law matters in the common law world. Melbourne Law School will host the Third Biennial Public Law Conference, co-organised by the University of Melbourne and the University of Cambridge.

The 2018 conference, co-convened by Mark Elliott (Cambridge) and Jason Varuhas (Melbourne), will feature approximately 80 speakers from across the common law world, and bring together over 300 delegates to discuss the most important issues in public law today. The convenors have confirmed the participation of a number of leading judges and scholars from common law jurisdictions.

The theme of the conference is ‘The Frontiers of Public Law’. The theme is intended to invite engagement with a range of questions concerning both boundaries within public law and the boundaries of public law. Among the questions that fall within the theme are ones concerning the relationship between and the respective boundaries of public and private law; the distinction between domestic and international law, and public law’s response to it; the notions of global administrative and constitutional law and their relationship with domestic systems of public law; the boundary between law and politics viewed from a public law perspective; and the scope of application of public law norms.

Registration closes on Friday 29 June 2018.

For more information, see the website.

Cosmopolitan pluralism, authoritarian nationalism, and the future of liberal governance

Centre for Law, Arts & the Humanities, with the School of Regulation and Global Covernance (RegNet) (ANU)

Date: 12 July 2018

Time: 12:30 – 1:30pm

Location: HC Coombs Extension, 1.04, ANU

In this era of populist revolt around the world, Paul Schiff Berman, Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School, argues that we need a full-throated defense of cosmopolitan pluralism: a scheme of governance that recognizes the importance of inter-locking networks of communication and cooperation, but also respect for local variation. Such models are preferable to either insistence on universalism or insistence on sovereigntist territorialism.

Particularly given the pressing cross-border problems facing the world, tribalism is not possible. But universalism smacks of elitism and hegemony and at least sometimes discounts local variation and creativity. Accordingly, we need structures that respect the norms and values of diverse communities, but seek communication and cooperation across difference. Please see the website for more details.

Contemporary Democracy and its Critics

Deakin Law School

Date: 19 July 2018

Location: Burwood Corporate Centre, Deakin University Burwood Campus, 221 Burwood Highway, Victoria

‘Democracy’ has long been recognised as a complicated and challenging project. In the late 1980s, the eminent political scientist Robert Dahl authored Democracy and Its Critics, a thought-provoking book that debated fundamental questions about the possibilities and limits of democratic government. Much has changed in the years since Dahl’s book appeared, and therefore a thorough re-evaluation of the democratic project is timely. This workshop aims to contribute to the ongoing work of understanding democracy. It will explore the challenges facing democracies today as a result of recent economic, social and political developments, including globalisation; economic stagnation; the emergence of new communication technologies; the erosion of traditional social cleavages; and the collapse of trust in political elites and institutions. As well as discussing such contemporary challenges and how they impact on democratic systems, participants will be invited to explore the capacity of modern democracies to solve the problems they face. For more details please see the website.

Human Rights 2018: The Annual Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference

Monash Law School

Date: 20 July 2018

Location: The Edge, Federation Square, Corner Swanston and Flinders Street, Melbourne

The Castan Centre is holding its annual Human Rights Law Conference on 20 July 2018. For more information, including the conference program and speaker line-up, please see the website.

25th World Congress of Political Science

‘Borders and Margins’

Dates: 21-25 July 2018

Location: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Cnr Merivale & Glenelg Streets, South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland

The post-Cold War acceleration of globalization and the multi-layered consequences of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have had profound effects on borders. These borders create margins, through which administrative and military bureaucracies, NGOs, activists, and more-or-less organized criminals and terrorists operate, empirically and conceptually. The evolution of information technologies has transformed the traditional ‘border as a barrier’ by enclosing people into groups with common identities and interests, dispersed throughout the globe but virtually connected.

For more information, see the website.

Australia’s role within the international refugee protection system: Lessons, challenges and opportunities

Centre for International & Public Law (ANU) Law Reform & Social Justice (ANU) and the UNHCR

Date: 24 July 2018

Time: 5:30 – 6:30pm

Location: ANU College of Law

Australia was a founding signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention which remains the cornerstone of international protection for displaced persons. Almost 70 years later, while the Convention has proved adaptable to modern conflicts and challenges, there remains an imperative for Australia to also uphold these principles and standards domestically. UNHCR Regional Representative, Mr Thomas Albrecht, will discuss key recent developments and positive examples worldwide, as well as the impact and implications of Australia’s Operation Sovereign Borders in the context of ‘offshore processing.’ Please see the website for more details.

Sir John Forrest Lecture 2018: State of the Federation Address

The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia

Date: 25 July 2018

Time: 5:45pm

Location: The Constitution Centre of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia

Professor Carmen Lawrence will deliver her address entitled: ‘Does our Federal System Serve our Educational Needs? Uniformity versus Diversity’ . Please check the website for more details.

Constitutional Law – “Who is Afraid of Proportionality?”

University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law

Date: 9 August 2018

Location: The Banco Court, Supreme Court of Queensland, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law Complex, 415 George Street, Brisbane

Professor Adrienne Stone, University of Melbourne, is the speaker.

The Australian High Court in McCloy v NSW adopted ‘structured proportionality analysis’ as part of Australian constitutional law and, in doing so, it appears to have brought Australian constitutional law at least somewhat more into alignment with global constitutional thinking. Almost immediately, however, the move has attracted controversy both within the Court and with external detractors of proportionality who regard it as ill-suited to the Australian constitutional context. This paper will examine the nature of proportionality, having regard to its roots in Europe and its migration through the rest of the world. Although taking the critiques of proportionality seriously, it will seek to show that proportionality is an acceptable method of analysis in Australian constitutional law. However, it will be argued that proportionality poses some challenges for the courts and for the rule of law that require careful navigation.

For more information, see the website.

To register online for the seminar, go to CPD/Events at the QLD Bar website.

Property Rights and Human Rights: New Possibilities in an Age of Inequality

Monash University Law Chambers

Dates: 9-10 August 2018

Location: Monash University Law Chambers, Melbourne

The debate on property rights and human rights has renewed relevance as a result of global inequality, mass movements of people, and modern forms of slavery. While the underlying issue remains tensions between the distributional consequences of property and property as a source of freedom from interference, the context has shifted from protection against arbitrary state takings to the emancipatory possibilities (and limitations) of property for people often excluded by the state, including refugees and the internally displaced, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, victims of human trafficking, farmers and forest-dwellers, and households subject to disability or extreme poverty. This conference explores the new possibilities of property rights and human rights in an age of inequality.

Details are available here.

Constitutional Unamendability and Comparative Method

University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law

Date: 10 August 2018

Location: TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland

Professor Adrienne Stone, University of Melbourne, is the speaker.

The idea of an unconstitutional constitutional amendment is apt to puzzle a traditional Anglo-American constitutional lawyer.  It is thought to involve an inherent paradox or at least to be deeply undemocratic, denying to the people control of their own constitutional future. Yet it is widely adopted globally in both explicit and implicit forms. In this paper I will examine Yaniv Roznai’s defence of the doctrine in his recent book Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment.  I will argue that Roznai successfully unscrambles the apparent conceptual confusion in the idea of an unconstitutional constitutional amendment.  However, he does not successfully show that the recognition of a doctrine of unamendability is a necessary consequence of constitutionalism, at least in its substantive and implicit forms.  A full justification for a doctrine of unamendability depends, more than Roznai makes explicit, on the nature of a given constitutional order. Further, the argument does not provide a sufficient justification for entrusting the judiciary with the power of enforcing an implicit doctrine of unamendability. Lastly, I will reflect on the limits of this argument in the light of comparative method.  Roznai’s argument is global in its reach and is accompanied by impressive comparative research.  Yet it is notable that his method are argumentation are deductive and that his comparative work serves to illustrate rather than to generate his conceptual claims.  I will suggest therefore that successful engagement between constitutional theory and comparative study requires taking comparison seriously at the point of theory formation rather than reliance upon comparison only after the fact and by way of illustration.

For more information, see the website.

2018 Lucinda Lecture

Monash Law School

Date: 20 August 2018

Location: Monash Law School

Details TBC. Please check the website.

Book Launch: ‘Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law’ co-edited by Tarun Khaitan and Hugh Collins

Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, University of Melbourne

Date: 23 August 2018

Time: 5–8pm

Location: Room 920, Level 9, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria

This seminar will start with a panel discussion by Professor Beth Gaze, Professor Cordelia Fine, Professor Karen Farquharson, Dr Dale Smith and Associate Professor Tarun Khaitan, chaired by Professor Anna Chapman. It will be followed by a launch by the Hon Justice Michael Kirby of the new book.

Indirect discrimination (or disparate impact) concerns the application of the same rule to everyone, even though that rule significantly disadvantages one particular group in society. Ever since its recognition by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1971, liberal democracies around the world have grappled with the puzzle that it can sometimes be unfair and wrong to treat everyone equally. The law’s regulation of private acts that unintentionally (but disproportionately) harm vulnerable groups has remained extremely controversial, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. In original essays in this volume, leading scholars of discrimination law from North America and Europe explore the various facets of the law on indirect discrimination, interrogating its foundations, history, legitimacy, purpose, structure, and relationship with other legal concepts. The collection provides the first international work devoted to this vital area of the law that seeks both to prevent unfair treatment and to transform societies.

Details here.

WA Schools Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia

Dates: 4-5 September 2018

Location: Perth, Western Australia

Details to be confirmed. Check the website for updates.

A Bird and a Fish in Love: a Graduate’s View on a Reconciled Nation

Adelaide Law School

Date: 7 September 2018

Time: 12:30 – 2pm

Location: Ligertwood 333 Lecture Theatre, Adelaide Law School

A bird may love a fish but where would they build a home together?” This is a famous line from Joseph Stein, Fiddler on the Roof.

Sometimes the debate in Australia about co-existence, reconciliation and recognition feels a bit like this line from “Fiddler on the Roof”. I still hear voices in my head saying,’ How can it happen, it’s impossible, someone has to compromise and someone has to be in charge and make the rules! At times it does seem difficult to see a way forward.

In this presentation, Adelaide Law School alumnus, Andrea Mason, will reflect on this question and discuss whether, at this point in time in our nation’s history, is there a chance that we may be missing seeing a tree in the forest that could help us see the forest differently?

For more details please see the website.

Government Lawyers Conference 2018 (Qld)

Queensland Law Society

Dates: 14 September 2018

Location: Law Society House, Auditorium, Level 2, 179 Ann Street, Brisbane, Queensland

The key professional development conference in the Queensland calendar for legal professionals in the government, policy and administrative spheres, whether in federal, state or local jurisdictions, or in-house with government owned corporations and universities. Hear from, and network with, experts in their field and fellow colleagues from a range of government departments. The event will close with networking drinks.

Program coming soon. Check the website for details.

Long Live Democracy?

The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences, Oxford Internet Institute

Dates: 20-21 September 2018

Location: University of Oxford

This conference is about questioning the theses of democratic renewal – and democratic decay – in a digital world. We are looking for rigorous research to understand the role of digital platforms in democratic processes and the development of institutional arrangements that ensure that democratic systems remain free, fair and open. Current democratic and government structures are in urgent need of institutional renewal if they are to survive in the 21st century. But we also remain optimistic that harnessing the potential of internet-mediated technologies can help build a new and better democracy. Hence we seek to place critical attention on the potential role of internet mediated activity in undermining core aspects of democracy; yet also call for positive, optimistic contributions which highlight the many ways in which the internet has allowed existing democracies to grow and change.

For more information or to register see the website.

2018 National Administrative Law Conference: Administrative Law in the 21st Century and Beyond

Australian Institute of Administrative Law

Dates: 27-28 September 2018

Location: University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney, NSW

The overarching theme for the 2018 AIAL National Administrative Law Conference will be ‘Administrative Law in the 21st Century and Beyond’. This invites consideration of a range of current and future-focussed issues. We seek papers that explore both emerging issues and new ways of looking at ‘old problems’. We particularly note the following relevant subthemes:

  • the impact of technology on administrative decision making and review;
  • judicial review and challenges to major executive policy;
  • international/global administrative law, including both the impact on domestic law and Australia’s place in the global administrative law order; terrorism and national security and administrative law;
  • debates around a national integrity agency;
  • Indigenous issues and administrative law, including broader governance issues; and
  • the intersection of environment and planning law and administrative law, at both a state and federal level.

The Institute encourages contributions on these Conference subthemes but is also interested in finding space for those with fresh perspectives or ideas not reflected in the suggested range of topics above.

For more information, see the website.

Public Law Weekend 2018

Centre for International and Public Law, ANU

Date: 2–3 November 2018

Location: Australian Centre on China in the World, 188 Fellows Lane, The Australian National University, ACT

The Public Law Weekend is one of Australia’s pre-eminent public law conferences. This year’s program will focus primarily on administrative law issues and developments.

Confirmed speakers include: the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler, the Hon Justice John Basten, the Hon Justice John Griffiths, the Hon Justice Rachel Pepper, the Hon Justice Janine Pritchard, Gabrielle Appleby, Mark Aronson, Judith Bannister, Will Bateman, Janina Boughey, Lisa Burton Crawford, Matthew Groves, Graeme Hill, Leighton McDonald, Kim Rubenstein, Kristina Stern, Daniel Stewart and Greg Weeks.

Registration for this event will open soon. Check the website for updates.

Happy Anniversary? Reflecting on Marriage Equality

ANU Gender Institute

Date: 12 November 2018

Location: ANU

Coinciding with the first anniversary of the survey announcement in November 2017, this symposium engages with the legacy of the Australian, as well as international, campaigns for marriage equality. It will dive into debates about the value of marriage equality, the nature of marriage equality campaigns, and the value, or not, of public votes on rights-based issues. This symposium focuses on two overlapping streams: Marriage Campaigns and Marriage Debates.

More details available here.

Kaldor Centre Annual Conference 2018

Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

Date: 23 November 2018

Location: University of New South Wales

Save the date. More information will be available soon.

Public Law in the Classroom 2019: A Workshop for Teachers of Australian Public Law

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

Date: 14 February 2019

Location: Law Building, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney, NSW

Save the date. More information will be available soon.

2019 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Date: 15 February 2019

Location: Art Gallery of New South Wales and Parliament House, Sydney

Save the date. More information will be available soon.