Welcome to the August edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. A big thank you to the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law’s social justice intern, Samuel Lee, for compiling this 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.

2018 Sir Anthony Mason Lecture: The Collision of History & Text – The Story of Dual Citizens and s 44(i) of the Constitution

Melbourne Law School

Date: 1 August 2018

Time: 6:30pm-7:30pm

Location: The David P. Derham Theatre, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne

The lecture will be presented by the Commonwealth Solicitor-General Dr Stephen Donaghue QC.

In July and August 2017, questions arose about whether seven parliamentarians were validly elected at the 2016 federal election. Each of the ‘Citizenship Seven’ was an Australian citizen, but it was alleged that each was also the citizen of a foreign country. None had taken any steps to become foreign citizens, and all claimed not to be aware that they were foreign citizens. That raised a question about the meaning of s 44(i) of the Constitution.

While the text of s 44(i) suggested that disqualification followed automatically from having the status of a foreign citizen, the history and purpose of s 44(i) suggested that the literal meaning of the provision was too wide, and that it should be construed so as to disqualify only a person who had taken a voluntary step to become a foreign citizen.

The gap between the literal meaning of the text, and its intended operation occurred as a result of a drafting change late in the final Constitutional Convention, which the Convention was assured did not alter the meaning of the provision. Nevertheless, the result was radically to expand the disqualification of dual citizens, because the distance between what the Constitution actually says, and what it was apparently intended to mean, was ultimately too great to be bridged by judicial interpretation.

More details can be found on the website.

Constitutional Law – “Who is Afraid of Proportionality?”

University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law

Date: 9 August 2018

Time: TBC

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

Time: TBC

Location: Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street, 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

Time: 3:00-4:30pm

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 Mason Conversation

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Date: 16 August 2018

Time: 6:15pm

Location: Law Theatre G04, UNSW Law Building, Kensington

We invite you to attend the second Mason Conversation, featuring Ms Patricia Anderson AO and Professor Megan Davis in dialogue with Professor George Williams and audience members. Pat Anderson and Megan Davis shared the leadership of a unique and historic public law progress in 2016-17: the deliberative Regional Dialogues and First Nations Constitutional Convention that culminated with the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The conversational nature of this event allows for unique insights into the people behind processes at the highest level of politics and government in Australia. Pat and Megan are two Aboriginal women from different generations and backgrounds, whose personal and professional experiences are not just remarkable in themselves but also illuminate important dimensions of contemporary Australian society.

For more information, see the website.

2018 Lucinda Lecture

Monash Law School

Date: 20 August 2018

Time: 1-2pm

Location: Monash University, Monash Club, Long Room, 32 Exhibition Walk, Clayton Campus

The lecture will be presented by The Honourable Chief Justice Catherine Holmes of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Section 44(i) of the Constitution and the dual citizenship cases of the last two years have attracted an extraordinary amount of public attention; the other subsections of s 44 – concerning disqualification for criminal conviction, bankruptcy, pecuniary interest and holding an office of profit under the Crown – less so. They, however, are equally fraught with difficulties of interpretation, and in at least one instance pose a challenge to representative democracy less easily resolved than requiring renunciation of foreign citizenship.

This lecture considers what emerges from the 1890’s Convention Debates about the subsections’ evolution, including some proposed amendments which, had they been accepted, would have radically changed the ramifications of s 44; the jurisprudence which exists in relation to the subsections, and the extent to which clarification has been achieved; and some remaining uncertainties with the potential to cause future headaches for politicians, the High Court and the public.

Please see the website for more details. To RSVP for the event, please see the link available on the website.

Abusive Judicial Review

ANU College of Law

Dates: 21 August 2018

Time: 1-2pm

Location: Phillipa Weeks Staff Library, ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University

Professor Rosalind Dixon, University of New South Wales, is the speaker.

Much recent work has focused on the ways in which liberal democratic constitutionalism can be eroded from within, including by manipulating law and the tools of constitutional change. Courts are often seen as an indispensable protection for a democratic constitutional order, and there are indeed examples of courts guarding against abusive forms of constitutional and legal change. However, in other recent cases courts themselves have affirmatively aided would-be authoritarian actors in undermining the liberal democratic order.

This is a phenomenon that we call abusive judicial review. This article seeks to define the phenomenon and develop a typology of its different forms. It also gives a number of examples of its use from across different regions and explains its recent importance in comparative constitutional law. Finally it discusses possible political and legal solutions to the problem.

This paper is co-authored by Professor David Landau.

Details may be found here.

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

Time: 8:45am-2:30pm

Location: Constitutional Centre, West Perth, Perth, Western Australia.

The theme of the Convention is ‘Rights and Australia’s Constitution’. Students will take part in a full and stimulating program that will examine issues including how our rights in Australia are currently protected, whether we need an Australian Bill of Rights and whether those rights should be legislated or should have constitutional status.

Details are available on the website.

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

Adelaide Law School

Date: 7 September 2018

Time: 12:30-2:00pm

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

Date: 14 September 2018

Time: 8:20am-5:15pm

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.

Check the website for details.

RMIT University 2018 Higinbotham Lecture

Human Rights Law Centre

Date: 20 September 2018

Time: 5:30pm-8:00pm

Location: Storey Hall, RMIT University, 336-348 Swanston St, Melbourne

Hugh de Kretser, Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre, will be the speaker.

Human rights belong to every single one of us. They embody values like freedom, respect, equality and dignity. Respect for human rights helps keep societies fair, just and equal.

Yet 70 years after the international community adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights are still not properly protected in Australian law. Australia is the only western democratic nation without a national charter of human rights or bill of rights.

For more information or to register see the website.

Long Live Democracy?

The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences, Oxford Internet Institute

Dates: 20-21 September 2018

Time: TBC

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

Time: 10:00am-3:00pm

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.

2018 Curtin University Human Rights Lecture

Curtin University

Dates: 28 September 2018

Time: TBC

Location: Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia

The 2018 Annual Curtin University Human Rights Lecture will be delivered by prominent international jurist, educator and former judge, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG.

More details about the event will be available in August 2018.

Public Law Weekend 2018

Centre for International and Public Law, ANU

Dates: 2-3 November 2018

Time: 9:00am-5:00pm

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

Time: 9:00am-5:00pm

Location: The Australian National University

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

Time: TBC

Location: University of New South Wales

Foreign policy bears directly on refugee policy. Today both policy agendas are feeling the twin pressures of nationalism and globalisation, and the long-prevailing rules-based order is now contested. What does this mean for people seeking protection, and for the international legal regime that has governed refugee movements since the Second World War, finding solutions for millions of displaced, even as millions more now face an uncertain future in protracted situations? Can international dialogue promote better cooperation and accountability for protecting displaced people? How do international legal norms inform, and become shaped through, diplomatic negotiations? What are the prospects for protecting displaced people in the Asia-Pacific region, and what role does and can Australia play in this endeavour?

The Kaldor Centre Annual Conference on 23 November 2018 will bring Australian, regional and global thinkers to Sydney to explore the place of ‘refugee diplomacy’ in today’s turbulent world, and the interdependence of foreign and domestic policy agendas that impact refugees, asylum seekers and other forced migrants.

The keynote speaker is Anne C. Richard, who served as US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration (2012-2017).

Registrations open August 6, with early-bird discount available until October 26.

For more details, see the website.

9th International Conference on Human Rights Education: Unleashing the Full Potential of Civil Society

International Conference on Human Rights Education

Dates: 26-29 November 2018

Time: TBC

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta South Campus

The international conferences on human rights education (ICHRE) are a series of dialogues on HRE as a means of promoting democracy, the rule of law, justice, and intercultural and social harmony. The 9th ICHRE will coincide with, and celebrate, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the education-oriented Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

The conference will cover a range of human rights education (HRE) issues such as curricula, pedagogy and best practices, including in the context of discrimination faced by First Nation peoples, women, children, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ communities and those of refugee and minority cultural and religious backgrounds.  Contemporary challenges to regional and national HRE and how to effectively address them will also be considered.

Underpinning the 9th ICHRE will be the cross-cutting theme of how HRE can develop and strengthen civil society.

For more information, see the website.

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

Dates: 14 February 2019

Time: TBC

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

Dates: 15 February 2019

Time: TBC

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

Save the date. More information will be available soon.