Welcome to the November 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.

JSI Seminar Series: Finnis Africanus: Natural Law at the End of Empire

Julius Stone Institute, Sydney Law School

Date: 1 November 2018

Time: 6:00-8:00pm

Location: Common Room, Level 4, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown, University of Sydney

This talk will make the argument for bestowing John Mitchell Finnis with the agnomen ‘Africanus’. Like Scipio before him, he won his greatest victory in Africa. But while Scipio conquered Carthaginian and Numidian armies in what is now Tunisia, Finnis claimed victory of a rather different kind in Malawi. He wrote most of Natural Law and Natural Rights during his two years at the Law School of Chancellor College in Zomba before returning triumphant to Oxford. But this is not the only reason for conferring ‘Africanus’ on Finnis. The agnomen also recognizes that he could only complete his greatest triumph—a positivist-inflected revision of natural law jurisprudence—after conceiving of a dystopian vision of the collapse of millennia of Christian imperial rule. By historicizing Natural Law and Natural Rights, we can better appreciate it as a radical intervention that promised both a blueprint and a manifesto for a new world (legal) order grounded in the Catholic faith.

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.

Constitutional Reform in Sri Lanka: Meeting Majoritarian Challenges while Providing for Meaningful Devolution

Centre for International and Public Law, ANU

Date: 5 November 2018

Time: 1-2pm

Location: G08, Ground Floor, Law Building, 185 Pelham Street, University of Melbourne

Nearly a decade after the defeat of armed separatism, Sri Lanka is yet to arrive at a constitutional settlement of its ethnic crisis. While Tamil moderates seem prepared to accept power-sharing within a single country, there is strong pressure from Sinhala nationalists not to strengthen the system of Provincial Councils, alleging that more devolution would necessarily pave the way to secession. Any change in the ‘unitary’ nature of the State is strongly opposed by nationalists. For many Sri Lankans ‘unitary’ means ‘oneness’ or ‘one country’.

The Sinhala word for ‘unitary’ is ‘ekeeya’ and ‘eka’ is ‘one’. Thus, changing the unitary nature of the state is seen by some as ‘dividing’ the country. Moderate Tamils and proponents of devolution in the South, on the other hand, argue that describing the Sri Lankan State as ‘unitary’ is undesirable for the reason that there exists a certain ‘unitary mindset’ in Sri Lanka according to which any issue that arises between the Centre and a Province is decided in favour of the Centre. They argue that while ‘unitary’ means, in the classic sense, that powers devolved may be withdrawn by the Centre by constitutional change, there have been many instances of the legislature, executive and even the judiciary undermining devolution at every possible turn. In the current constitutional reform process, strong demands for meaningful devolution have been made also by the Sinhala-dominated provinces, indicating that devolution is seen also as an instrument for balanced regional growth, a welcome development. The challenge is to provide for effective and meaningful devolution to address the national question and demands for balanced regional development, while assuaging fears of possible secession.

This special seminar is co-hosted by the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies (CCCS) and Constitution Transformation Network (ConTransNet).

Please see the website for more information.

Happy Anniversary? Reflecting on Marriage Equality

ANU Gender Institute

Dates: 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.

Law and politics in McCawley’s case

 Selden Society Lectures

Date: 22 November 2018

Time: 5:30pm

Location: Level 3, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, 415 George Street, Brisbane, Banco Court

The appointment of Thomas William McCawley to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1917 was a decision destined to provoke controversy. The challenge to his appointment was based on what were called ‘purely legal and constitutional grounds’, but personal motives, partisan manoeuvring and ideological goals were never far from the surface. The case was heard by the Supreme Court, the High Court of Australia and ultimately the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, and involved several layers of constitutional controversy. McCawley ultimately won the case and was soon after appointed Chief Justice. Sadly he did not live long to enjoy it. He died three years later while rushing to catch a train at Roma Street Station. Presented by Professor Nicholas Aroney.

To register please visit the website.

Kaldor Centre Annual Conference 2018

Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

Dates: 23 November 2018

Time: 9:00am-5:00pm

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).

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.

Human Rights Awards 2018

Australian Human Rights Commission

Date: 14 December 2018

Time: 12:00pm

Location: The Westin, Sydney NSW 2000

The Human Rights Awards is the pinnacle of human rights recognition in Australia. Each year we are proud to recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations in promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms.

This year we have introduced a new Award category to recognise the contribution of local, state, territory and federal government bodies to the advancement and protection of human rights in Australia.

Previous winners of the Human Rights Medal include Johnathan Thurston, Pat Anderson, Peter Greste, Ian Thorpe, the Rt Hon. Malcom Fraser, Ron Merkel QC, Sister Clare Condon, Dorothy Hoddinott and Elizabeth Evatt.

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: 10:45am-4:15pm

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

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

Public Law in the Classroom has become a community-building forum in which teachers of Australian public law can share ideas and inspire one another. The 2019 Workshop will be presented in three sessions, with plenty of time for discussion and sharing of practice in each.

The first session, Public Law in a Global Context, will examine the importance of international and comparative perspectives in public law classrooms. We are delighted that the keynote speaker is leading international and public lawyer from New York University, Professor Jeremy Waldron. This session will also include a panel and wider discussion among the workshop participants. The second session will showcase cutting edge teaching approaches in the area of Students as Co-Creators in Public Law. Those interested in presenting in this session should respond to the Call for Abstracts below, by 19 November 2018. The final session will be a panel-based discussion of why and how statutory interpretation in public law is important and not boring.

For more information and to respond to the Call for Abstracts, please see the website.

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.