Welcome to the December edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. This is the final roundup for 2018. The roundup will recommence in February next year.

Before we get to the events roundup, we would like to draw your attention to the following two opportunities.

The Holt Prize is an excellent opportunity for early career academics. The Prize is awarded every two years to a first-time author of an unpublished legal work of an academic or practical nature. The winner will receive a $12 000 cash prize and a publishing contract with The Federation Press. The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2019. For more information, see the Federation Press website.

On 29 November 2018 the Senate referred an inquiry to the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances into parliamentary scrutiny of delegated legislation. The committee is seeking submissions by 31 January 2018 and is required to report to the Senate by 3 April 2019.

Further information about the inquiry and the work of the committee can be found here.

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.

Is Liberalism Dead? And if so, is Inequality to Blame?

UNSW Grand Challenges

Date: 3 December 2018

Time: 5.30 pm – 7.00 pm

Location: Law Theatre, Law Building, UNSW Kensington Campus

Liberalism in 2019 has few friends: some commentators are even heralding the death of liberalism. What, then, went wrong in the liberal tradition to get us to this point? Is the liberal model itself to blame – including liberal understandings of freedom and the state? Or has the problem been one of implementation – or a failure by liberalism to take seriously issues of equality and access to the social minimum for all? Further, how might we conceive of alternatives to liberalism, or reimagine the liberal tradition, so as better to respond to these failings?

Join us for a conversation about the future of liberalism with Professors Ratna Kapur, Mark Tushnet and Richard Holden and Dr Michaela Hailbronner, co-moderated by UNSW’s Dr Ben Golder and Professor Rosalind Dixon.

Further details and registration available here.

Book Launch and Drinks

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law & UNSW Bookshop

Date: 4 December 2018

Time: 4.45 – 5.30 pm

Location: Staff Common Room, Level 2, Law Building, UNSW Kensington Campus

Professor Mark Tushnet will be launching the following books:

The Politico-Legal Dynamics of Judicial Review: a Comparative Analysis (Theunis Roux)

The Invisible Constitution in Comparative Perspective (Rosalind Dixon and Adrienne Stone, eds)

The Constitution of India: A Contextual Analysis (Arun K Thiruvengadam)

Film Screening – Global Migration Film Festival: The Merger

Centre for International & Public Law and the United Nations Association of Australia

Date: 4 December 2018

Time: 5:30-8:30 pm

Location: Molonglo Theatre, JG Crawford Building, 132 Lennox Crossing, The Australian National University, ACT

Join the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Information Center, the United Nations Association of Australia and the Centre for International & Public Law for the screening of The Merger including a discussion with the film crew: Director Mark Grentell, Producer Anne Robinson and Actor Francis Kamara.

The International Organization for Migration (the UN Migration Agency), launched The Global Migration Film Festival in 2016. The Festival showcases worldwide films and documentaries that capture the promise and challenges of migration for those who leave their homes in search of a better life, and the unique contributions migrants make to their new communities.

Further details available here.

Dual Citizenship

Law Society of South Australia

Date: 5 December 2018

Time: 5.30-7.00 pm

Location: The Law Society of South Australia, Level 10, 178 North Terrace, Adelaide

Section 44 and the Citizenship seven:  an insiders look at the “dual citizenship” case and its advocacy in the High Court.  The Citizenship seven case was arguably unprecedented in Australian legal history.  Seven politicians from different political parties, seven judges, 24 counsel, an audience of more than 200 in the court room and a worldwide audience of many more.  What was it like behind the scenes, to what extent, if at all did the advocacy make a difference to the outcome?

Andrew Tokley SC represented both Matthew Canavan (National Party) and Nick Xenophon (NXT party) and was the only advocate to represent the only two politicians who were not disqualified.  The session should appeal to those having an interest in Federal politics, Federal constitutional law and appellate advocacy before our nation’s High Court, as Andrew endeavours to weave a story about all three.

Registration fees:

Member admitted more than 3 years: $110

Member admitted less than 3 years: $85

Non-Member: $160

Further information and registration details are available here

Book Launch – Making Migration Law: the Foreigner, Sovereignty and the Case of Australia

Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness and the Institute for International Law and the Humanities

Date: 5 December 2018

Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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

We invite you to join us in celebrating the publication of Eve Lester’s inaugural work: Making Migration Law: The Foreigner, Sovereignty, and the case of Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

The emergence of international human rights law and the end of the White Australia immigration policy were events of great historical moment. Yet, they were not harbingers of a new dawn in migration law. This book argues that this is because migration law in Australia is best understood as part of a longer jurisprudential tradition in which certain political-economic interests have shaped the relationship between the foreigner and the sovereign.

In this book, Eve Lester explores how this relationship has been wrought by a political-economic desire to regulate race and labour; a desire that has produced the claim that there exists an absolute sovereign right to exclude or condition the entry and stay of foreigners. Lester calls this putative right a discourse of‘absolute sovereignty’. She argues that ‘absolute sovereignty’ talk continues to be a driver of migration lawmaking, shaping the foreigner-sovereign relation and making thinkable some of the world’s harshest asylum policies.


  • The Honourable Catherine Branson AC QC, Australia Academy of Law
  • Dr Eve Lester, Independent Researcher and Consultant
  • Professor Michelle Foster, Director of Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness

Further information is available here.

We the Peoples … 2018 Human Rights Lecture

United Nations Association of Australia with the support of the State Library of New South Wales

Date: 6 December 2018

Time: 6.00 pm (doors open 5.30 pm, guests to be seated by 5.50 pm)

Location: Metcalf Auditorium, State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street, Sydney

Lecture to be delivered by the Honourable John Dowd, AO QC, President, International Commission of Jurists

For further details and to register, see the website.

Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society Annual Conference – Exclusion, Confinement, Dispossession: Uneven Citizenship and Spaces of Sovereignty

Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society

Date: 10-12 December 2018

Location: University of Wollongong

In the context of the humanitarian crisis on Manus Island, recent developments around marriage equality, Brexit, renewed US immigration restrictions, and the assertion of Indigenous sovereignty embodied in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, this conference will reflect on the variety of ways that legal regimes have historically produced exclusion, confinement and dispossession. Sessions will particularly explore citizenship and sovereignty – and the changing legal contexts that have shaped these concepts over time.

Themes will include:

  • Indigenous sovereignty and treaties
  • Marriage, intimacy and intimate lives
  • Citizenship and the production of difference
  • Biopolitics
  • Slavery and Trafficking
  • Borders/Border crossings/Colonial (im)mobilities
  • Imprisonment/confinement/carceral spaces
  • Violence and violations

Further information is available here.

Human Rights Day – 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Law Society of South Australia

Date: 10 December 2018

Time: 5.30 – 7.00 pm

Location: The Law Society of South Australia, Level 10, 178 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000

This CPD seminar explores the contemporary legal significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the 70th Anniversary of its passing by the UN General Assembly under the Presidency of Australian Foreign Minister HV ‘Doc’ Evatt. Three distinguished speakers will address the UDHR from different legal perspectives. Dr Marie-Charlotte McKenna (Acting Assistant Secretary, International Law Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) will explore the UDHR’s significance from an international perspective, reflecting on the status of parts of the UDHR as customary international law binding on all States including Australia, examining its importance in the evolution and interpretation of the suite of international human rights treaties, and examining the relevance of the UDHR to key contemporary legal human rights issues. The Honourable Catherine Branson AC QC (former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and former Justice of the Federal Court of Australia) will examine the significance of the UDHR from the perspective of an Australian lawyer, addressing the influence of the UDHR and the international human rights treaties related to it in actions before Australian courts, and reflecting on the various ways in which the UDHR has impacted on the law in Australia over the past 70 years. Dr Sarah Moulds (Senior Project Officer, South Australian Law Reform Institute, Adelaide Law School) will then address the impact of the UDHR on Australian parliaments in their law-making processes. Overall, the session will give practitioners relevant and practical insights into the evolution and contemporary importance of the law of human rights in Australia.

Further information is available here

Sydney Ideas – Human Rights: what Lies Ahead the Next 70 Years?

Sydney Ideas and the Evatt Foundation

Date: 10 December 2018

Time: 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm

Location: Law School Foyer, Level 2, Sydney Law School, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney.

December 10 this year marks the 70-year anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The past seven decades has seen the development of human rights treaties, international agencies, and a myriad of human rights NGOs seeking to address a range of injustices and violations.

But there is still a long way to go. While the world in 2018 looks very different to the way it did in 1948, human rights abuses are still rife – both the old ones that persist and new ones that are surfacing or gaining recognition. We need to imagine fresh and creative ways of thinking about and doing the work of human rights advocacy.

This expert panel will showcase some of the most innovative and original human rights work being done in Australia today. We invite you to join a lively and inspirational conversation about what we all need to do to forge vibrant forms of human rights action for the next 70 years.

The speakers:

Larissa Baldwin is Senior Campaigner, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights at Getup.

Dulce Muñoz is a mother/feminist/refugee advocate. She is the National Convener of Mums4Refugees Sydney.

Nas Campanella is a journalist and newsreader with the ABC and triple J.

Danny Xanadu has been involved in advocacy and education for the Queer community for 25 years.

Dinesh Wadiwel is a Senior Lecturer in human rights and socio-legal studies at the University of Sydney.

The panel will be convened by Professor Danielle Celermajer, who founded the Human Rights program at the University of Sydney and is the University’s representative on the Evatt Foundation executive.

For more information and to register, go to the website.

Building the Campaign for an Australian Charter of Human Rights

Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and Human Rights Law Centre

Date: 10 December 2018

Time: 6.00 pm to 7.15 pm (panel event); 7.15 to 7.45 pm (drinks)

Location: Monash University Law Chambers, Seminar Rooms 3-5, Level 2, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

RSVP: This event is fully booked. Please email the Castan Centre at castan.centre@monash.edu to go on the waiting list. If you have registered and can no longer attend please let us know by emailing us at this address also.

Join us in Melbourne for an exciting public conversation about why and how we need to ensure everyone’s human rights are properly protected and that people have the power to hold governments to account.

Public event – All welcome

Our lives are better when we all treat each other with respect and compassion. Yet here in Australia the values we hold dear – like fairness and equality – are not properly protected in our laws. Ours is the only western democracy without a Charter of Rights. We want to change this – and we need your help!

This Human Rights Day join us for an exciting public conversation about the new campaign to create an Australian Charter of Human Rights.

Which rights will a Charter protect? How will it work? And how can we make it a reality? These are the topics our expert panel of human rights lawyers and campaigners – Shen Narayanasamy, Lee Carnie, and Julie Debeljak – will be dissecting and we’d love to hear your questions and ideas.

Guests are invited to stick around after the panel and Q and A session for some social drinks kindly provided by our friends at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Further information is available here.

Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference 2018: Inclusion, Exclusion and Democracy

Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand

Date: 12-15 December 2018

Location: University of Wollongong

The Legal Intersections Research Centre (LIRC) at the School of Law, University of Wollongong is proud to host the joint international Conference for 2018 of the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ), the Canadian Law and Society Association (CLSA) and the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) of the UK.

The conference is on the theme of Inclusion, Exclusion and Democracy, and has the following sub-themes:

  • Navigating vulnerability, empowerment and identity of individuals, groups or communities;
  • Indigenous and cultural perspectives;
  • Crime, justice and punishment;
  • The environment;
  • The rise and impact of new technologies, the internet or social media;
  • Theorising, rethinking or challenging democratic constructions, principles or approaches;
  • Democracy in context – local, regional, country, global or comparative perspectives; or
  • The role of the judiciary, lawyers and academics in fostering democracy and inclusion, or facilitating exclusion.

Further information is available at the conference website.

Human Rights Awards 2018

Australian Human Rights Commission

Date: 14 December 2018

Time: 12:00pm – 3.00 pm

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.

The Awards and Medal finalists have been published on the Awards website and the winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on Friday 14 December.

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 or to purchase tickets, 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

Date: 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. 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 register, please see the website.

George Winterton Memorial Lecture: the Mysteries of Judicial Power: Defining the Relationship between Law and Power in the Modern State

University of Sydney Law School and University of Western Australia Law School

Date: 14 February 2019

Time: 5.30-6.45 pm (registration from 5 pm, cocktail reception to follow at 6.45 pm)

Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of NSW, 184 Phillip St, Sydney

The Honourable Thomas Frederick Bathurst AC, 17th Chief Justice of New South Wales, will deliver the 2019 George Winterton Memorial Lecture.

In 1918, the High Court held that the judicial power of the Commonwealth cannot be vested otherwise than in a court in accordance with s 71 in Chapter III of the Constitution. Since that time, courts have sought to define the nature and limits of “judicial power” and its place within the judicial structure established by Chapter III. Sometimes, these questions have arisen from and concern fairly anodyne areas of law. Other times, they have resulted in a fundamental rethinking of long-assumed legal doctrine. However, regardless of their abstract legal significance, they will almost always have a significant practical effect on how individuals interact with the power exercised by the modern state.

This lecture will examine the role of the concept of “judicial power” in defining the relationship between the law and power in Australia, and will highlight the potential challenges to this relationship which may arise in the future.

Registration is required. More information is available here.

2019 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, with the support of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law

Date: 15 February 2019

Time: Conference, 8.30 am – 5 pm; Conference dinner: 7.00 pm for 7.30 pm

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

Registrations are now open for the 2019 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner, the eighteenth consecutive staging of this flagship event, to be held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Friday 15 February 2019. Participants at this event will be updated on recent important developments in the High Court, Federal Court and State Courts and will gain an understanding of the issues that will emerge in 2019 and beyond. A statistical report on the 2018 High Court term will be included in the conference folder. This event has been organised by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the Faculty of Law, UNSW, with the support of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

Professor Gabrielle Appleby and Justice Mark Moshinsky will deliver the morning keynotes on the year in constitutional law in the High Court, and in the Federal and State Courts, respectively. The cases to be covered in Sessions 2 and 3 include Unions NSW No 2 and the abortion clinic safe access zone cases from Tasmania and Victoria (implied freedom of political communication); the section 44 cases of Re Gallagher and Alley v Gillespie; two cases about alleged inconsistency between Federal and Territory laws; the Timber Creek native title compensation case; and Minogue v Victoria (statutory interpretation, the Victorian Charter and parole). Speakers include Professor Anne Twomey, Associate Professor Julie Debeljak, Associate Professor Sean Brennan and barrister Frances Gordon.  Session 4 features Associate Professor Jason Bosland (open justice and suppression orders), Professor Lyria Bennett Moses (automated decision-making and the rule of law) and Fred Chaney AO (Uluru Statement from the Heart).

The Conference Dinner will be held at NSW Parliament House at 7pm for 7.30pm.

The Conference brochure will be available shortly, but in the meantime you can register for the Conference and/or Dinner if you wish.

Further details and registration information are available here.

Refugee Alternatives: Improving Policy, Practice and Public Support

Refugee Council of Australia and Migration and Refugee Research Network

Date: 19-20 February 2019

Time: 8.30am – 4.00 pm

Location: Allen Scott Auditorium, University of South Australia City West Campus, 47-55 North Terrace, Adelaide

The Refugee Council of Australia’s Refugee Alternatives Conference 2019, co-hosted by MARRNet (Migration and Refugee Research Network), is a two-day event focusing on improving policy, practice and public support for refugee and asylum seeker issues. The event brings together a broad range of expertise covering topics of displacement; protection; cooperation; wellbeing; resilience; education; advocacy; and unity. Speakers will discuss these topics across the local, national and international space. They will also bring their extensive and complimentary expertise to the discussions; notably and vitally, that of lived experience.

For community members that require assistance to attend this event, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. We are working towards supporting as many community sponsored places as possible.

More information and registration available here.