Welcome to the February edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup, our first edition for 2019.

Before we get to the events roundup, we would like to draw your attention to the following:

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 The Prize is awarded every two years to a first-time author of an unpublished legal work of an academic or practical nature.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.

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.

Call for Abstracts: Interdisciplinary Workshop on Understanding and Responding to Right -Wing Terrorism

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, UNSW Law

Date: 15 and 16 July 2019

Location: Boardroom, Law Building, UNSW Kensington

Abstracts: Due 1 February 2019

This two day workshop brings together domestic and international experts from a range of disciplines to discuss the implications of the growth of right-wing terrorism, the distinctive challenges it poses, and best practice in terms of legal and non-legal responses. In particular, this workshop seeks to evaluate whether the strategies that have been adopted to date in response to Islamic extremism are ‘fit for purpose’ in responding to right-wing terrorism.


The workshop organisers invite abstracts of no more than 300 words to be emailed to Dr Nicola McGarrity at n.mcgarrity@unsw.edu.au by 1 February 2019. A decision regarding papers will be communicated to participants by 15 February 2019. We particularly encourage abstracts from PhD researchers, early-career researchers and practitioners.

Further information is available here.

Religion and Human Rights in Australia

Melbourne Law School

Date: 5 February 2019

Time: 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Location: Carrillo Gantner Theatre, Basement, Sydney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne, 325/761 Swanston Street, Parkville

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, the former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, will speak on the current issues concerning religion and human rights in Australia, including the recent debate on Philip Ruddock’s recommendation in the religious freedoms report.

For further information and to register, see the website.

The Myth of ‘Green Lawfare’ and ‘Vigilante Litigation’ with Justice Rachel Pepper

University of New South Wales

Date: 5 February 2019

Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Location: Baker McKenzie, Level 46, Tower One – International Towers Sydney, 100 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo, NSW 2000

In this talk, Justice Pepper will discuss the link between access to justice and the maintenance of the rule of law in the context of litigation by community environmental groups directed towards energy project approvals.

The talk will be followed by a networking reception with light refreshments

Further information and registration available here.

Civics and Citizenship – Masterclass

Constitutional Centre of Western Australia, WA Electoral Education Centre, Auspire

Date: 7 February 2019

Time: 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

Location: Western Australian Constitutional Centre, 40 Havelock St, West Perth

This session, featuring guest speakers, will cover:

  • The Australian Constitution, how the Australian parliamentary system works and how laws are made
  • The roles of the three levels of government
  • How the voting system works and how to make your vote count
  • What is active citizenship and how to participate in civic life in Australia

Registration and further information available here.

LECC (Law Enforcement Conduct Commission) Seminar

Law Society of NSW

Date: 8 February 2019

Time: 8.30 am – 10 am

Location: Law Society of NSW, 170 Phillip Street, Sydney

During this session you will hear about the genesis of LECC and the previous police oversight and investigation agencies in NSW. Our experts will discuss where LECC is at now, lessons learned and how the legal profession can engage with LECC to report suspected misconduct and ensure continued confidence in NSW law enforcement.

For information on fees, registration and CPD, see the website.

Uluru Statement and Indigenous Self-Determination

Melbourne Law School

Date: 12 February 2019

Time: 12:30 – 2:30 pm

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

Come along to this panel discussion on the Uluru Statement and Indigenous self-determination. The Uluru Statement from the Heart was adopted in 2017 by over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It urges the Australian Government to address the structural inequalities faced by First Nations peoples through constitutional recognition, and the establishment of a Commission to oversee reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

All are welcome to attend.

Presenters: Dr Shireen Morris; Associate Professor Sarah Maddison; Jill Gallagher

Further information and registration available here.

Emergency Resettlement: from One Saudi Teen to Millions of Syrian Refugees

Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW

Date: 13 February 2019

Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Location: Allens, Level 28, Deutsche Bank Building, Corner Hunter and Phillip St, Sydney

Saudi teen Rahaf al Qunun captured world attention when she barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel room and claimed asylum. Within days, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) had determined she was a refugee and Canada rapidly offered to resettle her.

Between 2015 and 2017, Australia resettled a ‘special intake’ of 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This was a different, but no less important, emergency resettlement response to pressing humanitarian needs.

Both these cases show how countries can help refugees in urgent need of protection, thereby demonstrating international solidarity and responsibility-sharing.

But how, why and when do governments decide to offer resettlement – and to whom?

Join our expert panel discussion to find out more.

  • Sophie McNeill, the ABC journalist who interviewed Rahaf al Qunun in her hotel room and just days after her arrival in Canada
  • Khanh Hoang, a UNHCR Senior Protection Assistant with unique insights into how resettlement options work
  • Dr Claire Higgins, a Senior Research Associate at the Kaldor Centre, with expertise on Australia’s special humanitarian intake process

Further information and registration available here.

Breakfast Seminar: Section 44 of the Australian Constitution – a selection of outdated prejudices.

Anglo-Australasian Lawyers Society

Date: 14 February 2019

Time: 7.30 am – 9.00 am

Location: 165 Macquarie Street, Sydney

David Bennett AC QC, barrister and former Commonwealth Solicitor General, will be speaking on the topic ‘Section 44 of the Australian Constitution – a selection of outdated prejudices’.

Members of the Anglo-Australasian Lawyers Society and their guests are invited to attend.

For further information and registration, see the website.

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

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

Date: 14 February 2019

Time: 10:45am – 4:15pm

Location: Law Building, Building F8 UNSW Kensington, Sydney

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.

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, UNSW 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 open until 8 February 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. 

Further details, the conference brochure and registration information are available here.

What will the Human Rights Act 2019 do for Children with Disabilities in Queensland schools?

Pro Bono Centre, University of Queensland

Date: 15 February 2019

Time: 5:30-7:00 pm

Location: West End Uniting Church, 11 Sussex St, Highgate Hill QLD 4101
N.B. street level disability access via the Sussex St. entry

A free event for parents to better understand the new ‘right to education’ and complaint options.

In 2019 Queensland will get a Human Rights Act. Uniquely for Australia this Act will provide for both a Right to Education focused on inclusion and equality, and a mechanism to bring complaints to the Human Rights Commission.  This new right, and the new option for complaining, have the potential to bring life-changing reforms to the way education is received by individual children with disabilities and other complex needs. 

The University of Queensland Pro Bono Centre invites parents and carers to a free community discussion to learn about the new law and process, and to ask questions of human rights and inclusion experts from the School of Law and the School of Education.

Further information and registration details 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 directlyWe are working towards supporting as many community sponsored places as possible.

More information and registration available here.

Australian Institute of Administrative Law: People, Parliament and the Public Interest – 2019 Conference and Call for Papers

Date: 18 and 19 July 2019

Location: Hotel Realm, 18 National Circuit, Barton, Canberra

Call for papers: by 22 February 2019

The AIAL National Administrative Law Conference is Australia’s pre-eminent administrative law conference, having been held each year since 1991. 

The aim of the Conference is to provide those involved or interested in Australian administrative law with the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues, share practical experiences and consider future developments. It is proposed that the overarching theme for the 2019 AIAL National Administrative Law Conference will be People, Parliament and the Public Interest.

Call for Papers

The Institute calls for potential papers on our theme to be presented at the Conference. Please send written proposals for a paper by Friday 22 February 2019 by email to:

aial@commercemgt.com.au or by post to: AIAL, PO Box 83, Deakin West ACT 2600.

Further information, including on conference sub-themes, is available here.

SCIL International Law Year in Review Conference

Sydney Centre for International Law, Sydney Law School

Date: 22 February 2019

Time: 9 am – 5.30 pm (registration from 8.45 am, cocktail reception follows conference at 5.30 pm)

Location: Sydney Law School, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown

The Sydney Centre for International Law at Sydney Law School is delighted to present the seventh International Law Year in Review Conference, to be held at the Law School on Friday 22 February 2019.

The conference will give participants insight into the latest developments in international law over the preceding year, especially those most salient for Australia.

Highlights of the day will include:

  • a keynote address by Professor Aoife Nolan, of the University of Nottingham, on ‘Human Rights and the Risks and Opportunities of (Economic) Crisis
  • a literary lunch with Richard Flanagan, author of “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” (Penguin, 2013, and Winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize), and of “First Person” (Penguin, 2017).

Further information, draft program and registration details are available here.

Matt Laffan Memorial Address on Social Justice

Sydney Law School and Australian Human Rights Commission

Date: 27 February 2019

Time: 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm (registration from 5.30 pm)

Location: Law Foyer, Sydney Law School, Level 2, Building F10, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

In March 2009, Sydney Law School alumnus Matt Laffan passed away after he fought and lost the biggest battle of his colourful and active life. On 27 February 2019, Carly Findlay, writer and appearance activist, will deliver a memorial address to celebrate the significant impact Matt made in his short life.

Matt Laffan had severe disabilities, but he will be remembered most for his impressive abilities. With enormous enthusiasm for life, Matt grabbed opportunities and made the most of them.

Carly Findlay is an award winning writer, speaker and appearance activist. Her first book, Say Hello, was released in January 2019. She’s editing Growing Up Disabled in Australia. She writes on disability and appearance diversity issues for publications including ABC, Daily Life and SBS. She was named as one of Australia’s most influential women in the 2014 Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards. She has appeared on ABC’s You Can’t Ask That and Cyber Hate with Tara Moss, and has been a regular on various ABC radio programs. She’s spoken at Melbourne Writers Festival, the University of Western England and Melbourne University – to name a few. She organised the history making Access to Fashion – a Melbourne Fashion Week event featuring disabled models. She has a Master of Communication and Bachelor of eCommerce. Carly identifies as a proud disabled woman – she lives with a rare severe skin condition – Ichthyosis.

For further information and to register, see the website.

The FLIP Inquiry Series – Behind the Buzzwords: RegTech

Law Society of NSW

Date: 27 February 2019

Time: 5.00 pm – 7.00 pm

Location: Law Society of NSW, 170 Phillip Street, Sydney

FLIP Inquiry Series – a bimonthly series exploring a range of legal industry “buzz words”. This event will provide an engaging and informative look at “RegTech”.


  • Mark Adams, Senior Executive Leader – Strategic Intelligence, ASIC;
  • Carla Hoorweg, Head of Government and Industry Relations, Challenger Limited;
  • Anthony Borgese, Partner, Technology and Data, MinterEllison;
  • Deborah Young, CEO, RegTech Association

Moderator: Michael Legg Professor, UNSW Law; Director, Law Society of NSW FLIP Stream.

For further information and registration, see the website.

A Tale of Two Ships: the Tampa and the Afghan

Australian Academy of Law

Date: 28 February 2019

Time: 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm

Location: The University of Adelaide Law School, Ligertwood Building, North Terrace, Adelaide.

Speaker: Justice Stephen Gageler AC, High Court of Australia

In a land “girt by sea”, unauthorised maritime arrivals have long been a source of tension between courts and executive governments.  The lecture will compare and contrast little-remembered events in the late nineteenth century colonial Australia with well-known events in this century.

Further information and registration available here.

Conference 2019 Judges: Angry? Biased? Burned Out?

National Judicial College of Australia

Date: 2-3 March 2019

Time: 8.30 am 2 March – 5.00 pm 3 March.

Location: Australian National University, Canberra

This conference brings together members of the judiciary, academics, policy makers and experts in fields such as psychology, to consider current issues and challenges in the Australian justice system.

The long held perception that emotion impairs our ability to reason has created the ideal of the dispassionate judge. Judges are expected to preside in court and render judicial decisions while remaining detached from, and unmoved by, painful and harrowing events recounted before them.

Does the experience of emotion impair a judge’s ability to be fair and reasoned in their decision-making? In the midst of the emotionally charged arena of the courtroom, what happens to impartiality? Is it possible, or indeed even desirable, for a judge to remain emotionally detached? The repeated exposure to tragic circumstances places judicial officers at risk of secondary trauma. What can be done to assist in improving judicial well-being and where does this responsibility lie? This conference examines and seeks answers to these important questions.

Further information and registration available at the conference website.

7th National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference 2019

Law Council of Australia and the Australian Pro Bono Centre

Date: 13-15 March 2019

Time: 5.30 pm 13 March – 4.30 pm, 15 March

Location: Hotel Realm, 18 National Circuit, Canberra ACT 2600

Access to Justice: Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers

Join legal professionals, judges, government law officers, academics and students from across Australia and overseas to discuss critical and current access to justice issues facing Australians.

Further information and registration information available here.

Mahla Pearlman Oration

Legal Practice Section, Law Council of Australia and Environment and Planning Law Association of New South Wales

Date: 14 March 2019

Time: 5.00 pm

Location: Federal Court of Australia, 184 Phillip St, Queens Square, Sydney

The 2019 Oration will be given by Professor Megan Davis, Pro-Vice Chancellor Indigenous at the University of New South Wales. The Oration will also include the presentation of the Mahla Pearlman Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the year award.

The Oration is a free event, however registration is essential.

The Oration will be followed by a dinner hosted by the Legal Practice Section to celebrate the contribution of Professor Christine Trenorden and Justice Michael Barker – tickets for dinner cost $135.

Further information and registration available here.

Administrative Law: Updates and Insights

Law Institute of Victoria

Date: 15 March 2019

Time: 9 am – 12.15 pm

Location: Law Institute of Victoria, Level 13, 140 William St, Melbourne & Webcast

This session is designed to help you navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of administrative law. Receive key insights and advice that can help your practice thrive.

For information on program, registration, fees and CPD points, see the website.

Freedom of Information and its Applicability to Litigators

Law Society of Western Australia

Date: 19 March 2019

Time: 9.00 am – 10.00 am

Location: Law Society of Western Australia, Level 5, 160 St Georges Terrace, Perth, or as webinar

“Freedom of Information” is a term we often hear about but is not often discussed in much detail.

In this session, the Acting Information Commissioner will discuss the rationale and application of freedom of information legislation including its applicability to litigators.

This seminar is a must for litigation lawyers, as well as any lawyer interested in learning more about this highly relevant and topical area.

Further information and registration available here.

Human Rights + Technology: a Community Consultation with AHRC

Australian Human Rights Commission and Whitlam Institute, Western Sydney University

Date: 20 March 2019

Time: 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

Location: Female Orphan School, the Whitlam Institute, Building EZ, Western Sydney University, Cnr James Ruse Drive and Victoria Rd, Rydalmere NSW

The Whitlam Institute will host a community consultation on Human Rights and Technology as part of a major review by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

You’re invited to share your thoughts at Western Sydney’s Human Rights and Technology consultation. We will explore how responsible innovation can harness the opportunities of new technology while guarding against the threats, and why technology should be shaped by human values to protect and promote our rights and freedoms.

Further information and registration available here.

Immigration Law Conference

Law Council of Australia

Date: 21-23 March 2019

Location: Hotel Realm, 18 National Circuit, Canberra

The Department of Immigration commenced in 1945. Since then its name has been altered several times, reflecting changing policy priorities, but always including ‘Immigration’ within the title until the most recent change to the Department of Home Affairs. 2018 commenced as the first year since 1945 that Australia has not had a Department of Immigration.

The Law Council’s 2019 CPD Immigration Law Conference will examine the contemporary priorities of the Department of Home Affairs and way in which these interact with the operation of the law. It focuses upon the changing priorities of the portfolio from a legal and policy perspective, including important topics such as law enforcement, cyber security, national security, processing delays and the impact of these priorities upon the way in which laws are crated and the administration of the law.

Further information and registration available here.

2019 CCCS Constitutional Law Conference

Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, Melbourne Law School

Date: 26 July 2019

Time: 8.30 am – 5.30 pm, followed by book launch and conference dinner

Location: Woodward Conference Centre, Melbourne Law School

In 2019 the conference will officially begin on the evening of Thursday 25 July with a public lecture delivered by Justice Stephen Gageler (High Court of Australia) to commemorate the centenary of the Engineers case.

On Friday 26 July the conference will commence with a special panel on ‘Engineers: The Next 100 Years’, followed by panels on ‘The Constitution and National Security: Internal and External’, ‘Constitutional Dimensions of Property’, and ‘Recent Developments in Freedom of Political Communication’.

The conference will be followed by a dinner (speaker TBA).

Registrations are now open at special ‘early bird’ rates. Further information about the conference program and how to register is available at the conference website.