Welcome to the April edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. A big thankyou to the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law’s social justice intern, Rosie Short, 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.

Melbourne University Law Review 2019 Annual Lecture: Common Sense and Clean Hands: An Ombudsman’s View of Justice

Melbourne University Law School

Date: 2 April 2019

Time: 7.00 pm – 8.00 pm

Location: David P. Derham Theatre (GM15), Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street Melbourne.

It is sometimes easy to forget that decisions made by public authorities are made by humans, who tend to like clear rules and procedures: some set criteria to make the ‘right’ decision. Mysterious beings as we are, we are not void of temptation to do things the easier way or for ulterior motives.

It can be instructive to look at real-life case studies to see how administrative decision makers can be caught in the dilemma of applying perfect rules to imperfect situations and trying to fit imperfect laws or exceptions to others. No matter how considered a rule or procedure may be, there are always areas of grey that administrative decision makers cannot avoid.

Hear the Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass, share stories about what righting wrongs and achieving justice looks like.

For further information click here.

Twilight Seminar Series 2019: Election Funding and the Implied Freedom of Political Communication – Unions NSW v New South Wales.

The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia in conjunction with the Electoral Regulation Research Network and the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

Date: 3 April 2019

Time: 5.45 pm (for 6.00 pm start) – 7.00 pm

Location: Constitutional Centre of WA, 40 Havelock St, West Perth (parking available on site).

This seminar will explore the implications for legislation regulating political donations after the High Court’s recent decision in Unions NSW v New South Wales [2019] HCA 1. The case saw the Court unanimously strike down s 29(10) of the Electoral Funding Act 2018 (NSW) as impermissibly burdening the constitutionally protected implied freedom of political communication. Both the constitutional and electoral funding implications of the case will be explored during the seminar.

The speakers will be Dr Murray Wesson, Senior Lecturer at UWA Law School and Dr Martin Drum, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Notre Dame. Cobey Taggart, Barrister at Murray Chambers will chair the seminar.

For further information click here.

Brexit, referendums and deliberative democracy

ANU College of Law Visitors Committee and Research Office

Date: 4 April 2019

Time: 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm

Location: Phillipa Weeks Staff Library, ANU College of Law
5 Fellows Rd Acton, Canberra.

‘We want another referendum but one based on facts’, wrote the philosopher A.C Greyling recently. In an ideal world, referendums (like all other democratic exercises) should be grounded in discussion. But the impression is that referendums, rather than being exercises in deliberation, are the very opposite. In this talk, I consider if referendums have ever been compatible with the ideal of deliberative and discursive democracy? If there are mechanisms that can make referendums more deliberative and if we should have referendums even if they violate the norms of deliberative democracy?

The talk by Dr Matt Qvortrup will be based on recent referendums in capitalist economies, with a special reference to Brexit.

Dr Matt Qvortrup is an internationally recognized political scientist with a strong presence in the world of practice – in politics, diplomacy and in the media. Described by the BBC as ‘the world’s leading expert on referendums”, he is currently Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Coventry University.

For further information and to register click here.

Human Rights in a Shrinking Civic Space

Melbourne University Law School

Date: 5 April 2019

Time: 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm

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

In many countries civil society faces severe pressure. This is not limited to authoritarian regimes, but occurs also in hybrid and even established democracies. Collective citizens’ efforts, especially when they have political salience, seem to be regarded with increasing suspicion and even to be actively countered in many states. NGOs are confronted with restrictions on foreign funding. Independent media also face pressure. Public protests and demonstrations are increasingly caught in a net woven of strands of disproportionate police reactions and formal bureaucratic rules.

Anti-NGO laws, arbitrary inspections and even harassment and criminalization all strike at the roots of civic space. What are the possible causes of this shrinking or closing civic space, how does the closing manifest itself, and what are the linkages to human rights? And how cold civil society react and bounce back?

This talk, presented by Professor Antoine Buyse, Professor of Human Rights (Utrecht University) will focus on anti-NGO measures and the possibilities to use human rights as a lens to frame and address this phenomenon.

For further information and to register click here.

Religious Freedom after Ruddock

University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law with the Australian Law Journal

Date: 6 April 2019

Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm

Location: Great Court and TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland St Lucia campus, Brisbane.

Join leading legal experts as they consider the future of religious freedom in Australia following the report of the Religious Freedom Review, led by former Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

The University of Queensland Law School, in partnership with the Australian Law Journal (ALJ), will host the conference, which will examine the Ruddock Panel’s response to its terms of reference, the recommendations it made, the controversies which followed the leaked release of its recommendations, and directions for the future. Some papers presented at the conference will later be published in a special edition of the ALJ.

Following the conference, there will be an optional dinner (at an additional cost).

For further information and to register click here

Free Speech on Campus in the United States and Australia

The University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law and School of Political Science and International Studies.

Date: 10 May 2019

Time: 1.00 pm – 2.30 pm

Location: Sir Harry Gibbs Moot Court , TC Beirne School of Law, Level 2, Forgan Smith building, The University of Queensland, St Lucia campus, Brisbane

Conflicts about free speech on campus are some of the most important issues playing out in US and Australian colleges and universities today. In the US, national organizations are trying to assist US institutions as they attempt to make space for both free speech and diversity, and as they face conflicts initiated by students, faculty, and those outside the university.

In Australia, hateful speech has fewer protections than the US, and former High Court Chief Justice and University of Western Australia Chancellor Robert French has been asked to review rules and regulations related to free speech on campus. In this seminar, Professor Kristine Bowman will discuss similarities and differences between American and Australian law and also American and Australian responses to these conflicts.

Professor Kristine Bowman is a professor of Law at Michigan State University where she recently served as Senior Advisor, Office of the Provost, and Vice Dean of the Law College.

For further information and to register click here.

2019 Supreme Court of Queensland Oration: 100 years after Federation. Is it different?

The University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law

Date: 13 May 2019

Time: 5.15 pm for 5.30 pm start followed by refreshments.

Location: Supreme Court of Queensland.

The years immediately after Federation threw up a number of questions that reflected the legal, social and economic issues of the day and fell to be resolved within the new constitutional framework that came into play upon Federation. One hundred years later, with a larger population and a more diverse society many of those same issues remain before the High Court of Australia. This short dissertation examines the similarities and the differences in legal thinking on the same issues in the years after Federation and in the first two decades of the 21st Century. 

The 2019 Supreme Court of Queensland Oration will be presented by The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor-Designate of New South Wales.

The appointment of her Excellency to the Federal Court of Australia in 1993 marked a unique moment in in Australian judicial history, as she became the first woman to sit exclusively in that Court. Her Excellency instigated another legal first upon being the first woman appointed to the New South Wales Court of Appeal in 1996. Her Excellency has served as President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal since 2013.

Registration for this event will be open in April. For further information click here.

2019 ICON-S (International Society of Public Law) Conference

Date: July 1-3 2019

Location: Santiago de Chile

The overarching theme of the Conference will be ‘Public Law in Times of Change?’. It will feature addresses by esteemed lawyers including Luís Roberto Barroso, Justice of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil and Marisol Peña, Secretary General of the P. Universidad Católica de Chile and former Chief Justice of the Chilean Constitutional Tribunal.

The conference will convene plenary sessions featuring distinguished academics and practitioners, on the topics of ‘Judiciary in Times of Change?’, ‘Crisis or Resurgence of the State?’ and ‘Public Law, Democratic Backsliding and the Erosion of Liberal Democracy’.

The conference will also convene panels and a workshop. Professor Rosalind Dixon of UNSW will deliver the welcome and opening remarks.

For further information click here

Selden Society 2019 lecture series: Oliver Wendell Holmes and the First Amendment

Selden Society

Date: 18 July 2019

Time: 5.15 pm for 5.30 pm followed by refreshments

Location: TBA

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841 – 1935) was a scholar and jurist of indisputable brilliance, widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential judges in the English speaking world.

Of all of his opinions, nothing defines his life’s work better than his famous approach to the First Amendment.  Although no right seems more fundamental to American public life than freedom of speech, the Supreme Court did not strike down any law on First Amendment grounds until the mid-twentieth century.  In fact, the court repeatedly affirmed imprisonment for dissidents who were merely speaking out against government policies. Modern First Amendment law can be traced directly to a series of eloquent dissents by Holmes in subversive advocacy cases in the aftermath of the First World War.

In the centenary year of his most famous dissent, this lecture examines a man of complexity and apparent contradictions through the prism of his approach to freedom of speech cases and seeks to identify what contemporary lawyers can learn from Holmes’ life experience, philosophy and eloquent contributions to the law.

The lecture will be presented by Lionel Hogg, partner of Gadens since 2002.

Registration for this event will be open in June. Further information will be provided here.

The Annual Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference

Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University

Date: Friday 26 July 2019

Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm

Location: The Arena, NAB Docklands, 700 Bourke Street, Docklands, Melbourne.

Topics for this year will include racism and hate speech; refugees; an LGBTQI panel; privacy and big data; the death penalty and more. Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

For further information and to register click here.

The 2019 National Administrative Law Conference

Australian Institute of Administrative Law

Date: 18-19 July 2019

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

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.

For further information and to register, as well as for the call for papers, see here.

Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Annual Conference

Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy

Date: 18-19 July 2019

Location: Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney.

The annual conference of the Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy will be hosted by the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney on 18-19 July 2019.  Keynotes will be delivered by Professor Connie Rosati (University of Arizona) and Professor Ngaire Naffine (University of Adelaide).

The annual book symposium will focus on Natural Law and the Nature of Law by Professor Jonathan Crowe (Bond University), which is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. Commentary will be provided by Professor Margaret Davies (Flinders University), Dr Matthew Lister (Deakin University) and Dr Joshua Neoh (Australian National University).

The ASLP welcomes philosophical or theoretically-oriented papers from any field of legal inquiry. The aim of the ASLP Conference is to provide a forum for the discussion and debate of a range of issues in legal theory, broadly defined. It is by no means restricted to analytic legal philosophy, and we strongly encourage the involvement of participants from other disciplines and the inclusion of topics from outside mainstream legal theory.

A Postgraduate Workshop for PhD students will be held before the conference. The workshop provides PhD students with the opportunity to receive feedback on works-in-progress on any topic in legal theory in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Abstracts for both the ASLP Conference and the Postgraduate Workshop should be emailed to the ASLP President, Dr Kevin Walton, by Wednesday 1 May 2019. Abstracts should be 100-200 words in length.

For further information click 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, 185 Pelham Street Carlton, Melbourne.

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’.

Confirmed speakers include Dr Stephen Donaghue QC (Commonwealth Solicitor General), Mr Bret Walker SC (Fifth Floor St James Hall Chambers), Mr Graeme Hill (Owen Dixon Chambers West), Mr Craig Lenehan (Fifth Floor St James Hall Chambers), Laureate Professor Emeritus Cheryl Saunders AO (Melbourne), Professor Michael Crommelin AO (Melbourne), Emeritus Professor Jeff Goldsworthy (Melbourne), Professor Adrienne Stone (Melbourne), Dr Cameron Moore (UNE/ANU/UOW),and Dr Lulu Weis (Melbourne).

Cases and legislation to be discussed by the panels include: Clubb v Edwards, High Court of Australia, Case M46/2018 (‘Clubb’); Preston v Avery, High Court of Australia, Case H2/2018 (‘Preston’) (Safe Access Zone cases); Unions NSW v New South Wales [2019] HCA 1; Comcare v Banerji, High Court of Australia, Case C12/2018; Northern Territory v Griffiths (a.k.a. the Timber Creek case) High Court of Australia, Case D1/2018; Commonwealth v Commissioner Bret Walker SC, High Court of Australia, Case C7/2018 (discontinued); Spence v Queensland, High Court of Australia, Case B35/2018; New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council v Minister Administering the Crown Lands Act (2016) 260 CLR 232, [2016] HCA 50; Plaintiff M68 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2016] HCA 1; Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 (Cth), Defence Act 1903 (Cth) and current developments in legislation affecting citizenship cancellation.

The conference will be followed by a book launch and a closing dinner.
The book launch will celebrate the publication of Dr Dylan Lino’s Constitutional Recognition: First Peoples and the Australian Settler State (Federation Press, 2018), with remarks by Professor Marcia Langton AM.

The after-dinner speaker at the conference dinner will be The Hon. Kenneth M Hayne AC QC, on the subject of ‘On Royal Commissions’.

Registrations are now open at special ‘early bird’ rates.

For further information about the program and registration click here.

“Constitutional Resilience in South Asia” Workshop

The Asian Law Centre and Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne Law School

Date: 5-7 December 2019

Location: The Asian Law Centre and Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne Law School

Concerns about the stability of democracies, even long-established democracies, have been rising globally. As a region, South Asia has had a tumultuous and varied relationship with constitutional democracy.

Despite presenting a wide range of examples of democratic experimentation in the global South, and housing a huge chunk of humanity, the region has remained relatively ignored by constitutional law and democracy scholars. This workshop aims to begin to address this lacuna by bringing together scholars (especially early career scholars) working on the region to workshop papers on the resilience of democratic institutions in one or more countries in the region.

Papers can look at design and functioning of institutions such as political parties, legislatures, political executive, bureaucracy, courts, 4th branch/integrity institutions, media, and civil society, and their role in strengthening or undermining constitutional democracy.

The organisers are Tarunabh Khaitan (Melbourne), Swati Jhaveri (NUS) and Kate O’Regan (Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford).

For further information and to register, as well as for the call for papers, see here.