Welcome to the March edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. Please note that due to the evolving nature of responses to coronavirus, some of the below events may have been cancelled, postponed or otherwise amended. Please consult the links for each event for notification of any changes.

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

Call for Papers: ANU Law 60th Anniversary Conference – Public Law and Inequality
ANU College of Law
Date: 7 – 9 December 2020
Location: ANU College of Law, Australian National University ACT
Deadline for Applications: 2 March 2020

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Australian National University (ANU) College of Law and the 30th anniversary of the ANU Law Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL), ANU Law will host a major conference in Canberra, 8-9 December 2020.

As a precursor to the conference, on 7 December 2020, Professor Philip Alston – NYU Law, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, and the inaugural Director of CIPL – will deliver the annual public Geoffrey Sawer Lecture.

The theme of the conference is public law and inequality. Growing inequality is a defining challenge of our times. Yet the role of inequality in social, political and economic life is often muted (sometimes, invisible) in much public law scholarship. Notably, public law’s foundational concepts were forged in a social world where the inevitability of inequality was often taken for granted. The stuttering processes of democratization have rendered that assumption untenable.

Although public law scholarship has considered how the field can contribute to political equality, there has been less focus, particularly in recent decades, on the relationship between public law and material inequality. The question of whether equality is achievable in a world of yawning disparities in wealth can no longer be brushed aside.

How do public law concepts, institutions and norms frame or contribute to political and material inequality? How can public law and public law scholarship contribute to clear thinking about the set of problems associated with pervasive inequality in contemporary society?

We invite papers addressing these and similar themes along a variety of dimension (e.g. gender), from a number of perspectives (e.g. the experience of Indigenous Peoples) and across multiple disciplines. The conference will be of broad interest to constitutional and administrative law scholars, including those whose work focuses on history and theory of public law or its broader role in social, political, economic and cultural life.

We encourage abstracts from researchers at all stages of their career. Conference speakers receive a 20% discount on their conference registration fee.

Abstract submissions for this event are through an online portal. To submit an abstract, access the online portal here, fill out the online form (2 pages) and click submit. You will have the opportunity to review before submission. Please ensure you scroll to the bottom of the review page and click the ‘SUBMIT’ button. You will receive a confirmation email advising that your submission was successful.

The following details are required as part of the submission process: your abstract submission (max 400 words) and proposed presentation title; names and organisations of any co-authors; name, organisation and bio (max 250 words) of the presenting author.

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. The roundup is published once a month on the first business day of the month, so please let us know in time for that deadline.

Love and Thoms v Commonwealth [2020] HCA 3: The Constitution and Indigenous Australians
Australian Association for Constitutional Law
Date: 3 March 2020
Time:  5:30 – 7:30 pm
Location: Courtroom 1, Level 21, Law Courts Building, Queens Square, Sydney NSW

We are privileged to welcome the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency the Hon Margaret Beazley AC QC, formerly the President of the NSW Court of Appeal, to present an address on the constitutional issues arising out of the High Court’s significant decision in Love v Commonwealth; Thoms v Commonwealth [2020] HCA 3, handed down on 11 February 2020. The audience will also receive the considerable benefit of a commentary by Peter Gerangelos, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Sydney, who will provide his insights into the case. Please join us for a discussion of the important constitutional developments reflected in the Love/Thoms judgments.  

Queer Law in Emotional Times
Sydney Institute of Criminology, Sydney Law School
Date: 4 March 2020
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Location: Common Room, Level 4, Sydney Law School, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown NSW

The Sydney Institute of Criminology will host a conversation between Dr Senthorun Raj (Keele University) and readers of his new book, Feeling Queer Jurisprudence: Injury, Intimacy, Identity (Routledge, 2020).

Drawing on emotions, queer theory, and case law, Feeling Queer Jurisprudence explores how LGBT rights have been made possible, and also circumscribed, by progressive legal interventions. This book catalogues a range of cases from Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom to unpack how emotion shapes the decriminalisation of homosexuality, hate crime interventions, anti-discrimination measures, refugee protection, and marriage equality. This book shows that reading jurisprudence through emotions can make space in law to affirm, rather than disavow, intimacies and identities that queer conventional ideas about “LGBT progress”, without having to abandon legal pursuits to protect LGBT people.

Speakers include Professor Kane Race (University of Sydney), Dr Renata Grossi (UTS), and Anna Brown (CEO, Equality Australia).

For further information, and to register, click here.

Artificial Intelligence, Technology and Human Rights – What’s All the Fuss?
NSW Bar Association
Date: 4 March 2020
Time: 5:15 – 6:45 pm
Location: NSW Bar Association Common Room, Selborne Chambers, B/174 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW
New technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the use of big data, can be powerful tools for strengthening legal rights, in particular human rights. However, technology can also raise critical legal, regulatory and ethical questions for businesses, individuals and government. This seminar brings together a panel of experts to discuss AI, technology and human rights. 

Edward Santow, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Australian Human Rights Commission, will be speaking about the challenges and risks associated with accountable decision making and AI. 

Elizabeth Tydd, NSW Information Commissioner, Open Data Advocate and CEO of the Information Privacy Commission, will explore human rights against a background of rapid adoption of technology by government and increasing outsourcing arrangements for service delivery, policy development and decision making. 

Professor Toby Walsh, from the University of NSW and Data61, will identify what new issues AI brings to ethics, and will cover topics ranging from driverless cars to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

For further information, click here.

Democracy in the Digital Age: Jamie Susskind
UNSW Centre for Ideas
Date: 5 March 2020
Time: 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Location: Leighton Hall, John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Sydney, Kensington NSW

It is one of the most important questions of our time: how will digital technology transform society and the way we govern?

There is no doubt that technological advances have transformed our lives for the better. There is little doubt too, argues bestselling author Jamie Susskind, that digital systems have the potential to control us. 

In his ground-breaking analysis, Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech, Susskind calls for a fundamental change in the way we think about politics in the digital age. Reminding us of the very real ability of digital technology to shape the way we think, feel and behave, Susskind puts forward a clear warning: those who control these technologies will increasingly control us all. 

Chaired by Rosalind Dixon, Professor of Law at UNSW Sydney.

For further information and to register, click here.

The UK Supreme Court’s Decision in R (Miller) v Prime Minister and Cherry v Advocate General of Scotland: A Public Discussion Between the Honourable Robert French AC and Professor Stephen Ross
Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 10 March 2020
Time:  5:30 – 7:00 pm
Location: Law Lecture Theatre, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA

The Atomics
Melbourne Law School, Melbourne Journal of International Law
Date: 11 March 2020
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Theatre G08, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

The Sir Kenneth Bailey Memorial Lecture 2020 is presented by Melbourne Law School and the Melbourne Journal of International Law.

How might international law respond to the prospect of nuclear annihilation? With abolitionist fervour? Technocracy? Legalism? Insouciance?

Professor Gerry Simpson was appointed to a Chair in Public International Law at London School of Economics. In this lecture, Professor Simpson will deliver a report on international legal nuclearism.

For further information, and to register, click here.

“Nothing About Us Without US”: The Rise of Refugee Self-Representation in Global Dialogue on Forced Displacement
Melbourne Law School
Date:12 March 2020
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Location: Room 920, Level 9, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

In recent years, there has been a noticeable change in the composition and visibility of actors engaging in global dialogue on refugees. While decisions made in Geneva and New York are still dominated by states, intergovernmental institutions and larger NGOs, refugee-led networks have made an entrance in a big way.

In 2017, the UN Refugee Agency established a Global Youth Advisory Council made up of refugee young people from around the world. In 2018 the first Global Summit of Refugees was held, and in 2019 the Global Refugee-led Network was formally established, strategically perceiving the negotiations for a Global Compact on Refugees as an opportunity to claim a seat at the table in future dialogue.

This seminar will track the rise of refugee-led advocacy networks and the challenges and potential posed by refugees demanding that there be “nothing about us without us”.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Not All Errors are Equal: Materiality in Judicial Review
NSW Bar Association
Date: 17 March 2020
Time: 5:15 – 6:15pm
Location: NSW Bar Association Common Room, Selborne Chambers, B/174 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW

For further information, click here.

UQLS Hall & Wilcox Naida Haxton Lecture
University of Queensland School of Law
Date: 17 March 2020
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Abel Smith Lecture Theatre, Building 23, University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD

The University of Queensland Law Society Incorporated (UQLS) is proud to announce that the 2020 Hall & Wilcox Naida Haxton Lecture will be delivered by The Honourable Chief Justice, Catherine Holmes AC. The topic of the lecture is the independence of the judiciary as discussed in her publication Declaration of Independence in The Australian Legal Review.

Chief Justice Holmes was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2015, having served as a judge of the Queensland Court of Appeal from 2006. Chief Justice Holmes has previously served as Judge of the Queensland Supreme Court (2006), Judge of the Queensland Mental Health Court (2004) and acting Judge of the District Court of Queensland (1999).

For further information, and to register, click here.

Journalists and National Security/Terrorism: The Law and Practice in the UK
Melbourne Law School
Date: 18 March 2020
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Location: Room 920, Level 9, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

The talk will focus on the laws, regulations and ethics concerning journalists reporting on issues of terrorism and national security. The talk will consider the issue of police seeking to obtain journalistic material, legislative safeguards, court procedures and recent court cases. The talk will also consider the D Notice system – the interface between news organisations, the military and the government ( John Battle is Deputy Chair of the Committee). Other subjects include legal obligations on journalists, recent changes to legislation, proposed reforms to the Official Secrets Acts 1911 and 1989 and the laws regarding source protection. The talk will also consider ethical and practical issues, including journalists’ safety in this area.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Strangling Accountability: Silencing Dissent and Undermining Integrity
Centre for Public Integrity, Sydney Law School
Date: 19 March 2020
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Location: Law Foyer, Level 2, Sydney Law School, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown NSW

The inaugural annual lecture of The Centre for Public Integrity will be delivered by The Honourable Stephen Pendrill Charles AO. Mr Charles is a retired Australian judge who served on the Supreme Court of Victoria Court of Appeal between 1995 and 2006.

Mr Charles has long held an interest in matters of accountability and integrity. He was Counsel for ASIC during the Combe Royal Commission, and Counsel Assisting the Parliamentary Commission into conduct of Justice Lionel Murphy. In 2011 Mr Charles chaired the panel advising the Victorian Premier on the design of the Independent Broad-based Commission Against Corruption. He has been advocating for the establishment of a strong and independent National Integrity Commission for many years.

In 2017 Mr Charles was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the law and to the judiciary, particularly in the areas of commercial arbitration and mediation, to judicial administration, and to legal professional organisations.

In 2019 Mr Charles became a founding Director of The Centre for Public Integrity.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Right Wing Populism and the Constitution
University of Queensland School of Law
Date: 20 March 2020
Time: 3:00 – 4:15 pm
Location: Sir Harry Gibbs Moot Court (W247), Level 2, Forgan Smith Building, University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD

Much has been written by political scientists – and increasingly by constitutional lawyers – about populism and government. Populism is widely believed to be a reaction to neo-liberalism. But to what end? Is it a movement, an ideology or a leadership style?  To such questions, the literature offers no settled answers; just some themes, not all of which are unique to populism.

In this presentation, Professor Keith Ewing will assess the constitutional implications of the United Kingdom’s populist turn.  In particular, by considering the following key themes and concerns: electoral manipulation; the claim of government to embody the General Will and the problem of competing expressions of popular sovereignty (referendum v representative government); the tendency and justification (if any) of government governing without Parliament; an opportunistic relationship to the Rule of Law revealed in disrespect for legal process and human rights.

This paper is part of a new book project with a working title ‘Economic Liberalism, Populism and the Constitution: Power and the Rule of Law in Modern Politics’.

For further information, and to register, click here.

32nd Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture: Structural Reform and the Uluru Statement from the Heart
ANU College of Law and Lionel Murphy Foundation
Date: 24 March 2020
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: ANU College of Law, Acton ACT

The 32nd Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Professor Megan Davis at the Australian National University in Canberra on Tuesday 24 March at 6pm. Megan will be speaking on structural reform and the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Professor Davis is Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law at UNSW, an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court and an expert member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She is a constitutional lawyer who was a member of the Referendum Council and the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution. She was a leader of the deliberative process of Regional Dialogues that culminated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. That historic Statement, which was issued from the First Nations Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017, continues to shape the debate about structural reform in Australia regarding the place of First Nations people.

The Lecture series is sponsored by the Lionel Murphy Foundation, to honour the contributions to public life of The Hon Lionel Murphy as a lawyer, politician, parliamentarian and judge. Since its inception in 1987, the series has featured a host of notable Australians, addressing issues of pressing national significance. The Foundation also provides postgraduate scholarship opportunities for the study of law and/or science, or other disciplines where there is opportunity for some common good in Australia or overseas.

For free online registration and further information, click here.

Book Launch: Law Making and Human Rights
Monash University Faculty of Law
Date: 24 March 2020
Time: 5:45 – 7:15 pm
Location: Monash Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC

This collection, edited by Associate Professor Julie Debeljak (Monash University) and Associate Professor Laura Grenfell (The University of Adelaide), examines how rights figure in the law-making process.

At this special event you will hear from two leading figures in the Victorian legal community – The Hon Jill Hennessy MP, Attorney-General of Victoria, and Professor the Hon Marilyn Warren AC, Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria – who will draw upon their own expertise regarding the role of the executive and parliament in making law within a human rights framework.

The topics covered in this new title are presented by experts and scholars to offer a comprehensive analysis of how rights are scrutinised in all Australian jurisdictions.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Whistleblowing: What Is It, Who Does It, When Is It Lawful, When Is It Mandatory?
Australian Academy of Law
Date: 25 March 2020
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Location: Court Room 1, Level 21, Law Courts Building, Queens Square, Sydney NSW

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protection) Act 2019 has focused attention on what was already a subject of much interest, importance and discussion. The Act amends the Corporations Act 2001 and the Tax Administration Act 1953 to permit and protect disclosures and protect disclosers, in the areas that they cover. But the topic is broader, for example  What are the relevant principles of the general law relevant to whistleblowing?

– What if the facts disclosed by the whistleblower turn out to be incorrect?
– Does the discloser’s motivation matter, eg a disgruntled employee or a trade competitor?
– Are journalists in a special position – should they be?
– In what circumstances must an employee or associate of a taxpayer disclose to the Commissioner of Taxation that tax is being evaded?

An expert panel who have a special interest in the subject will speak on these and other questions.

For further information, and to register, click here.

The Implied Freedom of Political Communication: Origins and Future Directions
NSW Bar Association
Date: 31 March 2020
Time: 5:15 – 6:45 pm
Location: NSW Bar Association Common Room, Selborne Chambers, B/174 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW For further information, click here.

Love v Commonwealth: Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians?
Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date:  2 April 2020
Time: 5:15 pm
Location: Clayton Utz, Level 28, Riparian Plaza, 71 Eagle Street, Brisbane QLD

In the recent case of Love v Commonwealth, in powerful judgments reminiscent of Mabo v Queensland [No 2], four judges of the High Court declared that Indigenous Australians can never be ‘aliens’ for the purposes of s 51(xix) of the Constitution. In strong dissents, three judges refused to introduce a race-based distinction into the head of power. With political debate about a referendum largely on hold, has the High Court achieved constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians by judicial interpretation of the Constitution? By adopting Brennan J’s tripartite test of indigeneity in Mabo, has the High Court inadvertently entrenched a rigid notion of what it means to be Indigenous? If the result in Love is another expression of the ‘deeper truth’ from which native title springs, are there any other expressions waiting to be uncovered? By recognising that Indigenous elders have the power to say who is and who is not Indigenous, has a majority of the High Court fractured sovereignty, or have they ruled out Indigenous sovereignty by bringing Indigenous people within the concept of ‘the people’?

Daniel Love was born in PNG to a mother from PNG and an Kamilaroi father from Australia. Brendan Thoms was born in New Zealand to a New Zealand father and a Gunggari mother from Australia. Both relocated to Australia as children but never applied for Australian citizenship. When they were sentenced to a term of imprisonment, their visas were cancelled, and steps were taken to deport them to PNG and New Zealand respectively. The High Court found that they could not be deported as they are not ‘aliens’.

Chair: Judge Nathan Jarro was called to the bar in 2004. As a barrister, his Honour practised widely initially in the areas of criminal and family law, and later in administrative, commercial and personal injury law as well as in alternative dispute resolution. He was appointed a judge of the District Court of Queensland on 26 March 2018. He is a Ghangulu and Bidjara man, and the State’s first Indigenous judge.

Speakers: Stephen Keim SC was called to the Bar in July 1985 and took silk in 2004. Stephen has a broad practice and has worked in most areas of law. He appeared for the plaintiffs in the High Court in Love v Commonwealth, and has also appeared in a number of other constitutional cases, including the recent case of Spence v Queensland. Melia Benn was called to the bar in 2018, with previous experience as Counsel Assisting the Coroner and as a senior lawyer for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Melia is a descendant of the Mamu and Gungangji peoples, and is one of only two Indigenous women at the Queensland bar.

The Lottery of Life
Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, Melbourne Law School and Accountability Round Table
Date: 3 April 2020
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: David P. Derham Theatre, Level 1, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

Birth is the ultimate game of chance, as we appear amid families, genders and a nation we did not choose. For some, a poor hand at birth will continue through life, with disadvantage and misfortune.

The lottery of life raises a dilemma long at the heart of philosophy, religion and politics: what are our obligations to others in a world of inequality and personal set-backs?

As in other nations, the role of government in looking after citizens who fall behind is a core topic of political debate. But a second, voluntary sector grapples also with cycles of disadvantage. Charity is about community taking responsibility for those who need help. It tackles problems too local or too sensitive for government, from extra resources for a struggling hospital to refugees and dispossessed Indigenous people made unwelcome by public policies.

Jim Carlton devoted years of his life to the fundamental moral challenges posed by inequality and disadvantage. He led the great work of the Red Cross organisation, but knew too the tide of criticism now directed at philanthropy. This lecture celebrates his work by asking how the lottery of life shapes our prospects, and the strengths and challenges for charity in making a difference for those without advantage.

For further information, and to register, click here.

National Treaties Summit 2020
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation, Melbourne Law School and the National Native Title Council
Date: 16 – 18 April 2020
Location: University of Melbourne, Melbourne VIC

Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), the University of Melbourne and the National Native Title Council (NNTC) will be collaborating with other key partners and stakeholders to host the National Treaties Summit as a landmark gathering of First Nations representatives, leading academics, politicians and supporters to engage in a national dialogue of agreement-making and treaty. The University of Melbourne will host the Summit with an anticipated 500 delegates and participants from across Australia.

The Summit will be a chance to compare and share experiences from the Australian jurisdictions, to explore international experience and to contribute to the momentum of treaty and agreement-making across Australia.

The Summit will involve keynote speakers, debates, dialogue fora and we hope to culminate in a communiqué statement of the Summit’s key findings and the agreed core principles to inform current and future agreement-making processes. We want tangible outcomes.

We hope the Summit will be an opportunity for political announcements and/or statements of support (e.g. Federal Support, other state/territory treaty processes announcement, a framework for the development of a Makarrata Commission).

Importantly, while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the primary stakeholder in Treaty, there is an opportunity for the Summit to influence non-Indigenous Australians. As with reconciliation, Treaty must be owned and committed too by all parties and all Australians need to understand what Treaty is and why it is crucial for them.

This Summit intends to complement and support the efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership (e.g. the work of the Uluru Statement leaders) in this space and any other planned fora that progresses the treaty/agreement making agenda for First Nations peoples.

For further information and to register, click here.

Fiscal Federalism in Germany: Lessons for Australia
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Tax Group and Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, Melbourne Law School
Date: 22 April 2020
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Location: Room 920, Level 9, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

In this lunchtime talk, Dr h.c. Rudolf Mellinghoff will share his expertise in fiscal federalism, in particular, the allocation of tax revenue and VAT across the federal and state governments, and will draw examples from both Germany and Australia.

Dr Mellinghoff’s visit in Australia is supported by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and co-hosted by the Tax Group and Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, Melbourne Law School.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Free Speech at Work: Folau, Banerji and Beyond?
ANU College of Law
Date: 14 – 15 May 2020
Location: Australian National University, Canberra ACT

The ability of employees to speak freely, both in public and private sector contexts, is increasingly being challenged. In 2019, the High Court of Australia endorsed the validity of the Department of Immigration’s termination of a public servant for her anonymous tweets. Until a recent settlement, the Federal Circuit Court was hearing Israel Folau’s challenge to his dismissal by Rugby Australia over controversial social media posts. These cases give rise to complex and often unsettled legal questions, at the intersection of employment law, constitutional law and anti-discrimination law. As the distinction between at-work and off-duty continues to blur in modern workplaces, it is unlikely these challenges will fade.

Where should the lines be drawn? Is it possible to reconcile employees’ speech rights with the interests of employers? This timely and innovative conference will consider these issues from practical, theoretical, policy and comparative perspectives. 

This event comprises of a free panel discussion, held on 14 May 2020 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm, and a paid conference held on 15 May 2020, from 8:30 – 4:30 pm.

As a precursor to the one-day conference, ANU Law will host a public panel discussion on the topic of free speech in the work place followed by a networking reception.

Following an opening keynote address by the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, Former Justice of the High Court of Australia, join Josh Bornstein, Maurice Blackburn; Kate Eastman SC, New Chambers; and Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, Australian Human Rights Commission as they debate this topical issue. Moderated by Damien Carrick, ABC Radio National, this event will be recorded for broadcast on ABC’s Law Report.

The conference will kick off with a session exploring the context surrounding the vexing issue of workplace-related speech. Throughout the morning, our expert panels will delve into the constitutional and practical implications of recent court judgments for both the public and private sectors. After lunch, our international speakers will provide insight into how different jurisdictions have grappled with free speech issues and the outcomes of these cases. Our final panel of the day will look to the future and reflect on how parliament, government, employers and the judiciary might seek to resolve the tension between employer interests and employee speech.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Religious Freedom, Religious Discrimination and the Role of the Law
University of Queensland School of Law, Supreme Court Library of Queensland
Date: 21 May 2020
Time: 5:00 – 6:45 pm
Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of Queensland, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law Complex, 415 George Street, Brisbane QLD

Religious freedom and freedom from discrimination on the basis of religion are well-established rights in international law and many jurisdictions have a substantial case-law that examine both of these rights, including the tensions between them. While some limited forms of these rights are protected in the constitution, to date there has been a relatively limited case law in Australia.

With the development of statutory bills of rights and increased social tensions between secular and religious Australians, however, the law is increasingly being asked to step into conflicts that involve religion. What can we learn from the Australian case law to date and from other similar jurisdictions that can help Australian courts and legal policy makers with the complex issues that arise in this realm?

For further information, and to register, click here.

National Conference on Administrative Law
Australia Institute of Administrative Law
Date: 16 – 17 July 2020
Location: RACV City Club, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC

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. The 2020 Conference will be hosted by the Victorian Chapter of the Institute.

The theme for the Conference will be Administrative Law on the Edge.

At this conference we intend to explore the many-faceted ‘edges’ of administrative law. We particularly note the following relevant sub-themes:
– intersecting areas of law and other areas of knowledge, for example, the law of interpretation and constitutional law
– the nature of any ‘boundary lines’ of administrative law
– the metes and bounds of jurisdictional error
– the capacity of civil and administrative tribunals to deliver administrative justice, having regard to the original intent of providing fast, low cost efficient reviews
– the scope to challenge the exercise of non-statutory executive power
– whether the performance of government functions that are ‘outsourced’ is outside administrative law bounds
– the scope to challenge automated ‘decision-making’.

The Conference will provide a stimulating mixture of activities, combining practical sessions with reflective and thought-provoking presentations. The Conference will canvass administrative law in the Commonwealth, States and Territories.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Relighting a lamp of the Constitution? Prorogation in the United Kingdom Courts and its Implications
University of Queensland School of Law, Supreme Court Library of Queensland
Date: 12 November 2020
Time: 5:00 – 6:45 pm
Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of Queensland, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law Complex, 415 George Street, Brisbane QLD

The judgment of the UK Supreme Court in Miller (No 2) [2019] UKSC 41 that a prorogation of Parliament in September 2019 under the prerogative power was “unlawful, void and of no effect” is politically and legally controversial. It has led the newly elected government in the United Kingdom to announce a review of the constitutional relationships between the political and judicial branches of government. Eminent legal scholars have variously described the decision itself as either “wholly unjustified by law” or one that has “relit a lamp of the constitution”.  The paper examines such claims. 

The case is the latest in a line in which the courts in the United Kingdom have sought to explain the principles and values of the British constitution and the role of the courts in protecting them from legislative or executive encroachment. Such cases turn on assessments of what is “constitutional” or “fundamental” in statutes and in common law and are hostile to encroachment by the executive or legislative branches.  The reasoning of the courts has been criticised for applying the methods of modern administrative law to matters of high policy.  In Miller (No 2), as in the earlier Miller (No 1), the focus is the institutional architecture of the constitution, rather than the more familiar context for constitutional contest of individual freedom and rights.  There are differences of opinion as to whether judges in such cases are carrying out their inevitable responsibilities under the rule of law to maintain and explain the constitution or whether they tip over into illegitimate constitution-building. 

The changing scope of the political constitution of the United Kingdom post-Brexit and post-devolution and the incongruity of a constitution still based on the “efficient secret” of the near complete fusion of the executive and legislative powers of the state, may lead to a new constitutional settlement in the United Kingdom.  If so, Miller may come to be seen as a product of a set of circumstances that were “unique”, as the Court in is reasons suggested it was, and the march of common law constitutionalism may subside.  If not, Miller may point to further judicial development of the United Kingdom constitution. 

The paper examines whether Miller is properly to be seen as part of what Justice Gummow once described as “the continuing intellectual agonies attending British constitutionalism”, of little relevance to constitutionalism in Australia or other common law jurisdictions with their own unique constitutional histories.  It suggests that the reasoning employed by the United Kingdom Supreme Court has implications for the continuing tug in all jurisdictions between the political and the legal (and in particular the concepts of “justiciability” and “parliamentary sovereignty”). It also has implications for the role in constitutional law of substantive values, many derived from antecedent common law in our shared traditions.  It questions whether the High Court’s location of sovereignty in the Australian Constitution and the stricter separation of powers under the Constitution will accelerate divergence in constitutionalism from jurisdictions such as Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. 

For further information and to register, click here

Twenty-Third Geoffrey Sawer Lecture
ANU College of Law, Centre for International and Public Law
Date:  7 December 2020
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Australian National University, Canberra ACT

We are delighted to welcome back the inaugural director of the ANU Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL), Professor Philip Alston, NYU Law and United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, to deliver the annual Geoffrey Sawer Lecture at 6pm on 7 December 2020. Registration for this event will open in mid-2020.

Following this lecture, ANU Law will host a two-day conference on public law and inequality. This major public law conference will mark the 60th anniversary of ANU Law and the 30th anniversary of CIPL. 

For further information, click here.