Welcome to the December edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. We would firstly like to draw your attention to the following opportunity for public law teachers:


Public Law in the Classroom Workshop 2022
Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales; Public Law and Policy Research Unit, University of Adelaide; Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University
Date: 10 February 2022
Time: 11:00am-2:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

The eighth annual Public Law in the Classroom workshop will be held via Zoom on Thursday 10 February 2022. The past seven workshops have been a great success, each attracting around 70 public law teachers from across the country and internationally.

The first session will be on the theme of Teacher Engagement and Motivation. This session is 90 minutes in length, commencing at 11:00 am and concluding at 12:30pm AEDT.

The second session will be centred around the theme of Connecting Teaching to the Frontiers of Public Law. This session is 90 minutes in length, commencing at 1:00 pm and concluding at 2:30pm AEDT.

For more information, and to register, click here.

And, as always, on the day following Public Law in the Classroom, the annual Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law Constitutional Law Conference will be held:

Constitutional Law Conference
Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales; Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 11 February 2022
Time: 8:30am-7:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

The virtual conference will feature discussions of important developments in the High Court, the Federal Court and State Courts and provide an overview of the key public law debates in 2021. The conference will include sessions on the separation of powers and administrative justice, the implied freedom of political communication and its limits, and the constitutionality of national and international border closures, and related disputes between Mr Clive Palmer and the state of Western Australia.

The conference will be addressed and attended by leading judges, academics, barristers and government lawyers, and include multiple opportunities for informal interaction both via Zoom break-out rooms and post-conference, in-person drinks in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

There is a registration fee for this event.

For more information, and to register, click 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. The roundup is published once a month on (or near) the first business day of the month, so please let us know in time for that deadline.

Disruptive Ideas Seminar: Government Innovation and Public Engagement
Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne
Date: 1 December 2021
Time: 10:00-11:30am (AEDT)
Location: Online

Join Melbourne School of Government honorary fellow Holly Ransom for a conversation with Professor Beth Noveck, director of GovLab. The discussion will explore the design of spaces and methods for government innovation and public engagement. The first hour of this event will involve a discussion between Holly Ransom and Professor Noveck, with opportunities for audience Q&A. The final 30min of this event will be an opportunity for you, the audience, to network and make connections on the topic of government innovation.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Hidden Money: Shining Light on Political Finance for the Next Federal Election
Electoral Regulation Research Network, University of Melbourne
Date: 2 December 2021
Time: 1:00-2:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

The gaps in Commonwealth disclosure of political donations mean that the source of millions of dollars of party finance is hidden from public view. Transparency is key to unpicking the complex webs of undue influence and creating a fair and equal democracy. Hear from the Centre for Public Integrity on their research into hidden money in politics and what reforms are needed to fix it.


  • Han Aulby, Executive Director, Centre for Public Integrity
  • Dr Catherine Williams, Research Director, Centre for Public Integrity
  • Professor Joo-Cheong Tham, Director, Electoral Regulation Research Network

For more information, and to register, click here.

Financial Barriers to Accessing Constitutional Justice
Monash University; Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 2 December 2021
Time: 5:00-6:15pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

The Constitution guarantees legal access to the courts for the purpose of reviewing the lawfulness of government action. But practical access to the courts is not guaranteed.

Financial barriers may operate more widely and effectively than privative clauses in protecting government action from judicial review. Court fees are beyond the means of most Australians. A one-day hearing before the High Court in a constitutional matter will cost a litigant about $10,000 in court fees. And the risk of an adverse costs order is a serious disincentive to challenging government action. The Public Interest Law Clearing House estimated that in some situations up to 9 out of 10 meritorious cases do not commence due to fear of an adverse costs order.

Chair: Associate Professor Luke Beck, Monash Law


  • Isabelle Reinecke, Executive Director and Founder, Grata Fund
  • Jack Maxwell, Barrister, Victorian Bar

For more information, and to register, click here.

Looking Downstream: The Long-Term Costs of Underfunding Legal Aid in Australia
Law Council of Australia
Date: 2 December 2021
Time: 5:30-6:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online 

In its 2014 Report Access to Justice Arrangements, the Productivity Commission recognised the net public benefits to the community of proper investment in the legal aid and the ‘false economy’ of not doing so. The Productivity Commission noted that a significant funding injection was needed to increase access to legal assistance for many Australians. Seven years on, PwC analysis demonstrates that Commonwealth funding of legal aid on a per capita basis continues to fall.

In this webinar, a panel of eminent members of the legal and economic sectors discuss the downstream social and economic impacts of Commonwealth funding of legal aid in Australia and, in the lead up to a Federal Election in 2022, what needs to be done to fix the funding shortfall.

Moderator: Dr Jacoba Brasch QC, President, Law Council of Australia


  • Mr Michael Brennan, Chair, Productivity Commission
  • Mr Jeremy Thrope, Chief Economist, PwC Australia
  • Ms Louise Glanville, Chief Executive Officer, Victoria Legal Aid

For more information, and to register, click here.

Freedom of Expression in the United Kingdom and Australia Considered Comparatively
Australian Academy of Law
Date: 7 December 2021
Time: 6:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

In what manner does the law restrict investigative journalism and how do the Courts protect public interest stories? This event compares the position in the United Kingdom and Australia.  A panel of four experts will discuss these issues and then participate in a Q&A.

Chair: Mr Desmond Browne CBE, QC, former Chairman, Bar of England and Wales


  • Laura Tingle, President, National Press Club
  • Andrew Caldecott QC, Specialist in media, defamation and libel law
  • Matthew Collins AM QC, Vice President, Australian Bar Association
  • Alan Rusbridger, Chair, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

For more information, and to register, click here.

‘Legalisation of Same-Sex Marriage: A Global Perspective’ Online Conference
Asian Law Centre, University of Melbourne; School of Law, Vietnam National University Hanoi; The iSEE Institute, Vietnam
Date: 7 December – 8 December 2021
Time: 12:30-4:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

As of 2021, marriage between people of the same sex has been legally performed in 29 countries. However, fighting for equality in marriage is nowhere near completion. Most parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America still have laws banning same-sex marriage, with nearly 70 countries continuing to criminalise same-sex relations. The world is polarised regarding LGBTIQ acceptance. The rise of nationalism, anti-globalisation and undiscovered intersectional impacts of the pandemic on the marriage equality movement have meant that opposition remains strong in many countries.

Please register your participation by 5 December 2021.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Recent Trends in Climate Litigation and Human Rights
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University; King & Wood Mallesons
Date: 9 December 2021
Time: 5:00-6:15pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

There is increasing recognition of the intersection between human rights and climate change. On 8 October 2021, United Nations Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/48/L.23/Rev.1 recognised the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and recognised the implications of climate change for this right. A cognate resolution (A/HRC/48/L.27) established a Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change.

The human rights implications of climate change are also being increasingly recognised in litigation. Cases such Leghari v Pakistan, Urgenda v The Netherlands and Neubauer v Germany established new readings of traditional human rights in a climate context. The ongoing case of Juliana et al. v US seeks recognition of a right to a stable climate as an extension of existing rights under the United States Constitution. Like litigation is pending in Brazil. Rights-based litigation in Australia is nascent. There is an increasing diversity of rights-based claims, including a recent complaint brought by eight Torres Strait Islander people against the Australian government to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

This lecture will address human rights trends in climate litigation both in Australia and overseas, including examining the foundations of these trends, current cases, and possible future directions.

Moderator: Professor the Hon Kevin Bell AM QC, Executive Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and a Commissioner of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission

Opening Remarks: Professor the Hon Marilyn Warren AC QC, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria

Speaker: The Hon. Justice Brian J Preston FRSN SC, Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales

For more information, and to register, click here.

Human Rights in Western Sydney
Western Sydney University Network for Law and Human Rights
Date: 10 December 2021
Time: 11:00am-12:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

Mr Jihad Dib is the member for Lakemba in the NSW Legislative Assembly. He is Shadow Minister for Emergency Services and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change. Prior to joining parliament, Mr Dib was the Principal of Punchbowl Boys’ High School in Sydney’s South West. His philosophy of having his students actively engage with the wider community led to significant reduction in absenteeism, increased morale, surging enrollments and much-improved academic results in the school community.

In this Human Rights Address, Mr Dib will speak about the needs of people in Western Sydney and how we can best ensure the protection of human rights in the area.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Goodbye Misogyny
UNSW Centre for Ideas; Sydney Festival
Date: 21 January 2022
Time: 6:30-7:45pm (AEDT)
Location: Sydney Town Hall

In 2021, a legion of women stood up and said they weren’t going to take it anymore, calling out violence, harassment and misogyny.

In a powerhouse panel chaired by TV and radio presenter Yumi Stynes and featuring ABC reporter Louise Milligan, constitutional law expert Gabrielle Appleby, author and former Liberal turned Independent Federal MP Julia Banks, and journalist Amy McQuire, words will not be minced and bushes will not be beaten around. They’ll reflect on exposing the Canberra bubble, holding a High Court judge to account and putting the spotlight on political misogyny, ultimately stepping out an action plan to give misogyny the flick – for good.

This event will close with a live music performance from the fierce and fabulous Jaguar Jonze, a vocal advocate for victims of sexual assault and harassment in the music industry whose recent single ‘Who Died and Made You King’ is a powerful new addition to the #MeToo songbook.

There is a small booking fee for this event.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Pandemic Politics
UNSW Centre for Ideas; Sydney Festival
Date: 22 January 2022
Time: 7:30-8:45pm (AEDT)
Location: Sydney Town Hall

Politics has been transformed by the COVID era, with national power siphoned towards state premiers, the allergy to massive government spending cured and scientific advice brought to the fore. But as well as new developments, the pandemic has placed existing fault lines in our relationship with politics and politicians under the microscope.

What do Australians want from their governments? Who can we trust if our politicians don’t represent us or tell us the truth? If corruption and pork barrelling in politics are no longer a source of shame, what else will we be willing to accept?

Comedy writer and performer Mark Humphries will rip into our pollies in a short stand-up performance as presenter and journalist Fran Kelly chairs a discussion between political correspondent Laura Tingle, Constitutional lawyer Rosalind Dixon, and political commentator and author George Megalogenis.

There is a small booking fee for this event.

For more information, and to register, click here.

ANU Law and Philosophy Forum: Reflections on Death
Australian National University College of Law
Date: 8 February 2022
Time: 1:00-2:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online or In-person at Liz Allen Meeting Room, Room 7.4.5, ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road 

The ANU Law and Philosophy Forum is delighted to announce its first meeting in 2022: a reading and discussion led by Dr Joshua Neoh, who will be reflecting on the topic of death.
The discussion will be based upon Bernard Williams’s 1973 paper, ‘The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality’.

When is the right time to die? Death can come too early, but it can also come too late. In many cases, death comes like a thief in the night to rob one of life, but is it all that bad? Even if life is a great good, there is the risk that one might end up having too much of a good thing. In this seminar, we will consider these mortal and morbid questions by reflecting on the Makropulos case.

For more information, and to register, click here.

ANU Law 60th Anniversary Conference: Public Law and Inequality
Centre for International and Public Law, Australian National University College of Law
Date: 16 February – 18 February 2022
Location: ANU College of Law, Australian National University, Canberra

Registrations are open for the ANU Law conference on ‘Public Law and Inequality’ on 16-18 February 2022, organised by the Centre for International and Public Law. The conference will be held in a hybrid format, with an in-person conference in Canberra for those in Australia and international participants in virtual attendance. There is a modest registration fee for Australian in-person participants.

Join over 40 speakers, including: Sam Moyn (Yale), Julie Suk (Fordham), Tarun Khaitan (Oxford), Rosalind Dixon (UNSW), Adrienne Stone (Melbourne), Amna Akbar (Ohio State), Jeff King (UCL), Farrah Ahmed (Melbourne), Ntina Tzouvala (ANU), Will Bateman (ANU), Katharine Young (Boston College Law School), Veena Dubal (UC, Hastings), Asmi Wood (ANU), and Christopher Essert (Toronto). Megan Davis (UNSW) will deliver the Sawer Public Lecture as part of the conference program (registration will be separate for this lecture). Conference details, including the full program, are available here.

Please register early!

In 2023, Federal Law Review – the flagship journal of the ANU College of Law at The Australian National University – will publish a special issue on themes underlying the conference. This call for submission is open to all, including but not only conference participants. It is expected that the issue will include national or comparative perspectives on equality spanning several countries. Paper submissions for this special issue are due 22 March 2022. For details please visit here.

32nd Annual Conference of the Samuel Griffith Society
Samuel Griffith Society
Date: 29 April – 1 May 2022
Location: Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach Hotel, Corner of Princess Street and The Grand Parade, Brighton-Le-Sands NSW 2216

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Sydney, the 32nd Annual Conference of the Samuel Griffith Society has been postponed until 2022.

The Samuel Griffith Society was founded in 1992. The Society aims to undertake and support research into our constitutional arrangements, and to encourage and promote widespread debate about the benefits of federalism, and to defend the great virtues of the present Constitution.

The Samuel Griffith Society holds a major conference each year and smaller events on an occasional basis. The Society is widely renowned for its prestige and the eminence of its speakers. Persons of all ages and from all disciplines are encouraged to attend our events.

For more information, and to register, click here.