Welcome to the November edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events 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. 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.

Climate Change and Human Rights at COP26
Australian National University Law Reform and Social Justice; Amnesty International
Date: 2 November 2021
Time: 7:00-8:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

At the end of October 2021, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will convene in Glasgow in what the hosts describe as “the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control”. Climate change represents one of the greatest threats to human rights of our generation. What is decided at COP26, and what countries do or fail to do in the years ahead, is therefore of critical importance. In this panel discussion, we will discuss Indigenous rights, climate change displacement, youth activism and strategic litigation.

Moderator: Peta Bulling, Bachelor of Environmental Studies/Laws (Hons) student at ANU and project lead at GreenLaw


  • Tony McAvoy, Australia’s first Indigenous Senior Counsel
  • Sanjula Weerasinghe, independent consultant
  • Annika Reynolds, CEO and founder of GreenLaw
  • Folole Tupuola, Pacific Climate Warriors coordinator

For more information, and to register, click here.

Forum on Law and COVID-19: Strengthening Legal Preparedness and Response for the Future
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific; supported by University of Melbourne
Date: 3 and November 2021
Time: 12:00-4:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of law in preparing for and responding to health emergencies. It has tested the capacity of domestic legal frameworks and revealed the shortcomings and opportunities for strengthening in all countries across the Western Pacific Region.

The Forum on COVID-19 and Law is a WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific event, hosted with the support of the University of Melbourne. It will bring together partners and experts at a regional and country level to share experiences and discuss future actions and directions for strengthening legal preparedness and response in the Region.

For more information, click here.

Public Lecture on Indigenous Peoples and Law
University of Sydney Law School
Date: 3 November 2021
Time: 6:30-7:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

This inaugural Sydney Law School public lecture on Indigenous Peoples and Law will be delivered by Associate Professor Nicole Watson, on the topic of ‘Indigenous Women, Outlaw Culture and the Law’.

Since the advent of colonisation, Indigenous women have rarely enjoyed the protection of the law. In response to their exclusion from the law’s protection, generations of Indigenous women have developed an outlaw culture, which consists of tactics and practices that provide sanctuary from the violence of colonisation.

In common with the outlaw culture articulated by the American scholar, Monica Evans, Indigenous women’s outlaw culture is manifest in a spectrum of relationships with the law. At one end of the spectrum are the law-breakers who became bushrangers and absconders. At the other end are women who sought to create sanctuary by operating within the law. Such outlaw women drew upon their resourcefulness and grit to advocate for constitutional reform. Others pursued litigation in order to protect the rights of vulnerable people.


  • Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services) at the University of Sydney
  • Professor Simon Bronitt, Dean of Sydney Law School, University of Sydney
  • Nathan Allen, First Nations Officer at Sydney University Law Society

This free online event will also be available to watch on demand after 3 November.

For more information, and to register, click here.

The Public International Law Webinar Series: The Public International Law Year in Review
Sydney Centre for International Law, University of Sydney Law School
Date: 3 November 2021
Time: 8:30-9:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

This event will see Judge Tim Eicke, Professor Neha Jain and Professor Christian Tams, three pre-eminent and authoritative figures in international law, discuss and debate the Public International Law Year in Review.

The speakers will critically examine a number of themes which have emerged over the course of the year, such as the ways in which different sub-fields in international law attempt to regulate internationally wrongful conduct, and the consequential trend of similar or related litigation being pursued before different international dispute resolution fora and transnational courts. Pressing and contemporary issues such as climate change, the continued relevance of bilateral investment treaties, and the present status of multilateralism in international law will also be discussed.

The webinar will conclude with a closing address by Rod Bundy, a leading practitioner in international dispute resolution, who will offer some observations on the broader implications of a number of cases currently pending before various tribunals.


  • Chow Zi En, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Singapore
  • Colin Liew, Duxton Hill Chambers

The webinar will be recorded and made available to registrants for 7 days after the webinar.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Disruptive Ideas Seminar: Outsourcing of Digital Government
Melbourne School of Government
Date: 8 November 2021
Time: 1:00-2:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online 

Everywhere you look, there are examples of government services and products being delivered via online platforms developed by private companies. Recent events in Australia provide a myriad of examples, from vaccine booking platforms to international vaccine passports. There are recent examples of what happens when these digital platforms falter – such as the 2016 census. Join the Melbourne School of Government for an in-depth discussion on why we need to take a more critical approach to the outsourcing of digital government.


  • Professor Janine O’Flynn, Professor of Public Management at ANZSOG and the University of Melbourne
  • Martin Stewart-Weeks, Founder and Principal of Public Purpose
  • Dr Marty Bortz, Honorary Senior Fellow at the Melbourne School of Government

For more information, and to register, click here.    

Refugee Status Determination: Law and Practice
Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales
Date: 9 November 2021
Time: 9:00-10:00am (AEDT)
Location: Online

On 9 November, as the fourth edition of ‘The Refugee in International Lawby Guy S Goodwin-Gill and Jane McAdam (together with Emma Dunlop) is published in the United States, Guy S Goodwin-Gill and Emma Dunlop will focus on the practice of refugee law today, in a discussion with Arif Hussein of the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS).

How is refugee status determined around the world amid changing social pressures? What are the trends in protection in different jurisdictions? What legal questions arise when restrictive policies mean that access to asylum is blocked, rights are curtailed, and people cannot access fair status determination procedures?

For more information, and to register, click here.

Book Launch – International Status in the Shadow of Empire
Institute for International Law and the Humanities, University of Melbourne
Date: 12 November 2021
Time: 4:30-5:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online with Hybrid/face-to-face element TBC

 Join Sundhya Pahuja and Shaun McVeigh in conversation with Cait Storr to launch her book titled ‘International Status in the Shadow of Empire: Nauru and the Histories of International Law’.

Nauru is often figured as an anomaly in the international order. This book offers a new account of Nauru’s imperial history and examines its significance to the histories of international law. Drawing on theories of jurisdiction and bureaucracy, it reconstructs four shifts in Nauru’s status – from German protectorate, to League of Nations C Mandate, to UN Trust Territory, to sovereign state – as a means of redescribing the transition from the nineteenth century imperial order to the twentieth century state system. The book argues that as international status shifts, imperial form accretes: as Nauru’s status shifted, what occurred at the local level was a gradual process of bureaucratisation. Two conclusions emerge from this argument. The first is that imperial administration in Nauru produced the Republic’s post-independence ‘failures’. The second is that international recognition of sovereign status is best understood as marking a beginning, not an end, of the process of decolonisation.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Reimagining the Relationship and Reshaping Our Institutions
Melbourne Law School
Date: 17 November 2021
Time: 6:00-7:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online and In-person at Law Building (106), Law G08

Tim Goodwin will speak about how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders must think beyond how to participate in current institutions and structures in nation building projects and instead build an intellectual base for reshaping those institutions and structures and assert an innovative form of cultural leadership – one both traditional and modern – that remakes Australia’s political, legal, social and cultural landscape.

Please note this is a hybrid event. If you would like to participate in watching this lecture online, you will be sent the Zoom webinar details once registered.

For more information, and to register, click here.

NSW Young Lawyers Constitutional Law Address: the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler AC 
NSW Young Lawyers
Date: 18 November  2021
Location: Online
Time: 6:30 – 7:45pm

NSW Young Lawyers invite you to attend this year’s Constitutional Law Address.

The evening will feature a keynote address by the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler AC of the High Court of Australia. His honour will discuss current issues in constitutional law, which are relevant to law students, young lawyers and legal practitioners alike.

This will be followed by a written address from former High Court Justice, Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE GBM QC and the announcement of the winner for this year’s Sir Anthony Mason Constitutional Law Essay Competition.

The event promises to be a fantastic evening for anyone interested in public law. To register, click here.

14th Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory
Melbourne Law School
Date: 22 November – 23 November 2021
Location: Online

The Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory is an annual interdisciplinary workshop hosted by graduate researchers. The Forum brings together research students and early career researchers from a range of academic disciplines to engage with social, political, theoretical, and methodological issues raised by law and legal theory.

The 14th Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory will take place on 22-23 November 2021 as a fully virtual event. The forum brings together graduate researchers and early career scholars from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to think methodically, theoretically and critically about law and theory. This year’s theme is Utopia and the legal imagination.

The world is in the early stages of a global pandemic; the ramifications of which are both immediate, and still partly unknown. In the midst of very real suffering, is there a place for some reflection on worlds past, present and future? Arundhati Roy suggested this pandemic could be a ‘portal’ to a different world, suggesting we are at a critical juncture for generating utopian thinking; while Rebecca Solnit observed that disasters ‘begin suddenly and never really end.’ What can this period tell us about hope, creating new futures, and our histories?

For more information, click here.

Disruptive Ideas Seminar: Design and Digital Government
Melbourne School of Government
Date: 23 November 2021
Time: 1:00-2:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online 

Design, design thinking & human-centred design are terms that are becoming commonplace in organisations across Australia, especially in the context of digital transformation. The digital transformation of government has increasingly drawn on design perspectives to ensure services are aligned with the needs and expectations of citizens. Join Melbourne School of Government for a discussion with Professor Katja Hölttä-Otto, A/Prof Jenny Waycott, Andrew Apostola and Luke Thomas on how design can inform the work of governments undergoing digital transformation.

For more information, and to register, click here.

First Nations Peoples’ Truth and Justice Commissions
Australian Academy of Law
Date: 24 November 2021
Time: 6:00-7:15pm (AEDT)
Location: Online and In-person at Court 1, Federal Court, 305 William Street, Melbourne

In May 2021 the Victorian Government appointed five Commissioners to constitute a truth-telling Royal Commission, the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission. The Commission is to inquire into historic and on-going systemic injustice perpetrated against First Peoples since the Colonisation of Victoria.

Chair: Hon Pamela Tate SC


  • Professor Hon Kevin Bell AM QC, a Commissioner of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission and Executive Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University
  • Dr Wayne Atkinson, Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Wurrung man and a Commissioner of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission
  • Professor Kate O’Regan, Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford

For more information, and to register, click here.   

Legal Education Research Conference 2021
University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and Justice
Date: 26-27 November 2021
Time: 10:00am-4:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

The theme of the UNSW Legal Education Research Conference 2021 is ‘Pedagogies of the Pandemic’. We mean this theme broadly and at least in two basic senses. First, we are interested in discussions of what law pedagogy looks like under conditions of COVID-19. How does one take a course of study most often focused on in-class discussion and debate and conduct it virtually? What has worked and not worked in particular law subjects? And why and how?

Second, in addition to what and how we have had to teach under the pandemic, we encourage reflections about what the pandemic has taught us – what have we learnt about the institutions and intellectual life of the law school, nationally and globally? What have we learnt about our discipline and the way we teach and transmit its knowledge? Is the pandemic a ‘teachable moment?’ If so, what kind of a moment is it?

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Natalie Skead, University of Western Australia Law School
  • Professor Alex Steel, University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and Justice
  • Professor David Thomson, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

For more information, and to register, click here.

Disruptive Ideas Seminar: Government Innovation and Public Engagement
Melbourne School of Government
Date: 1 December 2021
Time: 1:00-2:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online 

Join Melbourne School of Government honorary fellow Holly Ransom for a conversation with Prof 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 Prof Noveck. The final 30min of this event will be an opportunity for you 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: 1 December 2021
Time: 1:00pm (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 at the Centre for Public Integrity
  • Dr Catherine Williams, Research Director at the Centre for Public Integrity
  • Professor Joo-Cheong Tham, Director at the Electoral Regulation Research Network

For more information, and to register, click here.

Financial Barriers to Accessing Constitutional Justice
Monash Law and AACL
Date: 2 December 2021
5:00 – 6:15pm (AEDT)

Join Monash Law and the Australian Association of Constitutional Lawfor a special forum to explore Financial Barriers to Accessing Constitutional Justice.

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.

– Isabelle Reinecke, Executive Director and Founder, Grata Fund
– Jack Maxwell, Barrister, Vic Bar

Chair: Associate Professor Luke Beck, Monash Law

For more information and to register, please click here.

Legalisation of Same-Sex Marriage: A Global perspective online conference
School of Law, Vietnam National University Hanoi; Asian Law Centre, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne; and The iSEE Institute, Vietnam
Date: 7-8 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.

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


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

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.