The eligibility crisis in Australia was drawn out, brutal and unexpected. After nearly a year of High Court deliberation and judgment, section 44 is no longer an unknown commodity at kitchen tables around Australia. A handful of judgments, more than 10 parliamentarians rendered ineligible, and 15 by-elections and Senate recounts - the crisis spanned all five disqualifying limbs of section 44. In the space of a year more litigation arose from section 44 than in any other time in our constitution’s history.
At the near end of the crisis, the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers are bringing you two experts in the field for a Q&A on the intricacies of this chapter in constitutional history. Was there a theme in the Court’s approach to constitutional interpretation? What grey areas still remain? And where next (if anywhere at all) for section 44 reform?
We will be joined by Professor George Williams AO, Dean of UNSW Law and author of the leading textbook “Blackshield and Williams: Australian Constitutional Law And Theory”, and Professor Helen Irving FASSA, constitutional law professor at the University of Sydney, author of “Five Things to Know about the Australian Constitution”, and most recently “Citizenship, Alienage, and the Modern Constitutional State: A Gendered History”.
The panel will be moderated by James Mack, junior counsel in the cases Re Gallagher and Alley v Gillespie.
Attendees must register online using the below form prior to the event. Questions can also be submitted prior to the event using the online form available here. We encourage you to submit your question early for consideration.