Indigenous Australians and the Constitution

Date & time
5.30–6.30pm Tuesday 15 October 2019

Law Theatre, ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, Acton

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Current students
Indigenous Australians and the Constitution

This event is part of ANU Law’s Visiting Judges Program.

In this seminar, join Dr Will Bateman and three experts in Commonwealth Constitutional Law as they will discuss the High Court's past and present engagements with Indigenous Australians, including case studies concerning the stolen generation (Kruger v Commonwealth (1997) 190 CLR 1) and whether a non-citizen holder of native title is an "alien" within the meaning of s51(xvii) (Thoms v The Commonwealth).

The three guest speakers are:

  • The Hon Justice Melissa Perry of the Federal Court of Australia
  • Ms Selena Bateman, Counsel Assisting the Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth
  • Ms Subeta Vimalarajah, Counsel, Constitutional Litigation Unit of the Office of General Counsel

Note: This seminar is open to all ANU Law students, and is a very rare opportunity to learn about constitutional law from top-flight practitioners.


  • Justice Melissa Perry »

    Justice Melissa Perry was appointed to the Federal Court of Australia in 2013. Her Honour graduated in Law from Adelaide University with 1st class honours, and was awarded a prize-winning PhD in public international law from Cambridge University. She practiced at the Bar in Australia from 1992 to 2013, being appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2004, and was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales in 2012. Her Honour’s areas of expertise in practice included environmental law, native title, constitutional law, and international law. Justice Perry serves as a Squadron Leader with the Royal Australian Air Force Legal Specialist Reserves. She is also a member of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity and chaired the specialist committee which prepared the Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals (2017).

  • Selena Bateman »

    Selena Bateman is the counsel assisting the Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. In that role she advises on the Commonwealth’s highest-profile legal issues with a focus on constitutional and administrative law. She also appears as counsel in the High Court of Australia, most recently in Vella v New South Wales (judgment reserved). Before working as counsel assisting, Selena worked in the Constitutional Litigation Unit of the Office of General Counsel at the Australian Government Solicitor. Before that, Selena was associate to the Hon Justice Alan Robertson and the Hon Justice John Griffiths of the Federal Court of Australia. Selena graduated from the ANU with a BA/LLB, ranked first in her graduating law class.

  • Subeta Vimalarajah »

    Subeta Vimalarajah graduated from the University of Sydney in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts/Laws. She is currently a lawyer in the Constitutional Litigation Unit of the Australian Government Solicitor’s Office of General Counsel. She has also practised in their Employment, Entitlements and Money team, where she provided constitutional, administrative law and statutory interpretation advice to Commonwealth entities. Prior to her time at AGS, Subeta worked at Gilbert + Tobin, and was seconded to the Central Land Council in Alice Springs.



Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team