Part of the Annual Geoffrey Sawer Lecture series
Brexit in the United Kingdom and the Turnbull/Dutton leadership challenge in Australia have given rise to serious consideration about how a Prime Minister might advise the Queen or Governor-General, and whether reserve powers might be exercised, with respect to matters including royal assent, the prorogation or dissolution of Parliament, the appointment and dismissal of a Prime Minister and the exercise of the caretaker conventions. What was previously regarded as inconceivable, has been seriously contemplated. This lecture will place these controversies in the context of constitutional principles, such as the rule of law and representative government, to consider how reserve powers can best operate as a matter of hard or soft power in a manner that supports, rather than opposes, those principles.
The Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL) thanks its major sponsor, the Australian Government Solicitor.