Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books and working papers. Other papers and publications can be found on SSRN and the ANU Researchers database.

England and the Rediscovery of Constitutional Faith

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

England is currently experiencing a widely recognised constitutional renaissance, with traditional English ‘liberties’ at its core: historic rights and liberty-affirming documents of the past are cited by counsel and judge alike, the Prime Minister waxes lyrical about constitutional values which define the British nation, scholars call for the revival of a purported rights-centric common law constitution, and a new breed of media-star historians are rediscovering English liberties in political institutions and re-imagined constitutional moments. Even the mythology of Magna Carta is resurfacing in the popular imagination, the date of its signing selected by public poll as ‘the best date to celebrate Britishness’.

The rhetoric contrasts with the dominant popular trope for much of the twentieth century, which portrayed the English constitution as essentially clever politics. Today’s constitutional veneration, however, has a long and complex history. This paper charts the variety of constitutional veneration that arose in the post-reformation period, as well as its decline, and contemporary revival. Starting with an overview of the seventeenth century, it charts the emergence of a constitutional language arising out of the rich theological and philosophical tradition of the age, and the persuasive use by the principal judicial figures of the day of new forms of historiography, traditional natural law philosophy, and emerging ethnic nationalism. Underpinned by contended notions of liberty and religiosity, this potent mix ensured that the newly minted English constitution enjoyed a quasi-religious status, embracing divinely ordained values and institutional arrangements that at once defined what it was to be both English and Protestant, and therefore was worthy of veneration. The decline of this constitutional model in the 19th and 20th century is then considered against the backdrop of empiricism, utilitarianism, nationalism and the victory of a political understanding of the constitutional model. The purported disappearance of the ‘legal’ constitution in this period, however, was never to be consolidated, nor were the contradictions inherent in the new ‘sovereignist’ model reconcilable with the explosion of rights jurisprudence in the latter part of the twentieth century. The article therefore concludes with a brief overview of the re-emergence of the language of constitutional faith in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, and the renewed reliance on this rhetoric of constitutional veneration by the judicial branch of government in an attempt to influence the development of a normative English constitutional and national identity.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, LRSJ

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Religion, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Citizenship and Identity in Diverse Societies

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein, Mark Nolan

This article examines the relationship between the legal status of citizenship and psychological research about blended identity in diverse societies such as Australia. A blended identity could include Australian national identity as well as other identities relevant to a person's self-definition. Analysing the link between citizenship law and the psychological enjoyment of blended identity is important after the reforms to Australian citizenship law in 2007. As discussed below, the former Liberal-National Government introduced a new citizenship knowledge test for citizenship-by-conferral applicants. In doing so, that government expressed strong beliefs about the power of a shared, unitary, national identity. It also supported calls for citizenship applicants to sign a statement of Australian values (different to the citizenship pledge) and to complete an English language test. In light of the reforms and political debate, we attack the suggestion that blended identification (for example, as a Greek Australian) is somehow inconsistent with true Australian national identification and citizenship, and moreover we argue that a single national identification sits uneasily with the legal acceptance of dual and multiple citizenship in current Australian legislation.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, CMSL, LGDI

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Criminal Law, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Law and Psychology, Law and Social Justice, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples, Military & Security Law

Judicial Rhetoric and Constitutional Identity: Comparative Approaches to Aliens' Rights in the United Kingdom and Australia

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

A comparison between the judicial reasoning adopted by the House of Lords in Belmarsh and Torture Evidence cases, and the High Court of Australia's administrative detention cases (especially Al-Kateb) reveals stark differences in the approach to common law rights, judicial reasoning, and constitutional rhetoric. Using the language of historically-based identity-informing constitutional values, their Lordships' speeches can be seen as exercises in public and political persuasion, made within the idiom of constitutional veneration which is enjoying a renaissance in the UK. This emerging judicial rhetoric combines an appeal to a mythologised constitutional past with an emphasis on the quintessentially 'British' nature of the rights at stake to consolidate both the constitutional status of the 'principle of legality' and an inclusive notion of 'equality'. By contrast, the High Court's majority decisions are virtually devoid of the language of values, and are silent on the nature or status of the rights which Parliament was impliedly abrogating. The decisions are instead shrouded in the equally powerful rhetoric of strict legalism. Behind this purportedly valueless methodology, however, their Honours' decisions reveal attitudes towards aliens as 'illegal,' 'unlawful' and 'unwanted' rather than rights-bearers, and a judicial deference to Parliament to 'protect' an undefined Australian community. The arrival of French CJ to the helm of the High Court might see a reinvigoration of common law rights via the principle of legality.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, LRSJ

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Religion, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Judicial Rhetoric and Constitutional Identity: Comparative Approaches to Aliens' Rights in the United Kingdom and Australia

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

A comparison between the judicial reasoning adopted by the House of Lords in Belmarsh and Torture Evidence cases, and the High Court of Australia's administrative detention cases (especially Al-Kateb) reveals stark differences in the approach to common law rights, judicial reasoning, and constitutional rhetoric. Using the language of historically-based identity-informing constitutional values, their Lordships' speeches can be seen as exercises in public and political persuasion, made within the idiom of constitutional veneration which is enjoying a renaissance in the UK. This emerging judicial rhetoric combines an appeal to a mythologised constitutional past with an emphasis on the quintessentially 'British' nature of the rights at stake to consolidate both the constitutional status of the 'principle of legality' and an inclusive notion of 'equality'. By contrast, the High Court's majority decisions are virtually devoid of the language of values, and are silent on the nature or status of the rights which Parliament was impliedly abrogating. The decisions are instead shrouded in the equally powerful rhetoric of strict legalism. Behind this purportedly valueless methodology, however, their Honours' decisions reveal attitudes towards aliens as 'illegal,' 'unlawful' and 'unwanted' rather than rights-bearers, and a judicial deference to Parliament to 'protect' an undefined Australian community. The arrival of French CJ to the helm of the High Court might see a reinvigoration of common law rights via the principle of legality.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, LRSJ

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Religion, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

'From this Time Forward... I Pledge My Loyalty to Australia': Loyalty, Citizenship and Constitutional Law in Australia

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

A major change in Australian citizenship law occurred on 4 April 2002. On that day, the governor-general of Australia assented to the passage of the Australian Citizenship Amendment Act 2002 (Cth). Before that date, Australian citizens who took up a new citizenship (like Rupert Murdoch taking up US citizenship) automatically lost their Australian citizenship. Central to the former provision, and the 2002 changes, is a view of loyalty and allegiance to the nation-state. This chapter examines how those concepts of loyalty and allegiance are central to discussions on citizenship, and how they are reflected in Australian citizenship law. Moreover, it argues that the change on dual citizenship in Australia has constitutional ramifications; for example, section 44 of the Constitution prevents dual citizens from running for parliament. The chapter concludes with the proposal that the Constitution needs amendment to reflect modern notions of commitment over outdated notions of sole allegiance to one country.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Regulating Impartiality: Electoral Boundary Politics in the Administrative Arena

Author(s): Ron Levy

The author examines impartiality in cases of politically contentious decision making. Many jurisdictions delegate decisions over matters such as the establishment of fair election ground rules to independent bodies. Some of these bodies, including Canada's Federal Electoral Boundaries Commissions (FEBCs), attract widespread trust and are by most accounts substantially impartial. In contrast, commissions empanelled to draw electoral boundaries in the United States, and to a lesser extent in certain Canadian provinces, are often plagued by partisanship.

The author canvasses approaches to controlling partisanship, relying on a series of interviews conducted with boundaries commissioners and on interdisciplinary literature on trust and trustworthiness in governance. Commentators often favour bolstering formal constraints on FEBC discretion. However, the author concludes that traditional administrative law models favouring such constraints are often inadequate. In politically sensitive cases these methods frequently catalyze partisanship. Proposals for more nuanced design - design sensitive to the complex interactions between law and administrative culture in cases where the potential for partisanship is high - are better but rarer. The author focuses in particular on the use of ambiguity in legal and institutional design. Although this approach is counterintuitive in light of rule-of-law assumptions favouring clarity, it has nevertheless gained traction in commentary and has long been at work in practice. The author argues that extensively ambiguous design, as displayed by the complex federal readjustment processes in Canada, has helped to develop the widely admired impartial decision-making cultures of the FEBCs.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law, Governance and Development

State/Territory Human Rights Legislation in a Federal Judicial System

Author(s): James Stellios

The Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have enacted human rights legislation. These legislative schemes empower the respective Supreme Courts to make declarations of inconsistency where legislation cannot be interpreted consistently with legislatively declared human rights. The declarations have no impact on the validity of legislation or on anyone's rights. State and Territory Supreme Courts, however, operate within a federal judicial system, and various constitutional difficulties deriving from Ch III of the Constitution present significant obstacles to the effective operation of these schemes. This article considers these constitutional difficulties and suggests that future State and Territory human rights legislation will have to be designed with these constitutional constraints in mind.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, International Law

Loyalty and Membership: Globalization and its Impact on Citizenship, Multiculturalism, and the Australian Community

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This chapter argues that differing views underpinning the debate about dual citizenship are mirrored in policy discourse about the place of multiculturalism in Australia. Globalization has and continues to have a substantial impact upon legal status and membership and identity in both the nation-state and in the international legal system. These legal changes reflect the shifting notions of membership both in the Australian domestic framework and in the international framework. Moreover, these changes must be taken into account in balancing rights and responsibilities in a diverse society, so that multiculturalism and cultural diversity continue to be affirmed within the legal framework and public policy in the same way dual citizenship has been accepted.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Looking for the 'Heart' of the National Political Community: Regulating Membership in Australia

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

When a community determines who can come into its territory, and who can later become full members, it reflects upon and reaches, in the words of United States academic Linda Bosniak, 'deep into the heart of the national political community, and profoundly affects the nature of relations among those residing within.' Given Australia is fundamentally a nation of people who have at some point relatively recently been outsiders, let in by those who have arrived ahead of them, there is a lot unresolved within the 'heart' of Australia.

In this article, I draw from my work on Australian citizenship to argue that the phenomenon of offshore processing is part of an overall policy that forces outside of the community, and further from citizenship and membership, the 'alien'. It is a product of the Australian constitution which defines who its members are, by who they are not. This is a consequence of a constitution that gives the Commonwealth immense power over 'aliens' - a power that reflects back upon those who are not aliens, and impacts upon the identity of all Australian citizens. Finally, it is a result of a belief by those in power that the state has an absolute right to determine who comes into its borders.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples

The (Limited) Significance of the Individual in Section 117 State Residence Discrimination

Author(s): Amelia Simpson

The High Court has yet to resolve a clash of paradigms pervading the reasoning in Street v Queensland Bar Association, the leading case on the Constitution's s 117 prohibition of interstate residence discrimination. Some among the seven separate judgments in that case view s 117 as a non-discrimination rule grounded in intrinsic concern for the individual. Others understand the provision in instrumental terms, viewing its protection of individuals as nothing more than a vehicle for securing federal-structural goals. Neither view clearly prevailed in Street or in subsequent cases. This article explains why a federal-structural understanding of s 117 should be favoured, for reasons of constitutional principle and of consistency with other areas of constitutional law. It also considers what that means for s 117's application in the future, as to the kinds of evidence, reasoning, and comparative guidance that will be most pertinent.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory

From the Hudood Ordinances to the Protection of Women Act: Islamic Critiques of the Hudood Laws of Pakistan

Author(s): Moeen Cheema

This paper is an attempt to present an impartial review of the Islamized laws pertaining to sexual offences in Pakistan and to highlight the major structural and theoretical problems therein, paying particular attention to the perspectives of the modernist Islamists, human rights lawyers as well as traditionalist Islamic scholars. We hope to demonstrate that there is a set of fundamental theoretical disagreements between the modernist and traditional Islamic accounts which preclude the possibility of full agreement on the scope, remit and applicability of these laws. Over the last two decades the Shariat (Islamic) courts, although appearing to be responsive to some of the human rights criticisms and political opposition, have been unable to define the underlying philosophical premises on the basis of which they interpret and apply these laws. The legislature too has failed to resolve the fundamental tensions and recent legislative interventions represent a compromise between the two perspectives, while also accommodating the human rights critique through a number of procedural safeguards. This is typical of recent efforts at law reform in the context of 'de-Islamization' and means that in reality the real debate concerning the nature and scope of Islamic laws regulating sexual conduct is only being deferred.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law, Governance and Development, Legal Theory

Regulating Impartiality: Electoral Boundary Politics in the Administrative Arena

Author(s): Ron Levy

The author examines impartiality in cases of politically contentious decision making. Many jurisdictions delegate decisions over matters such as the establishment of fair election ground rules to independent bodies. Some of these bodies, including Canada's Federal Electoral Boundaries Commissions (FEBCs), attract widespread trust and are by most accounts substantially impartial. In contrast, commissions empanelled to draw electoral boundaries in the United States, and to a lesser extent in certain Canadian provinces, are often plagued by partisanship.

The author canvasses approaches to controlling partisanship, relying on a series of interviews conducted with boundaries commissioners and on interdisciplinary literature on trust and trustworthiness in governance. Commentators often favour bolstering formal constraints on FEBC discretion. However, the author concludes that traditional administrative law models favouring such constraints are often inadequate. In politically sensitive cases these methods frequently catalyze partisanship. Proposals for more nuanced design - design sensitive to the complex interactions between law and administrative culture in cases where the potential for partisanship is high - are better but rarer. The author focuses in particular on the use of ambiguity in legal and institutional design. Although this approach is counterintuitive in light of rule-of-law assumptions favouring clarity, it has nevertheless gained traction in commentary and has long been at work in practice. The author argues that extensively ambiguous design, as displayed by the complex federal readjustment processes in Canada, has helped to develop the widely admired impartial decision-making cultures of the FEBCs.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law, Governance and Development

The High Court's Conception of Discrimination: Origins, Applications, and Implications

Author(s): Amelia Simpson

In constitutional settings, the High Court has grown attached to a particular conception of discrimination that is notable for its abstractedness and purported universality. This article explores that conception, tracing its evolution and its permeation of the Court's constitutional jurisprudence. It argues that this 'universal' conception of discrimination, while it does mandate certain limited content, cannot provide guidance upon some of the most significant questions confronting judges when shaping constitutional non-discrimination rules.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory

Sedition, Security and Human Rights: 'Unbalanced' Law Reform in the 'War on Terror'

Author(s): James Stellios

This article provides a review of the history, structure and form of the law of sedition, focusing on the new provisions inserted into the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) in 2005 as part of a wider counter-terrorism package. A short historical review of sedition in Australia is followed by a critical analysis of the new offences, which explores the constitutional and human rights implications of these new offences. Critical attention is given to the process of law reform that seeks to 'balance' security and human rights, focusing on the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission which emerged from the retrospective review of the 2005 reforms. Our conclusion is that the 'balanced' model endorsed by the Australian Law Reform Commission produces incoherence in relation to the definition of offences and 'good faith' defences. In particular, incoherence is produced by definitions of offences that are over-inclusive or under-inclusive depending on the rationale (security or human rights) which is accorded priority.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, International Law

Uncertainty and Exclusion: Detention of Aliens and the High Court

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

In a series of judgments in late 2004, the High Court found that the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) unambiguously provides for the indefinite detention of unlawful non-citizens, and that such a law is constitutionally valid. The cases are significant not only for reflecting different approaches to statutory construction, the aliens power and the potential protections offered by Ch III - the manifest issues before the Court - but for the broader perspectives of Australia's constitutional arrangements and the control of public power. With specific reference to the judgments in Al-Kateb and Re Woolley, this paper argues that the majority were inherently informed by a largely unstated assumption about the Court's constitutional role that relies upon an unprecedented deference to the other branches of government, as well as an attitude towards aliens as a category - reflected in the rhetoric of control, exclusion and unlawfulness - that echoes a regrettable part of Australia's constitutional inheritance. By neglecting to state or address these assumptions upfront, and by failing to present a coherent test to stand in the stead of the protection which earlier case law had promised, the majority's reasoning loses both its moral authority and legal coherency.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, LRSJ

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Religion, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Regulating Telecommunications Interception and Access in the 21st Century: Technological Evolution or Legal Revolution?

Author(s): James Stellios

This article reviews the expansion of federal telecommunications interception powers, focusing on the watershed reforms enacted in 2006. The new statutory frameworks governing interception of "live" and "stored communications" are compared and contrasted, with a particular focus on their impact on human rights such as privacy and the fair trial. The article identifies significant regulatory loopholes and deficiencies in this new system, casting doubt on the usefulness of adopting a "balancing" model to guide either macro-level policy development or micro-level decision-making relating to individual warrants.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, International Law

Chair of the Citizenship Council

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This chapter appears in a collection honouring Sir Ninian Stephen, former Australian High Court Judge and Governor General. The chapter examines Sir Ninian's contributions to citizenship law in both a domestic and international context. Indeed, the chapter straddles both aspects of this book's division: Sir Ninian's domestic and international contributions. It begins by concentrating upon his Australian contributions in this field and then moves on to reflect in particular on his judgment in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the case of Proscecutor v Dusko Tadic, which had important statements about nationality in an international humanitarian law context. As I too am interested in both jurisdictions, the chapter reflects upon the contrasts and similarities of Sir Ninian's contribution to those different jurisdictions and what they may tell us about Sir Ninian's framework for thinking about citizenship. In doing so, it is my contention that Sir Ninian is a role model to all seeking to be cosmopolitan citizens in an ever increasingly connected world.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Using Federalism to Protect Political Communication: Implications from Federal Representative Government

Author(s): James Stellios

The recognition of the implied freedom of political communication has been the subject of much controversy. Although a unanimous Court in Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation identified the textual basis for the implication, there continues to be significant uncertainty as to the nature and scope of the freedom. This article seeks to provide an alternative constitutional foundation for protecting political communication, which focuses on the way in which representative government has been accommodated within the federal structure of government. In doing so, it attempts to provide a firmer constitutional foundation for the protection of political communication.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, International Law

Advancing Citizenship: The Legal Armory and its Limits

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This Article considers the use of litigation as one mechanism to make citizenship more inclusive. It examines three Australian High Court decisions on citizenship in which the author was also counsel. While addressing the promotion of inclusive approaches to citizenship as a legal status, the Article argues that advocates must consider a range of avenues for advancing their clients' claims. In doing so, the Article also presents a normative critique of citizenship legislation as not paying enough attention to the individual's affiliation with Australia. The cases highlight rules that overlook certain individuals without giving sufficient consideration to their special circumstances, demonstrating that a person's identity is not always reflected in law.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Judicial Selection: Trust and Reform

Author(s): Ron Levy

The Ad Hoc Committee to Review a Nominee for the Supreme Court of Canada held unprecedented public hearings in advance of the appointment of Justice Marshall Rothstein to the Court. The author assesses the work of the Committee using the interdisciplinary literature on assorted institutional design models and their effects on public trust and decision-maker trustworthiness. This literature can inform efforts to ensure that judicial selectors select, or aspire to select, new justices impartially. The Committee adopted a comparatively ineffective and risky model of democratization that relies on accountability tools such as political party dýtente. Past examples suggest that an alternative approach is preferable: Reforms should focus not on increasing accountability for selections but on building trust and trustworthiness in selections. The author offers specific recommendations to enhance trust and trustworthiness in the selection process using a permanent Supreme Court of Canada appointments body. The body proposed can enable robust rather than token levels of public involvement while preserving or broadening judicial independence.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law, Governance and Development

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