Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books, book chapters, journal articles and working papers. The ANU College of Law also publishes a Research Paper Series on SSRN.

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Telling a History of Australian Women Judges Through Courts' Ceremonial Archives

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Swearing-in ceremonies are held to mark the investiture of a new judge on the bench. Transcribed and stored within courts’ public records, these proceedings form a rich ‘ceremonial archive’. This paper showcases the value of this archive for the (re)telling of Australian legal history and, particularly, a history of Australian women lawyers. Using a case study drawn from the swearing-in ceremonies of women judges of the High Court, Federal Court, and Family Courts of Australia between 1993 and 2013, the paper explores what this archive reveals about the Australian legal community’s attitudes towards women in the law. It argues that despite the regional and jurisdictional differences between these courts, recurring themes emerge. Notably, while feminising discourse dominates the earlier ceremonies, stories of the judges’ personal and judicial identity come to display a more overt feminist consciousness by the end of the Labor Governments in power in Australia between 2007 and 2013.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law

Gender Quotas on Boards -- Is it Time for Australia to Lean in?

Author(s): Peta Spender

This article examines whether Australia should introduce a gender quota on ASX 200 boards. Although existing institutional arrangements favour voluntary initiatives, Australia may be at a critical juncture where two factors — the public, pragmatic nature of the statutory regulation of corporations in Australia and the current salience of gender as a political issue — may favour the introduction of a quota. In particular, Australian policy-makers may be amenable to change by observing initiatives from other jurisdictions. It is argued that we should maintain a healthy scepticism about functionalist arguments such as the business case for women on boards. Rather, we should invoke enduring justifications such as equality, parity and democratic legitimacy to support a quota. The optimal design of an Australian gender board quota will be also be explored.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Europe at the Edge of Pluralism

Europe at the Edge of Pluralism

Editor(s): , Magdalena Kmak

This volume tackles contemporary problems of legal accommodation of diversity in Europe and recent developments in the area in diverse European legal regimes. Despite professing the motto 'Unity in Diversity,' Europe appears to be struggling with discord rather than unity. Legal discussions reflect a crisis when it comes to matters of migration, accommodation of minorities, and dealing with the growing heterogeneity of European societies. The book illustrates that the current legal conundrums stem from European oscillation between, on the one hand, acknowledging the need of accommodation, and, on the other, the tendencies to preserve existing legal traditions. It claims that these opposite tendencies have led Europe to the edge of pluralism. This 'edge' - just as with the linguistic interpretation of the word 'edge' - carries multiple meanings, conveying a plethora of problems encountered by law when dealing with diversity. The book explores and illustrates these multiple 'edges of pluralism,' tracing back their origins and examining the contemporary legal conundrums they have led to.

Order your copy online

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Law and Religion, Migration and Movement of Peoples

The Mirage of Merit

The Mirage of Merit: Reconstituting the 'Ideal Academic'

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper takes a hard look at merit and the ideal academic, twin concepts that have been accorded short shrift by the scholarly literature. For the most authoritative positions, the ideal displays all the hallmarks of Benchmark Man. Despite the ostensible 'feminisation' of the academy, the liberal myth that merit is stable, objective and calculable lingers on. As a counterpoint to the feminisation thesis, it is argued that a remasculinisation of the academy is occurring as a result of the transformation of higher education wrought by the new knowledge economy. In response, the ideal academic has become a 'technopreneur' – a scientific researcher with business acumen who produces academic capitalism. This new ideal academic evinces a distinctly masculinist hue in contrast to the less-than-ideal academic – the humanities or social science teacher with large classes, who is more likely to be both casualised and feminised.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

Australian anti-discrimination law 2nd edition

Australian anti-discrimination law 2nd Edition

Author(s): , Neil Rees, Dominique Allen

The second edition of this book, which is the first major text in the field directed to both legal practitioners and law students, contains a detailed analysis of Australian anti-discrimination law as well as extracts from all of the major cases and the writings of leading commentators. It incorporates the many changes to the law since the first edition was published in 2008 and includes new chapters dealing with positive duties, victimisation and protections against discrimination in industrial relations laws. The book includes a comprehensive examination of the difficult concepts of direct and indirect discrimination as well as coverage of the major grounds of unlawful discrimination, such as race, sex and disability. The book records the history of the major pieces of anti-discrimination legislation, examines important international developments and includes numerous suggestions for reform.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice

Chisholm, Understanding Law

Understanding law: an introduction to Australia's legal system (8th ed)

Author(s): Richard Chisholm, Garth Nettheim

Written by highly qualified authors, the direct, clear and often humorous style of this book will help readers understand how the law relates to real issues and controversies. The institutions and sources of law in our legal system are clearly explained, including the roles of lawyers, the courts and the legislature. Illustrative examples and a discussion of actual cases enable students and other citizens to engage with topics such as historical basis of Australian law, Australian law and international law, human rights, procedural fairness and the notions of law and morality. New stimulus questions and activities included in this 8th edition invite the reader to consider the interrelationship of law, tradition and social values. Understanding Law is a perfect introduction to the law for students engaging with legal studies and for other academic disciplines at tertiary and senior secondary levels. It is an ideal starting point for any Australian interested in learning more about their legal system.

Order your copy online

Centre:

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice

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Women Judges, 'Maiden Speeches,' and the High Court of Australia

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Since the Australian High Court was established in 1903, ceremonies have been held to mark the swearing-in of a new Justice. This chapter utilizes the speeches made at the swearing-in ceremonies of Gaudron, Crennan, Kiefel, and Bell as a prism to explore the representation of women judges in the Australian legal community, and in particular, the Australian High Court.

These ceremonies are a rich resource by virtue of the two kinds of speeches made on these occasions. First, leaders of the Australian legal community make speeches welcoming the new High Court judge to the bench. In a legal system where federal judges are chosen behind closed doors, the welcome speeches have performed a key role in introducing the new judges to the public, and attesting to their skills as lawyer and judge. Importantly, the litany of a new judge’s accomplishments on these occasions contextualizes the concept of “merit” in a High Court appointment. Furthermore, the speech by the Commonwealth Attorney-General has provided a measure of public justification of his decision to appoint a particular judge. This chapter explores how the welcome speakers have grappled with the novelty of the feminine in the stories about the four female High Court judges. I argue that gender too often dominated this narrative, to a discriminatory and feminizing effect. In this regard, however, Bell’s ceremony may signal a new direction in the Australian legal community’s attitude toward female judges.

The second element of the swearing-in ceremony is the judge’s response to the welcome speeches. As his or her inaugural speech as a member of the High Court, this speech is the judicial equivalent of the “maiden speech” by members of parliament. The judge’s speech is delivered in a setting rich with contradiction: a statement from the bench, yet of no judicial force; liberated in content and style from the boundaries of a legal dispute and yet constrained by the weight of convention regarding the “appropriate” remarks for an incoming judge; and, a statement of individual identity, values, and principles made from the “identity-less” judge of the common law tradition. For present purposes, the critical feature of the inaugural speeches of Australia’s four female High Court judges is how they tell their stories and the place of gender in that narrative. I argue that these speeches reflect a continuing pressure faced by women judges to distance themselves from the perception of their “otherness” on the bench. This pressure manifested first in Gaudron’s speech, Women Judges, “Maiden Speeches,” and the High Court of Australia when she tempered her bold acknowledgment of her identity as the first woman to join the High Court with affirmations of her sameness with her brother judges. Significantly, twenty years later, Bell’s swearing-in speech continued to display both a self-conscious silencing of her feminine voice and statements affirming her distance from outsiders on the bench.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law

Women Judges

Women Judges, 'Maiden Speeches,' and the High Court of Australia

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Since the Australian High Court was established in 1903, ceremonies have been held to mark the swearing-in of a new Justice. This chapter utilizes the speeches made at the swearing-in ceremonies of Gaudron, Crennan, Kiefel, and Bell as a prism to explore the representation of women judges in the Australian legal community, and in particular, the Australian High Court.

These ceremonies are a rich resource by virtue of the two kinds of speeches made on these occasions. First, leaders of the Australian legal community make speeches welcoming the new High Court judge to the bench. In a legal system where federal judges are chosen behind closed doors, the welcome speeches have performed a key role in introducing the new judges to the public, and attesting to their skills as lawyer and judge. Importantly, the litany of a new judge’s accomplishments on these occasions contextualizes the concept of “merit” in a High Court appointment. Furthermore, the speech by the Commonwealth Attorney-General has provided a measure of public justification of his decision to appoint a particular judge. This chapter explores how the welcome speakers have grappled with the novelty of the feminine in the stories about the four female High Court judges. I argue that gender too often dominated this narrative, to a discriminatory and feminizing effect. In this regard, however, Bell’s ceremony may signal a new direction in the Australian legal community’s attitude toward female judges.

The second element of the swearing-in ceremony is the judge’s response to the welcome speeches. As his or her inaugural speech as a member of the High Court, this speech is the judicial equivalent of the “maiden speech” by members of parliament. The judge’s speech is delivered in a setting rich with contradiction: a statement from the bench, yet of no judicial force; liberated in content and style from the boundaries of a legal dispute and yet constrained by the weight of convention regarding the “appropriate” remarks for an incoming judge; and, a statement of individual identity, values, and principles made from the “identity-less” judge of the common law tradition. For present purposes, the critical feature of the inaugural speeches of Australia’s four female High Court judges is how they tell their stories and the place of gender in that narrative. I argue that these speeches reflect a continuing pressure faced by women judges to distance themselves from the perception of their “otherness” on the bench. This pressure manifested first in Gaudron’s speech, Women Judges, “Maiden Speeches,” and the High Court of Australia when she tempered her bold acknowledgment of her identity as the first woman to join the High Court with affirmations of her sameness with her brother judges. Significantly, twenty years later, Bell’s swearing-in speech continued to display both a self-conscious silencing of her feminine voice and statements affirming her distance from outsiders on the bench.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law

Using Discourse Theory

Introduction: Using Discourse Theory to Untangle Public and International Environmental Law

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

The world is talking, pondering, and strategising about the environment. Ever more of the environment has been identified, publicly contemplated, or designated for despoliation and resource extraction. Remote and ‘wild’ places like the rugged Australian Kimberley and the far reaches of North America are now subject to advanced plans for fossil fuel extraction. Environmental disasters, including fires, floods, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunami, and schemes to alleviate or prevent future human suffering from catastrophe, have occupied governmental and organisational attention. Meanwhile, concerns about environmental degradation, and in particular human-induced climate change, dominate Western media and national and international politics, and are connecting communities through conversation and localised action. The nature, breadth and extent of global responses to climate change are also points of contention between the developing and developed worlds.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

‘Swearing Mary’: The Significance of the Speeches Made at Mary Gaudron's Swearing-in as a Justice of the High Court of Australia

Author(s): Heather Roberts

During the High Court of Australia’s first century, Mary Gaudron served as the first and only female member of its bench. This paper commemorates the 25th anniversary of Gaudron’s appointment to the High Court by examining the speeches made at her swearing-in ceremony, in February 1987. Largely ignored by scholars, swearing-in ceremonies provide unique insights into the history of courts and the personality and philosophy of their judges. Through the prism of Gaudron’s swearing-in ceremony, this paper showcases the significance of these occasions as a commentary on the institutional and intellectual life of the Court. In particular, Gaudron’s swearing-in ceremony tells a fascinating story of institutional and gender politics in the High Court: the legal community’s varied response to the novelty of a woman High Court Justice; Gaudron’s intricate balancing between her distinctive vision of her obligations as a mentor to women lawyers and her role as ‘one of seven’ on a collegiate bench; and the perennial tension between innovation and tradition in legal method.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law

Did She Consent? Law and the Media in New South Wales

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

Legislative reform to the law of sexual assault in New South Wales in 2007 emphasises that those who wish to engage in sexual intercourse must take steps to ensure that they do so with consent. The new laws’ intent was to ensure free, voluntary and communicated consent, and to punish those who take advantage of the intoxication of their victim, or seek to hide behind their own intoxication. Further, the intent was to promote awareness and expectation with respect to acceptable consensual sexual activity. This article identifies a discord between this legislative intent and the reporting and commentary in the newsprint media which continues to focus on victim intoxication and behaviour as a matter of ‘risk’. The contention here is that until the legislative intent is reflected in the newsprint media the national conversation on sexual assault will remain impoverished, limiting the potential to focus the spotlight on perpetrators.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education

An Inconstant Affair

An Inconstant Affair: Feminism and the Legal Academy

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

Drawing on the Australian experience, this chapter shows how the fortunes of feminist legal theory (FLT) are closely imbricated with those of the state. The trajectory of the discomfiting liaison between feminism and the legal academy is traced over three decades to highlight the contingent nature of FLT, particularly the sensitivity to the prevailing political climate in which the pendulum swing from social liberalism to neoliberalism induces uncertainty and instability. It will be shown that under social liberalism, FLT received a modicum of acceptance within the legal academy but began to contract and then wither with the onset of neoliberalism. This has not only been disastrous for FLT, but it has also subtly brought about a remasculinisation of the academy.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

Adventures on the Barbary Coast

Adventures on the Barbary Coast: Morrison and Enforcement in a Globalised Securities Market

Author(s): Peta Spender

Although efforts have been made to develop international or harmonised regimes for the enforcement of securities law, the global architecture of securities regulation is underdeveloped. In particular, the harmonisation project may be sidelined by nations enforcing their securities laws extraterritorially. Notwithstanding issues of comity, the extraterritorial operation of the anti-fraud provisions in United States securities law has been expansively interpreted by US courts, particularly in multinational securities class actions, and the US has accordingly been portrayed as a securities policeman or, more disparagingly, a legal imperialist. This ended abruptly with the US Supreme Court decision in Morrison v National Australia Bank Ltd, where it was held that the anti-fraud provisions did not apply in an action brought by an Australian investor against an Australian company listed on an Australian exchange. This case note will examine the context and consequences of Morrison, including the legislation passed by Congress in its wake, the tensions caused if US citizens lose the ‘protective shield’ of US law and the centrifugal effect of the decision that may lead to more securities class actions being commenced in Australia.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Adventures on the Barbary Coast

Adventures on the Barbary Coast: Morrison and Enforcement in a Globalised Securities Market

Author(s): Peta Spender

Although efforts have been made to develop international or harmonised regimes for the enforcement of securities law, the global architecture of securities regulation is underdeveloped. In particular, the harmonisation project may be sidelined by nations enforcing their securities laws extraterritorially. Notwithstanding issues of comity, the extraterritorial operation of the anti-fraud provisions in United States securities law has been expansively interpreted by US courts, particularly in multinational securities class actions, and the US has accordingly been portrayed as a securities policeman or, more disparagingly, a legal imperialist. This ended abruptly with the US Supreme Court decision in Morrison v National Australia Bank Ltd, where it was held that the anti-fraud provisions did not apply in an action brought by an Australian investor against an Australian company listed on an Australian exchange. This case note will examine the context and consequences of Morrison, including the legislation passed by Congress in its wake, the tensions caused if US citizens lose the ‘protective shield’ of US law and the centrifugal effect of the decision that may lead to more securities class actions being commenced in Australia.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Book Review - Michael Kirby

Book Review: Michael Kirby: Paradoxes and Principles

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

Janet Malcolm, in her brilliant rumination on the problem of biography in The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, writes:

… the narratives called biographies pale and shrink in the face of the disorderly actuality that is a life. … The goal is to make a space where a few ideas and images and feelings may be so arranged that a reader will want to linger awhile among them, rather than to flee…

A desire to linger awhile is certainly my reaction to reading and enjoying this fulsome account of the first 70 years of Michael Kirby’s life (drawing on over 117 metres of personal records held by the National Archives of Australia, extensive speeches and other papers prepared by the subject, not to mention his court judgments). Brown also skilfully makes space for a few central images and feelings to assist one’s progress through this extensive and absorbing book. The opening image shared with the reader is of the Khyber Pass, where Kirby was travelling for the second time with partner Johan van Vloten. It is 17 December 1973 and ‘This time, at least, there were no guns’. Three and a half years earlier, Afridi tribesmen ‘brandishing rifles’ asked if he was British and ‘the young Australian traveller answered yes’.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

A Mirror to the Man

A Mirror to the Man: Reflecting on Justice William Deane: A Private Man in Public Office

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Sir William Deane was a member of the High Court of Australia during one of its most creative periods, from 1982 to 1995. His decisions displayed a notable commitment to social justice and a willingness to extend the constitutional protection of human rights. These tendencies were particularly prominent during the Mason Court years (1987-1995), manifesting in decisions including Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1; Dietrich v The Queen (1992) 177 CLR 292; Leeth v Commonwealth (1992) 174 CLR 455; and the political communication cases of 1992 and 1994. Although his judgments displayed a clear vision of his judicial responsibilities, Deane adopted a strict extra-judicial silence regarding the principles that informed his judicial philosophy. However, as Australia's 22nd Governor-General Deane was more open regarding his personal beliefs and their influence on his performance of those duties. This article utilises Deane's public statements as Governor-General to shed light on the foundations of his judicial philosophy. In particular, as Governor-General Deane drew on his Christian faith to support his commitment to highlight the cause of indigenous reconciliation and the plight of the disadvantaged in Australia. This article argues that Deane's spiritual convictions, as articulated in his vice-regal statements, can also be regarded as underpinning his understanding of his role as High Court Justice.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law

An Inconstant Affair

An Inconstant Affair: Feminism and the Legal Academy

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

Drawing on the Australian experience, this chapter shows how the fortunes of feminist legal theory (FLT) are closely imbricated with those of the state. The trajectory of the discomfiting liaison between feminism and the legal academy is traced over three decades to highlight the contingent nature of FLT, particularly the sensitivity to the prevailing political climate in which the pendulum swing from social liberalism to neoliberalism induces uncertainty and instability. It will be shown that under social liberalism, FLT received a modicum of acceptance within the legal academy but began to contract and then wither with the onset of neoliberalism. This has not only been disastrous for FLT, but it has also subtly brought about a remasculinisation of the academy.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

Citizenship and the Boundaries of the Constitution

Citizenship and the Boundaries of the Constitution

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

Citizenship is a prime site for comparison between different constitutional systems, for the idea of citizenship, and the ideals it is taken to represent, go to the heart of how states are constituted and defined. Who is governed by the constitution? What are the boundaries of the constitution? The definition of the class of 'citizens' of a state and the identification of their rights, privileges and responsibilities is one way to answer these questions, and is a core function of national constitutions and a central concern of public law. In this chapter, we consider several written constitutions and attempt to convey some of the diversity in constitutional approaches to this fundamental and universal project for nation states.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Book cover

Sex Discrimination in Uncertain Times

Editor(s): Margaret Thornton

This collection of essays arose from a conference held to mark the silver anniversary of the Australian Sex Discrimination Act (1984). The collection has two aims: first; to honour the contributions of both the spirited individuals who valiantly fought for the enactment of the legislation against the odds, and those who championed the new law once it was passed; secondly, to present a stock-take of the Act within the changed socio-political environment of the 21st century. The contributors present clear-eyed appraisals of the legislation, in addition to considering new forms of legal regulation, such as Equality Act, and the significance of a Human Rights Act. The introduction of a proactive model, which would impose positive duties on organisations, is explored as an alternative to the existing individual complaint-based model of legislation. The contributors also pay attention to the international human rights framework, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. 

Download this book free

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Law and Gender

The New Racism in Employment Discrimination

The New Racism in Employment Discrimination: Tales from the Global Economy

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

Neoliberal employment strategies, immigration policies, economic globalisation and the events of 9/11 have created new environments for racism in Australia. In this article, the ramifications of the shifting political environment on race discrimination against ethnicised Others in employment since 1990 are examined, with particular regard to the post-9/11 period. Drawing on complaints made to anti-discrimination agencies and decisions of courts and tribunals, it is argued that there has been a contraction in the ambit of operation of the legislation through the application of exemptions and a heightened burden of proof for complainants which has had a chilling effect on the jurisdiction. Drawing on Goldberg’s thesis of the racial state, it is posited that in the contemporary political environment, the state is active in producing and sustaining racism.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education

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