George Williams On Dual Citizenship And Same Sex Marriage Survey

Professor George Williams, Dean of Law at the University of New South Wales, has addressed the National Press Club on the dual citizenship issue and the same sex marriage postal survey.

Williams suggested that the Turnbull government is “running against the grain of existing High Court authority” in relation to the marriage survey and the seven dual citizenship cases currently before the court.

In his address, Williams called for a range of constitutional reforms.

Williams, 48, has been Dean of Law since 2016. He was admitted to practice in 1993 and served as an associate to Justice Michael McHugh in the High Court. He has worked as a solicitor and barrister and has extensive academic experience at a number of universities.

A member of the ALP, Williams has unsuccessfully contested preselection on two occasions.

  • Watch Williams’ Address in full (59m)
  • Listen to Williams’ speech (33m)
  • Listen to the Question and Answer session (25m)

Transcript of Address to the National Press Club by Professor George Williams.

The Constitution is not normally front-page news in Australia. Despite the profound impact it has on our politics and society, it is easy to see why.

The United States Constitution reflects its revolutionary origins in beginning with the famous call “We the people.” By contrast, our Constitution is contained in a British Act of Parliament that opens with:

Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania…

“Whereas” is hardly the sort of beginning that gets the heart racing. In addition, these words are not even complete. They fail to mention Western Australia, which joined the Federation just before the commencement of the Constitution in 1901. [Read more…]


Sussan Ley Resigns From Ministry; Turnbull Announces Reforms To Politicians’ Entitlements

The Health Minister, Sussan Ley, has resigned from the Turnbull ministry.

Ley announced her resignation after a week of adverse political reaction to publicity about her travel expenses and visits to the Gold Coast. On one visit, Ley purchased an investment property.

Investigations by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Finance are still underway but it is reported that the prime minister believed Ley’s position had become untenable. He announced her resignation at a press conference called to announce reforms to MPs’ entitlements.

Ley released the text of her resignation letter to Turnbull (see below). She maintained that she had done nothing wrong and was not in breach of the ministerial code of conduct. She said she was resigning because the “ongoing media coverage of politicians’ entitlements has been a diversion from the important agenda we all wish to advance at the start of this vital year for our nation and our region”.

Turnbull announced that the government would establish an independent expenses authority to monitor and adjudicate all claims by politicians. He said the government would continue to implement all the recommendations of the Conde and Tune review of the parliamentary entitlements system.

Sussan Ley’s resignation letter.

Ley

Transcript of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s press conference announcing reforms to MPs’ entitlements.

TURNBULL: Good afternoon.

Today I have received notice from the Honourable Sussan Ley, of her intention to resign as the Minister Health, Ageing and Sport. I want to thank her for her service to the Government as a Minister and as a member of the Executive over many years.

I will make a further announcement about ministerial arrangements next week. In the meantime, the Cabinet Secretary, Senator Sinodinos, will continue to act as Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport. [Read more…]


Written Submissions Lodged For High Court Challenge To Senate Voting Reforms

These are the written submissions lodged with the High Court by Senator Bob Day and the Commonwealth, as part of the hearing of a challenge to the Senate voting reforms.

Day, a Family First senator, has brought the challenge. The matter is listed at 10.00am today for the Court to make directions as to referral to a Full Court. [Read more…]


Queensland Fixed Four-Year Terms Referendum: YES and NO Cases

This page contains the official YES and NO cases for Queensland’s referendum on fixed four-year terms of Parliament.

The referendum will be held on March 19, 2016. It proposes to introduce fixed four-year terms from after the next election, with elections to be held on the last Sunday in October.

The proposal has the bipartisan support of the ALP and the Liberal National Party in Queensland. The proposal has been introduced by the Queensland Premier, Anna Palaszczuk. [Read more…]


Queensland Parliament Passes Bill For Referendum To Introduce Fixed Four-Year Terms

The Queensland Legislative Assembly has passed a bill to enable a referendum to be held on the question of introducing fixed four-year parliamentary terms.

The referendum will be held in the new year. It will ask voters to approve a fixed four-year term for the Legislative Assembly. The new term would come into operation after the next election. Future elections would take place on the last Saturday in October.

Queensland has a unicameral (single chamber) Parliament consisting of just the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council was abolished in 1922. [Read more…]


Queensland Parliamentary Committee Recommends Fixed Four-Year Terms

A Queensland parliamentary committee has recommended that the parliament proceed with moves towards introducing fixed four-year terms for the Legislative Assembly.

The Finance and Administration Committee recommended amendments to a proposed bill that would provide for a referendum to be put to the electorate in 2016 that would introduce fixed four-year terms.

The proposal has bipartisan support from the ALP and the Liberal National Party (LNP). [Read more…]


The State Of The Federation: Ted Mack

This is the text of Ted Mack’s Henry Parkes Oration, delivered in Tenterfield tonight.

MackTed Mack was an independent councillor and Mayor of the North Sydney Council in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was elected as the independent member for North Shore in the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1981 and was re-elected in 1984 and 1988, retiring two days before he became eligible for a parliamentary pension.

In 1990, he was elected as the independent member for the federal seat of North Sydney, defeating the incumbent Liberal, John Spender. He was re-elected in 1993 and retired in 1996.

In this speech, Mack argues that “no serious observer of politics in Australia, except those with specific interests, can pretend that we do not have major problems with our system of government or that we are incapable of achieving any improvement after a century of experience”. [Read more…]