Stephen Gageler Appointed Justice Of The High Court

The Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Stephen Gageler, has been appointed a judge of the High Court of Australia.

Stephen GagelerThe appointment was announced today by the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon. Gageler will replace Justice William Gummow who will reach the constitutionally-mandated retirement age of 70 on October 9.

Gageler is 54 years old. If he serves until he turns 70, he will remain on the High Court until July 8, 2028.

Gageler was appointed Solicitor-General by the previous Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, in 2008. As Solicitor-General, he is the Second Law Officer to the Attorney-General. The Solicitor-General appears on behalf of the Commonwealth, especially in the High Court.

Gageler grew up in NSW, studied law at the Australian National University and completed his Master of Laws at Harvard University in 1987.

Early in his career, Gageler was an Associate to Sir Anthony Mason, a former Justice and Chief Justice of the court. It is Mason’s seat that Gageler will take. It is the position originally held by Australia’s first prime minister, Sir Edmund Barton. Like Gageler, Mason also held the position of Solicitor-General between 1964-69.

Gageler is the 49th appointment to the High Court since it was established in 1903. He replaces the last of the Hawke-Keating appointments. When Gageler takes his seat in October, the court will consist of four appointments by the Howard government, two by the Rudd government and one by the Gillard government.

Gageler’s appointment maintains the balance of three NSW judges, two from Victoria, one from Queensland and one from Western Australia. There has never been a High Court judge appointed from South Australia or Tasmania.

Media release by the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon:

New Justice of the High Court of Australia

21 August 2012

I am pleased to announce the Governor-General Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC CVO has today appointed Mr Stephen Gageler SC as Australia’s new Justice of the High Court of Australia following a recommendation from the Government.

Mr Gageler will be the 49th person appointed to the High Court since Federation.

Mr Gageler’s appointment will follow the retirement of the Honourable Justice William Gummow AC in October 2012 after 17 years of outstanding service to Australia’s highest court.

Mr Gageler has served as the Commonwealth Solicitor General since September 2008. He is a highly distinguished barrister and specialised in constitutional, administrative, revenue and commercial law in Sydney. [Read more…]


John Howard’s Speech to the Ceremonial Federation Sitting

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has addressed the ceremonial Federation sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament, in the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne.

The sitting took place 100 years to the day since the first Commonwealth Parliament met. The Prime Minister on that day was Edmund Barton.

  • Click PLAY to listen to Howard’s Speech:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This is the text of the Prime Minister’s address to the Ceremonial Federation Sitting.

Prime Minister John HowardAs Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin and all the others gathered here a hundred years ago there was no way that they could predict what lay in front of Australia. They would not have foreseen that within fewer than 20 years 60,000 out of a male population of 2.5 million would die in a horrible war. They would not have foreseen the Great Depression. They would not have foreseen the social changes. They would not have seen the determination of later generations to overturn the White Australia policy, regarded by those generations as morally repugnant. They would not have foreseen the technological and fashion changes that were to occur. And indeed if they were to return to our gathering today they would find much that was unfamiliar. [Read more…]


As 21st Century Begins… Australian Federation One Hundred Years Old Today

Sydney's Centennial ParkThe Australian Federal political system is one hundred years old today.

The arrangement whereby powers are divided between a central government and six states came into being on January 1, 1901.

Federation came after a series of referendums in each of the six states where the Australian voters of the time – mainly men – supported the most significant political change in the country’s white history.

A century on, the Constitution that took effect in 1901 has remained substantially unchanged. Only 8 successful referendums have been carried by a vote of the people and none of these dramatically altered the constitutional arrangements agreed upon in the 1890s. [Read more…]