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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Spigelman Says Human Rights Bill Is A Threat To Free Speech

James Spigelman, the chairman of the ABC and former Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court, has criticised the federal government’s proposed Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill as a threat to free speech.

Spigelman says the bill tries to preserve the idea that no one should be offended by hate speech. He expressed concern that causing offence could be enough to break the law, not just on questions of race but in a range of areas such as age, gender and political opinion. [Read more…]


Patrick Keane Appointed To The High Court

The federal government has appointed the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Patrick Keane, to the High Court.

Patrick KeaneThe Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, made the announcement today. Keane will be the 50th person appointed to the High Court.

Keane will replace Justice John Dyson Heydon on March 1 next year. He is the Rudd-Gillard government’s fourth appointment to the seven-member court. He is 60 years old and will serve a maximum ten years on the court. [Read more…]


Conrad Black: “You’re A Priggish, Gullible, British Fool”

Conrad Black is interviewed by the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman.

In 2005, Black faced 17 charges of misconduct and fraud relating to his company, Hollinger International. He was tried and convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice in an American court in 2007. Legal challenges to some of the charges were subsequently upheld in the US Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. He was released from prison in May 2012.



Craig Thomson And The Golden Thread

In this anodyne age when we’re all so quick to take offence, the hasty presumption of guilt still holds sway.

This is Kieran Gilbert’s interview with Craig Thomson’s lawyer Chris McArdle, on Sky News. McArdle offers an unfashionable defence of some important legal principles.

The interview followed a police raid on the Labor MP’s home this morning.



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…]


DPP Drops Confiscation Proceedings Against David Hicks

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has abandoned proceedings against David Hicks which sought to confiscate his earnings from the sale of his book, Guantanamo: My Journey.

The CDPP cast doubt on the admissions made by Hicks before the United States Military Commission and his use of an “Alford plea” that isn’t recognised in Australia.

The CDPP said: “This Office was not in a position to discharge the onus placed upon it to satisfy the Court that the admissions should be relied upon and decided that these proceedings should not continue.”

Media release from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Statement in the Matter of David Hicks

On 19 July 2011, following an investigation and referral by the Australian Federal Police the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions commenced proceedings against Mr David Hicks, pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth).

The proceedings were commenced by way of Summons in the Supreme Court of NSW. The Summons sought orders relating to publication of the book Guantanamo: My Journey, including a restraining order, pursuant to section 20 of the Proceeds of Crime Act, and a literary proceeds order, pursuant to section 152.

On 23 July 2012, the Director made a decision to discontinue the proceedings. The matter was discontinued in Court on 24 July 2012. [Read more…]


Julian Assange Appeals Against Extradition

Julian Assange has lodged an application in the Supreme Court of the UK to set aside the judgment validating an arrest warrant that enabled his extradition to Sweden.


Julian Assange Appeal Against Extradition Dismissed

By a vote of 5-2, the UK Supreme Court has dismissed Julian Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden.


Rodney Adler Sentenced To Four And A Half Years Jail

Rodney Adler was today sentenced to jail for four years and six months for his role in the HIH insurance collapse, with a non-parole period of two and a half years.

Rodney AdlerHIH collapsed in March 2001 with liabilities of $5.3 billion.

Adler, 45, pleaded guilty to four criminal charges of making false statements about a purchase of HIH shares and lying to obtain money from HIH for a company in which he had an interest.

Justice John Dunford said Adler’s offences displayed “an appalling lack of commercial morality”. [Read more…]


Dyson Heydon’s Farewell Speech To The NSW Supreme Court

This is the text of the farewell speech delivered by Justice John Dyson Heydon to the NSW Supreme Court, preparatory to his elevation to the High Court of Australia.

Justice John Dyson Heydon’s farewell speech to the NSW Supreme Court.

Chief Justice, ladies and gentlemen:

In February the weather is steamy and enervating. There is a great temptation to go out as little as possible. That so many of you have undergone the ordeal of a journey to this Court on this occasion – having accomplished two trips already this week – is something for which I am deeply grateful. I particularly welcome retired judges from this Court, and judges of the Federal Court. [Read more…]