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Governor-General’s Address Opening The 41st Parliament

The Governor-General, Michael Jeffery, has officially opened the 41st Parliament following the elections of October 9, 2004.

The Governor-General’s speech is written by the government of the day and read to a joint meeting of members of both houses in the Senate chamber.

It is the culmination of a day of pomp and ceremony during which members are sworn in and the Speaker of the House of Representatives is chosen. The day ends with a 21-gun salute. [Read more…]


Origins Of The High Court Of Australia: Chief Justice Murray Gleeson

This is the text of a speech given by the Chief Justice of the High Court, Murray Gleeson, at the launch of The Oxford Companion To The High Court Of Australia.

It contains an interesting account of the court’s establishment in 1902 and its role in the Australian political system.

Murray Gleeson, Chief Justice of the High Court of AustraliaOne of the greatest speeches in Australian political history was made in the House of Representatives of the new Commonwealth Parliament on 18 March 1902.

Although the subject matter might have appeared dry and technical, it was a passionate, aggressive speech.

It was made by the Attorney-General, Alfred Deakin, who had a fight on his hands.He was introducing the Judiciary Bill, with the principal object of setting up a Federal Supreme Court, to be called the High Court of Australia, in accordance with the mandate in s71 of the Constitution. [Read more…]


Murray Gleeson: A Changing Judiciary

This is the full text of a speech given by Murray Gleeson, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, to the Judicial Conference of Australia, at Uluru.

Text of speech by Murray Gleeson, Chief Justice of the High Court.

GleesonA criticism that is sometimes made of institutions, and large organizations, public and private, is that they have lost their corporate memory. One consequence is waste of effort. A lot of time is spent addressing problems that have arisen, and been solved, before. And a sense of future direction can be difficult to maintain if people do not remember where they have come from. A particular danger to which some lawyers, including some judges, are exposed comes from their propensity to express their approval of a certain state of affairs by declaring it “essential” or “fundamental”. Sometimes this is a reasoned opinion. Sometimes it is mere rhetoric. Declarations of this kind are often made without adequate knowledge of what has gone on in the past, or, what goes on in other places. People may be surprised to learn that what they regard as an indispensable part of the natural order of things is, in truth, a recent development, or may be quite different from the way things are done, by respectable people, elsewhere. They may be alarmed by aspects of current practice which are not really new, but are simply a response to problems that have been around for a long time. A corporate memory can be a useful safeguard against this kind of error. It helps to fill in the context in which changes in the judiciary may be foreseen and evaluated. [Read more…]


Howard Appoints Murray Gleeson As New High Court Chief Justice

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has announced the appointment of the current Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court, Murray Gleeson, as Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

Justice Gleeson will become the eleventh Chief Justice of the High Court since it was established in 1903.

It is Mr. Howard’s second appointment to the court since his election in 1996. [Read more…]