Law & Policy

Publications to download

Public Information Machinery and the 1999 Referenda

This article was published in the Public Law Review, Vol. 10, 1999, pp. 243-247.

It discusses the Referendum Legislation Amendment Act 1999 (Cth), which was intended to override temporarily s 11 of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (Cth), and the significance that it had for public information campaigns when holding a referendum to change the Australian Constitution.

The Queen and her Dominion Successors: the law of succession to the throne in Australia and the Commonwealth of Nations

This article was published in two parts in the Constitutional Law and Policy Review, Vol. 4(2), 2001, pp. 28-36, and Vol. 4(3), 2001, pp.41-53.

Part 1 discusses the law of succession under English law, before going on to discuss succession and the Australian Constitution.

Part 2 discusses the Australian Parliament’s heads of power for legislating with respect to the law of succession in Australia, the position of the Australian States after the Australia Acts, and the succession in the Queen’s other independent realms, before proposing how the law might be reformed.

Migration, Mental Health, and Human Rights

This is the guest editors’ introduction to a collection of articles published in a special issue of the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 27, 2004, pp. 505-509.

The joint guest editors introduce this special edition of the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, which had its genesis in a number of papers delivered at the Migration, Mental Health, and Human Rights Symposium held in October, 2003.

  • To download a pdf of the Editors’ Introduction, click here.

Love and the Morally Ambiguous

This article was published in Quadrant, Vol. LIV, No. 1, April, 2008, pp. 82-83.

It speaks to recent research about ethical issues concerning how history should be taught to school students.

There is an embarrassing error in the first sentence: the reference to ‘Marvell’ should read ‘George Herbert’, as the paragraph is obviously about that poet’s famous poem, ‘Love’.

The Political Philosophy of Tony Abbott

This article was published in Quadrant, Vol. LIV, No. 1,January-February, 2010, pp. 22-27.

It discusses Battlelines (Melbourne University Press, 2009) by Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Parliament, and his analysis of the nature of English and Australian conservatism. It provides an account of how we might expect a conservative like Abbott to justify his policy decisions.

Game of Thrones

This article was published in the Spectator Australia, 2/9 June, 2012, pp. viii-ix.

As millions marked the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Spectator asked: is there still a place for the monarchy in Australian life? Freeman argues the Yes case; Barry Everingham argues the No case.

Doing Democracy

This unpublished paper was written in the lead up to the elections in 1997 for the Constitutional Convention held in Canberra during the following year.

It considers the history of compulsory voting in Australia in light of the decision to hold a voluntary postal vote (rather than a compulsory vote, as was usual in Australia for parliamentary elections) to elect delegates for the Constitutional Convention.

R.P. Meagher and the idea of a university

This article was published in the Australian Bar Review, Vol. 35, 2011, pp. 71-89.

This article discusses Meagher’s commitment to Cardinal Newman’s idea of a university, and suggests that this commitment sheds light on Meagher’s approach to a range of topics, as well as his decision to give his art collection to the University of Sydney.

Meagher, Mabo, and Patrick White’s Tea-cosy—twenty years on

This article is published in the Proceedings of the Samuel Griffith Society, Vol. 25, 2013.

Tony Abbott said, “Indigenous reconciliation won’t be changing our Constitution but completing it.” What would it mean to complete the Constitution without changing it? Justice Antonin Scalia has described the Constitution of the United States as a “practical and pragmatic charter of government”, and contrasted this with the American Declaration of Independence, which he describes as a statement of national aspirations. This paper uses Scalia’s distinction between a charter of government and a statement of national aspirations to explain what it would mean to complete the Constitution without changing it. Along the way, the distinction also makes sense of a famous dispute between Sydney silk, Roddy Meagher QC, and his cousin, the Nobel Laureate, Patrick White.

The PM rushes in where angels fear to tread

This article was published in the Spectator, 5 April, 2014, pp. viii-ix.

When Tony Abbott restored knighthoods and dameships in the Order of Australia, the announcement was met with widespread derision. This article argues the case for why it is appropriate to recognise pre-eminent service to the nation through these titles.

Dual visions of defining moments

This opinion piece was published in The Australian, 6-7 September, 2014.

It discusses the significance of King George III’s 1787 instructions to Arthur Phillip for the future relationship between the Crown and the Aborigines, and compares this with the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand.

 The Australian Declaration of Recognition

This pamphlet was written with Julian Leeser, and privately published by Freeman and Leeser in 2014.

In this essay, Damien Freeman and Leeser argue that we should rethink our approach to Indigenous recognition: instead of trying to insert some modest statement in the Constitution, we should consider adopting an Australian Declaration of Recognition, which would contain a powerful and poetic statement of the nation that Australia has become, and our aspirations for our nation’s future.