" There have been times when Australian court judgments have held enormous weight in courts throughout the world, certainly throughout the Commonwealth. Owen Dixon's High Court in the 1950s and Anthony Mason's High Court in the 1980s are examples. If there were an Olympic record for teams of judges - and why not since they have Olympic medals for tae kwon do and beach volleyball - the Mason court would have won gold year after year. The quality of its jurisprudence was the best in the world" - Geoffrey Robertson QC, Sydney Morning Herald, 30th August 2007.This book comprises a selection of articles and speeches by Sir Anthony Mason written and delivered when he was a Justice and later Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and after his retirement from that Court in 1995. It demonstrates his long standing interest in the judicial process and his desire to communicate to the legal world and the public a more enlightened understanding of the proper scope of judicial law-making and the responsibility of judges for adapting the law to the changing conditions in society. It also displays his acknowledged mastery of public and private law and his belief in the growing significance of international and comparative law in the development of Australian law. The book contains some important speeches and articles on constitutional and administrative law, international law, human rights, equity and contract, the High Court, judicial administration, advocacy, a significant media interview, a State of the Judicature report delivered as the Chief Justice of Australia and his swearing in speeches when appointed as a Justice and later Chief Justice of the High Court. Some of the selected speeches display Sir Anthony's characteristic wit. The book deals with highly topical subjects such as whether Australia should adopt a bill of rights, the health of Australia's democratic institutions, the establishment of an Australian republic, globalization and the decline of parliamentary and national sovereignty. The articles and speeches were chosen and edited by Professor Geoffrey Lindell in consultation with Sir Anthony.
The Federation Fathers agreed a federal Constitution which has enabled the Australian Parliament to play an important, even a leading, role in the development of national authority. The legislative powers conferred on the Parliament have enabled it to pass laws which have gone far beyond what might have been contemplated in 1900. On the occasion of the centenary of Federation, Parliament The Vision in Hindsight explores the way in which the Parliament has developed and influenced the operation of the Australian Constitution - and asks how well it has done its job. What vision had the framers in mind in designing the Parliament and its powers? How has the Parliament exercised those powers? How does the original design look with the benefit of hindsight? What has the past century taught us about the future powers and roles the Parliament should exercise and play in the future? The Parliamentary Library has brought together a distinguished group of scholars under the editorship of Professor Geoffrey Lindell, Reader in Law at the University of Melbourne.
Leading Australian constitutional practitioners and scholars come together in this volume to reflect on 100 years of the Australian Constitution and on possible directions for the future. The essays are designed both to evaluate the Australian Constitution, in the light of the experience of the past 100 years, and to identify issues for the future. Most of the authors are prominent figures in Australian constitutional law at the turn of the past century. Some are distinguished in the practice of constitutional law: a former Chief Justice of Australia, Sir Anthony Mason; a senior Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, who also was the inaugural President of the Native Title Tribunal, Justice Robert French (recently appointed to the High Court of Australia); a leader of the constitutional Bar, David Jackson QC. Others are well-known constitutional scholars: Leslie Zines, George Winterton, Geoffrey Lindell, Brian Opeskin, George Williams, Cheryl Saunders, John Waugh and Christos Mantziaris. The two exceptions are equally distinguished, but for other reasons. Professor John White is a leader of the Australian scientific community. Professor Thomas Fleiner is a leading international constitutional scholar and a former president of the International Association of Constitutional Law. One of the strengths of the book is the breadth and depth of knowledge of its authors. In reflecting on their collective experiences over at least the last two decades of the 20th century, it adds an important new layer to the foundation of constitutional experience on which the next generation of scholars and practitioners may build.