Spence v Qld: Federalism Revived?

Thursday, 20 June 2019 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Most political parties in Australia operate at the federal and State level. As a consequence, they are regulated by overlapping State and Commonwealth laws. Spence v Queensland raised difficult questions about this overlap, and produced a rare win for the States. The High Court wholly struck down a Commonwealth law that sought to immunise federal parties from State electoral laws, and wholly upheld a State law that prohibited property developers from donating to political parties, even if the political party operates in the federal sphere.

Spence suggests a renewed willingness by the High Court to consider ‘federalism’ when determining the extent of the Commonwealth’s legislative powers.  But the case also brimmed with other questions about the nature of Australian federalism. Does the Commonwealth have exclusive power over federal elections? Is there a reverse Melbourne Corporation doctrine in favour of the Commonwealth? Can the States rely on the experience in other States to impose a burden on the implied freedom of political communication?

Time and venue

20 June 2019, 5.30pm to 6.30pm
Gibbs Room, Ground Floor, Inns of Court

Speaker: Peter Dunning QC

Peter Dunning has been in private practice as a barrister since 1992.  He was appointed senior counsel in 2005, and was Solicitor-General for Queensland from 2014 until April 2019. During that time he appeared in many constitutional cases for the State, including Spence v Queensland.

Commenter: Professor Nicholas Aroney

Nicholas Aroney is Professor of Constitutional Law at The University of Queensland. He is also a Fellow of the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law, a Research Fellow of Emmanuel College at The University of Queensland, a Fellow of the Centre for Law and Religion at Emory University and an External Member of the Islam, Law and Modernity research program at Durham University. Professor Aroney has published over 100 books, journal articles and book chapters in the fields of constitutional law, comparative constitutional law and legal theory. He is currently working on a monograph entitled Federal Constitutionalism: Theory, Principle and Practice.

Venue: Gibbs Room, Ground Floor, Inns of Court.

Register at the following link.

You can contact the Queensland convenor on n.aroney@law.uq.edu.au.

For further information, see the TC Beirne School of Law web page.