Public Lecture: Western Australians and the Future of Federation: Why the West has More to Teach Australia about Federalism than the East Coast Admits

Tuesday, 15 November, 2011 - 17:00 to 18:00
Western Australia

Presented by the Australian Association of Constitutional Law, The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia and the University of Western Australia Law School

Speaker: Professor A J Brown, John F Kearney Professor of Public Law, Griffith University

Chair: Professor Bruce Stone, Political Science and International Relations, University of Western Australia

Western Australians have a vexed reputation among residents of eastern States, when it comes to perceived beliefs about Federation.  The West's unique position in the Constitution, 1930s threats to secede, and 'special' place in or out of many modern Commonwealth-State agreements all contribute to its reputation as a political outlier, not just a geographic one.  In this lecture, Professor A J Brown will present results from the first ever Australian Constitutional Values Surveys, conducted in 2008 and 2010, to show that Western Australians are far more 'normal' and sensible in their attitudes to the future of Australia's federal system than this reputation suggests. Indeed, Western Australian attitudes hold key lessons about the issues that need to be solved if our system is ever to adapt and evolve to meet the challenges of all Australian communities, in the 21st century.

A J Brown is John F Kearney Professor of Public Law at Griffith University, Queensland.  He is also currently a member of the Commonwealth Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government. A leading public law, public accountability and public policy scholar who has worked at all levels and in all branches of government, his pioneering books include Restructuring Australia: Regionalism, Republicanism and Reform of the Nation-State (2004), Federalism and Regionalism in Australia: New Approaches, New Institutions? (2007), Whistleblowing in the Australian Public Sector (2008) and the judicial biography, Michael Kirby: Paradoxes and Principles (Federation Press, 2011).

Date: Tuesday 15 November 2011

Time: 6.00pm-7.00pm

Venue: Constitutional Centre of Western Australia

Address: 40 Havelock Street, West Perth

RSVP: Email: or telephone 08 9222 6922.  This seminar is free, however bookings are essential. 

Contact: Betty O'Rourke on telephone 08 9222 6922