find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal minds take part in 2020 Summit

Legal minds take part in 2020 Summit

As the Australia 2020 Summit date approaches, there has been growing criticism of the liberal agendas of those selected to take part, especially on the issue of a bill of rights. Some of…

As the Australia 2020 Summit date approaches, there has been growing criticism of the liberal agendas of those selected to take part, especially on the issue of a bill of rights.

Some of Australia’s sharpest legal minds have been invited to the 2020 summit, to be held at Parliament House on 19 and 20 April, to discuss the future shape of the nation. Topics on the agenda include governance, Indigenous culture, foreign affairs, the economy and productivity. The republican debate and anti-terrorism laws are tipped to take centre stage.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has claimed that the summit will not be a “talkfest”. If this is truly the case, he probably shouldn’t have invited so many lawyers, joked Julian Burnside QC, who will be participating in the panel session on governance.

“I was going to say if it’s not going to be a talkfest, then I suppose we’ll have to communicate in sign language,” he said. “I guess what [Rudd] means is that it’s not a whole bunch of people grandstanding, and I share that view.”

Several lawyers attending the summit are long-time supporters of the introduction of a bill of rights, including Burnside, Victorian barrister Susan Brennan SC, Brisbane barrister and former attorney-general of Queensland Matt Foley and Minter Ellison lawyer Phoebe Knowles (see news review p20).

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner (HREOC) Graeme Innes will also advocate a charter of rights, the first time HREOC has taken such a strong stance on the issue.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland has adamantly ruled out the possibility of a constitutional bill of rights, but the Labor Government has committed itself to “consult over a non-binding charter of rights”.

Only last week, the controversy surrounding the issue grew following accusations of left-wing bias and the withdrawal of two former High Court justices— former chief justice Anthony Mason, and Mary Gaudron. A third former High Court judge, former governor-general Sir William Deane, remains on the summit panel.

No one knows quite what to expect at the summit. According to one participant, it is likely that on the first day the groups of 100 will be split into smaller groups and will produce ideas which will then be presented to the group of 100. The following day, the group of 100 will present their ideas to the group of 1,000.

Burnside, president of Liberty Victoria, predicted that the summit will necessarily address the “predictable topics” such as the bill of rights and the republic, but hopes that political grandstanding will not stand in the way of innovative thinking at the summit.

“I would really like to see it as a place as all sorts of innovative ideas are possible and will be received in a constructive manner because if we’re redesigning our future, let’s try and think up things that haven’t been tried in the past, or haven’t been dealt with seriously in the past,” he said.

“Things like the debate on the republic, national bill of rights and so on; you really don’t have to be a genius to come up with those ideas. In a way I rather hope that those ideas don’t dominate the discussion because it is self-evident that they are ideas out there to be considered.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Legal minds take part in 2020 Summit
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 13 2017
Young humanitarian lawyer California-bound
A young Australian lawyer will be travelling to the US next year for a prestigious nine-month study ...
Jackie Rhodes
Dec 12 2017
Report sheds light on LGBTQI inclusion in law firms
A recent report has revealed the varying perceptions on LGBTQI diversity and inclusion in the Austra...
Women in business
Dec 12 2017
Annabel Crabb headlines Women in Business Forum
Political journalist Annabel Crabb has appeared at the Coleman Greig Lawyers Women in Business Forum...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...