A History of the Sir Garfield Barwick Address

The Sir Garfield Barwick Address is a lecture organised by the Legal Professional and Policy Branch of the NSW Liberal Party. Intended to honour the former barrister, Liberal Attorney General, Minister for External Affairs, and Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, it has been held at Sydney’s Castlereagh Hotel since 2010.

Until now, the speakers have largely consisted of lawyer-politicians, who either served with Sir Garfield, or followed in his tradition. Speakers have included the former Prime Minister, John Howard, three Commonwealth Attorneys-General and a Chief Justice of the High Court. Future speakers are said to include former High Court justice, Ian Callinan, and a former associate to Sir Garfield, Garry Downes, a former Federal Court judge and President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Continue reading “A History of the Sir Garfield Barwick Address”

Dyson Heydon, His “Greatest Teacher” and the Question of Bias

Later today, Dyson Heydon will rule on whether he should recuse himself as Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. The application on behalf of the ACTU, and several unions who are parties before the Royal Commission, rests on Heydon’s decision to accept an invitation to give the Sir Garfield Barwick address to a legal policy branch of the NSW Liberal Party. The argument is that in accepting the invitation to give the address, and not withdrawing when he was positively alerted to its association with the Liberal Party until such time as the event attracted media attention, could give rise to apprehended bias in his conduct of the Royal Commission. Continue reading “Dyson Heydon, His “Greatest Teacher” and the Question of Bias”

NSW Political Donations Reform – Background and Resources (Updated)

In May 2014, in response to the mounting revelations at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of breaches and circumvention of NSW’s electoral disclosure laws, particularly in respect of donations by prohibited donors, Premier Mike Baird announced a Panel of Experts to review the system of political donations. Continue reading “NSW Political Donations Reform – Background and Resources (Updated)”

Currawong: “Holiday Village of the Damned”?

This morning, Tony Kelly, former Labor Minister, becomes the first office holder in six years to have his conduct as a Minister publicly examined by ICAC. It follows an eight year Ministerial career across a range of primary industries, lands, planning and justice responsibilities, where he was generally regarded.

It is not easy to divorce this inquiry from Kelly’s sudden resignation on June 6 as a Member of the Upper House, where after the election he was the Leader of the Opposition in that Chamber, and the leader of the (numerically diminished) Right faction. His resignation and subsequent events and disclosures have suggested an attempt to cauterise any political damage.

However, any such attempt at a pre-emptive strike against the fallout from this investigation is hardly likely to provide much protection. The matters that are the subject of the inquiry go too deep into the long standing controversy around a property, Currawong, long owned, until recently, by the NSW labour movement. They involve matters that flow from the 2007 sale by Unions NSW, then headed by the now Leader of the Opposition, John Robertson.

Continue reading “Currawong: “Holiday Village of the Damned”?”

Ebbs and Flows: The Battle for Currawong

[A contest] between those who wanted the complex replaced by a luxury new age resort, and those who mounted a self-consciously nostalgic argument in favour of the cabins’ retro-chic heritage values, recognising the extent to which the notion of a cheap holiday was under siege.

Richard White, historian

Continue reading “Ebbs and Flows: The Battle for Currawong”

Selling Currawong: An Unhappy Union?

A short history of the financial dealings of the Eco Villages and Unions NSW

In 2006, John Robertson, Secretary of Unions NSW, made a call for expressions of interest in the sale of Currawaong.

On 13 February 2007 an agreement was reached between Unions NSW and Eco Villages P/L for the sale of Currawong Beach Cottages. The agreed price was $15 million. A deposit of $1 million was made by Eco Villages. The Contract took the form of “Put and Call” options.
Continue reading “Selling Currawong: An Unhappy Union?”