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Professor John Williams
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John Williams joined the Adelaide Law School in 1997 as a lecturer having completed his doctorate at the Law Program, Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Prior to his appointment as Professor in Law in 2006 he was a Reader at the Australian National University (2004-2005) and a Senior Lecturer (1999-2003) and Lecturer (1997-1998) at the Adelaide Law School. He has held visiting positions at the University of Victoria, BC (2007), the University of Cape Town (2001) and was the Menzies Foundation Fellow at Kings College London (2002).
John’s main research interest is public law and in particular Australian constitutional law, The High Court of Australia, comparative constitutional law, federalism and legal history. In recent times he has developed his research to investigate water law and the regulation of the Murray-Darling. He has held a number of Australian Research Council and national competitive grants.
He has been co-editor and founder of the New Federalist, and editor of the Australian Journal of Legal History (now Legal History) and the Adelaide Law Review. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Legal History.
John is a member of a number of academic and government committees including the National Archives Advisory Council, Vice-President of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law, and the advisory committee of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and chairs the South Australian Fulbright Committee. He has served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Don Dunstan Foundation and UniBooks Pty Ltd. Since 2009 he has been a consultant to the Good Offices Mission as part of the United Nations peace process in Cyprus.
In 2001 he was awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal.
My current research interests are in the areas of public law and legal history. In particular I am interested in the history of federation and the theoretical assumptions in the Australian Constitution such as republican theory. A continuing interest is constitutional reform at both the State and Federal level. Increasingly I am interested in issues of water management and the regulatory framework in Australia.
Public Sentinels: A Comparative Study of Australian Solicitors-General (with Patrick Keyzer and Gabrielle Appleby editors), Ashgate Publishing (2014).
The Australian Constitution: A Documentary History, Melbourne University Press (2005).
Peace, Order and Good Government: Constitutional and Parliamentary Reform (with Clem Macintyre editor), Wakefield Press, (2003).
Intention in Law and Philosophy (with Ngaire Naffine and Rosemary Owens editors), Ashgate (2001).
Manning Clark and the Ideal of De Tocqueville (with Dymphna Clark, David Headon editors), Melbourne University Press (2000).
Makers of Miracles: The Cast of the Federal Story (with David Headon editors), Melbourne University Press (2000)
'Book Review - Failing Law Schools' (2013) 34(1) Adelaide Law Review 217-221
'A New Coat of Paint: Law and Order and the Refurbishment of Kable' (with Gabrielle Appleby) (2012) Federal Law Review Volume 40 1-30.
'Can the High Court save the Murray River?' (with Adam Webster) (2012) 29/4 Environmental and Planning Law Journal 281-296.
‘The Drafting of the Commonwealth Constitution’ (2011) 6(1/2) Public Policy 9-18.
“‘Advisory Opinions: ‘A Well-Covered Harbour’” 22 Bond Law Review (2010) 169-186.
‘Section 100 and State Water Rights’ (with Adam Webster) (2010) 21 Public Law Review 267-284.
‘A Tale of Two Clerks: When are Appropriations Appropriate in the Senate?’ (with Gabrielle Appleby) (2009) Public Law Review 194-213.
‘Appointing Australian Judges: A New Model’ (with Simon Evans) (2008) 30 Sydney Law Review 294-327.
‘The Constitution and the Workplace Relations Act 1996’ (2006) 16(2) Economic and Law Relations Review 61-84.
‘Lost Opportunities and Political Barriers on the Road to Constitutional Reform in South Australia’ (with Clement Macintyre) (2005) 20(1) Australasian Parliamentary Review 103-116.
‘The High Court and Australian Federalism’ (with B Selway) (2005) 35 Publius: The Journal of Federalism 467-88.
‘Postcards from the Centenary’ (2001) 8 The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History 3-9.
‘Anyone But Parkes’ (2001) 8 The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History 31-2.
‘Down and Out in Sydney and Melbourne: The Webbs in Australia’ (2000) 5 The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History 55-61.
‘Shaking Hands with the New Chief Justice’ (1999) 4 The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History 37-44.
“‘The Best Fitted…[with] the Greatest Right’: Sydney as the Federal Capital’ (with H Irving) (1999) 3 The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History 14-21.
“‘Come in Spinner’: Section 90 of the Constitution and the Future of State Government Finances” (1999) 21 The Sydney Law Review 627-655. A version of the paper was also published by the Adelaide Law School (1997) 116 Continuing Legal Education Papers 1-25.
‘The Republican Preamble: Back to the Drawing Board?’ (1999) 10 Public Law Review 69-73.
‘A Toast to Absent Friends’ (1998) 1 The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History 23-28.
‘Faith, Hope and Self-Interest: The President in the Future Republic’ (1998) 4 University of New South Wales Law Forum 22-25. Reproduced in (1998) 21 The University of New South Wales Law Journal 897-902.
‘Do Not Go Gently into that Good Right: The First Amendment in the High Court of Australia’ (With Gerald Rosenberg, Department of Political Science and Law School, University of Chicago) 1997 Supreme Court Review 439-95.
‘The Perils of Inclusion: The Constitution and the Race Power’ (With John Bradsen, Law School, University of Adelaide) (1997) 19 Adelaide Law Review 95-142.
‘Revitalising the Republic: Lionel Murphy and Australia’s Republican Heritage’ (1997) 8 Public Law Review 27-44.
‘Comment: Re-Thinking Advisory Opinions’ (1996) 7 Public Law Review 205-8.
‘Race, Citizenship and the Formation of the Australian Constitution’ (1996) 42 Australian Journal of Politics and History 10-23.
‘With Our Eyes Open: Andrew Inglis Clark and Our Republican Tradition’ (1995) 23(2) Federal Law Review 149-79.
Book Chapters, Articles and Monographs
'Law and Order' in J. Spoehr (ed), State of South Australia: Turbulent Times (with Gabrielle Appleby) (Wakefield Press, Kent Town 2013), 82-97.
'McTiernan, Sir Edward Aloysius (1892-1990)' entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography L-Z (2012) Vol. 18 1981-1990, 107-8.
'Foreword' in C. Martin and M. Dewar (eds), Speak for yourself: Eight Chief Ministers reflect on Northern Territory Self-Government (CDU Press, Darwin 2012), v-xiii.
‘Judges’ freedom of speech: Australia’ in H.P. Lee (ed), Judiciaries in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2011, 153-174.
‘The Anti-Terrorism Creep: Law and Order, the States and the High Court of Australia’ in Nicola McGarrity, Andrew Lynch and George Williams (eds), Counter-Terrorism and Beyond: The Culture of Law and Justice After 9/11 (Routledge, London 2010), 150-69.
‘The Constitutional Amendment Process: Poetry for the Ages’ in H P Lee and Peter Geangelos (eds), Constitutional Advancement in a Frozen Continent: Essays in honour of George Winterton (Federation Press, 2009), 1-22
‘Constitutional Law’ in Ian Freckelton and Hugh Selby (eds), Appealing to the Future: Michael Kirby and His Legacy (with Heather Roberts) (Thomson Reuters, Sydney, 2009), 179-216.
‘Rhetoric, Reason, and the Rule of Law in Early Colonial New South Wales’ in H. Foster, B. Berger and A Buck (eds), The Grand Experiment: Law and Legal Culture in British Settler Societies (with Ian Holloway and Simon Bronitt) (UBC Press, Vancouver, 2008), 78-100.
‘The Embattled South Australian Legislative Council’ in N. Aroney, J. Nethercote, and S. Prasser (eds), Restraining Elective Dictatorship: The Upper House Solution? (with Clem Macintyre) (UWA Press, Perth, 2008) 204-18.
‘The Making of a South Australian Constitution: Fear, Optimism and Reform’ in The Politics of Democracy in South Australia (HTSA, 2008), 12-8.
“‘Restrained Activism’ in the High Court of Australia’ in B. Dickson (ed), Judicial Activism in Common Law Supreme Courts (with Fiona Wheeler) (OUP, 2007), 19-68.
‘Founders’ in B. Galligan and W. Roberts (eds), The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics (OUP, 2007), 215-8.
‘Griffith, Samuel’ in B. Galligan and W. Roberts (eds), The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics (with James Hutton) (OUP, 2007), 241-2.
‘Federation’ in B. Galligan and W. Roberts (eds), The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics (OUP, 2007), 205-8.
‘Justice Boothby: A Disaster that Happened’ in G. Winterton (ed), State Constitutional Landmarks (Federation Press, 2006), 21-51.
‘Law and Order’ in J. Spoehr (ed), The State of the State (Wakefield Press, 2005), 260-75.
‘Commonwealth of Australia’ in A Majeed, R L Watts and D M Brown (eds), Dialogues on Distribution of Powers and Responsibilities in Federal Countries (with Clem Macintyre) (University of Ottawa Press, 2005), 8-33.
‘Australia: A Quiet Revolution in the Balance of Power’ in R Blindenbacher and A Ostien (eds), Dialogues on Distribution of Powers and Responsibilities in Federal Countries (with Clem Macintyre) (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005), 3-5.
‘Afterword’ in Alex C Castles, Ned Kelly’s Last Days (Allen & Unwin, 2005), 223-8.
‘Lionel Thomas Courtenay’ Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate (Melbourne University Press, 2004) Vol. 2, 414-6.
‘Deliberative Democracy and the People: The Australian Experience’ in P. Boyer, L. Cardinal and D. Headon (eds.), From Subjects to Citizens: A Hundred Years of Citizenship in Australia and Canada (University of Ottawa Press, 2004) 45-60.
‘One Hundred Years of the High Court of Australia: The Trevor Reese Memorial Lecture 2003’, Menzies Centre for Australian Studies (2003).
‘The Emergence of the Commonwealth Constitution’ in H.P. Lee and G. Winterton (eds.) Australian Constitutional Landmarks (Cambridge University Press, 2003) 1-33.
‘An Endless Project: Constitutional and Parliamentary Reform’ (with C. Macintyre) in C. Macintyre and J. Williams (eds.) Peace, Order and Good Government: Constitutional and Parliamentary Reform (Wakefield Press, 2003) 1-8.
‘Inter-Constitutional Relations’ in C. Macintyre and J. Williams (eds.) Peace, Order and Good Government: Constitutional and Parliamentary Reform (Wakefield Press, 2003) 178-195.
‘The Blizzard and Oz: Canadian Influences on the Australian Constitution Then and Now’ in L. Cardinal and D. Headon (eds.), Shaping Nations (University of Ottawa Press, 2002) 5-25.
‘Lionel Murphy’ in T. Blackshield, M. Coper and G. Williams (eds.) Oxford Companion to the High Court (Oxford University Press, 2001) 484-6.
‘Edmund Barton’ (with G. C. Bolton) in T. Blackshield, M. Coper and G. Williams (eds.) Oxford Companion to the High Court (Oxford University Press, 2001) 53-6.
‘Australie’ (2001) 46 Revue Française de Droit Constitutionnel 412-7.
‘Constitution’ in W. Prest (ed) The Wakefield Companion to South Australian History (Wakefield Press, 2001) 121-3.
‘Battery Point Revisited: Andrew Inglis Clark’s Studies in Australian Constitutional Law, 1901-1905’ in R. Ely (ed) A Living Force: Andrew Inglis Clark and the Ideal of the Commonwealth (Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania, 2001) 347-55.
‘The Intention Project’ (with N. Naffine and R. Owens) in N. Naffine and R. Owens and J. Williams (eds.) Intention in Law and Philosophy (Ashgate, 2001) 1-15.
‘Constitutional Intention: The Limits of Originalism’ in N. Naffine and R. Owens and J. Williams (eds.) Intention in Law and Philosophy (Ashgate, 2001) 321-41.
‘Judicial Independence in Australia’ in D. O’Brien and P. Russell (eds.) Judicial Independence: Critical Perspectives From Around the World (University of Virginia Press, 2001) 173-93.
‘The Australian Constitution and the Challenge of Theory’ in C. Samford and T. Round (eds.) Beyond the Republic (Federation Press, 2001) 119-128.
‘John Henry Keating’ Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate (Melbourne University Press, 2000) Vol. 1, 231-6.
‘Australie’ (2000) 41 Revue Française de Droit Constitutionnel 155-63.
‘Sir Douglas Menzies’ entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography (2000) Vol. 15, 351-3.
‘Introduction’ (with D. Headon) to Manning Clark and the Ideal of De Tocqueville (with Dymphna Clark, David Headon editors), (Melbourne University Press, 2000) 12-39.
‘Andrew Inglis Clark: The Republican of Tasmania’ in D. Headon and J. Williams (eds.) Makers of Miracles: The Cast of the Federal Story, (Melbourne University Press, 2000) 44-55.
‘Australie’ (1999) 38 Revue Française de Droit Constitutionnel 399-403.
‘High Court’ in H. Irving (ed.) The Centenary Companion to Australian Federation (Cambridge University Press, 1999) 379-80.
‘Australia’ in C. Saunders and G. Hassall (eds.) Asia-Pacific Constitutional Yearbook (Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, 1999) 23-39.
‘Introduction’ to the re-issue of Andrew Inglis Clark, Studies in Australian Constitutional Law (Legal Books, 1997) iii-xxxix.
‘In Search of the Federal Citizen: Andrew Inglis Clark and the ‘14th Amendment’’ Discussion Paper No 30 Federalism Research Centre (1995).
‘Not a Suburban Boy: Andrew Inglis Clark and the Australian Constitutional History’ (1996) 2 Australian Journal of Legal History 95-105.
Penelope Debelle, Red Silk: The Life of Elliott Johnston QC in Australian Historical Studies (2012) 43.
L.H. McCormack and Cheryl Saunders (eds), Sir Ninian Stephen: A Tribute in The Australian Journal of Political Science (2012) 4(1).
Michael White and Aladin Rahemtula (eds), Queensland Judges on the High Court in (2004) 23(2) The University Queensland of Law Journal 527-34.
John M Bennett, Sir John Pender and Sir James Cockle in The Canberra Times, 22 May 2004, 8a.
Peter A Howell, South Australia and Federation in (2003) 38 Australian Journal of Political Science 152-3.
Cass Sunstein, Designing Democracy: What Constitutions Do in (2003) Adelaide Law Review 397-401.
John Hirst, The Sentimental Nation in The New Federalist (2001) 7 June 2001 81-2.
Michael Chesterman, Freedom of Speech in Australian Law: A Delicate Plant in Law & Politics Book Review 12 (August 2002) 423-5 (www.polsci.wvu.edu/lpbr/subpages/reviews/chesterman.htm).
Peter Botsman, The Great Constitutional Swindle: A Citizen's View of the Australian Constitution in (2000) 3 Constitutional Law & Policy Review 18-20.
Helen Irving, To Constitute a Nation: A Cultural History of Australia’s Constitution in (1997) 3 Australian Journal of Legal History 253-257.
John Waugh, The Rules (1997) in 32 Australian Journal of Political Science 293-4.
Philip Pettit, Republicanism (1997) in 28 ANU Reporter 7.
Campbell Sharman (ed) Parties and Federalism in Australia and Canada (1996) in 80 Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration 105-6.
Carrel I Clark, The Supreme Court of Tasmania: The First Hundred Years 1824-1924 (1996) in 42 Australian Journal of Politics and History 301-2.
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