Conference to target constitutional reform

Friday, 16 August 2002

Constitutional reform in South Australia will be put under the microscope at a University of Adelaide conference which gets underway tomorrow (Saturday, August 16).

The Constitutional & Parliamentary Reform for South Australia conference, to be held at the Art Gallery Auditorium, will feature Australia's best constitutional minds speaking on a wide range of topics, including citizen-initiated referenda and the size and function of State Parliament.

Conference co-organiser Dr John Williams says it is an important precursor to the State Constitutional Convention brokered between the Labor Party and Independent MP Peter Lewis, to be held later this year.

"Constitutional and parliamentary reform is on the way - but what we make of it is up to us," he says. "The University of Adelaide conference is important because the nation's leading constitutional experts will be here, and the topics and issues raised at this conference are expected to shape the agenda for the Constitutional Convention later in the year."

Co-organiser, Dr Clem Macintyre, says it is vital the public takes more than a passive interest in the debate surrounding constitutional reform.

"South Australia has a long history of being at the forefront of social and political change, and now is not the time to succumb to more cynicism about the political process," he says. "The next few months will be really important for efforts to re-shape the State's constitution and Parliament, and as many people as possible need to be involved."

"The university conference is the crucial first step in this process of reform, and we are expecting the speakers and the subsequent debate to be lively and stimulating."

Premier Mike Rann will officially open the Constitutional & Parliamentary Reform for South Australia conference tomorrow (Saturday) at the Art Gallery Auditorium at 9.15am. The conference has been organised through the Australian Association of Constitutional Law, and is sponsored by the University of Adelaide, Johnson Winter & Slattery (Barristers and Solicitors) and the Attorney-General's Department.

Media are welcome to attend the conference: the Speaker Peter Lewis, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, and Shadow-Attorney General Robert Lawson QC are all speaking about the need for constitutional and parliamentary reform at the conference's first session, beginning at 9.30am on Saturday. For more information, contact the conference organisers on the numbers below.


Contact Details

Professor John Williams
Dean of Law School
Director, South Australian Law Reform Institute
The University of Adelaide

Professor Clem Macintyre
Head, School of History & Politics
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5601
Mobile: 0432 977 055