ICON•S AUS-NZ Launch Event: Trans-Tasman Reflections on COVID-19 and Public Law

1pm - 2pm
Fri, 2020-08-28

Date and Time: Friday 28 August, 1:00 – 2:30pm (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart), 3:00 – 4:30pm (New Zealand), 11:00 am – 12:30 pm (Perth), 12:30 – 2:00 pm (Adelaide, Darwin)

This webinar marked the official launch of the Australia-NZ chapter of the International Society of Public Law, and was co-hosted by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre and AACL. It draws together experts from Australia and New Zealand to discuss how the governments in their jurisdictions have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, they considered what has determined the success of responses, what oversight challenges have arisen, and the public law significance (if any) of how the two countries have worked together to respond to the pandemic.

Introduction by Professor Rosalind Dixon, Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre for Public Law at UNSW Law, and Co-President of ICON-S


  • Professor the Hon Kevin Bell AM QC, Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University
  • Associate Professor Claire Charters, University of Auckland Faculty of Law
  • Associate Professor Dean Knight, Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law and Co-Chair of ICON-S AUS-NZ
  • Professor Adrienne Stone, Director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne Law School
  • Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and a Professor of Law, UNSW Law


  • Professor Janet McLean QC, University of Auckland Faculty of Law


  • Professor Sarah Murray, University of Western Australia Faculty of Law and Co-Chair of ICON-S AUS-NZ

This webinar is a joint initiative of the Australia and New Zealand Chapter of the International Society of Public Law (ICON•S AUS-NZ), the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, the Australian Association of Comparative Law

Speaker Bios:

Professor the Hon Kevin H Bell AM QC is the Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law in the Faculty of Law at Monash University.  He was a justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria for fifteen years and wrote a number of leading judgments under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights, including Kracke,Patrick’s Caseand PBU and NJE.  He was president of the Forensic Leave Panel and president of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.  Before becoming a judge, Professor Bell was for twenty years a barrister and Queens Counsel with a national practise in human rights and administrative, native tile and constitutional law. He has a Master of Studies in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University and in 2017 was awarded the honour of Member of the Order of Australia for ‘significant service to the law and to the judiciary, to native title and human rights, and the community’. 

Professor Megan Davis is the Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law, UNSW Law and Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW. Professor Davis currently serves as a United Nations expert with the UN Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous peoples under the UN Human Rights Council. Megan is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Professor Davis is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. Megan is also an Australian Rugby League Commissioner. Davis has been the leading constitutional lawyer working on Indigenous constitutional reform since 2011. In 2011, Megan was was on the Prime Minister's Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution. In 2015 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Referendum Council and designed the deliberative constitutional dialogue process the Council undertook. Megan also has extensive experience as an international lawyer at the UN and participated in the drafting of the UNDRIP from 1999-2005 and is a former UN Fellow of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Dr Claire Charters is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland Law School. Claire’s primary area of research is in indigenous peoples’ rights in international and constitutional law, often with a comparative focus.  She has worked extensively on indigenous peoples' rights at an international level, including for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and as an advisor to the United Nations President of the General Assembly.​

Janet McLean QC is a Professor of Public law at the University of Auckland and is the author of Searching for the State in British Legal ThoughtCambridge 2012 and (with Dame Alison Quentin-Baxter) This Realm of New Zealand: The Sovereign, The Governor-General, The Crown  AUP 2017.

Dr Dean Knight is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law and member of the NZ Centre for Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington. His interest lies in public law generally, especially administrative law and judicial review. He is also the co-chair of ICON-S AUS-NZ.

Adrienne Stone holds a Chair at Melbourne Law School where she is also Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies. She researches in the areas of constitutional law and constitutional theory with particular attention to freedom of expression. She is a  Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowand her Laureate Program on Comparative Constitutional Law assembles a research team to investigate challenges to liberal democratic constitutionalism. She has published widely in international and Australian journals including, recently, in the Federal Law Review, Vienna Journal of International Constitutional LawInternational Journal of Constitutional Law,and Constitutional Commentary. She is the author (with Carolyn Evans) of Open Minds: Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech (2020). With Cheryl Saunders AO she is editor of the Oxford Handbook on the Australian Constitution (2018) and with Frederick Schauer she is editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Freedom of Speech. She is the President of the International Association of Constitutional Law and is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and Australian Academy of Law.