In 2005, Doyle CJ, speaking for the Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia, described the Royal Commissions Act 1917 as having an ‘antiquated air to it’ and appearing to be a ‘patchwork of provisions borrowed from similar legislation elsewhere in Australia’ (McGee v Gilchrist-Humphry (2005) 92 SASR 100, .
Doubts emerged about the efficacy of the Act in the course of the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission. The Commonwealth sought to challenge summonses issued by Commissioner Bret Walker SC. Chris Bleby SC, at that time Solicitor-General for South Australia, prepared a defence of those summonses. However, those issues were never tested in the High Court because the Commissioner withdrew the summonses.
In June 2020, the Hon Ann Vanstone QC presented the Attorney-General with a Review of the Royal Commissions Act 1917 containing recommendations concerning amongst other things, claims for privilege, the extraterritorial reach of the Act, different tiers of inquiry and privative clauses. The Review informed the development of the Inquiries Bill 2021 which has recently been made available for public consultation.
CHAIRED BY MIKE WAIT SC, SOLICITOR-GENERAL
1.00 pm, Thursday, 22 April 2021
(Please arrive early for registration and COVID check in)
Theatrette, Ground Floor, 55 Currie Street, Adelaide (no webinar)
Registration is free but mandatory due to COVID restrictions
RSVP by 20 April 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org