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Key decisions

  • Hocking v Director-General of the National Archives of Australia [2019] FCAFC 12
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Competition v Geowash Pty Ltd (Subject to a Deed of Company Arrangement) (No 3) [2019] FCA 72
  • Liu v Stephen Grubits & Associates (No 2) [2019] FCAFC 24 (12 February 2019)
  • Martin v Norton Rose Fulbright Australia Ltd (No 2) [2019] FCA 96

Administrative and constitutional law

Seeking access to correspondence between former Governor-General, Sir John Kerr and The Queen

The subject-matter of the litigation in Hocking v Director-General of the National Archives of Australia [2019] FCAFC 12 (8 February 2019) were originals of correspondence received by, and contemporaneously made copies of correspondence sent by, the former Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, or his Official Secretary, to and from The Queen by means of Her Private Secretary. It was an agreed fact that the records comprised letters and telegrams and certain attachments to that correspondence (such as newspaper clippings and letters). The period of the correspondence was 15 August 1974 to 5 December 1977, that is leading up to and after the dismissal of Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister of Australia. Further agreed facts were that the documents were deposited by Mr David Smith, in his capacity as Official Secretary to the Governor-General with the National Archives of Australia with an instruction that they were to remain closed until after 8 December 2037 (that is, 60 years after the end of the Sir John Kerr’s appointment as Governor-General (at [42]-[43]). 

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