Political Parties and the Courts

Electoral Regulation Research Network Seminar

Wednesday, 20th July 2002


  • Professor Anika Gauja, University of Sydney, Political Science
  • Professor Graeme Orr, University of Queensland


  • Associate Professor Yee-Fui Ng, Monash University

About the talk:

When should the rules, that parties make for themselves, be enforceable in the courts? High-profile litigation involving the NSW Liberal Party and the Victorian ALP in 2021-2022 has thrown this question into some confusion, with two key State Courts of Appeal setting a new and very narrow test for party rules to be adjudicated upon.

To some, this question goes to the very idea of parties as rule-governed, member-driven participatory bodies, who ultimately govern our electoral politics. To others, it implicates the freedom of association of parties as private organisations. This webinar will explore the history, law and significance of this question, and the potential consequences of recent cases such as Camenzuli v Morrison and Asmar v Albanese.

About the Speakers:

Dr Anika Gauja is a Professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. Anika is an expert on the comparative regulation of political parties, their internal dynamics and their evolving social roles. Her books include Party Reform (2016), The Politics of Party Policy (2013) and Political Parties and Elections: Legislating for Legislative Democracy (2010). She has also co-authored and co-edited political science reference works/texts as well as the triennial Australian federal election series.

Dr Graeme Orr is a Professor in the School of Law at the University of Queensland. Graeme specialises in the law of politics. His books include The Law of Politics (2019, 2nd ed), one on elections as rituals, and a co-authored work on The Law of Deliberative Democracy.