Making Migration Law


Melbourne Law School
the Common Room, Level 9
185 Pelham St
Carlton VIC 3053

About the book launch

The book will be launched by the Honourable Catherine Branson AC QC, with presentations from Professor Michelle Foster and Dr Eve Lester.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the publication of Eve Lester's inaugural work: 'Making Migration Law: The Foreigner, Sovereignty, and the case of Australia.' Cambridge University Press (2018). Making Migration Law: The emergence of international human rights law and the end of the White Australia immigration policy were events of great historical moment. Yet, they were not harbingers of a new dawn in migration law. This book argues that this is because migration law in Australia is best understood as part of a longer jurisprudential tradition in which certain politicaleconomic interests have shaped the relationship between the foreigner and the sovereign. In this book, Eve Lester explores how this relationship has been wrought by a political-economic desire to regulate race and labour; a desire that has produced the claim that there exists an absolute sovereign right to exclude or condition the entry and stay of foreigners. Lester calls this putative right a discourse of ‘absolute sovereignty’. She argues that ‘absolute sovereignty’ talk continues to be a driver of migration lawmaking, shaping the foreigner-sovereign relation and making thinkable some of the world’s harshest asylum policies.

This event is a collaboration between the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness and the Institute for International Law and the Humanities.

About the presenters

The Hon Catherine Branson AC QC was the first woman in Australia to be appointed Crown Solicitor, and also the first woman to be appointed permanent head of a government department in South Australia. Called to the South Australian Bar in 1989, Branson took silk in 1992. Branson was then appointed to the Federal Court of Australia in 1994 where she served on the bench until 2008. In 2008, Branson became President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and from 2009 to 2012 was appointed as the Human Rights Commissioner.  Branson was awarded the  Companion of the Order of Australia in 2018.

Professor Michelle Foster is a Professor  at Melbourne Law School (MLS) and  is the inaugural Director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness. Michelle has published widely in the field of international refugee law and currently teaches Refugee Law and International Refugee Law at MLS. Michelle has also taught in the International Summer School in Forced Migration at Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre.

Dr Eve Lester Eve Lester is an Independent Researcher, Consultant and a public and international lawyer who has worked in Australia and internationally for some 25 years. She has worked in legal practice in Australia and in the non-government sector in Australia and overseas. She has also worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva and as an expert consultant in the NGO sector, to the UN and to governments.