The Honourable Barry O’Keefe (AM QC DUniv ACU) was a lawyer, judge and Commissioner who made an extraordinary contribution to the legal profession and to Australian society.
The Honourable Susan Crennan AC QC, former Justice of the High Court of Australia was the keynote speaker at the event. Her Honour discussed the significance and legacy of the 1951 Communist Party Case, a case which still stands today as a triumph for civil liberties and the Rule of Law.
The Honourable John Fahey AC, Professor Marea Nicholson, The Honourable Susan Crennan AC QC, Professor Rocque Reynolds, Mr Julien O’Connell AM and James Perry
At the height of the Cold War, in the face of the government’s popular mandate to disband the Australian Communist Party, the High Court struck down the legislation banning the Communist Party and affirmed the power of judicial review over legislative actions. ACU Law student James Perry, delivering the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the student body, described Justice Crennan’s speech as an inspiring address which drew attention to the importance of the principle of legality courageously administered by an independent judiciary.
Among the distinguished audience which the Dean of Law, Professor Rocque Reynolds, welcomed to the event, were the following friends of the Law School: Mrs Janette O’Keefe; the Chancellor of Australian Catholic University, the Honourable John Fahey AC; the Pro-Chancellor, Mr Julien O’Connell AM; the Associate Vice Chancellor NSW/ACT, Professor Marea Nicholson; former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, The Honourable Murray Gleeson AC QC; Judge Dale Kemp; Adjunct Professor Terry Tobin QC; The Honourable Barry Mahoney QC; and Julian McMahon AC SC.
The Acknowledgement of Country was delivered by First Year Law student Ashleigh Bridge, a proud Wiradjuri woman. In addition, many of the families and friends of new and returning students gathered together with staff to mark the extraordinary contribution of Barry O’Keefe.
The Law School also celebrated this prestigious annual event with the awarding of the 2017 Executive Dean’s Commendations. The Dean of Law, on behalf of the Executive Dean of Law and Business, presented 22 students with a certificate of Commendation for attaining a Grade Point Average of 6 out of 7 during the 2017 calendar year. Many parents and friends attended to celebrate this award for academic excellence.