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The Australian National University

Sir Robert Garran: Medio Tutissimus Ibis

The Hon. Justice Stephen Gageler AC (2018) 46 (1)

Sir Robert Randolph Garran (10 February 1867–11 January 1957) played a unique role in the early development of the Commonwealth. As Secretary to the Drafting Committee of the Australasian Federal Convention of 1897 and 1898, he was intimately involved in the process by which the Australian Constitution was produced. As Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department from 1901 to 1932, he was responsible for drafting foundational Commonwealth legislation and he played a key part in establishing coherent interpretations of the Constitution in advice to successive Federal Governments. Three aspects of Garran’s life and work are explored in this article: the popular movement which established the process by which the Constitution was negotiated, drafted, and submitted to referenda for approval; Garran’s tenure and legacy as Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department; and Garran’s views on federalism and constitutional law.

Vol 46, Issue 1, 2018

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