Law School

2017 John Toohey Oration


About the John Toohey Oration

JTC_1-1The John Toohey public lecture honours the career and contribution to public life of a very distinguished graduate of The University of Western Australia, Justice John Leslie Toohey who, after graduating in Arts and Law, went on to become one of the State's outstanding legal practitioners and subsequently one of the country's eminent jurists.

A prominent feature of John Toohey's career was his long-standing concern for indigenous people, as manifested in his work for the Aboriginal Legal Service, as Aboriginal lands Commissioner in the Northern territory, and as a High Court Judge who played a prominent part in the Mabo decision. Justice Toohey died peacefully at home on 9 April 2015.

The Toohey Legacy: rights and freedom, compassion and honour

The 2017 John Toohey Oration presented by the UWA Law School and John Toohey Chambers, was delivered by Greg McIntyre SC.  The oration addressed the articulation by the Honourable John Leslie Toohey AC QC, in the course of his legal and judicial career, of the fundamental rights and freedoms which form part of the universal norms of a democratic society and are protected by the Rule of Law.  

With a focus on John Toohey's compassion for the vulnerable, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and his concern for the citizenry who would otherwise be subjected to the untrammeled power of the State, the address referred to cases in which Justice Toohey took part, including Mabo v Queensland and Wik Peoples v Queensland, Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Levy v Victoria, Australian Broadcasting Tribunal v Bond, Minister for Immigration v Teoh and Dietrich v The Queen. 

A transcript of the 2017 John Toohey Oration can be viewed online.

Greg McIntyre SC

Greg-McIntyreGreg graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1974. Since that time he has worked in legal practice as well worked as a Community Adviser to the Western Desert Aboriginal Community at Warburton, W.A. and in a Research Unit of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library. In 1981 he presented the result of his research to a conference at James Cook University in Townsville and was instructed by Eddie Mabo to commence the legal proceedings which reached their conclusion in Mabo v Queensland (1992) 175 CLR 1.

He practiced principally in criminal law and family law between 1976 and 1990. He was Principal Legal Officer of the Aboriginal Legal Service of W.A. from 1988-90. In 1992 he went to the W.A. Bar and has developed a practice in the High Court and Federal Court in Native Title law. Immigration law and Administrative law generally. He was President of the national Environmental Law Association from 1992-1997.

In 2013 Greg was Counsel for the Plaintiffs in Collard v Western Australia [2013] WASC 455, a test case for Western Australia on the application of a fiduciary duty of the State to the 'Stolen Generation' of Aboriginal people in WA