Attorney-General for Australia
Senator the Hon George Brandis QC
since 18 September 2013
|Appointer||Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Australia|
|Inaugural holder||Alfred Deakin|
|Formation||1 January 1901|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Attorney-General for Australia[note 1] is the first law officer of the Crown in right of the Commonwealth of Australia, chief law officer of the Commonwealth of Australia and a minister of the Crown. The Attorney-General is usually a member of the Federal Cabinet, but need not be. Under the Constitution they are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, and serves at the Governor-General's pleasure. In practice the Attorney-General is a party politician and their tenure is determined by political factors. By convention, but not constitutional requirement, the Attorney-General is a lawyer by training, either a barrister or solicitor.
Since 18 September 2013, the Attorney-General for Australia has been Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, a Liberal Party of Australia member of the Australian Senate for the state of Queensland.
The Attorney-General administers the Attorney-General's Department, and is the minister responsible for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). The Attorney-General also serves as a general legal adviser to the Cabinet, and has carriage of legislation dealing with copyright, human rights and a range of other subjects.
The Attorney-General is nearly always a person with legal training, and eleven former Attorneys-General have received senior judicial appointments after their ministerial service.
Billy Hughes was the longest-serving Attorney-General of Australia, serving for thirteen and a half years over four non-consecutive terms.
List of Attorneys-General
The following individuals have been appointed as Attorney-General for Australia:
|Order||Minister||Party||Prime Minister||Prior legal experience||Alma mater||Term start||Term end||Term in office|
|1||Alfred Deakin KC||Protectionist||Barton||Barrister||University of Melbourne||1 January 1901||24 September 1903||2 years, 266 days|
|2||Senator James Drake||Deakin||Barrister||King's College School, London||24 September 1903||27 April 1904||216 days|
|3||H. B. Higgins QC||Labor1||Watson||Barrister||University of Melbourne||27 April 1904||17 August 1904||112 days|
|4||Senator Josiah Symon QC||Free Trade||Reid||Barrister||Free Church Training College||17 August 1904||5 July 1905||322 days|
|5||Isaac Isaacs QC||Protectionist||Deakin||Barrister||University of Melbourne||5 July 1905||12 October 1906||1 year, 99 days|
|6||Littleton Groom KC||Lawyer||University of Melbourne||12 October 1906||13 November 1908||2 years, 32 days|
|7||Billy Hughes2||Labor||Fisher||Barrister||n/a||13 November 1908||2 June 1909||201 days|
|8||Paddy Glynn KC||Free Trade||Deakin||Barrister||Trinity College, Dublin||2 June 1909||29 April 1910||331 days|
|n/a||Billy Hughes KC||Labor||Fisher||Barrister||n/a||29 April 1910||24 June 1913||3 years, 56 days|
|9||William Irvine KC|| Commonwealth
|Cook||Barrister||Trinity College, Dublin; University of Melbourne||24 June 1913||17 September 1914||1 year, 85 days|
|n/a||Billy Hughes KC||Labor||Fisher||Barrister||n/a||17 September 1914||27 October 1915||7 years, 95 days|
|Hughes||27 October 1915||14 November 1916|
|National Labor||14 November 1916||13 June 1917|
|Nationalist||13 June 1917||21 December 1921|
|n/a||Littleton Groom KC||Lawyer||University of Melbourne||21 December 1921||9 February 1923||3 years, 362 days|
|Bruce||9 February 1923||18 December 1925|
|10||John Latham KC||Barrister||University of Melbourne||18 December 1925||22 October 1929||3 years, 308 days|
|11||Frank Brennan||Labor||Scullin||Barrister||University of Melbourne||22 October 1929||6 January 1932||2 years, 76 days|
|n/a||John Latham KC||United Australia||Lyons||Barrister||University of Melbourne||6 January 1932||12 October 1934||2 years, 279 days|
|12||Robert Menzies KC||Barrister||University of Melbourne||12 October 1934||20 March 1939||4 years, 159 days|
|n/a||Billy Hughes KC||Barrister||n/a||20 March 1939||7 April 1939||2 years, 201 days|
|Page||7 April 1939||26 April 1939|
|Menzies||26 April 1939||29 August 1941|
|Fadden||29 August 1941||7 October 1941|
|13||Dr. H. V. Evatt KC||Labor||Curtin||Barrister, Judge||University of Sydney||7 October 1941||6 July 1945||8 years, 73 days|
|Forde||6 July 1945||13 July 1945|
|Chifley||13 July 1945||19 December 1949|
|14||Senator John Spicer KC||Liberal||Menzies||Barrister||University of Melbourne||19 December 1949||14 August 1956||6 years, 239 days|
|15||Senator Neil O'Sullivan||Solicitor||15 August 1956||12 October 1958||2 years, 58 days|
|16||Sir Garfield Barwick QC||Barrister||University of Sydney||12 October 1958||4 March 1964||5 years, 144 days|
|17||Billy Snedden QC||Barrister||University of Western Australia||4 March 1964||26 January 1966||2 years, 285 days|
|Holt||26 January 1966||14 December 1966|
|18||Nigel Bowen QC||Barrister||University of Sydney||14 December 1966||19 December 1967||2 years, 333 days|
|McEwen||19 December 1967||10 January 1968|
|Gorton||10 January 1968||12 November 1969|
|19||Tom Hughes QC||Barrister||University of Sydney||12 November 1969||10 March 1971||1 year, 130 days|
|McMahon||10 March 1971||22 March 1971|
|n/a||Nigel Bowen||Barrister||University of Sydney||22 March 1971||2 August 1971||133 days|
|20||Senator Ivor Greenwood QC||Barrister||University of Melbourne||2 August 1971||5 December 1972||1 year, 125 days|
|21||Gough Whitlam QC3||Labor||Whitlam||Barrister||University of Sydney||5 December 1972||19 December 1972||14 days|
|22||Senator Lionel Murphy QC||Barrister||University of Sydney||19 December 1972||10 February 1975||2 years, 53 days|
|23||Kep Enderby QC||Barrister|| University of Sydney
University of London
|10 February 1975||11 November 1975||274 days|
|n/a||Senator Ivor Greenwood QC||Liberal||Fraser||Barrister||University of Melbourne||11 November 1975||22 December 1975||41 days|
|24||Bob Ellicott QC||Barrister||University of Sydney||22 December 1975||6 September 1977||1 year, 258 days|
|25||Senator Peter Durack QC||Barrister|| University of Western Australia
Lincoln College, Oxford
|6 September 1977||11 March 1983||5 years, 186 days|
|26||Senator Gareth Evans QC||Labor||Hawke||Barrister|| University of Melbourne
Magdalen College, Oxford
|11 March 1983||13 December 1984||1 year, 277 days|
|27||Lionel Bowen||Solicitor||University of Sydney||13 December 1984||4 April 1990||5 years, 112 days|
|28||Michael Duffy||4 April 1990||27 December 1991||2 years, 354 days|
|Keating||27 December 1991||24 March 1993|
|29||Duncan Kerr4||Labor||Keating||Barrister||University of Tasmania||1 April 1993||27 April 1993||26 days|
|30||Michael Lavarch||Solicitor||Queensland University of Technology||27 April 1993||11 March 1996||2 years, 319 days|
|31||Daryl Williams QC||Liberal||Howard||Barrister|| University of Western Australia
Wadham College, Oxford
|11 March 1996||7 October 2003||7 years, 210 days|
|32||Philip Ruddock||Solicitor||University of Sydney||7 October 2003||3 December 2007||4 years, 57 days|
|33||Robert McClelland||Labor||Rudd||Solicitor|| University of New South Wales
University of Sydney
|3 December 2007||24 June 2010||4 years, 11 days|
|Gillard||24 June 2010||14 December 2011|
|34||Nicola Roxon||Solicitor||University of Melbourne||14 December 2011||2 February 2013||1 year, 50 days|
|35||Mark Dreyfus QC||Barrister||University of Melbourne||2 February 2013||26 June 2013||228 days|
|Rudd||26 June 2013||18 September 2013|
|36||Senator George Brandis QC||Liberal National||Abbott||Barrister||University of Queensland; Magdalen College, Oxford||18 September 2013||15 September 2015||3 years, 80 days|
|Turnbull||15 September 2015||incumbent|
- 1 A member of the Protectionist Party, Higgins served in the Labor ministry of Chris Watson, because Labor had no suitably qualified lawyer in Parliament.
- 2 Hughes took silk in 1909, and became a King's Counsel.
- 3 Whitlam served as part of a two-man ministry together with Lance Barnard for fourteen days, until the full ministry was commissioned.
- 4 Prime Minister Paul Keating's original choice for Attorney-General in 1993 had been Michael Lavarch, but Lavarch's re-election was delayed by the death of an opposing candidate for the seat of Dickson; Duncan Kerr held the portfolio in the interim until Lavarch won the resulting supplementary election. Kerr served as Attorney-General for 26 days. There was no Attorney-General for the eight days between Duffy's commission ending on 24 March 1993 and Kerr's commission commencing on 1 April 1993.
- Attorneys-General of the various states of Australia:
- ↑ The title is officially "Attorney-General". For the purposes of distinguishing the office from other Attorneys-General, and in accordance with usual practice in the United Kingdom and other common law jurisdictions, the Australian Attorney-General currently refers to themselves as the "Attorney-General for Australia" or the "Commonwealth Attorney-General": see Attorney-General website. Historically, "Attorney-General of Australia" was also used.
- ↑ "Ministries and Cabinets". 43rd Parliamentary Handbook: Historical information on the Australian Parliament. Parliament of Australia. 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- ↑ "William Morris Hughes: Before office". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
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