Michael Lavarch

The Honourable
Michael Lavarch
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Fisher
In office
11 July 1987  17 April 1993
Preceded by Peter Slipper
Succeeded by Peter Slipper
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Dickson
In office
17 April 1993  2 March 1996
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Tony Smith
Personal details
Born (1961-06-08) 8 June 1961
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Larissa Behrendt Linda Lavarch
Occupation Lawyer

Michael Hugh Lavarch AO (born 8 June 1961) is an Australian lawyer, educator and former politician. He was the Attorney-General of Australia between 1993 and 1996, and since 2004 has been dean and professor of law at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), his alma mater.


Lavarch commenced his legal career in Brisbane as a solicitor. He gained Australian Labor Party endorsement for the electorate of Fisher in Queensland's Sunshine Coast, and was elected to the Federal Parliament at the 1987 election.

By the 1993 election, boundary changes had erased Lavarch's majority and made Fisher notionally Liberal. Lavarch contested the newly created seat of Dickson in the outer northern suburbs of Brisbane, which covered much of the Brisbane portion of his former seat. Independent Walter Pegler died very shortly before the election, making it necessary to hold a supplementary election on 17 April (the rest of the country had already voted on 13 March). Following the return of the Labor Party to government, Prime Minister Paul Keating announced the makeup of the Second Keating Ministry to be sworn in on 24 March, but kept the portfolio of Attorney-General (outside Cabinet) open for Lavarch, subject to him winning Dickson on 17 April. Lavarch won the supplementary election, defeating future Queensland Liberal leader Bruce Flegg, and was duly appointed to the ministry on 27 April.

During his political career, he was particularly interested in human rights and native title issues. He was responsible for instigating the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families in 1995, culminating in the publication of the Bringing Them Home Report. He was defeated at the 1996 election, in which Labor was cut down to only two seats in Queensland. He then returned to his legal practice.

In 1998, Lavarch was elected as a Queensland delegate to the 4th Constitutional Convention in 1998 for the Australian Republican Movement.[1]

He was secretary-general of the Law Council of Australia from 2001 to 2004.[2] In 2004 he was appointed dean and professor of law at Queensland University of Technology, of which he is also a graduate.[3]

Lavarch has written numerous book chapters and articles about Australia's legal and political systems, including being editor of "Beyond the Adversarial System" (ISBN 1862871531). He hosts a radio program podcast on 2SER called "Maintain the Rage" that discusses politics, political history and the way the media covers them.

Personal life

Lavarch lives between Brisbane and Sydney with his wife, indigenous academic, lawyer and writer, Larissa Behrendt.

Michael Lavarch was formerly married to Linda Lavarch. Like her former husband, Linda Lavarch had served as an Attorney General but on the Queensland state level from 2005 to 2009.

At the 2016 election, Linda was the ALP candidate for her former husband's former seat of Dickson.


  1. "Biographies". Griffith University. Archived from the original on 2007-03-18. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  2. "Law Council Appoints New Secretary General". Archived from the original on 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  3. "Prof. The Hon. Michael Lavarch – Dean of Law". Retrieved 2008-02-18.
Political offices
Preceded by
Duncan Kerr
Attorney-General of Australia
Succeeded by
Daryl Williams
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Peter Slipper
Member for Fisher
Succeeded by
Peter Slipper
Preceded by
Electorate created
Member for Dickson
Succeeded by
Tony Smith
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