Governor-General's Prize Questions 2019-2020

This year’s questions focus on rights and implied freedoms.

  1. Does an Australian citizen have a right to enter Australia and under what circumstances, if any, can such a right be limited or removed by an exercise of executive or legislative power?
  2. It is often said that the media protects citizens by exposing wrongdoing by those in power.  What press freedom do we have in Australia and do we have a right to know if our Government has done something wrong?
  3. Is there a need to enact legislation to protect religious faith and the freedom to exercise and express that faith?  Is s 116 of the Constitution inadequate in its protection of freedom of religion, or does it get the balance right?
  4. Compare and consider the High Court’s application of the implied freedom of political communication to protests outside workplaces in the cases of Brown v Tasmania and Clubb v Edwards.  What is the significance of the distinctions drawn by the Court for the enactment of future laws dealing with protests affecting workplaces?
  5. Individual rights are an important part of American culture and some are enshrined in the United States Constitution.  How does Australian culture differ and can this explain why Australia does not have a constitutional Bill of Rights?
  6. Native title protects certain property rights of Indigenous peoples across Australia.  Should the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) be changed to give Indigenous Australians more flexible property rights, including rights of individual ownership and the ability to sell or mortgage those rights?
  7. Has liberalism become obsolete and outlived its purpose in the West through the shutting down of unpopular opinions and views?  How does our Constitution protect liberalism, and does it remain appropriate for it to do so today?
  8. Analyse and assess the cogency of reasons for giving effect to an Indigenous voice to Parliament in either legislation or the Constitution.

The essay must not exceed 2,500 words. All sources must be cited, however footnotes and bibliography are not included in the word count.

For more information please contact Phuong Van at