"Exclusive cognisance" and cognitive dissonance: Alley v Gillespie

Tony Blackshield

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/WebsiteWebsite contribution


Section 44 of the Constitution – which provides that various categories of persons are incapable of being chosen to sit in the federal Parliament – has been the subject of extraordinary controversy since 2017. In this post, Professor Tony Blackshield provides an in-depth analysis of one of the most recent events in this unfolding saga: the decision of the High Court in Alley v Gillespie. Professor Blackshield argues that the High Court’s interpretation of the constitutional and statutory provisions in issue in this case is mistaken, and explores the broader constitutional and political issues surrounding this law and the concept of “common informer” proceedings.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationAusPubLaw : the Australian Public Law Blog
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


  • common informers
  • constitutional interpretation
  • disqualification
  • Section 44


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