Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Bede Harris

Dr Bede Harris

BA(Mod) Dublin, LLB Rhodes, DPhil Waikato

Bede Harris is a native of Zimbabwe. He has a BA(Mod) from Trinity College, University of Dublin, and LLB (cum laude) from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, and a DPhil from the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. He has previously taught at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg; the University of Waikato; James Cook University and the University of Canberra.

Bede's primary areas of teaching are Business Law and Corporations Law. His areas of research are Constitutional Law (particularly constitutional reform), Indigenous legal issues, Corporations Law and Consumer Law.

In 2001 Bede was awarded a Fulbright Senior Fellowship and attended the American Studies Institute held at the Meyner Centre for the Study of Government at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where teachers of Constitutional Law from a variety of jurisdictions studied IUS constitutional law, before travelling in the south-west of the United States to study native American self-government.

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Research Focus

  • Constitutional Law
  • Indigenous legal issues
  • Corporations Law
  • Consumer Law
Research Project Supervision

Supervision at Honours, Masters and PhD level in the fields of Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Corporations Law.

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Professional Activities

In 2007 Bede worked as a Senior Legal Consultant in the Finance and Revenue unit of the Office of General Counsel at the Australian Government Solicitor in Canberra, which provides advice to Commonwealth government agencies on constitutional matters, on compliance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth), and on general administrative law matters. Bede also served as a member of the Commonwealth Department of Families, Health, Community Services and Ageing (FaHCSIA) Research Ethics Committee.

Bede has made written and oral representations to legislative committee enquiries on constitutional law, human rights protection and civics education within my areas of expertise. He was a moderator of community discussions during the 1999 Republic Referendum, and was co-sponsor of proposal adopted by the Peoples Conference at Corowa, which was convened in December 2001 to consider processes which might be used to put the issue of an Australian Republic before voters. He contributes to the print and electronic media.

Bede is a member of the Australasian Law Teachers' Association (ALTA), the Corporate Law Teachers Association (CLTA) and the Australian - American Fulbright Association.


Bede has had consultancies with the Australian Institute of Company Directors, delivering the Legal Environment module of the Practice of Directorship course. He has also delivered modules on Directors' and Officers' duties, Trade Practices, Corporate Governance, and Ethics for the CPA Australia accreditation course. He has also taught Australian Legal Foundations on behalf of IIBT Pte Ltd (Singapore) to students at Universities in China.

Grants and Awards
  • University of Waikato, University Research Committee Grant. Project: 'Freedom of Expression and Human Dignity', 1994.
  • ARC Small Grant. Project: 'Australia and South Africa: Comparative Studies on Customary Law and Hate Speech', 1997.
  • Fulbright Scholarship - American Studies Institute, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, United States of America, 2001.

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Selected Publications

  • Exploring the Frozen Continent - What Australians Think of Constitutional Reform (Vivid Publishing) 2014.
  • Freedom, Democracy and Accountability - A Vision for a New Australian Constitution (Vivid Publishing) 2012.
  • Constitutional Law Guidebook (2nd ed) (Oxford University Press) 2015.
  • Essential Constitutional Law (Cavendish Publishing) 2004.
  • A New Constitution for Australia (Cavendish Publishing) 2002.
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law - Basic Principles (Juta & Co) 1989 (with L J Boulle and C E Hoexter).
Chapters in books
  • 'Recognising Indigenous Law in Australia: Drawing on the African Experience' in Beyond the Republic: Meeting the Global Challenges to Constitutionalism Charles Sampford and Tom Round (eds), Federation Press, 2001.
  • The Right to Group Association and the Protection of Ethnic and Cultural Groups' in Cowling and Barrett (eds) Debating a Bill of Rights, Liberal Democratic Association, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (1991).
  • Australian Law Dictionary (Oxford University Press) (2009), - entries in fields of Corporations Law and Constitutional Law.
  • Freedom of Expression and Human Dignity, Doctoral thesis, University of Waikato (1996), published on microfilm through UMI Dissertation Services (Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA), Microfilm No. 9720737.
Journal articles
  • 'A Roman law solution to an eternal problem: A proposed new dignitary tort to remedy sexual harassment' (2017) 43 Alternative Law Journal 200.
  • 'Human Rights and the Same-Sex Marriage Debate in Australia' (2017) 10 Journal of Politics and Law 60.
  • 'Constitutional implications of a zombie outbreak' – (2016) 14 Canberra Law Review 17.
  • 'Too much law and not enough theory – A critique of the Commonwealth Constitution' (2016) 18 Southern Cross University Law Review 3.
  • 'Reforming the Office of Speaker' (2016) 41 Alternative Law Journal 89.
  • 'Does the Commonwealth Electoral Act Satisfy the Requirement that Representatives be 'Directly Chosen' by the People?' (2016) 4 Journal of Politics and Law 78.
  • 'Representative Democracy and Responsible Government – Two Australian Constitutional Myths' (2015) 13 Canberra Law Review 3.
  • 'Third Party Suspicion of Lack of Authority on the Part of Company Agents – A Comparative Study and a Suggested Rule' (2015) 8:2 Journal of Politics and Law 98.
  • 'A Survey of Voter Attitudes to Constitutional Reform' (2014) 12 Canberra Law Review 109.
  • 'Corporatisation, Managerialism and the Death of the University Ideal in Australia' (2014) 7:2 Journal of Politics and Law 63.
  • 'The Under-Development in Australia of the Doctrine in Kruse v Johnson'(2013) 6 Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association 33.
  • 'Economic costs in fixed-rate home loan provisions and breaches of Australian consumer law' (2013) 6:3 Journal of Politics and Law 95.
  • 'Enhancing critical thinking and international comparative approaches to constitutional law education in Australia' (2012) 5 Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers' Association 41.
  • 'Embedding Indigenous Experiences into the Teaching of Corporations Law' (2012) 4 Ngiya: Talk the Law 16.
  • 'A critique of the CCAAC Report of 2009 and the statutory guarantee of acceptable quality in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)' (2011) 19 Competition and Consumer Law Journal 152.
  • 'A Model Australian Code Relating to Defective Goods' (2010) 3 Journal of Politics and Law 1
  • 'The Place of Indigenous Rights in the Bill of Rights Debate - A Rawlsian Justification' (2009) 13 Australian Indigenous Law Reporter 70.
  • 'The Bill of Rights Debate in Australia - A Study in Constitutional Disengagement' (2009) 3 Journal of Politics and Law 2.
  • 'Parliamentary Scrutiny of the Executive - A Proposal for Constitutional Reform' (2006) 9 Canberra Law Review 19.
  • 'Legal Pluralism and a Bill of Rights - the South African Experience', (2006) 10 Australian Indigenous Law Reporter 1.
  • 'Censorship: A Comparative Approach Offering A New Theoretical Basis For Classification in Australia' (2005) 8 Canberra Law Review 25.
  • 'Insulting speech and the implied freedom of political communication' (2005) (2) Student Law Reporter 16.
  • 'Developments in Australian Corporations and Investment Law and their Impact on Australian Overseas Trade' (2004) 5 Taiwanese Journal of Australian Studies 51.
  • 'Privative clauses and the High Court's jurisdiction under s 75(v) of the Constitution' (2004) (1) Student Law Reporter 13.
  • 'Defamation and freedom of political expression in Australia and South Africa - the opportunities missed in Lange' (2001) 6 Media and Arts Law Review 79.
  • 'Indigenous Law in South Africa - Lessons for Australia?' (1999) 5 James Cook University Law Review 70.
  • 'Race Vilification Laws - A Comparative Perspective' (1999) 6 Canberra Law Review 233.
  • 'Pell v Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria - The 'Piss Christ' Case and Freedom of Expression' (1998) 22 Melbourne University Law Review 217.
  • 'Christensen v Scott - Undermining the Fundamentals of Company Law?' (1997) 15 Company and Securities Law Journal 67.
  • 'An erosion of minority shareholder rights?' [1996] Company and Securities Law Bulletin 66. 'Viewpoint Neutrality and Freedom of Expression in New Zealand' (1996) 8 Otago Law Review 515.
  • 'Fiduciary duties of directors under the Companies Act 1993' [1994] New Zealand Law Journal 242. 'The New South African Constitution' [1995] New Zealand Law Journal 17.
  • Book Review : 'Public Law in New Zealand - Cases, Materials, Commentary and Questions by Mai Chen and Sir Geoffrey Palmer' (1993) 1 Waikato Law Review 177.
  • 'Appointments to the Bench - The Role of a Judicial Services Commission' (1993) 15 Adelaide Law Review 191.
  • 'Prerogative Powers and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990' (1993) 15 New Zealand Universities Law Review 323.
  • 'Basic requirements of s 23(1)(b) of the Bill of Rights Act' [1993] New Zealand Law Journal 86.
  • 'Unconsciousness and s 23(1)(b) of the Bill of Rights' [1993] New Zealand Law Journal 4.
  • 'Being informed of the right to consult a lawyer' [1992] New Zealand Law Journal 304.
  • 'Interim Constitutional Arrangements' (1992) 7 S A Public Law 64.
  • 'Constitutional Mechanisms for the Protection of Group Rights' (1991) 2 Stellenbosch Law Review 49.
  • 'The court plucks the South African Defence Force's tailfeathers' (June 1990) Lawyers for Human Rights - Pietermaritzburg Bulletin.
  • 'The KwaZulu Natal Indaba Constitutional Proposals' (1988) 3 S A Public Law 46.
  • 'Administrative Law in Contractual Disguise' (with C E Hoexter) (1987) 104 South African Law Journal 557.
  • 'The Distinction between Wrongfulness and Fault' (1987) 50 THRHR 484.
  • 'Religious Convictions and Conscientious Objection' (1987) 3 South African Journal on Human Rights 240.
Conference papers
  • 'Parliamentary Scrutiny of the Executive - A Proposal for Constitutional Reform', Government Law interest group, Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference, Melbourne, 4-7 July 2006.
  • 'Developments in Australian Corporations and Investment Law and their Impact on Australian Overseas Trade', International Conference on Taiwan-Australia Relations in the Context of the WTO, College of International Affairs, National Chengchi University, Taipei, 8-9 October 2003.
  • 'Mooting as a Teaching and Evaluation Tool', Legal Education Interest Group, Australasian Law Teachers' Association Conference, Canberra, 2-5 July 2000.
  • 'Beyond the Republic: Meeting the Global Challenges to Constitutionalism', KCELJAG, Brisbane, 29 Sept - 1 Oct 1999.
  • 'Christensen v Scott - Challenging the Fundamentals of Company Law in New Zealand', Company Law interest group, Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference, Adelaide, 10-13 July 1996.
  • 'Recognising Indigenous Law in Australia - Drawing on the African Experience', 1999 Fulbright Symposium
  • 'Constitutional Mechanisms for the Protection of Group Rights', Conference on Constitutional Options for South Africa, Magaliesberg, 3-4 May 1990.
Reports and legislative submissions
  • Submission to the Expert Panel on the Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, 2011.
  • Submission to National Human Rights Consultation, 2009.
  • Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, 2006.
  • Submission to Senate Constitutional References Committee on an Australian Republic, 2004.
  • Submission to ACT Legislative Assembly Committee on a Bill of Rights for the ACT, 2002.
  • Submission to South African Law Commission project on Constitutional Models for South Africa, 1990.
  • 'Report on the Bill of Rights contained in the KwaZulu Natal Indaba Constitutional Proposals' Internal Report for the KwaZulu Natal Indaba, 1989.

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