The Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and the Australian Financial Review have hosted the 'Great Legal Debate', between Commonwealth Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and the Shadow Attorney-General Senator Joe Ludwig.

"This debate provided an opportunity to hear both sides' policies and opinions on some of the key legal issues facing Australia, including a Charter of Rights, the method of appointing judges, Freedom of Information Act reform and funding for courts and legal aid," said Dr Andrew Lynch from the Gilbert + Tobin Centre at UNSW.

"We first co-hosted this sort of event prior to the 2004 federal election. It was good to once again provide an opportunity to highlight the issues falling within the portfolio of the Commonwealth Attorney-General and enable the two people vying for this post to come together to debate these topics."

The debate followed the format of those organised by the National Press Club with the Attorney-General and Shadow Attorney-General each making an opening presentation and then answering questions from an expert panel comprising Mr Marcus Priest (Legal Editor, The Australian Financial Review), Mr Ross Ray QC (President, Law Council of Australia) and Ms Megan Davis (Director, Indigenous Law Centre UNSW).

The event was held at the New South Wales Parliament and hosted by the State Attorney-General John Hatzistergos.

More information and a webcast of the proceedings will be available through the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law