George Williams AO is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Planning and Assurance, Anthony Mason Professor and a Scientia Professor at UNSW. He has served as Dean of UNSW Law and held an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship and visiting positions at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Columbia University Law School in New York, and Durham University and University College London in the United Kingdom.
He has written and edited 37 books, including Australian Constitutional Law and Theory, The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia and Human Rights under the Australian Constitution. He has appeared as a barrister in the High Court in many cases over the past two decades, including on freedom of speech, freedom from racial discrimination and the rule of law. He has also appeared in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Fiji, including on the legality of the 2000 coup.
His experience in higher education includes serving as Chair of the Australian Laureate Fellowships Selection Advisory Committee for the Australian Research Council. He was an invited member of the inaugural ERA Research Evaluation Humanities and Creative Arts Committee. He also led a Centre of Excellence bid.
As chair of the Victorian Human Rights Consultation Committee in 2005 he helped bring about Australia’s first State bill of rights, the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. In 2007 he chaired the NSW Government inquiry into Options for a New National Industrial Relations System that produced the historic referral of State industrial power over the private sector to the Commonwealth. He has also served on a High Level Advisory Group on Federal-State Relations, was a member of the NSW Government’s Panel to Examine Recall Elections and assisted the Northern Territory in its attempt to become Australia’s seventh State as a member of its Constitutional Convention Committee.
George is a well-known media commentator on legal issues. He has been a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times and an on-air analyst for ABC Television. He is currently a columnist for The Australian, and reviews science fiction and fantasy books for The Weekend Australian and The Bookshelf on ABC Radio National.
George was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011: ‘For distinguished service to the law in the fields of anti-terrorism, human rights and constitutional law as an academic, author, adviser and public commentator.’