Professor Brian Galligan, 1945-2019

Professor Brian Galligan, 1945-2019
Wednesday 18 December 2019

Vale Professor Brian Galligan, 1945-2019

RSSS colleagues will be saddened to learn of the recent death of Brian Galligan, who was employed in the Political Science Program, later serving as deputy director of the RSSS Federalism Research Centre (1984-1992), before becoming the last substantive head of the Federalism Research Centre (1993-1995). Brian left the ANU in 1995 to join the political science department at the University of Melbourne. Brian died peacefully in Melbourne on Saturday the 14th of December, after a prolonged illness. His funeral is scheduled for Newman College at the University of Melbourne on the afternoon of Thursday the 19th of December.

Brian was born in Dalby, Queensland in 1945. He records that he grew up ‘as a fourth-generation Australian in rural Queensland’ where he ‘never considered the Queen and royal family as anything but British and foreign’: it is significant that Brian linked his republicanism also to his religious belief as a Catholic (A Federal Republic, 1995, pxi). He completed two undergraduate degrees (economics, commerce) at the University of Queensland where he encountered that very influential University of Chicago-educated political economist, R W Staveley, who encouraged Brian to go overseas to do graduate research in political science.

Brian completed masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Toronto, Canada, working closely with eminent Canadian scholar of judicial politics, Peter Russell, and also Walter Berns, a pioneering US constitutional scholar. Returning to Australia in the late 1970s, Brian began a lifelong academic contribution to the research field of law and politics. Brian later frequently returned to Canada on research visits and was instrumental in persuading Peter Russell to become a frequent academic visitor to Australia, often making RSSS his home away from home.

Brian’s 1995 book A Federal Republic includes a ‘Preface’ noting how remarkably valuable it was for him as a young Australian scholar to spend his graduate training under the liberal education of international experts like Russell and Berns. Brian taught at a number of Australian universities as a political scientist with expertise in Australian politics: La Trobe, University of Tasmania, and of course the ANU where Brian was a research fellow in political science in the mid 1980s. Among his books from this time are Politics of the High Court (UQP 1987) and Utah and Queensland Coal (UQP 1989) and his edited Comparative Political Studies: Australia and Canada (Pitman 1992), as well as Beyond the Protective State on Australian industry policy, co-written with Ann Capling (CUP 1992).

At the ANU, Brian worked closely with former head of the Federalism Research Centre economist Cliff Walsh on a series of research projects on federalism which were co-sponsored by head of RSSS political science, Don Aitkin. Representative of this project is Brian’s edited book Australian Federalism (Longman 1992) associated with the 1988 Australian Bicentenary. This book is dedicated to former RSSS authorities on federalism: Geoffrey Sawer, Rae Else-Mitchell, Robert Parker and Russell Mathews. The Federalism Research Centre was then a very busy conference centre, publishing many reports edited by Cliff Walsh and Brian on aspects of federal co-operation between the national government and the states.

Brian’s twenty years as a professor of political science at the University Melbourne saw him as head of the centre for public policy (1995-1999) and as head of the political science department (2000-2004, 2012-2013). In 1998 he was elected as Fellow to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

A distinctive feature of Brian’s research activity was his academic collaboration. More than capable as a sole author, he increasingly tended to reach out as a co-author or co-editor, frequently in the broad field of law and politics, often examining issues of constitutional political identity. Among his significant research publications are the co-authored book on Aborigines and Australian citizenship (CUP 1997) and the co-edited book on documents relating to Defining Australian citizenship (MUP 1999). Brian was also co-author of Australians and Globalisation (CUP 2001), co-author of Australian Citizenship (MUP 2004) and co-author of Becoming Australian (MUP 2014). He also co-edited the inaugural edition of the Oxford Companion to Australian Politics (2007) and was editor of the international book on Constitutional Conventions in Westminster Systems (CUP 2015).

Brian was awarded the Crisp Prize by the Australasian Political Studies Association (APSA) for distinction in research and publication. That special mark of distinction reflects not simply his long list of articles, chapters and books but also his intellectual orientation to the discipline of political science. Brian identified the valuable role of his remarkable graduate education in the ‘Preface’ to own book A Federal Republic intended to rise to the level of those books by the ANU’s L F Crisp, after whom the APSA award is named. Crisp would have admired Brian’s pride in the unusual liberal education driving his teaching and research. So too should we.

Professor John Uhr, School of Politics and International Relations, 17 December 2019



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