While Hocking v Director General of the National Archives of Australia ([2019] FCAFC 12 of 8 February 2019 http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/FCAFC/2019/12.html) looks like a dry administrative law case on access to the archives, it actually goes to the relationship at the heart of our system of constitutional government. In this case, a majority of 2 justices to 1 decided that the correspondence held in the archives between the Queen and Governor-General Sir John Kerr must cannot be released until 2027, a date set by the Queen 20 years ago. The correspondence is significant because it relates to the period during which Sir John dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. In essence, the special nature of the relationship between the monarch and her representative in Australia and the importance of the monarch remaining politically neutral meant that the 2027 release date must be respected. 

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Dr Cameron Moore
Senior Lecturer, UNE Law School