UQ law student Matthew Paterson placed as a finalist in the 2016 Governor-General’s Prize, a national essay competition with a judging panel chaired by High Court Justice Stephen Gageler.
Matthew’s essay discussed the statement “The Governor-General is every bit as much the Commander in Chief of the Australian Defence Force as the American President is the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces."
According to Matthew, “I have always been fascinated by the institutions governing how decisions are made, and the philosophy underpinning them. I was drawn to writing about section 68 because it allowed me to explore this decision-making in what is literally a life or death situation – the command of armed forces. I particularly enjoyed investigating why Australia and the US have adopted incredibly different approaches in interpreting ‘command in chief’. In writing this essay, I found both an avenue to explore my interests in history, philosophy and law and share something about a little-known or studied constitutional provision.”
The second stage of the competition was a panel interview with The Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson, The Hon. Justice Stephen Gageler (chair), Professor Fiona Wheeler, and Mr George Harris (Baker & Mckenzie). UQ law school staff helped Matthew prepare for this stage. “I am incredibly appreciative of the time Ms Peta Stephenson and Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh have taken to help me prepare for my interview. Each practice interview was an immense help" said Matthew.
The full text of Matthew’s essay can be read here.