By David Lowe
Half biography, half transnational historical past, this research information the lifestyles and profession of Percy Spender, one among Australia's so much well-known twentieth-century political figures.
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Additional info for Australian Between Empires: The Life of Percy Spender
Spender settled well in his profession. Intellectually, the law suited him. He enjoyed the blend of organic evolution and constant capacity for subtle change, especially through case law, that characterized British law. The best judges and juries, he argued, were those who were attentive to the times – and to the arguments of barristers about these times. He endorsed the comment of noted American jurist Benjamin N. 52 As this remark suggested, he seemed to relish the role of defending a client in particular, and, blessed with more juries in common law actions than is now the norm, it was as a defence counsel that he would enjoy his more spectacular successes.
In a 1936 lecture for businessmen he said that ‘the British system of jurisprudence will be the hallmark of justice and civilisation when we and those who follow after us are as the dust from which we have sprung’. He also argued that British law was a crucial element in establishing order within the British empire. ’ The powers of the state in Europe had run out of control, argued Spender, at the expense of the individual. This applied both to communist rule and in countries such as Germany and Italy.
78 A good number of those most stirred rose in opposition to the ‘machine politics’ that seemed to throw up party candidates without reference to popular concerns, and to the imperfections of representative government itself. Mobilizations of the right took the form of several different associations and vigilante-type secret armies, and were general across Australia. 79 Less secretly, the most prominent of the new right-wing political parties in New South Wales were the All for Australia League and the New Guard, both bent on a complete overhaul of representative government with some form of fascist-like corporatism in its place.
Australian Between Empires: The Life of Percy Spender by David Lowe