Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mike Fetter 1948 - 2012

Vale Mike Fetter
Members of the Alumni were saddened to hear of the sudden death on 19 September of Mike Fetter. Mike (Michael Max Hermann) Fetter was born in Varel, Oldenburg, (then) West Germany on 28 April 1948. He came to Australia as a child and started his education in Cooma before attending Narrabundah High, after which he completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the ANU, where he met and wooed his future wife Robyn. Mike later completed a Diploma of Applied Science at the Canberra College of Advanced Education (now the University of Canberra).
Mike’s first public service employment was on a temporary basis in the Department of Trade, after which he worked as an editorial clerk at The Australian in 1966-67 and then in 1967-69 as an information assistant at the High Commission for Pakistan. His public service career proper began in the Department of Air in February 1969. Mike was promoted to a position in the Department of Education and Science before promotion to the Department of Defence in 1972. It was from Defence that Mike was promoted to the Joint House Department in April 1980. In those days, the secretariats for both the Public Works Committee and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts were located in the Joint House Department.
Mike joined the Department of the House of Representatives in December 1982 when the department took responsibility for the Public Works Committee and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. He is best remembered for his long and dedicated service as a member of the PWC team, but Mike also worked to support the Joint Committee on Electoral Reform, later the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, and did important work in the Bills and Papers Office and the Office of the Security Controller before retiring in May 2002.
A memorial service for Mike was held at Norwood Park on 27 September. It was a very well attended service, which would have been a comfort to Robyn and Mike’s daughters Delia and Leila. Delia and Leila led the tributes paid to Mike. It became very clear that the qualities that we had seen in Mike at work were the same as his family and friends had known – the gifts of enthusiasm, of helpfulness and kindness, and the determination to get on with the task at hand, seeing things through to their conclusion. It was also clear that Mike had been very proud to have contributed to the work of the Federal Parliament, and through it to our nation.
We thank him for his friendship and support and extend our deepest sympathies to Robyn and Delia and partner Ben (Wollongong) and Leila and husband Denis (Canberra).


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Williams v Commonwealth
 The shrinking scope of the Executive Power of the Commonwealth and the increased role of the Australian Parliament in authorising its exercise
Professor Geoffrey Lindell
11.00 am Thursday 6 December 2012
Committee Room 2R3
Mr Williams challenged the validity of the National School Chaplain’s Program by reference to section s116 of the Constitution and also a long held assumption about the scope of the executive power of the Commonwealth under section 61. The Court upheld the challenge not by relying on s116 but by destroying that assumption and finding a deficiency in the same power: William V Commonwealth [2012] HCA 23.

This address will analyse the scope of the executive power of the Commonwealth in the light of this case and the future implications of that case in relation to the Commonwealth’s ability to spend money and enter into contracts with and without the approval of the Parliament when that approval extends beyond the normal need to appropriate funds for that purpose. It will also explore the nature and effectiveness of the swift legislative response to the case.

The Department of the House of Representatives extends an invitation to members of the Alumni Association to attend this parliamentary Briefing.  Please confirm your attendance by emailing Alumni.Reps@aph.gov.au 
no later than Monday, 3 December 2012.