Robert Marsden Hope

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The Hon. Justice
Robert Marsden Hope
AC CMG, LLB (Syd) QC
Justice Robert Marsden Hope.jpg
Judge of Appeal of the New South Wales Supreme Court
In office
1972–1989
Judge of the New South Wales Supreme Court
In office
1969–1972
Royal Commissioner on Intelligence and Security
In office
21 August 1974 – 25 October 1977
Appointed by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam
Royal Commissioner on Australia's Security and Intelligence Agencies
In office
17 May 1983 – 22 May 1985
Appointed by Prime Minister Bob Hawke
Personal details
Born (1919-07-24)24 July 1919
Died 12 October 1999(1999-10-12) (aged 80)
Nationality Australian
Spouse(s) June Hope
Profession Barrister and Judge
Religion Anglican

Robert Marsden Hope, AC, CMG (24 July 1919 – 12 October 1999) was a Justice of the New South Wales Supreme Court and Royal Commissioner.

Biography[edit]

Justice Hope received his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney before being raised to the New South Wales Bar on 26 October 1945.

Appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1960, he was raised to the position of Justice of the New South Wales Supreme Court in 1969. Hope was finally made a Justice of Appeal of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the New South Wales judiciary system in 1972, a position he held until his retirement in 1989.

He led two Royal Commissions and one review of Australia's intelligence and security agencies and operations.

Justice Hope was awarded the honour of Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1977. In 1989 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Australia's highest civilian honour.[1]

Royal commissions[edit]

In 1974, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam appointed Justice Hope to head the Royal Commission into Intelligence and Security (RCIS). Completed in 1977, Hope reconfirmed the need for a national security intelligence agency and made a range of recommendations for improvement across the board of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)'s scope. Of note is the recommendation that areas of ASIO interest expand from traditional Cold War counter-espionage to include sabotage, terrorism and what Hope called "active measures" by foreign agents operating against Australia and her interests. While the overhaul of the organisation did expand its powers, it also made ASIO accountable to the government and thus the Australian people. One side-effect of the RCIS saw ASIO advertise in major Australian newspapers for intelligence officers as well as employing women for the first time.[2]

Hope was again commissioned only a year later in 1978 to conduct the Protective Security Review (PSR) into protective security arrangements for the Commonwealth as well as co-operation between national and state cooperation on protective security following the bombing of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting (CHOGRM). While the review nominally targeted "protective security", it was the threat of international terrorism in Australia that was at the heart of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser's decision to use Hope's experience in the area of Australia's intelligence services. When completed in 1979, the review essentially ended up probing, "in a broad sense, terrorism possibilities in Australia, and ways, and means of State, Territory and Commonwealth co-operation in dealing with the threat of terror".[3] Again as a direct result of his recommendations, government policy on intelligence and security changed. Hope designated ASIO as the agency responsible for producing national threat assessments in the field of terrorism and politically motivated violence and at the end of 1979, a new ASIO Act came into being which implemented many of Hope's recommendations from the RCIS and the PSR. At the same time, the Security Appeals Tribunal, another of Hope's RCIS recommendations, was bought into being.

1983 saw the expulsion of Valery Ivanov, the First Secretary for the Soviet Embassy, for espionage activities. The publicity surrounding the affair saw the Hawke Government commission Hope again to look into intelligence issues. Hope completed the Royal Commission into Australia's Security and Intelligence Agencies (RCASIA) in 1984 and made a range of logical and basic recommendations (in terms of the evolution of policies of the time) that again altered the parameters that Australia's intelligence agencies operated under and bought them into the political and cultural paradigms of the 1980s. One of Justice Hope's RCASIA recommendations was that "the ASIO Act expressly provide that it is not the purpose of the Act that the right of lawful advocacy, protest or dissent should be affected or that exercising those rights should, by themselves, constitute activity prejudicial to security".[2] This recommendation was important from a cultural aspect in the sense that it effectively removed security agencies from suppression of civil protest and dissent in Australia. He also recommended the creation of the office of Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to oversee and hold accountable the various agencies. As if to highlight the need for such a position, only the same year RCASIA was commissioned, the Security Appeals Tribunal ruled in a case against ASIO where they had given an unfavourable security assessment on a member of the Australian Communist Party, that "membership of the Communist Party of Australia did not warrant a recommendation against the grant of access to classified national security material (such as required by their job – Ed.). A nexus between the applicant and particular activities of security interest needed to be shown"[2] – all very much in keeping with Hope's civil libertarian position[4] and a marker of where the Australian intelligence and security agencies saw their priorities in the pre-Hilton Bombing environment.

In 1986 the ASIO Act was amended to take into consideration the recommendations of Hope in the RCASIA.

Public life[edit]

Outside of the judicial system, Hope was known as a "university senator and chancellor, a patron and promoter of the performing arts, (and) a civil libertarian".[4]

He held a seat on the Senate of the University of Sydney from 1970 till 1975 when he became the first Chancellor of the University of Wollongong, a position he held until 1997.

Hope was the Chairman of the New South Wales Heritage Council from 1978 to 1993 and was also the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission from 1990 to 1993.

After his death in 1999, the University of Wollongong awarded him an honorary Doctorate in Law. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. June Hope.

References[edit]

  1. ^ New South Wales Attorney General's Department (2004). "HOPE - Robert Marsden - Law Reform Commission : Lawlink NSW". Lawlink NSW website. New South Wales Attorney General's Department. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Commonwealth of Australia. "Significant events in ASIO's history". Australia Security Intelligence Organisation Website. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  3. ^ Crown, James (1986). Australia: The Terrorist Connection. Melbourne: Sun Books – The Macmillan Company of Australia. pp. 18–19. 0725105089. 
  4. ^ a b The State of New South Wales (1999). "Obituary – Robert Marsden Hope". The Heritage Council of New South Wales Website. The State of New South Wales. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 

Sources[edit]

New South Wales Attorney General's Department (2004). "HOPE - Robert Marsden - Law Reform Commission : Lawlink NSW". Lawlink NSW website. New South Wales Attorney General's Department. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 

The University of Wollongong (2006). "University of Wollongong - Honorary Graduates, Emeritus Professors and Fellows" (PDF). The University of Wollongong. Archived from the original on 29 May 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 

Crown, James (1986). Australia: The Terrorist Connection. Melbourne: Sun Books - The Macmillan Company of Australia. pp. 18–19. 0-725-10508-9. 

The Commonwealth of Australia (2008). "Significant events in ASIO's history". The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Website. eDIME Internet Agency. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 

The Commonwealth of Australia (2007). "Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (2007)" (PDF). Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (2007). ComLaw - Commonwealth of Australia Law Website. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 

The Commonwealth of Australia (2006). "ASIO Speeches - 11 September five years later: Where to from here?". Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Website. eDIME Internet Agency. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 

The University of Wollongong (2002). "Robert Hope scholarship launched". The University of Wollongong Website News Archives. The University of Wollongong News and Media Unit. Retrieved 22 April 2008. [dead link]

The University of Sydney (2008). "The University of Sydney Senate Website". The University of Sydney Website. The University of Sydney. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 

Academic offices
New title Chancellor of the University of Wollongong
1975 – 1996
Succeeded by
Mike Codd