BCom, BEc (Qld), MA, PhD (Toronto)
(Deceased), 2019-12-14
Political science

Professor Brian Galligan specialised in Australian politics and political economy, particularly: constitutional politics and judicial review, federalism and intergovernmental relations, citizenship and rights protection, including for Aboriginal people, and business-government relations. His comparative interests included constitutional systems, decentralised governance and rights protection, including in Asian countries.


Colleagues will be saddened to learn of the death of University of Melbourne-based political scientist, Professor Brian Galligan, on 14 December 2019. Brian died in Melbourne after a prolonged illness. His funeral was held at Newman College at the University of Melbourne on the 19th of December 2019.

Those in Canberra will remember Brian in the 1980s as a leading ANU scholar in the Politics Program in the Research School of Social Sciences. Brian also served as deputy director of the RSSS Federalism Research Centre (1984-1993), later becoming the last substantive head of that prestigious Centre (1993-1995). Brian left the ANU in 1995 to join the political science department at the University of Melbourne.

Brian was born in Dalby, Queensland in 1945. He records that he grew up ‘as a fourth-generation Australian in rural Queensland’ where he ‘never considered the Queen and royal family as anything but British and foreign’: it is significant that Brian linked his republicanism also to his religious belief as a Catholic (A Federal Republic, 1995, pxi). He completed two undergraduate degrees (economics, commerce) at the University of Queensland where he encountered that very influential University of Chicago educated political economist, R W Staveley, who encouraged Brian to go overseas to do graduate research in political science.

Brian completed masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Toronto, Canada, working closely with eminent Canadian scholar of judicial politics, Peter Russell. He was also close to Walter Berns, a pioneering US constitutional scholar. Brian later frequently returned to Canada on research visits and was instrumental in persuading Peter Russell to become a frequent academic visitor to Australia, often making the ANU his home away from home. Brian’s 1995 book A Federal Republic includes a ‘Preface’ noting how remarkably valuable it was for this Australian scholar to spend his graduate training under the first class influence of international experts like Russell and Berns.

Brian taught at a number of Australian universities as a political scientist: La Trobe University, University of Tasmania, and the ANU where Brian was a research fellow in political science in the mid 1980s. Among his books from this time are Politics of the High Court (UQP 1987) and Utah and Queensland Coal (UQP 1989) and editor of Comparative Political Studies: Australia and Canada (Pitman 1992). Beyond the Protective State on Australian industry policy, written with Ann Capling (CUP 1992)

At the ANU, Brian worked closely with former head of the Federalism Research Centre economist Cliff Walsh on a series of research projects on federalism co-sponsored by RSSS head of political science, Don Aitkin. Representative of this project is Brian’s edited book Australian Federalism associated with the 1988 Australian Bicentenary (Longman 1989) which is dedicated to former RSSS authorities on federalism: Geoffrey Sawer, Rae Else-Mitchell, Robert Parker and Russell Mathews. 

Brian’s twenty years as a professor of political science at the University Melbourne saw him as head of the centre for public policy (1995-1999), and as head of the political science department (2000-2004, 2012-2013).

A distinctive feature of Brian’s research activity was his academic collaboration. More than capable as a sole author, he tended to reach out as a co-author or co-editor, frequently in the broad field of law and politics, often examining issues of political identity. Brian will be remembered as co-author of a book on Aborigines and Australian Citizenship (CUP 1997) and co-editor of a book on documents relating to Defining Australian Citizenship (MUP 1999), co-author of Australians and Globalisation (CUP 2001), co-author of Australian Citizenship (MUP 2004) and co-author of Becoming Australian (MUP 2014). Brian also co-edited the inaugural edition of the Oxford Companion to Australian Politics (2007) and was chief editor of the international book on Constitutional Conventions in Westminster Systems (CUP 2015).

In 1998 Brian was elected as Fellow to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Written by John Uhr, Professor of Politics and International Relations, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University

  • Professor and Director of the Federalism Research Centre, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1992-94
  • Visiting Research Fellow of Merton College, Oxford University in 1998
  • Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University for 1998-99.
  • Professor of Political Science, University of Melbourne 1995-
  • Director of the Centre for Public Policy, University of Melbourne, 1995-99
  • Head of Department of Political Science, University of Melbourne, 2000-2004
  • Head of Political Science Discipline, University of Melbourne 2012-2013
  1. The Crisp Medal, awarded by the Australasian Political Studies Association for distinction in published work in political science.
  • Brian Galligan and Scott Brenton eds (2015) Constitutional Conventions. Cambridge. Cambridge: Cambridge Univeristy Press.
  • Brian Galligan, Martina Boese and Melissa Phillips (2014) Becoming Australian: Migration, Settlement, Citizenship. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
  • Thomas W.D. Davis and Brian Galligan eds (2011) Human Rights in Asia. Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Brian Galligan and Winsome Roberts eds (2007) The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Baogang He, Brian Galligan and Takashi Inoguchi eds (2007) Federalism in Asia. Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Brian Galligan and Winsome Roberts (2004) Australian Citizenship. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press
  • Brian Galligan, Winsome Roberts and Gabriella Trifiletti (2001) Australians and Globalisation: The Experience of Two Centuries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • John Chesterman and Brian Galligan (1997) Citizens Without Rights: Aborigines and Australian Citizenship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Brian Galligan (1995) A Federal Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ann Capling and Brian Galligan (1992) Beyond the Protective State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Brian Galligan (1989) Utah and Queensland Coal. St. Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press.
  • Brian Galligan (1987) Politics of the High Court. St. Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press.