Doctor Luke Beck

Doctor Luke Beck

Director Of Hdr Students,
School Of Law

Senior Lecturer,
School Of Law


Dr Luke Beck is a constitutional law scholar and currently holds a position as Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Western Sydney University. He also currently serves as Director of Higher Degree Research. Luke previously held a position at the University of Sydney.

Luke is a leading scholar in the field of separation of religion and state and religious freedom under the Australian Constitution. The principal focus of his research is on developing a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of section 116 of the Australian Constitution in terms of its history and underlying purposes, its relationship and interaction with broader Australian constitutional culture and how it might be best interpreted and applied. Luke has also published on various other aspects of constitutional and public law.

Luke's research has had important impacts outside the academy, including in case law and law reform. His research has been cited in a judgment in the High Court of Australia and relied upon in argument in other cases before courts including the High Court and the New South Wales Court of Appeal. Luke has appeared before a number of parliamentary inquiries to provide expert advice. His research has also been cited in reports of law reform commissions in Australia and overseas.

Luke co-ordinates the compulsory unit Constitutional Law and the elective unit he designed Advanced Constitutional Law. He has previously taught Introduction to Law.

Luke has been appointed by the Law Society of New South Wales as a member of its Specialist Accreditation Government & Administrative Law Advisory Committee for a two year term from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017.

Luke previously worked in the public service, including in the office of a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, at the Office of the Protective Commissioner and at the New South Wales Attorney-General's Department.

Professional memberships:

  • Australian Association of Constitutional Law
  • International Society of Public Law
  • Australian and New Zealand Legal History Society
  • Australian Political Studies Association

Research interests

  • Constitutional Law
  • Public Law
  • Law and Religion
  • Constitutional History

This information has been contributed by Doctor Beck.


  • PhD University of Sydney
  • GCertEd University of Sydney
  • LLM University of Sydney
  • LLB (Hons) University of New South Wales
  • BJuris University of New South Wales

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • School Of Law
  • School Of Law


Location: EKA.G.07

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Journal Articles

  • Beck, L. (2017), 'The Australian Constitution's religious tests clause as an anti-discrimination provision', Monash University Law Review, vol 42, no 3 , pp 545 - 578.
  • Beck, L. (2016), 'The case against improper purpose as the touchstone for invalidity under section 116 of the Australian Constitution', Federal Law Review, vol 44, no 3 , pp 505 - 529.
  • Beck, L. (2015), 'When is an office or public trust 'under the Commonwealth' for the purposes of the religious tests clause of the Australian Constitution?', Monash University Law Review, vol 41, no 1 , pp 17 - 39.
  • Beck, L. (2014), 'Dead DOGs? : towards a less restrictive interpretation of the establishment clause : Hoxton Park Residents Action Group Inc v Liverpool City Council (No 2)', University of Western Australia Law Review, vol 37, no 2 , pp 59 - 73.
  • Beck, L. (2014), 'Jack Balkin's Constitutionalism and the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol 37, no 2 , pp 407 - 433.
  • Beck, L. (2014), 'The establishment clause of the Australian Constitution : three propositions and a case study', Adelaide Law Review, vol 35, no 2 , pp 225 - 250.
  • Beck, L. (2013), 'Institutional responses to child sexual abuse : the constitutionality of a Royal Commission', Alternative Law Journal , vol 38, no 1 , pp 14 - 19.
  • Beck, L. (2013), 'What is Kirby's interpretive principle really about?', Australian Law Journal, vol 87, no 3 , pp 200 - 209.
  • Beck, L. (2013), 'Higgins' argument for section 116 of the constitution', Federal Law Review, vol 41, no 3 , pp 393 - 415.
  • Beck, L. (2012), 'What is a 'Supreme Court of a State'?', Sydney Law Review, vol 34, no 2 , pp 295 - 315.
  • Beck, L. (2012), 'Williams v Commonwealth : school chaplains and the religious tests clause of the Constitution', Monash University Law Review, vol 38, no 3 , pp 271 - 294.
  • Beck, L. (2011), 'The constitutional prohibition on religious tests ', Melbourne University Law Review, vol 35, no 2 , pp 323 - 352.
  • Beck, L. (2011), 'The interpretation provisions of statutory bills of rights : a little bit Humpty Dumpty?', Public Law Review, vol 22, no 2 , pp 97 - 112.
  • Beck, L. (2011), 'Fair enough? : the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004', Deakin Law Review, vol 16, no 2 , pp 405 - 428.
  • Beck, L. (2008), 'Clear and emphatic : the separation of Church and State under the Australian Constitution', University of Tasmania Law Review , vol 27, no 2 , pp 161 - 196.

Conference Papers

  • Beck, L. (2017), 'Unconscious comparativism : American Establishment Clause jurisprudence in Papua New Guinea', International Society of Public Law. Conference, University of Copenhagen.
  • Beck, L. (2016), 'The theological history of Australia's constitutional separation of church and state provision', International Society of Public Law. Annual Conference, Berlin, Germany.
  • Beck, L. (2016), 'Federal funding of religious schools : some constitutional history and recent case law', Australian Political Studies Association. Conference, University of New South Wales.


Title: Protection of religious freedom in same-sex marriage vote
Description: ABC Radio Nationa, Breakfast (16 August 2017)
Title: Believe it or not, blasphemy is still a crime
Description: Macquarie Radio 6PR Perth, Perth Tonight (20 June 2017)
Title: Interview on ABC Canberra, Drive, about blasphemy laws
Description: ABC Radio Canberra, Drive (19 June 2017)
Title: Blasphemy in Australia?
Description: 2SER Community Radio (20 June 2017)
Title: Blasphemy in the 21st Century
Description: ABC Radio National, Drive (20 June 2017)
Title: Blasphemy is still a crime in Australia ??? and it shouldn???t be
Description: The Conversation (19 June 2017)
Title: Why proposed same-sex marriage exemptions would be unconstitutional
Description: Canberra Times (and other Fairfax papers) (25 January 2017)
Title: Marriage ???inequality??? is a threat to religious freedom ??? and it is probably unconstitutional
Description: The Conversation (30 August 2016)
Title: Interview on Radio 3CR Melbourne about legal issues related to the marriage equality debate
Description: Radio 3CR Melbourne Breakfast on Thursday Show (1 September 2016)
Title: Reassuring Father Frank Brennan about same sex marriage
Description: Online Opinion (19 August 2015)
Title: Prayers in Parliament and the Constitution
Description: Constitutional Critique Blog (8 August 2012)
Title: Scottish Independence and Australia
Description: UK Constitutional Law Group Blog (12 September 2014)
Title: Swear Words and the Australian Constitution
Description: UK Constitutional Law Group Blog (1 July 2013)
Title: What does the School Chaplains Case teach us about Military Chaplains?
Description: Constitutional Critique Blog (17 January 2013)

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