Dr Sangeetha Pillai

Dr Sangeetha Pillai is a constitutional lawyer and a Senior Research Associate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. She is an expert on Australian citizenship law, and the constitutional differences in the scope of government power that can be exercised over citizens and non-citizens. Her work on these issues has been published in leading Australian and international journals. She has also provided media commentary on various legal issues, particularly those raised by the recent introduction of broad citizenship stripping powers in Australia. She has appeared before and been cited by parliamentary committees on matters pertaining to Australian citizenship law.

Sangeetha is the Kaldor Centre's expert on the domestic public law framework that governs refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. Her current research examines the ongoing exploration of the boundaries of parliamentary and executive power over such persons in Australian case law.

Journal articles

Pillai S, 2019, 'Tiered Community Membership in Australia: The Impact of Constitutional Concepts and Contemporary Developments on Refugee Access to Citizenship', Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 65, pp. 620 - 637, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajph.12617

Hobbs H; Pillai S, 2018, 'The disqualification of dual citizens from Parliament: Three problems and a solution', Alternative Law Journal, vol. 43, pp. 73 - 80, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1037969X18777910

Pillai S; Williams G, 2017, 'The utility of citizenship stripping laws in the UK, Canada and Australia', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 41, pp. 845 - 889

pillai S; williams G, 2017, 'Twenty-First Century Banishment: Citizenship Stripping In Common Law Nations', International and Comparative Law Quarterly, vol. 66, pp. 521 - 555, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0020589317000021

Williams G; Pillai S, 2015, 'The High Court, the Constitution and Family Law', Australian Journal of Family Law, vol. 29, pp. 65 - 89

Pillai S; Williams G, 2015, 'Commonwealth power and environmental management: Constitutional questions revisited', Environmental and Planning Law Journal, vol. 32, pp. 395 - 408

Pillai S, 2014, 'The Rights and Responsibilities of Australian Citizenship: A Legislative Analysis', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 37, pp. 736 - 785, http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?page=736&handle=hein.journals/mulr37&id=741

Pillai S, 2014, 'The rights and responsibilities of australian citizenship: A legislative analysis', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 37, pp. 736 - 785

Pillai S, 2013, 'Non-immigrants, non-aliens and people of the commonwealth: Australian constitutional citizenship revisited', Monash University. Law Review, vol. 39, pp. 568 - 609, http://www.law.monash.edu.au/about-us/publications/monlr/

Book Chapters

Pillai S; Smith S, 2020, 'Regional Processing of Asylum Seekers, Democratic Accountability and Statutory Interpretation', in Boughey J; Crawford L (ed.), Interpreting Executive Power, Federation Press, Sydney, Australia, pp. 148 - 168, https://www.federationpress.com.au/bookstore/book.asp?isbn=9781760022341

Reports

Pillai S, 2021, Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence & Security inquiry into the Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020

Pillai S, 2021, Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs inquiry into the Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Migration_Citizenship_Legislation_Amendment_Strengthening_Information_Provisions_Bill_2020.pdf

Appleby G; Boughey J; Pillai S; Williams G, 2020, Submission to Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation inquiry into Exemption of delegated legislation from parliamentary oversight

Pillai S, 2020, Supplementary submission to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020

Pillai S, 2020, Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 inquiry into the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related matters

Pillai S, 2020, Submission to Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/Kaldor_Centre_Prohibiting_Items_Immigration_Detention_Bill_2020.pdf

Pillai S, 2019, Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2019, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Kaldor%20Centre%20-%20Strengthening%20the%20Character%20Test%20Bill%202019.pdf

Pillai S; Williams G, 2019, Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Review of the Australian Citizenship renunciation by conduct and cessation provisions, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Sub%2010%20-%20Dr%20Sangeetha%20Pillai%20and%20Professor%20George%20Williams%20AO%20UNSW%20Law%20(private%20capacity)%20(2).pdf

Pillai S; Williams G, 2018, Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Strengthening the Citizenship Loss Provisions) Bill 2018, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Sub%2001.pdf

Pillai S; Hoang K; Smith S, 2017, Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Australian Border Force Amendment (Protected Information) Bill 2017, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Submission%20from%20Andrew%20and%20Renata%20Kaldor%20Centre%20for%20International%20Refugee%20Law%20on%20the%20Australian%20Border%20Force%20%28Protected%20Information%29%20Amendment%20Bill%202015.pdf

Pillai S; Appleby G; Blayden L; Butterly L; Hoang K; Smith S, 2017, Submission to Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Submission%20to%20Senate%20Inquiry%20on%20the%20Australian%20Citizenship%20Amendment%20Bill%202017%20-%20TOC.pdf

Pillai S; Hoang K, 2017, Submission on Department of Immigration and Border Protection discussion paper on strengthening the test for Australian citizenship, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Submission_Strengthening_the_Test_for_Australian_Citizenship.pdf

Pillai S; Smith S; Hoang K, 2017, Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2017, https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Kaldor_Centre_Submission_Migration_Amendment_Prohibiting_Items_in_Immigration_Detention_Facilities_Bill_2017.pdf

Williams G; Chordia S; Pillai S; Goddard L, 2013, Submission to Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration on ‘Inquiry into Citizen Initiated Referendum Bill 2013, Australia

Other

Pillai S, 2020, Evidence to Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020

Gleeson M; Pillai S, 2019, A legal blackhole?

Gleeson M; Goodwin-Gill G; Pillai S; Ogg K, 2019, Submission No 53 to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee on the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019 [Provisions]

Conference Presentations

Pillai S, 2020, 'Chair’s remarks, ‘Courts at the frontier: Can strategic litigation in Australia advance refugee protection?’', presented at Kaldor Centre Annual Conference, 19 November 2020

Pillai S, 2019, 'CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES TO AUSTRALIA’S ASYLUM SEEKER LAWS: WHY IS IT SO HARD TO WIN A CASE?', presented at The Judiciary and Public Policy, UNSW Law School, 03 December 2019 - 04 December 2018

Pillai S; Smith S, 2018, 'The interaction of statutory and non-statutory executive power in the migration context', presented at Interpreting Eecutive Power Workshop, UNSW Australia, 14 December 2018 - 14 December 2018

Constitutional law, citizenship, immigration detention, refugees, Australian migration law, limits of government power over refugees

Pillai S, 2021, Is Australia’s India travel ban legal? A citizenship law expert explains, https://theconversation.com/is-australias-india-travel-ban-legal-a-citizenship-law-expert-explains-160178

Oscar B, 2021, THE LEGALITY SURROUNDING INDIA’S TRAVEL BAN, https://2ser.com/the-legality-surrounding-indias-travel-ban/

Min AR, 2021, IS AUSTRALIA’S INDIA TRAVEL BAN LEGAL?, https://2ser.com/is-australias-india-travel-ban-legal/

Stearnes H, 2021, Australia's travel ban

Oriti T, 2021, Australia's India travel ban

Pillai S, 2020, The Legacy of the Asylum Seeker Phone Ban, http://rightnow.org.au/opinion-3/the-legacy-of-the-asylum-seeker-phone-ban/

Pillai S, 2020, No fair go for the forgotten ‘legacy caseload’ asylum seekers, https://rightnow.org.au/analysis/no-fair-go-for-the-forgotten-legacy-caseload-asylum-seekers/

Pillai S, 2020, Australia’s decision to ban its citizens from returning from India — Is it legal? Is it moral? Is it just?, https://www.abc.net.au/religion/is-australias-india-travel-ban-legal-moral-just/13335360

UNSW

News

Opinion|10 Jun 2021
Federal Court awards $350,000 to unlawfully detained asylum seeker, opening door to further claims
This case is important because it represents a rare litigation win for an asylum seeker. He doesn't automatically get the right to stay in Australia, but he's won damages — and that's unusual.
Opinion|18 May 2021
Is Australia's India travel ban legal? A citizenship law expert explains
Everyone from human rights experts to famous cricketers are expressing their disgust at the federal government's India travel ban. Its legality depends on what laws you are looking at.
Research|06 Nov 2019
The medevac law: how does it work?
The legislation allows for the transfer of sick asylum seekers from offshore detention to Australia on the recommendation of medical professionals.
Opinion|31 Jul 2019
There’s no clear need for Peter Dutton’s new bill excluding citizens from Australia
Australia already has an extensive suite of anti-terrorism legislation, and the government hasn’t clarified what gap, if any, this new bill would fill.
19 Jun 2017
Minister to get unprecedented power if Australia’s new citizenship bill is passed
OPINION: Sangeetha Pillai, The Conversation, 16 June 2017.
15 Jun 2017
Offshore detention: What the landmark settlement fails to resolve
OPINION: Sangeetha Pillai, The Interpreter, 15 June 2017.