Attorney General of New South Wales

The Attorney General of New South Wales, in formal contexts also Attorney-General or Attorney General for New South Wales [1] and usually known simply as the Attorney General, is a minister in the Government of New South Wales who has responsibility for the administration of justice in New South Wales, Australia. In addition, the Attorney General is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General, Crown Advocate, and Crown Solicitor, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal and constitutional adviser of the Crown and Government of New South Wales.

Attorney General of New South Wales
Mark Speakman

since 30 January 2017
Department of Justice
StyleThe Honourable
NominatorPremier of New South Wales
AppointerGovernor of New South Wales
Inaugural holderSaxe Bannister
Formation14 April 1824
DeputySolicitor General
WebsiteNSW Department of Justice

The current Attorney General, since 30 January 2017, is Mark Speakman, SC MP.[2] The Attorney General administers the Department of Justice and a range of other government agencies.

History and function

The position of Attorney General has existed since 1824, well before the full establishment of the New South Wales Parliament (in 1856) but coinciding with the establishment of the New South Wales Legislative Council. From the beginning, the Attorney General has been the Crown's advisor and representative in legal matters. It was modelled after the office of the Attorney General for England and Wales. As such the Attorney General advises and represents the Crown and government departments in court. The person appointed to this role provides legal advice to the Government, acts as the representative of the public interest and resolves issues between government departments.

The Attorney General also has supervisory powers over the prosecution of criminal offences, but is not personally involved with prosecutions. Today, prosecutions are carried out by the Public Prosecution Office and most legal advice to government departments is provided by the Government Legal Service, both under the supervision of the Attorney General. The Attorney General may appeal cases to the higher courts where, although the particular case is settled, there may be a point of law of public importance at issue. The Attorney General is responsible to Parliament for activities of the Department of Justice and has responsibility for the all state's courts and tribunals and the appointment of judges, magistrates and statutory officers in New South Wales.

List of Attorneys General

OrdinalAttorney General[3]Party affiliationTerm beginTerm endTime in office
1Saxe BannisterNo party14 April 182413 October 18262 years, 182 days
2William Moore (acting)13 October 182631 July 1827291 days
3Alexander Baxter1 August 182724 January 18313 years, 176 days
William Moore (acting)24 January 183124 June 1831151 days
4John Kinchela25 June 183118 April 18364 years, 298 days
5John Plunkett17 September 18365 June 185619 years, 262 days
6William Manning6 June 185625 August 185680 days
7James Martin26 August 18562 October 185637 days
William Manning3 October 185625 May 18571 year, 80 days
8John Darvall26 May 18577 September 1857
James Martin7 September 18578 November 1858
9Alfred Lutwyche15 November 185821 February 1859
10Lyttleton Bayley21 February 185926 October 1859
11Edward Wise27 October 185913 February 1860
William Manning21 February 18608 March 1860
12John Hargrave2 April 186031 July 1863
John Darvall1 August 186315 October 1863
James Martin16 October 18632 February 1865
John Darvall3 February 186520 June 1865
John Plunkett25 August 186521 January 1866
James Martin22 January 186626 October 1868
William Manning21 October 186815 December 1870
James Martin16 December 187013 May 1872
13Edward Butler15 May 187210 November 1873
14Joseph Innes20 November 18738 February 1875
15William Bede Dalley9 February 187521 March 1877
16William Charles Windeyer22 March 187716 August 1877
William Bede Dalley17 August 187717 December 1877
17William Foster18 December 187720 December 1878
William Charles Windeyer21 December 187810 August 1879
18Robert Wisdom13 August 18794 January 1883
William Bede Dalley5 January 18836 October 1885
19John Henry Want7 October 188521 December 1885
20George Bowen Simpson22 December 188525 February 1886
John Henry Want26 February 188619 January 1887
William FosterFree Trade20 January 188718 May 1887
20Bernhard Wise27 May 18877 February 1888
George Bowen Simpson10 February 188816 January 1889
21Edmund BartonProtectionist17 January 18897 March 1889
George Bowen SimpsonFree Trade8 March 188922 October 1891
Edmund BartonProtectionist23 October 189114 December 1893
22Charles Heydon15 December 18932 August 1894
George Bowen SimpsonFree Trade3 August 18941 December 1894
John Henry Want18 December 189418 April 1899
23George Reid19 April 189913 September 1899
Bernhard WiseProtectionist14 September 189914 June 1904
24James GannonProgressive15 June 190429 August 1904
25Charles WadeLiberal Reform29 August 190420 October 1910
26William HolmanLabor21 October 191029 January 1914
27David Hall29 January 191415 November 1916
Nationalist15 November 191623 July 1919
28John Garland23 July 191912 April 1920
29Edward McTiernanLabor12 April 192020 December 1921
30Thomas BavinNationalist20 December 192120 December 1921
Edward McTiernanLabor20 December 192113 April 1922
Thomas BavinNationalist13 April 192217 June 1925
Edward McTiernanLabor17 June 192526 May 1927
31Andrew Lysaght27 May 192718 October 1927
32Francis BoyceNationalist18 October 19273 November 1930
Andrew LysaghtLabor4 November 193016 June 1931
33Joseph Lamaro16 June 193115 October 1931
Labor (NSW)15 October 193113 May 1932
34Daniel LevyUnited Australia16 May 193217 June 193232 days
35Henry Manning18 June 193216 May 19418 years, 332 days
36Clarrie MartinLabor16 May 194123 February 195311 years, 283 days
37Bill Sheahan23 February 195315 March 19563 years, 21 days
38Reg Downing15 March 195613 May 19659 years, 59 days
39Ken McCawLiberal13 May 19653 January 19759 years, 235 days
40John Maddison3 January 197514 May 19761 year, 132 days
41Frank WalkerLabor14 May 19761 February 19836 years, 263 days
42Paul Landa1 February 198324 November 19841 year, 297 days
43Neville Wran27 November 198412 December 198415 days
44Terry Sheahan12 December 198426 November 19872 years, 349 days
45Ron Mulock26 November 198721 March 1988116 days
46John DowdLiberal25 March 19886 June 19913 years, 73 days
47Peter Collins6 June 19913 July 19921 year, 27 days
48John Hannaford3 July 19924 April 19952 years, 275 days
49Jeff ShawLabor4 April 199528 June 20005 years, 85 days
50Bob Debus28 June 20002 April 20076 years, 278 days
51John Hatzistergos2 April 2007 (2007-04-02)28 March 2011 (2011-03-28)3 years, 360 days
52Greg SmithLiberal3 April 2011 (2011-04-03)23 April 2014 (2014-04-23)3 years, 20 days
53Brad Hazzard23 April 2014 (2014-04-23)2 April 2015 (2015-04-02)344 days
54Gabrielle Upton2 April 2015 (2015-04-02)30 January 2017 (2017-01-30)1 year, 303 days
55Mark Speakman SC30 January 2017incumbent2 years, 316 days

List of ministers for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

NameParty affiliationMinisterial titleTerm beginTerm endTime in officeNotes
Pru GowardLiberalMinister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault30 January 2017 (2017-01-30)23 March 2019 (2019-03-23)2 years, 52 days[4]
Mark Speakman SCMinister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence2 April 2019 (2019-04-02)incumbent254 days[5]


  1. See, e.g. Attorney General for New South Wales v Burns & Ors, Leahy v Attorney-General for New South Wales and Makin v Attorney General for New South Wales
  2. Vukovic, Dom; Gerathy, Sarah; McDonald, Philippa (29 January 2017). "NSW Cabinet reshuffle: Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces big changes to front bench". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  3. O'Neill, Patrick. "New South Wales Attorneys-General 1823+". List of Australian Attorneys-General. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  4. Vukovic, Dom; Gerathy, Sarah; McDonald, Philippa (29 January 2017). "NSW Cabinet reshuffle: Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces big changes to front bench". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  5. "Government Notices (30)" (PDF). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales. 2 April 2019. p. 1088-1090. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
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