Daryl Williams (politician)

Daryl Robert Williams AM, QC (born 21 August 1942) is a former Australian politician who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2004, representing the Liberal Party. He was Attorney-General in the Howard Government from 1996 to 2003.

Daryl Williams

Attorney-General of Australia
In office
11 March 1996 – 7 October 2003
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byMichael Lavarch
Succeeded byPhilip Ruddock
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Tangney
In office
13 March 1993 – 31 August 2004
Preceded byPeter Shack
Succeeded byDennis Jensen
Personal details
Born (1942-08-21) 21 August 1942 (age 78)
East Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
Political partyLiberal
EducationPerth Modern School
Alma materUniversity of Western Australia
Wadham College, Oxford

Background and early careerEdit

Williams was born in East Fremantle, Western Australia, and was educated at Richmond School, East Fremantle, and Perth Modern School. He went on to the University of Western Australia and Wadham College, Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar in 1965.[1]

In 1968, Williams started work as a barrister. In 1971, he became counsel for the Asian Development Bank.[1] However, four years later, he returned to practising law on his own. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1982,[1] and became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1989.[1] Williams continued to practise law until his election to Parliament in 1993.

Political careerEdit

Williams was briefly a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry in 1994, serving as Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition on Constitutional Reform.[1]

In 1996, when the Liberals won office, he was appointed Attorney-General first as a member of the outer ministry and then as a member of Cabinet from October 1997. He served in this capacity until 2003, serving the longest continuous term in the position since H. V. Evatt (1941–49). Williams was also Minister for Justice for a period in 1996–97. He had also attended the 1998 Constitutional Convention as a parliamentary delegate.

After the Liberal ministerial shakeup of 2003, Williams was appointed Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.[2] In April 2004, he announced he would not be contesting the 2004 election.[3] He stood down from the ministry in July 2004.

Post-political careerEdit

Williams was seriously considered as a candidate to replace Justice Mary Gaudron as a judge of the High Court of Australia in 2003,[4] and was the nominee of the Western Australian Law Society for the post.[5] Dyson Heydon was eventually appointed to the post. Williams was also considered a possible candidate for appointment to the High Court prior to the retirement of Justice Michael McHugh in 2005, following his retirement from politics.[6] Susan Crennan was eventually appointed as McHugh's replacement. In addition, Williams has been mooted as a contender for appointment as Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia[7] and as a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of Western Australia.,[8] or the Court of Appeal of Western Australia.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Biographical Information". 1998. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Media Centre Archive". Archived from the original on 28 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Daryl Williams quits". PM. 5 April 2004.
  4. ^ Karen Middleton, 'Williams looks at a seat in court', The West Australian, 7 April 2004; Annabel Crabb and Fergus Shiel, 'Williams says no to High Court', The Age, 3 December 2002; Peter Charlton, 'Here come da judge', The Courier-Mail, 2 December 2002;
  5. ^ ABC News, April 2004
  6. ^ "Tension as search for judge narrows". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 April 2005.; Crispin Hull, 'Caught up in High Court selection', The Canberra Times, 16 April 2005
  7. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1139871.htm
  8. ^ Karen Middleton, 'Williams looks at a seat in court', The West Australian, 7 April 2004.
  9. ^ Yaxley, Louise. "Daryl Williams considers returning to law". AM (ABC). Retrieved 8 April 2015.
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Lavarch
Succeeded by
Philip Ruddock
Preceded by
Duncan Kerr
Minister for Justice
Succeeded by
Amanda Vanstone
Preceded by
Richard Alston
Minister for Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts

Succeeded by
Helen Coonan
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Peter Shack
Member for Tangney
Succeeded by
Dennis Jensen