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|Solicitor-General of Australia|
|Appointer||Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister|
|Inaugural holder||Sir Robert Garran|
The Solicitor-General of Australia is the country's second highest-ranking law officer, after the Attorney-General for Australia. The position is often known as the Commonwealth Solicitor-General in order to distinguish it from the state solicitors-general. The current officeholder is Stephen Donaghue, who took office on 16 January 2017.
The Commonwealth Solicitor-General gives the Australian federal government legal advice and appears in court to represent the Commonwealth's interest in important legal proceedings, particularly in the High Court. Unlike the attorney-general, the solicitor-general is not a member of parliament.
The office was created in 1916 with the appointment of Sir Robert Garran. Prior to this, from 1903 to 1913 Sir Charles Powers had served as the first Commonwealth Crown Solicitor, which later became the Australian Government Solicitor. Sir Charles Powers was also sometimes referred to as the "Solicitor-General", but the two offices are separate: Powers was succeeded in 1913 as Crown Solicitor by Gordon Castle, whereas the first Solicitor-General, Robert Garran, was not appointed until 1916.
Two solicitors-general have been appointed to the High Court of Australia: Anthony Mason in 1972 and Stephen Gageler in 2012. Gageler is the only person to be directly elevated from the solicitor-generalship to the High Court.
|Name||Period in office|
|Sir Robert Garran KCMG||1916–1932|
|Sir George Knowles CBE||1932–1946|
|Sir Kenneth Bailey CBE QC||1946–1964|
|Anthony Mason CBE QC||1964–1969|
|Bob Ellicott QC||1969–1973|
|Sir Maurice Byers CBE QC||1973–1983|
|Gavan Griffith QC||1984–1997|
|Henry Burmester QC (acting)||1997–1998|
|David Bennett QC||1998–2008|
|Stephen Gageler SC||2008–2012|
|Justin Gleeson SC||2013–2016|
|Dr Stephen Donaghue QC||2017–present|
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