Acting Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 22/10/1962 - 24/06/1963
Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 25/06/1963 - 16/07/1975
Judge of Appeal, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of NSW, 01/01/1966 - 16/07/1975
Commissioner, Royal Commission on the statement of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban and matters incidental thereto, 10/11/1972 - 13/03/1968
Chairman, Commonwealth Tax Review Committee 10/09/1972 - 31/01/1975
NSW Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal, 30/07/1975 - 03/11/1975
Kenneth William Asprey was born on 15 July 1905 in Petersham, New South Wales, the son of William Asprey and his wife Elizabeth nee Palmer. He was educated at Newington College and was awarded a Public Exhibition scholarship to the University of Sydney based on his results in the Leaving Certificate examination of November 1922. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts in 1926 and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in 1929. He was a committee member of the Sydney University Cricket Club from 1926/27 to 1927/28. (1)
On 3 June 1929 Asprey was admitted as a solicitor. His offices were at 31 Hunter Street and, after 1935 as Baldick, Asprey and Company, at 14 Martin Place, Sydney. Asprey was called to the New South Wales Bar on 17 November 1939 and practised out of 142 Phillip Street and, after 1941, 182 Phillip Street. He was a member of the Solicitors Admission Board in 1944, an examiner for the Barristers Admission Board from 1944 to 1946, and a member of the Council of the New South Wales Bar from 1943/44 to 1944/45. He was appointed a King’s Counsel in 1952 and practised primarily in Common Law, Equity, Commercial Law and Taxation. (2)
Asprey was appointed an Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 22 October 1962. On 25 June 1963 he was appointed a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court. When the Court of Appeal was established on 1 January 1966, he was made a Judge of Appeal. He retired as a Puisne Judge and a Judge of Appeal on 16 July 1975. (3)
Asprey conducted two inquiries for the Commonwealth government. He was one of the Commissioners of the Royal Commission on the statement of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban and matters incidental thereto, usually known as the second Voyager Inquiry. It was originally established by Letters Patent on 31 May 1967 with Geofrey Arthur Lucas as the Commissioner. When he resigned due to ill health on 10 November 1967, Asprey and Sir Stanley Burbury replaced him. The Commission investigated allegations made by Cabban concerning Captain DH Stevens, commander of the HMAS Voyager, and reported on 13 March 1968. (4)
In August 1972, Asprey was appointed the Chairman of the Taxation Review Committee. The Committee was set up by Liberal government of Sir William McMahon to conduct a full-scale inquiry into the taxation system. It commenced on 10 September 1972 and presented its final report on 31 January 1975 to the Whitlam Labor government. Although many of its recommendations were rejected at the time, they have since been implemented such as the capital gains tax, the fringe benefit tax and the goods and services tax. (5)
After his retirement, Asprey was appointed as the NSW Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal on 30 July 1975 by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Tribunal was established under the Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal Act, 1975, and examined the entitlements of and facilities available to Ministers of the Crown, recognised office holders and members of Parliament. He reported on 3 November 1975. (6)
Asprey was made a Companion in the Order of St Michael and St George on 11 June 1977 for his services to the government. (7)
Kenneth William Asprey died on 28 October 1993, survived by his second wife Mary and two daughters from his first marriage. (8)
1. Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, The Herald and Weekly Times, 1955, p.56; 1959, p.57; 1962, p.50; 1965, p.57; 1968, p.57; 1971, p.61; 1974, p.62; 1977, p.63; 1980, p.66; 1983, p.66; 1985, p.66; 1990, p.117; Australian Law Journal, Vol.36 (29 November 1962), pp.198-9; Vol.68 (January 1994), p.84; University of Sydney Calendar, 1923, pp.496, 678; 1925, pp.722, 725; 1926, pp.620, 724, 881; 1927, pp.734, 824, 888; 1928, pp.559, 757; 1929, pp.561, 668; 1930, p.897, http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 12 May 2008).
2. Barrister and Solicitors Admission Boards; NRS 13667, Roll of Solicitors, 17 February 1927 - 20 November 1936; Reel 2147, p.11; Barrister and Solicitors Admission Boards; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 17 February 1927 - 10 June 1955; Reel 2147, p.15; NSW Law Almanac, Syd., NSW Govt Printer, 1930, p.80; 1935, p.90; 1939, p.96; 1940, p.68; 1941, p.68; 1943, pp.61, 68; 1944, pp.60-61, 68; 1945, pp.55-6, 63; 1946, pp.56, 63; 1953, p.71; 1963, p.85; 1964, p.53; 'Bar Councillors 1940-1950', New South Wales Bar Association, http://www.nswbar.asn.au/docs/about/history/bclist1940_1950.php (cited 21 December 2009); Australian Law Journal, Vol.36 (29 November 1962), pp.198-9.
3. State Reports New South Wales, Syd., Law Book Company of Australasia, Vol.62 (1962); Vol.63 (1963); Vol.66 (1965-66); New South Wales Law Reports, Syd., Law Book Company Ltd, 1975-76, 1975, Vol.1; Australian Law Journal, Vol.36 (29 November 1962), pp.198-9; Vol.37 (27 June 1963), p.60.
4. 'National Archives of Australia - Agency notes for agency CA7532', http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/AgencyDetail.asp?M=3&B=CA+7532 (cited 18 December 2009).
5. 'National Archives of Australia - Agency notes for agency CA1676', http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/AgencyDetail.asp?M=3&B=CA+1676 (cited 18 December 2009); Ross Gittins, 'A "light on the hill" for our future tax reformers', Age, 15 June 2009, http://www.age.com.au/business/a-light-on-the-hill-for-our-future-tax-reformers-20090614c7dt.html (cited 18 December 2009).
6. Joint Volume of papers presented to the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly, Syd., NSW Govt Printer, 1975-76, Vol.IV, pp.937, 971, 976.
7. It's an honour website http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au (cited 23 January 2008).
8. Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Nov 1993; Australian Law Journal, Vol.68 (January 1994), p.84; Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.