The Hon Xavier Conner, AO was President of the Commission from 6 May 1985 to 11 December 1987. Prior to his appointment he was a Judge of the Supreme Court of the ACT. He was Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council from 1967 to 1969 after a lengthy term as Chairman of the Law Reform Sub-Committee of the Victorian Bar Council. He was President of the Medico-Legal Society of Victoria in 1976 to 1977. In 1977 he was appointed Judge of the Federal Court of Australia. Justice Connor was also President of the Courts-Martial Appeal Tribunal (1979), Chairman of the Parole Board of the ACT (1978-1985), Head of the Board of Inquiry into Casinos in Victoria (1982) and Chairman of the Committee of Review of the Special Broadcasting Service (1994).
Justice Connor succeeded Justice Michael Kirby as the head of the ALRC in May 1985, inheriting a mammoth workload. By the time he completed his term of office in 1988, the Commission had brought to completion fourteen reports, including such diverse landmark projects as: evidence; standing in public interest litigation; contributory negligence; domestic violence; Aboriginal customary laws; admiralty; contempt; matrimonial property; debt recovery and insolvency; spent convictions; and uniform service and execution of process.
Justice Connor maintained a close association with the ALRC long after his retirement.