22 Jun

Facts about the modern relevance of the Constitution of Australia

The Australian Constitution is the single most important document in Australia’s history. It was designed to provide lasting foundational principles for creating Commonwealth laws and for ensuring the protection of the Australian people by setting the rules for responsible government, such as the separation of powers.

The Australia Act 1986 is unconstitutional by substance, even though it directly doesn’t amend the Consitution by form.

Acts Interpretation Act 1901 – Section 15A – Construction of Acts to be subject to Constitution – Every Actshall be read and construed subject to the Constitution, and so as not to exceed the legislative power of the Commonwealth, to the intent that where any enactment thereof would, but for this section, have been construed as being in excess of that power, it shall nevertheless be a valid enactment to the extent to which it is not in excess of that power.

Constitution – Section 106 – The Constitution of each State shall operate subject to the Commonwealth Constitution. All State Constitutions are subject to the Constitution of Australia.

Constitution – Section 108 – Saving of State laws. The legislative powers of the state parliaments cannot be altered except by altering the Constitution, which can only be done by the Australian people voting in a referendum.

Constitution – Section 109 – Inconsistency of Laws – When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, beinvalid. This is in contradiction to the belief that modern laws override older laws. The Constitution is thefoundation from which statutes are to be constructed. The construction of any building must conform to the limits imposed by it’s foundation, or else the building will collapse. Unabated statute laws would also lead to chaos and destruction if the Constitution didn’t lay the ground rules to govern their creation.

Constitution – Section 128 – Mode of altering the Constitution can only be by way of referendum. Since Federation, only 8 of the 44 proposals to amend the Constitution via a referendum have passed. Over 70% of the proposed changes were rejected by the Australian people.

Referendum 1984 – Interchange of Powers – Not Carried. The States were not given the authority to freely interchange Commonwealth powers at will.

Laws of England are still in force – The Imperial Laws of England were brought into Australian Law via theAustralian Courts Act 1828 (9 Geo 4 c 83) section 24, Imperial Acts Application Act 1980 and Victorian Constitution Act 1975 – Section 3.

The Bill of Rights Act 1688 was declared via the Imperial Acts Application Act 1980 – Section 8.