Government Powers under a Federal Constitution 2nd edition

Government Powers under a Federal Constitution 2nd edition

By John Pyke


$140.00 RRP

Date: 06/01/2020

Code: 9780455244150

Lawbook Co., AUSTRALIA

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In this new edition of Government Powers Under a Federal Constitution, John Pyke responds to the change that has taken place in constitutional case-law in the past few decades by grouping the topics in a completely new way.  The newer developments in political free speech, voting rights, and the protection of the independence of State judiciaries by the Kable doctrine are grouped with older cases on just terms, the rule of law and the separation of powers at the Commonwealth level to show Constitutional Law as, at least in part, a way of enforcing individual rights.  Its more traditional role as the divider of powers between the Commonwealth and States has not, of course, gone away, so it is the focus of the other major part of the book – but it is noticeable that there have been very few new cases in this area in the last decade; the emphasis has swung towards Constitutional Law as Human Rights Law.  While still paying due regard to the older themes that used to dominate constitutional argument, this is a book on Constitutional Law for the 2020s.

Table of Contents


Constitutional Law In Australia – 2nd edition



Part A - Constitutional Concepts and Their History

 1.   The Significance of Constitutions and Constitutional Law

 2.   Sources of Constitutional Ideas

 3.   The Colonisation of Australia and the development of six self-governing colonies                     

 4.   Federation and the Creation of the Commonwealth Constitution  

 5.   Independence - From the Sovereignty of the UK Parliament to the Sovereignty of the People


Part B - General Principles of Constitutional Law and Litigation

 6.   The Constitution as Supreme Law, and an Outline of its Provisions

 7.   Constitutional Litigation

 8.   General Principles of Interpretation of the Commonwealth Constitution


Part C. The “branches” of government, general limits on their powers, and consequences for individual rights


C1. Parliamentary powers and limits on them, other than federal limits


            The structure of Parliaments and voting rights

                        9. Commonwealth Parliament: the direct choice of members by the people  

                        10. Commonwealth Parliament: the law-making process.

                        11. State and Territory Parliaments: the law-making process and special limits on it


            Limits (and non-limits) applying to all Parliaments in Australia

                        12. The constitutional freedom of political communication  

                        13. Four non-limits on legislative powers

14. Interpretation of legislation to protect rights - ‘quasi-constitutional’ principles and mechanisms


            Limits specific to Commonwealth Laws

                        15. Just terms for the acquisition of property

                        16. Other express - but sometimes weak - constitutional protections of rights


C2. Executive power and its subjection to law

17. Governors and Ministers - dignified fictions and the reality of executive power

                        18. Sources of executive power

                        19. Parliamentary control of taxation and government spending

                        20. Modern developments in the Rule of Law


C3. Limits inherent in the nature of judicial power

                        21. Commonwealth judicial power not to be given to non-judicial bodies

22. Commonwealth judicial bodies to be independent, and not to be given significant non-judicial power

                        23. Effect of the Commonwealth Constitution on State Courts and Tribunals


Part D. The federal division of legislative powers


D1. The range of Commonwealth legislative powers


            24. Sources and Interpretation of Commonwealth Legislative Powers

            25.  Business-regulation powers

            26.  Nation-State powers

            27. “Social’ powers

            28.  Financial powers

            29.  “Federal” limitations on Commonwealth powers


D2. The effects of the Commonwealth Constitution on the States and Territories


30. General effects of the Commonwealth Constitution on States’ powers – concurrent powers, Commonwealth exclusive powers, and prohibitions

            31. States not to impose customs or excise duties

            32. Freedom of interstate trade, commerce and intercourse

            33. Discrimination against out-of-State residents prohibited

            34. Inconsistency with laws of the Commonwealth

            35. Intergovernmental immunities     

            36. Final note on the States, and the drive for more uniform laws

            37. The Territories – like States in some ways but not in others


Part E – Possible Changes to the Federation

38.  New States, and Changing the Boundaries of States

39.  Formal Alteration of the Constitution – the Record So Far and Current Issues

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