High Court of Australia
The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the states, the ability to interpret the Constitution of Australia and thereby shape the development of federalism in Australia; the High Court is mandated by section 71 of the Constitution, which vests in it the judicial power of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Court was constituted by, its first members were appointed under, the Judiciary Act 1903, it now operates under sections 71 to 75 of the Constitution, the Judiciary Act, the High Court of Australia Act 1979. It is composed of seven Justices: the Chief Justice of Australia Susan Kiefel, six other Justices, they are appointed by the Governor-General of Australia on the advice of the federal government, under the constitution must retire at age 70. The High Court has had a permanent home in Canberra since 1979.
The majority of its sittings are held in the High Court building, situated in the Parliamentary Triangle overlooking Lake Burley Griffin. With an increasing utilisation of video links, sittings are often held in the state capitals; the High Court exercises appellate jurisdiction. The High Court is the court of final appeal with the ability to interpret the common law for the whole of Australia, not just the state or territory in which the matter arose; the High Court's broad jurisdiction is similar to that of the Supreme Court of Canada and unlike the Supreme Court of the United States which has a more limited jurisdiction. As such, the court is able to develop the common law across all the states and territories; this role, alongside its role in constitutional interpretation, is one of the court's most significant. As Sir Owen Dixon said on his swearing in as Chief Justice of Australia: "The High Court's jurisdiction is divided in its exercise between constitutional and federal cases which loom so in the public eye, the great body of litigation between man and man, or man and government, which has nothing to do with the Constitution, and, the principal preoccupation of the court."
This broad array of jurisdiction enables the High Court to take a leading role in Australian law and contributes to a consistency and uniformity among the laws of the different states. The original jurisdiction of the High Court refers to matters that are heard in the High Court; the Constitution confers potential original jurisdiction. Section 75 of the Constitution confers original jurisdiction in regard to "all matters": The conferral of original jurisdiction creates some problems for the High Court. For example, challenges against immigration-related decisions are brought against an officer of the Commonwealth within the original jurisdiction of the High Court. Section 76 provides that Parliament may confer original jurisdiction in relation to matters: Constitutional matters, referred to in section 76, have been conferred to the High Court by section 30 of the Judiciary Act 1903. However, the inclusion of constitutional matters in section 76, rather than section 75, means that the High Court's original jurisdiction regarding constitutional matters could be removed.
In practice, section 75 and section 75 are broad enough that many constitutional matters would still be within jurisdiction. The original constitutional jurisdiction of the High Court is now well established: the Australian Law Reform Commission has described the inclusion of constitutional matters in section 76 rather than section 75 as "an odd fact of history." The 1998 Constitutional Convention recommended an amendment to the constitution to prevent the possibility of the jurisdiction being removed by Parliament. Failure to proceed on this issue suggests that it was considered unlikely that Parliament would take this step; the requirement of "a matter" in section 75 and section 76 of the constitution means that a concrete issue must need to be resolved and the High Court cannot give an advisory opinion. The High Court's appellate jurisdiction is defined under section 73 of the Constitution; the High Court can hear appeals from the Supreme Courts of the states and territories, any federal court or court exercising federal jurisdiction, decisions made by one or more Justices exercising the original jurisdiction of the court.
However, section 73 allows the appellate jurisdiction to be limited "with such exceptions and subject to such regulations as the Parliament prescribes". Parliament has prescribed a large limitation in section 35A of the Judiciary Act 1903; this requires "special leave" to appeal. Special leave is granted only where a question of law is raised, of public importance. Therefore, while the High Court is the final court of appeal, it cannot be considered a general court of appeal; the decision as to whether to grant special leave to appeal is determined by one or more Justices of the High Court. That is, the Court exercises the power to decide which appeal cases it will consider; the issue of appeals from the High Court to the United Kingdom's Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was a significant one during the drafting of the Constitution and it continued to be significant in the years after the cour
Royal assent is the method by which a monarch formally approves an act of the legislature. In some jurisdictions, royal assent is equivalent to promulgation, while in others, a separate step. Under a modern constitutional monarchy royal assent is considered to be little more than a formality. While the power to veto a law by withholding royal assent was once exercised by European monarchs, such an occurrence has been rare since the eighteenth century. Royal assent is sometimes associated with elaborate ceremonies. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the sovereign may appear in the House of Lords or may appoint Lords Commissioners, who announce that royal assent has been granted at a ceremony held at the Palace of Westminster for this purpose. However, royal assent is granted less ceremonially by letters patent. In other nations, such as Australia, the governor-general signs a bill. In Canada, the governor general may give assent either in person at a ceremony held in the Senate or by a written declaration notifying parliament of their agreement to the bill.
Before the Royal Assent by Commission Act 1541 became law, assent was always required to be given by the sovereign in person before Parliament. The last time royal assent was given by the sovereign in person in Parliament was in the reign of Queen Victoria at a prorogation on 12 August 1854; the Act was repealed and replaced by the Royal Assent Act 1967. However section 1 of that Act does not prevent the sovereign from declaring assent in person if he or she so desires. Royal assent is the final step required for a parliamentary bill to become law. Once a bill is presented to the sovereign or the sovereign's representative, he or she has the following formal options: the sovereign may grant royal assent, thereby making the bill an Act of Parliament; the sovereign may delay the bill's assent through the use of his or her reserve powers, thereby vetoing the bill. The sovereign may refuse royal assent on the advice of her ministers; the last bill, refused assent by the sovereign was the Scottish Militia Bill during Queen Anne's reign in 1708.
Under modern constitutional conventions, the sovereign acts on, in accordance with, the advice of his or her ministers. However, there is some disagreement among scholars as to whether the monarch should withhold royal assent to a bill if advised to do so by her ministers. Since these ministers most enjoy the support of parliament and obtain the passage of bills, it is improbable that they would advise the sovereign to withhold assent. Hence, in modern practice, the issue has never arisen, royal assent has not been withheld; the sovereign is believed not to have the power to withhold assent from a bill against the advice of ministers. Legislative power was exercised by the sovereign acting on the advice of the Curia regis, or Royal Council, in which important magnates and clerics participated and which evolved into parliament. In 1265, the Earl of Leicester irregularly called a full parliament without royal authorisation. Membership of the so-called Model Parliament, established in 1295 under Edward I included bishops, earls, two knights from each shire and two burgesses from each borough.
The body came to be divided into two branches: bishops, abbots and barons formed the House of Lords, while the shire and borough representatives formed the House of Commons. The King would seek the consent of both houses before making any law. During Henry VI's reign, it became regular practice for the two houses to originate legislation in the form of bills, which would not become law unless the sovereign's assent was obtained, as the sovereign was, still remains, the enactor of laws. Hence, all Acts include the clause "Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, by the authority of the same, as follows...". The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 provide a second potential preamble if the House of Lords were to be excluded from the process; the power of parliament to pass bills was thwarted by monarchs. Charles I dissolved parliament in 1629, after it passed motions and bills critical of—and seeking to restrict—his arbitrary exercise of power.
During the eleven years of personal rule that followed, Charles performed dubious actions such as raising taxes without Parliament's approval. After the English Civil War, it was accepted that parliament should be summoned to meet but it was still commonplace for monarchs to refuse royal assent to bills. In 1678, Charles II withheld his assent from a bill "for preserving the Peace of the Kingdom by raising the Militia, continuing them in Duty for Two and Forty Days," suggesting that he, not parliament, should control the militia; the last Stuart monarch, Anne withheld on 11 March 1708, on the advice of her ministers, her assent to the Scottish Militia Bill. No monarch has since withheld royal assent on a bill passed by the British parliament. During the rule of the succeeding Hanoverian dynasty, power was exercised more by parliament and the government; the first Hanoverian monarch, George I, relied on his ministers to a greater extent than had previous monarchs. Hanoverian monarchs attempted to restore royal control over legislation: G
Parliament of Australia
The Parliament of Australia is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It consists of three elements: the Senate and the House of Representatives; the combination of two elected chambers, in which the members of the Senate represent the states and territories while the members of the House represent electoral divisions according to population, is modelled on the United States Congress. Through both chambers, there is a fused executive, drawn from the Westminster system; the upper house, the Senate, consists of 76 members: twelve for each state, two each for the territories, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Senators are elected using the single transferable vote proportional representation system and as a result, the chamber features a multitude of parties vying for power; the governing party or coalition has not held a majority in the Senate since 1981 and needs to negotiate with other parties and Independents to get legislation passed. The lower house, the House of Representatives consists of 150 members, each elected using full-preference instant-runoff voting from single-member constituencies known as electoral divisions.
This tends to lead to the chamber being dominated by two major political groups, the centre-right Coalition and the centre-left Labor Party. The government of the day must achieve the confidence of this House in order to gain and remain in power. Although elections can be called early, every three years the full House of Representatives and half of the Senate is dissolved and goes up for reelection. A deadlock-breaking mechanism known as a double dissolution can be used to dissolve the full Senate as well as the House in the event that the Upper House twice refuses to pass a piece of legislation passed by the Lower House; the two Houses meet in separate chambers of Parliament House on Capital Hill in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. The Commonwealth of Australia came into being on 1 January 1901 with the federation of the six Australian colonies; the inaugural election took place on 29 and 30 March and the first Australian Parliament was opened on 9 May 1901 in Melbourne by Prince George, Duke of Cornwall and York King George V.
The only building in Melbourne, large enough to accommodate the 14,000 guests was the western annexe of the Royal Exhibition Building. After the official opening, from 1901 to 1927 the Parliament met in Parliament House, which it borrowed from the Parliament of Victoria, it had always been intended. This was a compromise at Federation due to the rivalry between the two largest Australian cities and Melbourne, which both wished to become the new capital; the site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital city in 1908. A competition was announced on 30 June 1914 to design Parliament House, with prize money of £7,000. However, due to the start of World War I the next month, the competition was cancelled, it was re-announced in August 1916, but again postponed indefinitely on 24 November 1916. In the meantime, John Smith Murdoch, the Commonwealth's Chief Architect, worked on the design as part of his official duties, he had little personal enthusiasm for the project, as he felt it was a waste of money and expenditure on it could not be justified at the time.
He designed the building by default. The construction of Old Parliament House, as it is called today, commenced on 28 August 1923 and was completed in early 1927, it was built by the Commonwealth Department of Works, using tradesmen and materials from all over Australia. The final cost was about £600,000, more than three times the original estimate, it was designed to house the parliament for a maximum of 50 years until a permanent facility could be built, but was so used for more than 60 years. The building was opened on 9 May 1927 by the Duchess of York; the opening ceremonies were both splendid and incongruous, given the sparsely built nature of Canberra of the time and its small population. The building was extensively decorated with British Empire and Australian flags and bunting. Temporary stands were erected bordering the lawns in front of the Parliament and these were filled with crowds. A Wiradjuri elder, Jimmy Clements, was one of only two aboriginal Australians present, having walked for about a week from Brungle Station to be at the event.
Dame Nellie Melba sang the National anthem. The Duke of York unlocked the front doors with a golden key, led the official party into King's Hall where he unveiled the statue of his father, King George V; the Duke opened the first parliamentary session in the new Senate Chamber. In 1978 the Fraser Government decided to proceed with a new building on Capital Hill, the Parliament House Construction Authority was created. A two-stage competition was announced, for which the Authority consulted the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and, together with the National Capital Development Commission, made available to competitors a brief and competition documents; the design competition drew 329 entries from 29 countries. The competition winner was the Philadelphia-based architectural firm of Mitchell/Giurgola, with the on-site wor
Federal Court of Australia
The Federal Court of Australia is an Australian superior court of record which has jurisdiction to deal with most civil disputes governed by federal law, along with some summary criminal matters. Cases are heard at first instance by single Judges; the Court includes an appeal division referred to as the Full Court comprising three Judges, the only avenue of appeal from which lies to the High Court of Australia. In the Australian court hierarchy, the Federal Court occupies a position equivalent to the Supreme Courts of each of the states and territories. In relation to the other Courts in the federal stream, it is equal to the Family Court of Australia, superior to the Federal Circuit Court, it was established in 1976 by the Federal Court of Australia Act. The Chief Justice of the Federal Court is James Allsop; the Federal Court has no inherent jurisdiction. Its jurisdiction flows from statute; the Court's original jurisdiction include matters arising from Commonwealth legislation such as, for example, matters relating to taxation, trade practices, native title, intellectual property, industrial relations, corporations and bankruptcy.
The Federal Court of Australia has appellate jurisdiction from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on all matters, with the exception of family law, where the Family Court of Australia has appellate jurisdiction. The Court exercises general appellate jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters on appeal from the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island. Other federal courts and tribunals where the Court exercises appellate jurisdiction include the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission; the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia includes the jurisdiction exercised by two former federal courts, the Federal Court of Bankruptcy and the Commonwealth Industrial Court. The Federal Court of Bankruptcy had jurisdiction in bankruptcy matters and was created in 1930; the jurisdiction in bankruptcy was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia on its establishment in 1977. The Commonwealth Industrial Court was established in 1956 as a result of the Boilermaker's case, where the High Court held that a Chapter III Court could not exercise a non-judicial power, the arbitral function, because of the constitutional separation of powers in Australia.
The judicial functions were given to the newly created Commonwealth Industrial Court and the arbitral functions were given to Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The Court was renamed the Australian Industrial Court in 1973. In 1977 the jurisdiction of the Australian Industrial Court was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia. In 1993 the industrial relations jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia was transferred to the Industrial Relations Court of Australia, transferred back to the Federal Court of Australia in 1996; the last judge of the Industrial Relations Court, Anthony North, retired in September 2018. Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Perth Adelaide HobartDuncan Kerr List of judges of the Federal Court of Australia List of Federal Court of Australia cases Federal Court of Australia Full text of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976