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'Detribalisation' and reserves

An application in the Federal Court for a declaration and an injunction to restrain an alleged breach of a condition of approval under the EPBC Act for a large dam in Queensland. A civil prosecution in the Federal Court of a South Australian farmer for clearing eucalyptus trees, thereby causing a significant impact on a threatened species contrary to section 18 of the EPBC Act.

Litigation for negligence against a NSW local government for approving a residential development on contaminated land. The Volga Cases concerned the arrest of the Russian-flagged longline fishing vessel, Volga, which was apprehended by the Australian Navy for illegally fishing for Patagonian Toothfish in the Australian Fishing Zone.

A series of cases in the Planning and Environment Court, Magistrates Court, District Court and Court of Appeal involving pre-emptive clearing and a planning appeal for a large residential development near Caloundra in South-East Queensland. An appeal in the Planning and Environment Court under the Integrated Planning Act Qld concerning the impacts of a proposed rural residential subdivision on cassowary habitat.

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An appeal in the Planning and Environment Court about a large sand mine adjacent to a Ramsar Wetland. A case showing the importance of public interest litigation to protect the environment where government regulators fail to act and the tenacity sometimes required to succeed.

Part 1 The Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth

An appeal in the Planning and Environment Court against demolition of two cultural heritage listed buildings at Warwick. A very significant appeal for planning law in Queensland which emphasises the importance of development complying with the planning scheme. An objection in the Queensland Land and Resources Tribunal against the greenhouse gas emissions from the expansion of the Newlands Coal Mine in Queensland.

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An objection to a major open-cut coal mine proposed to operate for 30 years in Queensland and produce 1. A landmark challenge by local graziers and conservation groups against a large coal mine in central Queensland showing the importance of public objection rights. Litigation in the Land Court of Queensland over the groundwater and economic impacts of a large coal mine. An enormous, hard-fought community battle to protect farmland from a major coal mine in Queensland. A prosecution and sentencing of a serious environmental crime in the District Court of Queensland.

The facts involved clearing of a large swath of a national park by a grazier to allow ease of movement of his cattle between paddocks. A criminal prosecution in the NSW Land and Environment Court and an appeal for illegal clearing of native vegetation illustrating important principles for sentencing of environmental offences. A summary criminal prosecution and sentencing for a relatively minor environmental offence in the NSW Local Court at Ballina.

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  • The case also involved a dispute on costs. Jump to navigation. In your answer, consider the extent to which, if at all, it is true to say that the Commonwealth Parliament has plenary power to make laws with respect to the people of any particular race, irrespective of whether those laws are for their benefit or detriment.

    Australian & Comparative Constitutional Law: Australian State Constitutional Law

    Since Kartinyeri v the Commonwealth, the precise position of the power is uncertain, with the High Court yet to rule conclusively on its ambit. That consideration includes calculating the weight to be accorded to the referendum, when the sub-section became the only original s 51 power to have been amended by the people at a referendum since Federation. Once plenary, the scope of the power today may be considerably more limited.

    This essay examines these considerations of constitutional interpretation, and three principal ways in which the race power can be said to operate: as a plenary power that possesses both a detrimental and beneficial scope; as a power to discriminate only beneficially in the interests of a race; and as a power of general application, but one which draws limitations from the Australian Constitution.

    Kartinyeri v the Commonwealth is the case often cited as having confirmed that the race power authorises laws that might discriminate to the disadvantage of a race. The exact content of the power after Kartinyeri must be described as uncertain. It should, therefore, be construed liberally and generally. This starting position lends itself inevitably to the conclusion that the Commonwealth can enact laws for beneficial purposes under the power. It was submitted in Kartinyeri that, while once plenary, today the race power only operates to support advantageous racial discrimination.

    The Kartinyeri judgment illustrates the methods of constitutional interpretation the High Court may take into account in this respect in a future race power case. The proposition that the race power today only extends to cover beneficial laws was then said in Kartinyeri to derive substantially from the referendum. The interpretation advanced by the plaintiff in Kartinyeri had earlier received support from members of the Court in Koowarta. It does not mean with respect to, so as to enable laws intended to affect adversely the people of any race. However, comments in support of the exclusive beneficial scope have only been provided obiter, and Gaudron J in Kartinyeri explicitly retreated from her earlier position.

    Which Courts can hear Commonwealth Constitutional Cases?

    If the conclusion of Gummow and Hayne JJ in Kartinyeri is correct, which Gaudron J shared, the referendum did not change the text or meaning of the Constitution as was advanced by the plaintiff, but only removed an exception from it. As a question of constitutional interpretation, the proposition that the race power today is an exclusively positive one remains on unstable ground. We have very little jurisprudence on how this should be done. Additionally, it is well-documented that the referendum campaign itself did not focus on the content of the race power and the notion that it should become a beneficial one only.

    Imputing a particular intention to the Australian people in these circumstances could constitute a conclusion incompatible with the actual facts. It is also the case that the argument is plainly inconsistent with the constitutional text, which contains no such restriction.