Critical constitutional analysis by the CRU
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‘An unprecedented, extensive and unconventional relationship between a High Court judge and a governor-general during a constitutional crisis’? Really? Such was the claim made in The Australian on 28 August. Much hyperbole has been generated by the recent revelations concerning Sir Anthony Mason’s involvement in the 1975 dismissal, but for the most part it shows ignorance of the past.
It is rare for the world to be watching when the High Court of Australia makes a decision. But so it was yesterday with British American Tobacco Australasia Limited & Ors v Commonwealth, the so-called ‘plain packaging’ case. The case concerned a challenge by several multinational cigarette companies (aka ‘Big Tobacco’) to the federal Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011, due to come into effect in December this year.

Prayers in Parliament and the Constitution

08 August 2012 | Luke Beck
From time to time there are calls for Parliament to stop opening its proceedings with prayers. Equally, there are those who support the practice. For example, former prime minister, John Howard once said that to get rid of parliamentary prayers would be to ‘abandon our Judeo-Christian heritage’.

The validity of same-sex marriage in Tasmania

05 August 2012 | Anne Twomey

Does the Tasmanian Parliament have the power to pass a law permitting same-sex marriage? The short answer is ‘Yes’. But the more difficult question is whether that law will be effective or whether it will be inoperative because it is inconsistent with a Commonwealth law.
CRU Associate, Amanda Sapienza, writes as follows about the Commonwealth’s legislative response to the Williams case:
A court decides that government activity is invalid because it is inconsistent with representative government. The government’s response to the decision is carried out in a way that marginalises the operation of representative government. Ironic?

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