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Legal Issues

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The Constitutional system in Australia determines how the law is made. Some issues addressed by this are; The Federal government, division of powers, the separation of powers, amending the constitution, the high court and the constitution and transfer of powers.

The federal System of government has one central government deal with matters involving the whole nation. This system was adopted in Australia on 1 January 1901.In a federal system of Government there must be a division of powers. Powers are divided between the states and federal government. The powers divided are legislative, executive and judicial powers. These are divided by the Australian constitution. The constitution provides for four types of legislative powers; Specific powers: areas of law making specifically mentioned in the constitution as belonging to the Federal government,

Residual powers: powers that the states retained after federation, these are not mentioned in the constitution but became the states powers.

Concurrent powers: areas over which the states and commonwealth have legislative power.

Exclusive powers: areas over which the federal government has exclusive power.

The Separation of powers means that power is distributed between three arms of government. The three arms are; legislature, executive and judiciary. The judiciary is separated from the legislature and the executive, because of this it is independent and can examine their actions without bias. The legislature is separated from the judiciary and executive powers, because of this it is independent, providing for some rights which cannot be taken away by legislation and this allows provides for regular elections. The executive powers, there is no true separation between these two arm, because the British require that members form the executive arm be chosen from the legislature. However the power of the executive is subject to checks and balances in other ways.

Amending the constitution. Section 128 of the constitution provides the procedure by which the constitution may be changed. The constitution can only be changed if a bill stating the question is passed by both houses of parliament and the change is approved by referendum by the majority of people in a majority of states. It is difficult to amend the constitution because it cannot be amended like any other law; if it were then the federal government could make laws on any area it chose by amending the constitution. For example the 6 November 1999 referendum



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