High Court Review 2006: Australian federalism - implications of the WorkChoices decision

Kildea, Paul and Gelber, Katharine (2007) High Court Review 2006: Australian federalism - implications of the WorkChoices decision. Australian Journal of Political Science, 42 4: 649-664. doi:10.1080/10361140701595817

Author Kildea, Paul
Gelber, Katharine
Title High Court Review 2006: Australian federalism - implications of the WorkChoices decision
Formatted title
High Court Review 2006: Australian federalism—implications of the WorkChoices decision
Journal name Australian Journal of Political Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1036-1146
Publication date 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10361140701595817
Volume 42
Issue 4
Start page 649
End page 664
Total pages 16
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This year's High Court Review focuses exclusively on the WorkChoices decision, in which the federal government's new industrial relations regime was upheld by the High Court as within the Commonwealth's powers under s. 51(xx) of the Constitution, the corporations power. The implications of the judgement are potentially momentous for Australian federalism. Thus, we begin with an overview of changes in Australian federalism over time, including its fortunes in the High Court of Australia. We then consider the WorkChoices decision itself, outlining the most important aspects of the decision. We argue that the decision is the most important High Court decision on the constitutional division of federal powers since 1983, especially in the context of the corporatisation of policy delivery in the past few decades. Moreover, it reinforces the dominance of an orthodoxy in constitutional interpretation, thus confirming the demise of ‘activist’ tendencies. Finally, the judgement demonstrates the Court's preparedness to confirm changes to the workings of Australian federalism that, the evidence suggests strongly, would not pass at referendum. However, this view of the centralist implications of the decision is mediated by a consideration of the workings of intergovernmental relations. An examination of the potential changes in this area reveals a more complicated outcome, one with important implications for the manner in which intergovernmental negotiations might be conducted in future.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 22 Sep 2011, 09:45:58 EST by Dr Katharine Gelber on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies