The Federation Press

Responsible Government and the Australian Constitution: Conventions Transformed into Law?

Law and Policy Paper No 24


The effect of the implications drawn by the High Court from the system of representative government provided in the Australian Constitution, in the light of such cases as Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v Commonwealth and Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is well known. In this paper Professor Lindell discusses an aspect of those cases which has received less attention: the effect of the implications drawn by the Court from a particular kind of representative government, namely the system of responsible government which is also provided for in the Constitution. In particular, the paper focuses on the extent to which the rules of responsible government have now become judicially enforceable. The paper explores how the world would look if that concept were judicially enforceable. That is the position with the British Commonwealth countries that received their independence after World War II where some of the rules of responsible government were accorded express constitutional recognition.

Of interest...