Essay about Work Choices Case

4018 Words Sep 23rd, 2008 17 Pages
A shift in federal balance?
A need to confine the corporations power?


The submissions of the Australian Federal Government that the Workplace Relations Act 1996, amended by the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 was constitutionally valid prevailed with a majority of 5:2 by the High Court of Australia.1 This High Court decision inaugurated a shift of legislative power from the States to the Commonwealth.2 Since officially coming into effect as of 27 March 2006, the Work Choices Act has been the most comprehensive reformation in Australia in nearly a century, constantly sparking matters of controversy. 3

In the vision of Sir Samuel Griffith, principal author of the
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14 It is initiated that an adequate interpretation of the Constitution would take into account its design, structure, provisions and purpose. 15

In essence, the structure of the Constitution can be regarded as being simple and straightforward, 16 often incorporating only a few words in establishing the most fundamental principles which govern society. 17

10 Simon Evan et al, Work Choices: the High Court Challenge (1st ed, 2007) 1-9
11 Andrew Stewart and George Williams, Work Choices: What the High Court Said, (1st ed, 2007) 72.
See, eg, New South Wales v Commonwealth (Incorporation Case) (1990) 169 CLR 482 and Re Dingjan; Ex parte Wagner (1995) 183 CLR 323.
12 Catriona Cook et al, Laying Down the Law (6th ed, 2005) 208, 209.
13 Ibid.
14 Blackshield and Williams, above n 5, 325-335.
15 Melissa Castan and Sarah Joseph, Federal Constitutional Law: a Contemporary View (2nd ed, 2006) 30-36.
16 Cheryl Saunders, It’s Your Constitution, (2nd ed, 2003) 14-23, 127-133.
17 Patrick Parkinson, Tradition and Change in Australian Law, (2nd ed, 2001) 128-132. See also John Cain, James Stephens and Natalie Blok, ‘WorkChoices – the implications’ Part 1 (2006) Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office November 2006 Lunchtime Seminar Series, <> at 14 April 2007.
Generally, the Constitution aims to provide basic

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