Williams v Commonwealth

Hemming, Andrew (2014) Williams v Commonwealth. University of Queensland Law Journal, 33 (1). pp. 233-245. ISSN 0083-4041


In Williams v Commonwealth,1 Heydon J’s dissenting judgment is to be preferred to those of the majority and, in any event, the Commonwealth’s response contained in s 32B of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth)does provide the necessary statutory umbrella to validate expenditure to the myriad of programs listed in Schedule 1AA . This is no different to the notion of a General Contracts Act proposed by Sir Owen Dixon to the 1929 Royal Commission on the Constitution of the Commonwealth.

It will also be contended that critics of the Commonwealth’s solution to Williams are wedded to an anachronistic view of the Constitution. The High Court has, since 1920, consistently given a broad interpretation to the heads of power contained in s 51 of the Constitution, supplemented by a carte blanche interpretation of the grants power under s 96. Section 32B is the next logical step in an efficient distribution of Commonwealth funds whose sole constitutional 'sin' appears to be that of by-passing the States. Just as the Senate is no longer the States' House, so too the States are no longer the bulwark against a rampant Commonwealth. The programs listed in Schedule 1AA of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) benefit all Australians, and there is no valid reason why such expenditure should be channeled through the States.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published Version restricted in accordance with publisher copyright policy UQP.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Law and Justice
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2014 05:25
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2016 06:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: constitutional law; executive power
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180108 Constitutional Law
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/25664

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