Work Choices Case

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THE WORK CHOICES CASE: A shift in federal balance? A need to confine the corporations power? I INTRODUCTION 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…show more content…
18 Since all these principles have been described in broad terms, the flaw of the Constitution is that there is no absolute method of interpretation, thus no specification or detailed information is provided. 19 Arguably, the initial intention was not to allocate more authority to the Commonwealth. 20 On one occasion, the majority expressed that the plaintiffs encountered obstacles in advancing their claim that the upholding of the constitutional validity would distort the federal balance. 21 The counter argument to the plaintiffs' submission was that the federal balance was non-existent. 22 Similarly, it was made apparent by the majority that there was no need for a preservation of a federal balance in order to explicate the Constitution.23 In other words, the majority disapproved the concept of a federal balance. 24 18 David Barker, Essential Australian Law, (2nd ed 2005) 63-69. 19 Gary Heilbronn et al, Introducing the Law, (6th ed 2006) 58-61. 20 Saunders, above n 16, 132. See also Ron McCallum, ‘The Australian Constitution and the Shaping of Our Federal and State Labour Laws’ (2005) 10 (1) Deakin law Review 461-463. 21 John Hsu, ‘Work Choices Legislation Upheld by high Court’ (2006) Batallion Legal 1, 1-2 <> at 9 April 2007. 22 Stewart and Williams, above n 11, 2-5. 23 Jeffrey Leigh Sedgwick, ‘The Prospects of Restoring the Federal Balance’ (2006) 17 (1) JSTOR Polity <
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