The Commonwealth of Australia: The Constitution and the Protection of Rights

The Commonwealth of Australia: The Constitution and the Protection of Rights

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The Constitution and the Protection of Rights

The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (UK) 1901 is a document that outlines the structures and the law making powers of the Commonwealth Parliament. This document provides for the protection of rights in three ways. Firstly, rights are safeguarded through structural protections, which are a system of checks and balances set up by the founders of the constitution to protect human and democratic rights by ensuring that absolute power is not held by one body, thus avoiding corruption or abuse of Commonwealth power. Some of these structural protections include the separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, the bicameral parliament, and the principles of representative and responsible government (s.7, 24, 28, 13) which protect our right to vote by providing a government that is ‘directly chosen by the people’ through elections, and is therefore a government that holds the views of the majority of the population and is answerable and accountable to parliament and the public. Secondly, rights are also protected through express rights which are rights and freedoms that are entrenched into the constitution, and are only changeable via referendum. The five express rights protected by the constitution include ; the acquisition of property on just terms (s.51), trial by jury for indictable offences (s.80), freedom of movement (s.92), freedom of religion (s.116), and freedom from interstate discrimination(s.117). And thirdly, implied rights offer a means for protection as through interpreting the Constitution and considering many cases, the High Court of Australia recognizes other rights belonging to Australians that the founders of the constitution i...

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...erritory [2013] HCA 55. (2013, January 1). Australian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 6:00 pm, April 19, 2014, from
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Twomey, A. (2013, December 12). ACT law delivers neither marriage nor equality: the High Court's verdict. The Conversation. Retrieved 5:00 pm April 19, 2014, from

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