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Part III Themes, Ch.17 Unity

William Gummow

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution

Edited By: Cheryl Saunders, Adrienne Stone

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 31 March 2023

This chapter considers national unity in Australia. It focuses first upon the absolute freedom of intercourse among the States of which section 92 of the Constitution commands. The chapter then turns to the absence of disability or discrimination required by section 117. Next, it considers the operation of section 109 not only to adjust relations between Commonwealth and State legislatures but to meet the entitlement of ‘the ordinary citizens … to know which of two inconsistent laws he is required to observe’. Here, reference is made to the uniform quality of justice throughout the Commonwealth which these ‘ordinary citizens’ would be entitled to expect. Finally, the chapter discusses the relationship between ‘the people’, the franchise, and citizenship, and what on occasion has been identified as the implied ‘nationhood’ legislative power of the Parliament, or ‘nationhood’ as an attribute of the executive power of the Commonwealth.

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