This chapter considers the extent to which the Australian Constitution protects the right of individuals to equality and non-discrimination. It is concerned solely with the extent to which the Constitution forbids the passing of laws that discriminate against individuals or that subject individuals who are the same in relevant respects to different treatment. As the chapter shows, the Constitution neither expressly nor impliedly contains a guarantee of general legal equality for individuals. It does, however, prohibit one kind of discrimination against individuals, namely, discrimination on the ground of out-of-State residence. Furthermore, there are some respects in which the Constitution expressly contemplates inequality, including race-based inequality—a singular fact that has been taken to defeat the notion that the Constitution contains an implied guarantee of equality.
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