This chapter examines how, and to what extent, the Constitution in Australia, and the system of law and governance for which it provides, restrains the exercise of power. The Constitution of the Commonwealth is the basic law of the nation, and all laws made by the federal Parliament are ‘binding on the courts, judges and people of every State and every part of the Commonwealth, notwithstanding anything in the law of any State’. As it deals with government and governmental powers, the Constitution thus serves as a political instrument. Moreover, the foundation of the Constitution is ‘the conception of a central government and a number of State governments separately organised’. It distributes powers of governing the country among those integers of the federation. In short, the chapter discusses the effect given to a notion of ‘the rule of law’.
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