When I moved house, a work friend kindly gave me a slow cooker as a housewarming present.Tonight I sat down to eat a stew cooked in the cooker and found the time to do some browsing. It's been an interesting time. In this post I want to deal with just one item.
For the benefit of international readers, Australia is a federation in which the Commonwealth is granted certain designated powers, the rest staying with the states. Overtime, the Commonwealth has used its financial muscle to expand into every aspect of Australian. Now the Australian High Court has effectively said tutt, tutt chaps, just because you have the money and want to do it doesn't mean that you can do it in any way you want.
The judgement summary on this point reads:
By majority, the High Court held that the Funding Agreement and payments made to SUQ under that agreement were invalid because they were beyond the executive power of the Commonwealth. In the absence of legislation authorising the Commonwealth to enter into the Funding Agreement, the Commonwealth parties relied upon the executive power granted by s 61 of the Constitution. Relevantly, s 61 provides that the executive power of the Commonwealth "extends to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth". A majority of the High Court held that, in the absence of statutory authority, s 61 did not empower the Commonwealth to enter into the Funding Agreement or to make the challenged payments. In particular, a majority of the Court held that the Commonwealth's executive power does not include a power to do what the Commonwealth Parliament could authorise the Executive to do, such as entering into agreements or contracts, whether or not the Parliament had actually enacted the legislation. A majority also held that s 44 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) did not provide the Commonwealth with the necessary statutory authorisation to enter into the Funding Agreement or to make payments to SUQ under that agreement
Much of the media commentary has focused on the implications for the Federation and for relations between Commonwealth and states. But if you look at this summary, it appears to affirm the power of Parliament relative to the executive. I think that's important.
I am looking forward to Legal Eagle's explanation. In a Facebook comment she promised to do so after she had finished her current round of marking. Please finish soon!