Influencing the political and legal system

The influence of individuals, pressure groups and minor parties on the political and legal system.

Influencing: Political System Legal System
  • Pape v Tax Commissioner 2009 forced the HC to consider if the Tax Bonus for Working Australians Act 2009 was constitutional under s 83. He lost, but it paved the way for:
  • Williams v Commonwealth 2012, where he challenged a funding agreement between the Scripture Union Queensland and the C’th as the revenue was not appropriated properly under s 83. Resulted in the passage of the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act 2012, which appropriated funds for this grant and 420 other misappropriated funds..
  • Oakeshott and Windsor allowed the Gillard to form a minority government, enabling the passage of several controversial bills.
  • Also, Private Members bills (euthanasia etc)
  • Most recent: Andrew Wilkie passed the Evidence Amendment (Journalists Privilege) Act 2012, which was designed to protect the confidentiality of a journalists’ sources.
  • Mabo v QLD 1992. Forced the government to pass the Native Title Act 1993, which codified the decision and set up a tribunal to assess native title claims.
  • Mabo v QLD 1992. The High Court overturned the long standing doctrine of terra nullius.
  • Roach v Electoral Commissioner 2007. She challenged the

Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Enrolment Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006, which disenfranchised all people serving a sentence of imprisonment. HC, using ss 7 and 24, overturned this legislation, ruling valid the previous Act,

Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Prisoner Voting and Other Measures) Act 2004, which disenfranchised people with sentences over 3 years.

  • Lane v Morrison 2009 challenged the constitutionality of the Australian Military Court as it was not set up as a Chapter 3 court. Forced the court to be set up again.
Pressure group:
  • Right to Life Australia and Euthanasia No were pressure groups advocating pro-life positions on abortion euthanasia and stem cell research. They were influential in lobbying the government after the passage of the NT’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995, leading to the passage of Euthanasia Laws Act 1997


  • The mining industry, resource and mining organisations campaigned against Rudd’s Resource Super Profits Tax. 2009-10.
  • Was to be levied at 40% of profits, replaced by Mining Resource Rent Tax 2010.
  • The RSPT sparked an ad war between the mining industry groups and the government, especially BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto etc.
  • They have not publicly opposed the MRRT, only few companies do
  • The public backlash as a result from the RSPT resulted in the MRRT, a scaled down version
  • Get upRowe v Electoral Commissioner 2010. Ruled invalid the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006, which wanted to restrict the time in which a voter could enroll in an election after the writs were issued.
  • Finks Motorcycle clubs
  • South Australia v Totani 2010 (2009 in SC)
  • Introduced the Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act 2008, which essentially forced judges to find bikies a member of a criminal organisation.
  • Challenged it in SC and HC, both ruled it unconstitutional as it interfered with the powers of the courts
  • Also, Wainohu v NSW 2011 overturned bikie laws (Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2009)
  • Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013 in QLD.
  • Kuczborski v Queensland 2014
Political party:
  • Greens – Carbon Tax. An alliance with the ALP forced the ALP to pass the Clean Energy Act 2011
  • Other minor parties such as Family First, One Nation and Australian Democrats have had small influences on government policy based on their own policies.
  • Effect of parties such as PUP and Motoring Enthusiasts remain to be seen.

  • Australian Communist Party v Commonwealth 1951
  • Australian Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950
  • Referendum (Communist Party Dissolution) 1951





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