The Federation Press

Blackshield and Williams Australian Constitutional Law and Theory - Abridged

Commentary and Materials


This Abridged edition of Blackshield and Williams provides students with a concise and compact version of Australia’s leading constitutional law text. It has been customised to reflect the content of constitutional law subjects taught over one semester and reproduces only the essential chapters and materials from the thoroughly revised, updated and restructured sixth edition.

Also available is the complete Standard edition, click here for details.

Table of Contents

Part 1 - Australian Constitutionalism

Chapter 1: Foundations
1. Australia: A Constitutional Hybrid
2. Political and Legal Constitutionalism
3. Liberalism
4. Economic Liberalism
5. Rule of Law
6. Separation of Powers
7. Grundnorm and Coup d’Etat
(a) The Basic Norm
(b) Coup d’Etat
8. Further References

Chapter 2: Origins and Influences
1. Introduction
2. The Evolution of the Westminster Constitution
(a) Magna Carta
(b) Parliament
(c) Star Chamber and Common Law Courts
(d) The Bloodless Revolution
3. Westminster Government
(a) Responsible and Representative Government    
(b) Parliamentary Sovereignty  
(c) Constitutional Conventions    
(d) Courts and Private Law   
4. The Constitution of the United States
(a) Separations of Power – Horizontal and Vertical
(b) Judicial Review
5. Further References 

Chapter 3: Path to Independence
1. Colonisation 
2. The Colonial Legislatures 
3. Federation 
4. The Colonial Legacy 
5. The Statute of Westminster 
(a) Extraterritoriality 
(b) Repugnancy 
6. Appeals to the Privy Council 
7. The Australia Act 
8. Popular Sovereignty 
9. Further References   

Chapter 4: Indigenous Peoples
1. Introduction   
2. Aboriginal Peoples and the Constitution   
3. Native Title   
4. Indigenous Sovereignty
(a) Perspectives on Sovereignty
(b) The United States
(c) The Australian Situation
5. Self-determination   
6. Further References
Part 2 - Constitutional Interpretation

Chapter 5: Constitutional Interpretation
1. Literalism, Legalism and Judicial Choice  
2. The Jumbunna Principle 
3. The Dead Hand and the Living Tree 
(a) Use of Historical Materials 
(b) The Intention of the Framers 
(c) Textualism 
(d) Incremental Accommodation 
(e) Purposive Interpretation 
(f) Strategic Compromise? 
4. Coherence, Integrity and Postmodernity 
5. Legal Culture, Gender and ‘Different Voices’  
6. Further References 
Part 3 - The Federal System

Chapter 6: Federalism and the Engineers Case
1. Federalism 
2. Australian Federalism 
3. The Division of Legislative Power 
4. Implied Immunity of Instrumentalities 
5. Reserved State Powers 
6. The Engineers Case 
7. Further References 

Chapter 7: Australian Federalism in Practice
1. Intergovernmental relations
2. Co‐operative Legislative Schemes  
3. Referrals of Power 
4. Powers of the United Kingdom Parliament 
5. Federal Financial Relations
6. Equal Treatment of States 
7. Further References

Chapter 8: Inconsistency between Commonwealth and State Laws
1. Meaning of ’Invalid’ and ‘Prevail’ 
2. The Tests of Inconsistency 
3. Self-executing Machine? 
4. Manufacturing Inconsistency 
5. Manufacturing Consistency  
6. Further References

Chapter 9: The Territories
1. The Territories 
2. Scope of the Territories Power
3. Limits on the Territories Power
4. Further References
Part 4 - The Executive and Executive Power

Chapter 10: The Executive
1. The Crown 
2. The Governor-General 
3. Executive Power 
(a) Prerogative Power 
(b) Nationhood Power 
(c) Power Conferred by Statute 
(d) Contracting and Spending
4. Control of the Executive 
(a) Responsible Government 
(b) Constitutional Writs 
5. Further References 
Part 5 - The Judiciary and Judicial Power

Chapter 11: The High Court
1. The Platonic High Court 
2. Appointment and Removal of Judges 
(a) Appointment 
(b) Removal 
3. Jurisdiction  
(a) Appellate Jurisdiction 
(b) Original Jurisdiction 
(c) ‘Matters’ 
(d) Standing 
(e) Justiciability 
4. Remedies 
(a) Invalidity 
(b) Reading Down and Severance  
5. Deciding Constitutional Cases 
(a) Judicial Parsimony 
(b) Precedent and Overruling 
6. Further References

Chapter 12: Separation of Judicial Power
1. The Separation of Federal Judicial Power 
2. The Separation of State Judicial Power 
3. Defining Judicial Power 
4. Judicial Power and Administrative Tribunals 
5. Exceptions to the Boilermakers Case 
(a) Military Tribunals
(b) Delegation of Judicial Power 
(c) Persona Designata Rule 
6. The Incompatibility Doctrine 
7. Legislative Usurpation and Interference 
8. Further References 

Chapter 13: Judicial and Non-Judicial Detention
1. Introduction 
2. The Incompatibility Doctrine 
3. Protective Detention 
4. Immigration Detention 
5. Preventive Detention 
6. Control Orders
7. Further References 

Chapter 14: The Judicial Process
1. Introduction   
2. Retrospectivity   
3. Fair Trial   
4. Equal Justice   
5. Impartiality, Independence and Integrity   
(a) Judges – Appointment and Conditions
(b) Secrecy and Non-Disclosure
(c) Decisional Independence
(d) Supervisory Jurisdiction
6. Further References 
Part 6 - The Parliament and Legislative Power

Chapter 15: Federal Parliament
1. Introduction 
2. Parliamentary Privilege 
3. Voting and Elections 
(a) Voting  
(b) Express Right to Vote 
(c) Implied Right to Vote 
(d) Voter Equality 
(e) A Level Playing Field? 
(f) Territory Senators 
4. Eligibility for Election 
5. Resolving Deadlocks 
6. Further References 

Chapter 16: State Legislative Power
1. Introduction 
2. State Legislative Power 
(a) Peace, Welfare and Good Government 
(b) Constitutional Amendment 
3. Manner and Form Requirements 
4. Alternative Procedures 
5. The Ranasinghe Principle 
6. Further References 

Chapter 17: Characterisation
1. Characterisation 
2. Dual Characterisation 
3. Interaction between Heads of Power 
4. Subject Matter and Purpose Powers 
5. Subject Matter Powers 
(a) Sufficient Connection 
(b) The Role of Purpose 
(c) Incidental Powers 
6. Proportionality – Purpose Powers and Limitations 
(a) Purpose Powers
(b) Beyond Purpose Powers?
(c) Constitutional Limitations
7. Further References 

Chapter 18: Economic Powers
1. The Trade and Commerce Power 
(a) Scope 
(b) Incidental Aspect 
2. The Corporations Power 
(a) Huddart Parker Overthrown 
(b) Which Corporations? 
(c) Reach of the Power 
3. Further References 

Chapter 19: Defence Power
1. Nature of the Power 
2. War 
3. Post-War 
4. Peace 
5. Military Justice 
6. Cold War: The Communist Party Case 
7. Terrorism and National Security 
8. Further References 

Chapter 20: International Law and the External Affairs Power
1. Reception of International Law  
2. International Law and Constitutional Interpretation 
3. External Affairs 
(a) Relations with Other Countries 
(b) Matters External to Australia 
(c) International Law Other than Treaties 
4. Implementing Treaties 
(a) Entering into Treaties 
(b) First Approaches 
(c) The Expanding Power   
(d) The Power Confirmed 
(e) International Recommendations 
5. Further References 

Chapter 21: Immigration and Aliens Powers
1. The White Australia Policy 
2. ‘Once an immigrant always an immigrant’ 
3. Naturalisation and Aliens 
(a) Citizenship   
(b) Persons Born in Britain   
(c) Persons Born in Australia 
4. Further References

Chapter 22: Races Power
1. Introduction 
2. A Commonwealth Power in Relation to Aboriginal People 
3. Special Laws Deemed Necessary for the People of Any Race
4. For the Benefit of a Race? 
5. Further References 

Chapter 23: Taxation and Excise
1. The Taxation Power 
(a) What is a Tax? 
(b) Fees for Services 
(c) Arbitrary Exactions 
(d) Incidental Aspect  
2. Excise Duties 
(a) First Approaches 
(b) Widening Views of Excise 
(c) The Tangled Web of Dennis Hotels 
(d) Alcohol, Tobacco and Petrol 
(e) The Grip of Precedent 
(f) The States Lose $5 Billion 
3. Further References 

Chapter 24: Appropriations and Grants
1. The Appropriation Power 
(a) ‘Purposes of the Commonwealth’
(b) The AAP Case 
(c) Section 81 Resolved 
(d) Controls on Government Expenditure 
2. The Grants Power 
(a) The Early Cases 
(b) The Uniform Tax Cases 
(c) Limits on the Power 
3. Further References
Part 7 - Limits on Power

Chapter 25: Intergovernmental Immunities
1. Intergovernmental Immunities 
2. Commonwealth Laws and the States 
(a) The Melbourne Corporation Principle 
(b) Restatement I: Two Principles 
(c) Restatement II: One Principle 
3. State Laws and the Commonwealth 
4. Further References 

Chapter 26: Human Rights
1. Human Rights 
2. Bills of Rights
3 The Common Law and the Principle of Legality
4. Trial by Jury 
5. Freedom of Religion
(a) Separation of Church and State
(b) Section 116 
6. Rights of Out-of-State Residents 
7. Further References 

Chapter 27: Economic Freedoms
1. Freedom of Interstate Trade, Commerce and Intercourse   
(a) Isaacs, Dixon and Barwick   
(b) The Whitfield Thunderbolt 
(c) Cole’s New World   
(d) ‘Intercourse’ among the States   
2. Acquisition of Property on Just Terms   
(a) ‘Property’   
(b) Laws with Respect to the Acquisition of Property   
(c) ‘Just terms’   
3. Further References   

Chapter 28: Freedom of Political Communication
1. Introduction 
2. The Murphy Catalyst 
3. Launch of the Implied Freedom 
4. Expansion and Division
5. The Implied Freedom Confirmed 
6. Further References 

Chapter 29: Freedom of Political Communication: Testing Boundaries
1. Expressive Conduct 
2. Movement and Association
3. The Politics of Protest 
4. Electoral Matters 
5. The Judicial Process  
(a) Criticising Judges 
(b) Limitations from Ch III
6. Lange’s Two Questions 
(a) Burdens on Political Communication  
(b) Legitimate Ends and Proportionate Means
7. Further References
Part 8 - Constitutional Change

Chapter 30: Constitutional Change
1. Amending the Constitution 
2. The Referendum Record
3. An Australian Republic? 
4. Aboriginal Peoples
5. Further References 
Part 9 - Appendix

1. Australian Constitution
2. Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 (Imp)
3. Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 (Cth)
4. Australia Act 1986 (Cth)
5. Justices of the High Court of Australia
(a) The Justices
(b) Composition of the Court

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