Australia’s model of government Essay Example

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2Australia’s Model of Government

Australia’s model of government

From the case study, Australia model of government is not cooperative this is because Commonwealth and the state’s laws have laws on their own. There are many disagreements and division on the laws that the Commonwealth should apply and those that the state laws should apply.

The fact that both institutions work independently and autonomous from each other it shows that the rules made will be contradicting with other institution. For instance, when we look at the doctrine of reserved state powers, its formation was an idea of the commonwealth and could not interfere with those areas given to the state authorities. This division is shown by the ruling of union Labelle case and Huddart parker which found out that Commonwealth trademarks legislation could not be used to interfere with states power to regulate trade and commerce internal to that state (French, 2016). This division could be the reason this doctrine did not live long.

The other fact that shows Australia’s government is not cooperative is the engineers case where the court determined that even if the states residual powers are powers that the Commonwealth does no share if legislation is valid and conflicts with state law the Commonwealth legislation will prevail over the state. It is a clear indication that there is no cooperative federalism where the independent institutions can make a law and independently make a rule on it without the other body interfering with the ruling (French, 2016). The two agencies should cooperate and work together for the law system to work.

The Commonwealth also had limitations which made them not to interfere with state laws. These limitations are in Melboune cooperation doctrine where it says that there are some limits to Commonwealth power if it threatens the functionality or existence of a state. In such a case the High Court would invalidate the Commonwealth legislation.

There are powers which can be exercised by the Commonwealth; however, only the enumerated powers in Section 51 can be exerted by both. From this, there is hope that both institutions can cooperate and work together but even with section 51, there are still exemptions and despite all that, section 109 states that if there is an inconsistency between Commonwealth and state law, the Commonwealth law will prevail (French, 2016).


From the case study, it is easy to conclude that federalism in Australia is not cooperative because the doctrines and laws of both institutions do not agree. It is also evident that the Commonwealth laws supersede states laws and the fact that there are sections that require both bodies to work together, there are still limitations.


French, Justice Robert — «Co-Operative Federalism — A Constitutional Reality Or A Political Slogan» (FCA) [2004] Fedjschol 21 (2016) <>