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Australian Public Law : Second Edition
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Australian Public Law : Second Edition

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Published 13 May 2014 (OUP)
ISBN: 9780195525656. Soft Cover.

Gabrielle Appleby, Alexander Reilley, Laura Grenfell

Australian Public Law 2nd Edition begins with a consideration of the idea of public law and develops a clear theoretical framework for investigating its subject matter. It introduces students to the key principles, concepts and institutions in Australian Public Law and provides a solid foundation for the study of constitutional and administrative law. The ‘public law’ concept is explained through analysis of the mechanisms of power and control, including discussions of the functioning of the institutions of government and contemporary issues.


Key features


  • Develops a concept of public law as a mechanism of empowerment and constraint of the governing institutions of the state
  • Explores concepts such as representation, sovereignty, power and rights as legal and political concepts.
  • Examples and case studies throughout help demonstrate the real applications of public law.


New to this edition


  • New chapter on Federalism explains the theoretical principles and practical concerns that underpin federal systems. 
  • Discussion Questions at the end of each chapter to help students review the concepts they’ve learned. 
Part 1: Introducing Australian Public Law 
1. The Idea of Public Law 
The predominance of states 
Sovereignty and the origin of law’s authority 
The nature of law 
The breadth of public law 
The rule of law 
The values underpinning public law 

2. The Development of Public Law in Australia 
Inauspicious beginnings
The assertion of UK sovereignty
The English system of public law
The development of key institutions
A new chapter: federation
Post-federation developments

3. A Federal Commonwealth 
The idea of federalism
The origins of the Australian federation 
The structure of the Australian federation
Commonwealth–State relations
The future of federalism

Part 2: The People and Their Government 
4. Democracy and Representative Government 
Introduction: participation and deliberation in a democracy
Effective democratic representation
The foundations of representative government
Free speech and democracy
Protecting Australia’s democracy

5. Parliamentary Process and Legislative Powe
Australian Parliaments
Parliamentary privileges
Parliamentary sovereignty
The relationship between the Houses of Parliament 
Parliament and the Executive: the quest for control
Parliamentary committees

Part 3: The Administrative State 
6. The Executive 
The Crown and the Executive
Executive power and accountability
Sources and types of executive power
Regulating executive power: the Legislature

7. Executive Accountability 
Parliamentary accountability
Judicial accountability
Executive accountability
Public accountability

Part 4: The Courts 
8. The Judiciary and Separation of Judicial Power 
Chapter III: framework and history
Separation of federal judicial power
Defining judicial power 

9. The Separation of Judicial Power in Practice 
Rights, freedoms and implied guarantees
Federal judicial power and detention
Judges engaging in non-judicial functions
Chapter III and State courts

Part 5: The Internationalisation of Australian Public Law 
10. Public International Law 
Introduction: national law and international law
The nature of international law
The UN system
Other influential bodies in the international sphere
How is international law made?
Conclusion: a distinct and separate paradigm?

11. International Law and the Australian Legal System 
Making treaties: the federal Executive
Implementing treaties: Federal Parliament
The indirect effect of treaty ratification on Australian law

Part 6: Issues in Australian Public Law 
12. Human Rights in Australia 
Introduction: complacency and misinformation
The national emergence of rights
The international emergence of rights
Human rights at the federal level
Emerging human rights jurisprudence
The Victorian Charter: a case study

13. Indigenous Peoples and Australian Public Law 
Who is an Indigenous Australian?
The question of sovereignty
Responsibility for Indigenous policy
Bases for Indigenous claims
Types of Indigenous claims
Recognising Indigenous rights

14. Safeguarding Australia  
Introduction: the role of the state
Traditional internal threats: law and order
External sovereign threats
The threat of terrorism
Migration control and border security

Appendix: The Australian Consititution
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