First Principles of Business Law

Government and law in Australia
6. Shared legislative powers

6.1. Resolving conflicts arising from shared legislative powers




In Australia, the legislative powers given to the federal parliament by s 51 of the constitution are shared with the parliaments of the states and self-governing territories. It is therefore possible for legislation enacted by the federal government to conflict with legislation on the same matter enacted by a state or territory government. When this happens (and, though rare, it does happen) how is the conflict resolved?   Below are three possibilities. Which of them is applied in Australia?

(a) Provided it is properly enacted, state and territory law prevails over conflicting federal law.

(b) Provided it is properly enacted, federal law prevails over conflicting state or territory law.

(c) If federal laws conflict with state or territory laws, the courts decide which law should prevail by choosing the better law.




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