Legal Studies

Legal Revision – Unit 3/4

the principles of the Australian parliamentary system: representative government, responsible government, the principle of separation of power
Representative Government
    • Governments are chosen by the people
    • Governments stand for the views of the people (majority thereof)
    • Regular elections are held to ensure that the government remains representative of the voting public
Responsible Government
    • If the government loses the support of the lower house it must resign, hence the government is responsible to parliament.   The parliament, voted for by the people, is therefore in return responsible to them
    • Ministers are responsible to parliament and therefore to the people; ministers can be called upon to explain in parliament their actions and those of the department/agencies under their control, known as ministerial accountability
    • Ministers are answerable for any problems that occur within their department
    • MPs have the opportunity to question ministers about their actions (question time)
        o Dorothy Dicks questions (waste of time?)
    • Ministers must carry out their duties with integrity and propriety or resign
Separation of Powers (Under the Constitution)
    • Legislative Power – Law-making power vested in the Commonwealth Parliament under S1 of the Constitution
    • Executive Power – Power to administer laws and manage the business of government is exercised by the Governor General, but in practice it is the PM and ministers who exercise this power
    • Judicial Power – Power to enforce laws and settle disputes outlined in S71 of the Constitution; judges through the courts carry out this role
    • Separation of Powers principle protects the stability of the government and the freedom of the people, provides independence between the bodies that make the law and the bodies that enforce it, and provides a check on the power of parliament to ensure that it does...