Lawmaking Process

Influence of Individuals

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Learning Objectives

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Who is an individual?
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Anybody in the country who is not part of a political party and can even include members in parliament who are not affiliated to a party. 

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Mechanisms of Influencing:
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Ways through which influence can occur:  

  • Individuals can create legislation (in the senate) 

  • Can challenge existing legislation (through the courts)

  • Take part in protests to enact change (Student climate change protests) 

  • Write to federal MP's (not as effective but still a method

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Examples of Individuals Influencing
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Love Case

  • This case was about two aboriginal indigenous people, who were born o/s but came to live in australia. Whilst living here they committed a crime and meant that they would've been deported as aliens since they failed to meet the character test.

  • These two men challenged the meaning of aliens in s51 subsec19 of the constitution. The court ruled with the two people and said that aboriginal people are not aliens to the land and hence the alien definition in s51 ss19 does not apply aboriginal non-citizens as they are citizens through their spiritual and cultural heritage

  • This impacted the law making power of parliament, by disallowing it the ability to deport aboriginal non-citizens based on the 1958 Migration Act.


Chaplain Case

  • Ron Williams took the case of public Chaplain funding to the HC & argued that the funding of the NSCP was invalid due to separation of church & State. The Govt said that under s61 power was vested under the GG. The H.C. ruled against William's arguement but also stated that s61 was unfounded for the NSCP.

  • The govt then argued s51(ss 23a) – that it was a welfare system as it provided a benefit to the students. The Govt lost this again as H.C ruled that there was no evidence of a benefit to society.

  • Then the Govt, tired of this, used their prerogative of S.P.P’s (tied grants), to fund the provision of chaplains.


Roach vs Electoral Commissioner

  • Argued that the people in jail should be able to vote in federal elections. The AEC argued people shouldn’t be allowed as they committed a crime against the community, hence it's justified to take their right to vote.

  • The Court held that voting in elections is fundamental to democracy & disenfranchisement of a group of adult citizens w/o a substantial reason would not be consistent with it.

  • Decision = people serving under 3 years in jail are now able to vote in federal elections. Initially, this was not possible.


Timber Creek Case

  • This case was about seeking financial compensation for aquired native land which came about due to clause built in the Native Title act allowing compensation.

  • In Federal court Justice Mansfield ruled that 3.3m would provided to the people of which 1.3m was for cultural, spiritual and social loss & 2m for economic

  • NT & other State govts appealed this in the H.C stating that the 1.3m compensation was excessive, however, the H.C ruled that it was not excessive only decreasing 2m for economic to 1.2m.

  • The impact of this case was that it set a precedent - common law - for the calculation of compensation provided to Claimants on basis of Native Title.

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Influence of Individuals
Influence of Political Parties
Influence of Pressure Groups
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