Australian Law: Delegated Legislation/ Authorities Essay

744 words - 3 pages

In Australia, Federal and State Parliaments are able to delegate, or pass on the power to make laws in certain areas, to lesser authorities. The subsequent laws are known as delegated legislation, and are scrutinised and controlled in a number of ways. Although the delegation of legislation to subordinate authorities is often question in its effectiveness to control undemocratical ideals, in my opinion each individual piece of delegated legislation is scrutinised enough and the checks on them are sufficient.

The power to make law in certain areas is passed on to a number of different authorities nationwide. One of these subordinate groups is Local Governments. The Local Government Act 1989, also known as an enabling act, gives Local governments, such as the Bass Coast Shire Council, the power to pass laws in the areas delegated to them by State government. Although Local Laws are not checked by the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee, they are instead subject to other means of analysis and amendment. All Local Laws are subject to approval by the minister for local government. The minister's role is to decide whether the local law may be `ultra vires', or outside the local government's power, whether it overlaps previous legislation and whether it complies with the principles of justice and fairness. If the minister sees that the local law is unsuitable, he may, indirectly through the governor-in-council, have the law revoked. As the minister is himself elected by the people, the minister will be representing the people in his decisions, and ultimately enforcing democracy.

Local Laws are also subject to a Sunset clause. This means that each legislation becomes inoperable 10 years after it was first made. This ensures that if any unjust law exists, it will be rescrutinised within the next 10 years, once again implementing a democratic Local Government. Local Governments are themselves elected bodies, and therefore representing the people to prevent undemocratical ruling.

If it is still felt that a local law is made outside the jurisdiction of the local government, or indeed any subordinate authority, according to The Local Government Act 1989 and the Supreme Court Act 1986, individuals are able to challenge the law in the Supreme Court. Any law or subordinate authority is able to be taken to the courts if it is considered `ultra vires', allowing...

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