Articles on Separation of powers

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South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng making a ruling on secret ballots in Parliament at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

There are dangers behind giving South African MPs the right to a secret ballot

A motion of no confidence - secret or open - in South Africa's president will be destabilising. There's value in ensuring that such a hefty decision is made openly and with courage of conviction.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2011. AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

Mueller’s threats to resign reveal his character

How will Mueller perform as special counsel? A historian compares his actions with another former FBI director to find out.
The efficacy of our political conventions relies on a healthy respect in society for their role in regulating our governments. AAP

We all have a role in protecting democracy’s unwritten rules

Laws play their role in regulating our governments, but so does our own respect for political conventions. And the way these are upheld goes to the heart of our freedom as democratic people.
Giving constitutional status to an Indigenous advisory body would give Indigenous Australians a say about laws that directly affect them. AAp/Tracey Nearmy

Putting words to the tune of Indigenous constitutional recognition

Proposals for constitutional recognition of Indigenous people are gaining momentum but also raising legal concerns. Here is a form of words to create an advisory council that overcomes those concerns.
The failure of senior ministers of government to observe basic protocols of respect for the Human Rights Commission and its president, Gillian Triggs, gives the nation a signal that the institutions of democracy are dispensable. AAP/Lukas Coch

Respect independent statutory bodies as central to democracy

In his incautious remarks about the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) report into children in detention, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has shown a disregard for basic institutions of democracy that…
Andrew Wilkie argues that parliamentary debate and authorisation should be necessary for Australia to go to war. AAP/Gary Schafer

Explainer: Australia’s war powers and the role of parliament

With the announcement of Australia’s involvement in dropping aid to Kurdish fighters engaged against Islamic State extremists in northern Iraq, questions have again arisen about who should control Australia’s…
Australia’s judiciary has emerged as a political and activist institution, frustrating the militarised strategies of the Abbott government in asylum policy. AAP/Lukas Coch

High Court asylum case pits the executive against the judiciary

The full bench of the High Court will hear the case of 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers currently on an Australian customs vessel over two days, starting on August 5. But when the High Court issued an injunction…
The Queensland government is playing brinkmanship with the state’s legal fraternity over the appointment of Tim Carmody (centre) to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. AAP/Dan Peled

History of unchecked executive haunts Queensland in judge fight

The Queensland government’s appointment of Tim Carmody as Chief Justice of that state’s Supreme Court is, without doubt, the most controversial judicial appointment in the nation’s history. This is because…

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