Constitution

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If a way ahead on constitutional recognition is to be forged, it must be through political leadership and genuine public consultation. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Leadership is key to breaking the impasse on constitutional recognition

The parliamentary committee's report highlights the deep division between those who want to advance Indigenous recognition through minimal constitutional change and those who seek more substantive reform.
The retrospective nature of the changes to the rules of succession means it ultimately made no difference whether the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first born was a boy or girl. EPA/Tal Cohen

Power to the princesses: Australia wraps up succession law changes

The Crown has become a little less discriminatory with changes to the rules of succession – and descendants of George II who failed to get permission to wed need no longer fear their marriage is void.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is widely tipped to lose his seat in the January 31 election – yet there are ways he could still be premier. AAP/John Pryke

Can Newman still be Queensland premier if he loses his seat?

If the Liberal National Party wins the Queensland election on Saturday, but its leader, Campbell Newman, loses his seat of Ashgrove, can he remain premier? This may be the question vexing minds on Sunday…
One Nation’s Pauline Hanson says landholders' constitutional water rights have been undermined by government changes – but is that true? AAP Image/Tertius Pickard

Could the Constitution protect farm water from coal seam gas?

The Australian Constitution says residents have the right to water from the rivers for irrigation and conservation purposes but governments have brought in laws that are restricting this – One Nation’s…
Man Haron Monis was a madman with a persecution complex, but his frustration with the legal system wasn’t without justification. AAP/website screenshot

Man Haron Monis’s poison letters split the High Court and laid bare a flaw in the system

This week’s hostage tragedy in Sydney’s Lindt Cafe will cast a long shadow. It will force us to rethink our readiness for emergencies and the adequacy of our criminal justice system. There has already…
A people’s convention could be the circuit-breaker that constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians needs. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

A people’s convention can make Indigenous recognition a reality

Important steps have been made in 2014 in the campaign to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s Constitution. Prime Minister Tony Abbott affirmed his commitment to hold…
Should Australia’s High Court judges be representative of the community that their rulings affect? Should politics play a part? AAP/Lukas Coch

Appointing Australia’s highest judges deserves proper scrutiny

Late last week, the federal government appointed Geoffrey Nettle, a Victorian Court of Appeal judge, to the High Court to replace retiring justice Susan Crennan. Nettle is an excellent lawyer and his appointment…
In a 6:1 decision, the High Court upheld the validity of two offences created under Queensland’s anti-bikie measures. AAP/Dan Peled

High Court invites fresh challenge to Queensland’s bikie laws

Last Friday, the High Court handed down its decision in a constitutional challenge to Queensland’s controversial suite of anti-bikie laws. This decision is as interesting for what it does not decide as…
The Abbott government’s Emissions Reduction Fund could be vulnerable to a future constitutional challenge in the wake of recent High Court decisions. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: is Direct Action constitutionally valid?

Late last week, the Senate passed the Abbott government’s controversial A$2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of its Direct Action Plan to combat climate change. Its passage has been…
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…
If Senator Richard di Natale were to win the federal parliament’s support for his bill to legalise euthanasia, it would probably override state bans. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: could federal law end the state bans on euthanasia?

Greens senator Richard Di Natale is circulating a bill to legalise euthanasia throughout Australia, the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Exposure Draft Bill. The key provision permits – subject to…
Fred Chaney and Adam Goodes have teamed up to push for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, but it’s proving to be a long road. AAP/Newzulu/Hugh Peterswald

Constitutional recognition alive, but it’s still no ‘barbecue stopper’

Australia has taken another step towards constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait…
The Apology of 2008 demonstrated how symbolic actions have powerful practical consequences for reconciliation. AAP/Julian Smith

Indigenous recognition in our highest law is the right thing to do

Later this year, we expect to see draft recommendations from a parliamentary committee on recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian constitution and ensuring there is…
The High Court has unanimously re-endorsed its decision in a successful 2012 challenge to the government funding the National Schools Chaplaincy Program. AAP/Lukas Coch

Commonwealth left scrambling by school chaplaincy decision

The High Court has again put the future of the federal government’s school chaplaincy program in jeopardy, confirming its 2012 decision that the Commonwealth’s spending programs must be supported by valid…

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