Williams v Commonwealth - Commonwealth Executive Power and Australian Federalism

43 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2013

See all articles by Shipra Chordia

Shipra Chordia

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Andrew Lynch

University of New South Wales

George Williams

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 12, 2013

Abstract

A majority of the High Court in Williams v Commonwealth held that the Commonwealth executive does not have a general power to enter into contracts and spend public money absent statutory authority or some other recognised source of power. This article surveys the Court’s reasoning in reaching this surprising conclusion. It also considers the wider implications of the case for federalism in Australia. In particular, it examines: (1) the potential use of s 96 grants to deliver programs that have in the past been directly funded by Commonwealth executive contracts; and (2) the question of whether statutory authority may be required for the Commonwealth executive to participate in intergovernmental agreements.

Suggested Citation

Chordia, Shipra and Lynch, Andrew and Williams, George, Williams v Commonwealth - Commonwealth Executive Power and Australian Federalism (June 12, 2013). Melbourne Univeristy Law Review, Vol. 37, No. 1, 2013; UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2013-35. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2281080

Shipra Chordia

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Andrew Lynch (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney NSW 2052
Australia

George Williams

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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