Commonwealth Spending after Williams (No 2): Has the New Dawn Risen?
(2015) 26 Public Law Review 77
8 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 5, 2015
After the High Court’s decision in Pape v Federal Commissioner of Taxation, Duncan Kerr, then a former Commonwealth parliamentarian and now a Federal Court judge, mused that the nature of government is that it will not revise its practices in response to constitutional developments unless “faced with the necessity of doing so”. This comment examines the truth of Kerr’s observation in the context of political responses to the High Court’s further development of constitutional limits upon Commonwealth spending. The trilogy of cases that comprises Pape, William v Commonwealth long practice of initiating and funding programs with little regard to their connection to its area of constitutional responsibility of their intrusion upon matters which might have been assumed to be the concern of the States. But now with the last installment in that trilogy having been decided almost a year ago, it is time to look back at the promise of an altered constitutional landscape held out by these cases and to ask: are we there yet?
Keywords: Pape v Federal Commissioner of Taxation, Commonwealth, Williams, constitutional responsibility
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation