The Constitutional Prohibition on Imposing Religious Observances
37 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2018
Date Written: July 16, 2017
This article provides the first thorough analysis of the religious observances clause of the Australian Constitution,which provides: ‘The Commonwealth shall not make any law … for imposing any religious observance’. The article explains the origins of the clause and the mischiefs it aimed to prohibit, and presents a doctrinal account of the meaning and operation of the clause informed by the relevant history. The article begins by examining the social and political background to the drafting of the religious observances and its drafting history at the Australasian Federal Convention of 1897-98. The article then presents a doctrinal analysis of the meaning and operation of the religious observances clause by drawing on insights from the legislative histories of compulsory religious observances in the United Kingdom and colonial Australia.
Keywords: Religious Observance Clause, Religious Observance, Direct Imposition, Indirect Imposition, Positive Imposition, Negative Imposition
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