1.10 * Strength and weaknesses of parliament as a law

Report
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Parliament is our supreme law maker?
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VCAA 2006 (Q13)
HTTP://WWW.VCAA.VIC.EDU.AU/DOCUMENTS/EXAMS/LEGALST
UDIES/LEGALSTUDIES_ASSESSREP_06.PDF
VCAA 2010 (Q11)
HTTP://WWW.VCAA.VIC.EDU.AU/DOCUMENTS/EXAMS/LEGALST
UDIES/LEGALSTUDIES_ASSESSREP_10.PDF
‘Parliament is a very effective
law-maker. There are no
significant weaknesses in the
way parliament carries out
this role’
A member of parliament
recently declared that
parliament has no weaknesses
and should be the only lawmaker in Australia.
Discuss this statement and
indicate the extent to which
you agree or disagree with it.
Justify your conclusions
(10 Marks)
Critically Evaluate parliament as
a law-maker. In your answer,
describe one aspect of the
relationship between parliament
and the courts in law-making
(10 Marks)
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The primary role of parliament is to make laws.
As a general rule, parliament makes laws in futuro
(Laws made for the future with the future in mind)
Keeps people informed
Parliament may not always be able to foresee future
circumstances when drafting law. i.e., changes in
technology, society expectations, unexpected events
such as terrorists attacks.
The role of the courts is to interpret the law made by
parliament and resolve cases that come before the
courts.
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reflects current views and attitudes
well publicised and promoted
framed after investigation and community
consultation
well drafted
resources available to implement new laws
able and willing to be enforced.
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law-making is its primary role
it is a democratically elected body
it has the techniques and resources to investigate
problems
it can introduce wide-sweeping changes to the law
it can establish, staff and fund organisations to
support the law
it has processes to ensure consultation and debate
it can delegate some powers to subordinate bodies
like local councils, who might better judge local
needs.
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Access to expert opinion
Parliament can allocate resources
to:
Access current and relevant
information/data from a variety of
sources.
Gain access to subject matter experts
Form committees to conduct
research
Utilise law reform bodies such as
VLRC
Sentencing Advisory Council
Parliamentary Law Reform
Committee Law Institute of Victoria
Community legal centres (FLS)
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Consultation with the Public
Process such as;
Public Inquiries
Parliamentary Committees
Formal law reform bodies such as
VLRC
All have provisions for any member
of the public to express their view of
law reform.
Informal methods such as Petitions,
Protests can also force
parliamentary notice to an issue
hence provide a forum to be heard.
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Legislating on an entire topic
Parliament is able to delegate aspects of
its law making powers to delegated
authorities such as Vic Roads. BUT
Parliament has the power to legislate all
traffic related matters applicable to
Victoria.
Being able to legislate an entire topic
provides certainty, continuality and
comprehensiveness of an issue at hand
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Responsive and Flexible
Society views and expectations can
change for a variety of reasons.
Unexpected and/or events of high
public interest can and do occur at any
given time.
Brodies Law
Dangerous Dog Legislation
Floods
Parliament is expected to respond to
events as they occur. Due to this,
Parliament must be responsive to society
requirements and , good of the
nation/state events. As such legislation
may be required to be
implemented/changed.
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In Futuro
To cover future events
Allows society to be informed
of forthcoming legislation
Provides opportunity for
awareness campaigns and
education.
Tries to alleviate,
IGNORANCE IS NO
EXCUSE
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difficulties with interpretation of legislation
difficulty keeping the laws up to date
division of power between Commonwealth and
states
pressure groups can have undue influence
most legislation is a compromise
legislation can encroach on civil liberties
volume and complexity make it difficult to find the
law
problems with delegating legislation to other
bodies.
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Fear of voter backlash
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Bicameral Structure
Politicians are conscious of public
opinion.
Government may not control both
houses of parliament
Controversial issues are sometimes
not addressed due to fear of loosing
votes.
Political agendas can and do
delay/inhibit legislation
Votes = Government.
Vote scoring could be main agenda
for a political party not the
legislation.
If Government controls both houses
issues of responsible government
may be diminished. Vigorous
Debate? Rubber Stamp??
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Parliament not sitting
Relative low number of sitting
days can cause delays in reform
or legislation progress
(2014 – 72 Days) - HOR
http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Sitting_Calendar/Sitting_calendar_
2012-text_version
http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Sitting_Calendar/Sitting_c
alendar_2013-text_version
Parliament tries to offset this by
delegating some of its law
making authority to subordinate
authorities who work year
round. i.e., Councils
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Drafting Legislation
Words within a Bill may not be
clearly defined or expressed
correctly (Such as the intent of
the legislation) which can cause
delays in prosecutions.
i.e., Statutory Interpretation
required by Courts. Could lead
to Precedent/Common law
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Inconsistencies between
states
Uniform laws across states
within our nation is a rarity.
Whilst the intent of certain
legislation may be the same,
offices may be named differently
and/or have differing points of
proof in order to prove a matter
at hand.
i.e., traffic matters such as age of
licences, road worthies, evidence
act requirements.
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Questions 1 – 4 (Page 40)
Make sure you complete
question 4
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