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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7661

Commonwealth Constitution

Dear Chair

Thank you for your letter of 21 May 2018 regarding Petition EN0504 on constitutional heads of power for Commonwealth legislation. 1 appreciate the time you have taken to bring this matter to my attention. I regret the delay in responding.

When the Government proposes new or amending legislation it considers a range of matters, including the constitutional basis for the legislation. A number of government agencies have responsibility for considering the constitutional basis for legislation, including the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and the Attorney-General's Department, which includes the Australian Government Solicitor.

The proposal in the Petition, to include provisions in all Commonwealth legislation detailing the underpinning head/s of power, would not be determinative of the validity of the legislation. Under the Australian Constitution, the judicial branch of government has responsibility for determining whether legislation is constitutionally valid. Only the courts can determine this question. As Australia's highest court, it is the High Court of Australia which has the power to finally determine whether a law is within the legislative powers of the Commonwealth.

Thank you for   , matter with me. I trust this information is of assistance.

Yours sincerely,

from the Attorney-General, Mr Porter