You oughta Koowarta

I’ve just found Koowarta v Bjelke-Petersen (1982) on the web. Koowarta is arguably one of the greatest modern cases in common law jurisprudence. It’s the case that has it all: a racist State government policy foolishly committed to writing, a plaintiff whose ancestors were dispossessed of their property by force, judicial scepticism about overreaching human rights rhetoric, an international treaty which really only concerns domestic affairs, and at root a constitution which seems to confer treaty making power on a federal executive without any concomitant implementing federal legislative power to override the legislative competency of the States. In the end, all that is upheld is the sagacity and gravitas of the judiciary.

Well, I enjoyed it anyway. Gibbs CJ makes arguments concerning the executive granting itself powers by concluding agreements with other states; considering this in the light of the behaviour of the UK Government in relation to the EU is enlightening.

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