Separation of Powers

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Parliament is the key institution within the legislative arm. Parliament's primary role is to make laws, called Acts or Statutes, which outline the standards of behavior expected of members of the community. Parliament is able to make laws because the Australian Constitution has vested supreme law-making power in an elected Commonwealth Parliament. All laws are designed to protect human rights and to foster the achievement of social cohesion.

All other federal institutions of government are sourced from parliament, as an enabling Act must be passed to create them.

Executive Arm

The primary institution in the executive arm is the government, however the government's functions are assisted by the mass of government departments and agencies. These bodies have been vested with executive powers to enforce and administer the laws made by parliament (e.g. The Police Department, via police officers, investigates breaches of criminal law. The police identify and arrest offenders, and offenders are then prosecuted in a criminal court, with the intention that they will be convicted and punished for their offence[s]).

Judicial Arm

Just as the government is the principal institution in the executive arm, the courts fill this role in the judicial arm. The courts are vested with judicial power to administer justice to solve disputes. Judges preside in courts in the criminal and civil jurisdictions, to determine whether legal entities have broken a law, and if they have, to impose a legal consequence.

An important part of the judicial arm, is that judges can actually make law, when no statute law exists, and when they give meaning to statutes to resolve legal disputes. This law is known as ‘Case Law'.

Doctrine of the division of (legislative) powers

The doctrine of the division of powers (Doctrine of DOP) is the allocation of legislative powers between the Commonwealth and the states. The doctrine is not specifically mentioned in the...
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