Legal Studies - Area of Study 1 &2 Notes

Topics: Westminster system, Legislature, Parliament Pages: 20 (6236 words) Published: March 10, 2013
Area of Study 1
The Principles of the Australian Parliamentary System
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Representative Government refers to a government that characterises the views of the majority of people. The Government consists of representatives of the people who are chosen by the public. -Regular Elections

-If government does not represent the needs of the majority of people it is likely to be voted out of office at the next election. TIP-Do not use a circular definition. Ie. Do NOT say "representative government refers to a government that represents the views of the majority of the people". This definition will not get you full marks. (or should not if your teacher marks according to VCAA standards.) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Responsible Government refers to the government’s accountability to the voters. -Government is answerable to the people for its actions.

- Ministers are responsible to parliament and therefore the people (Ministerial accountability)
- Ministers are responsible to parliament for the actions of their department - Members of Parliament may question ministers about their and their department’s activities. - Ministers must act with integrity or resign.

If government loses support of lower house it MUST resign. Hence, Government is responsible to parliament. Parliament is responsible to the people. TIP-Make sure to not only say that government is accountable to the voters but how government is responsible to parliament and parliament is responsible to the public. Hence the link ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Principle of separation of powers refers to the fact that there are three separate types of powers in our parliamentary system. • Legislative power- The power to make laws, resides with parliament. • Executive power- The power to administer the laws and manage the business of government. Accountable to the legislative arm of government. Under the Constitution this power is given to the executive (governor- general) but in practice it is carried out by government. • Judicial power-The power to enforce the law and settle disputes given to the courts. Must be kept separate and independent from legislative and executive powers.

Example of separation of powers: Criminal Law- Creation of a new criminal offence is a legislative power (act of parliament), the enforcement of the law is and executive power (police) and when an offender is brought before a court for trial this is a judicial function. Under the principle of separation of powers, the three powers are separate that any one body which administers one power may not take over the power of another body that administers another power. Separate nature of judicial power- Not to be combined with other powers. Safeguards citizens from the misuse of political power of corruption in the resolution of disputes. (People who make the law aren't enforcing it. - Conflict of interest)

Reasons for the separation of powers:
• Provides the stability of government and freedom of people • Provides independence between the bodies that make the law and the bodies that enforce the law • Provides a check on the power of parliament to ensure that it does not go outside its area of power

TIP-Executive power will be the one that screws you up if anything. It is given to the gov-gen but in practise the government administers the executive powers. Make sure to explain why their is a separation of powers and what is limits. (Absolute power= corruption) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Structure of State and Commonwealth Parliaments

-One central government; The Commonwealth Parliament
-Many State Parliaments
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