LAWS1115 Practice Questions

Question 1: Advocate a position

1. After a successful constitutional amendment sees the mandatory retirement age for High Court judges bought down, the Prime-Minister finds herself with the ability to appoint 5 of the 7 members. While her other advisors have attempted to convince her to appoint judges who favour a ‘living-tree’ approach to constitutional interpretation, you are concerned about the damage that a less constrained High Court could do to our legal system, and instead attempt to convince her to appoint originalist judges.

Outline your arguments.

2. The Vertical Fiscal Imbalance combined with reduced Federal grants as part of their strategy to cut the budget deficit have resulted in the States being forced to levy additional income and sales taxes in order to remain solvent. Aware of the pain the additional taxes are causing Australian citizens, and anxious to gain greater taxation control, the Commonwealth initiate a referendum, proposing to tax exclusive control of all taxation power, with a condition requiring a return of at least 20% of all income raised from a particular state be returned to that government.

You’ve been asked to appear on a televised debate to represent the opposition to this proposal. Outline your arguments

3. The rule of law is only loosely embodied in Australia’s constitutional structure. You represent a lobby group seeking legislative or constitutional change to ensure that the rule of law is a legal requirement in the future. Unfortunately a schism has broken out within your organisation over whether to advocate the thin, procedural rule of law or the thicker substantive version.

As a passionate supporter of the thin rule of law, make your case to your fellow lobbyists on why it should be preferred.

4. Advocate for the statement: "Legislation is sexy".

Question 2: Mini-hypothetical – advise as to the validity

1. After the WorkChoices and Super Profits Tax debacles, the government deliberately allocates 100 million to ‘public information and education’ in the next budget for advertising the proposed ‘DoubleThink’ legislation. Unfortunately the campaign goes over budget, and they end up spending 130 million, with the remainder coming from ‘Departmental expenditure’. Advise as to the validity of their actions.

2. Following in the footsteps of New South Wales, the Federal parliament passes a law banning all corporate contributions to political parties, and limiting individual contributions to a maximum of $1000 per person. The opposition protest, claiming this infringes their right to free political communication, as they will no longer be able to afford to communicate with the public. Advise as to the validity of this proposed law.

3. Upset with the Mining Industry over their response to the Super Profits Tax, the Federal Government pass the ‘Balanced Communication Act’, preventing combined corporate advertising on anything they classify as a ‘political issue’ from exceeding government expenditure. Advise as to the validity of this Act.

Question 3: Describe and evaluate an issue/area of law

1. Describe the role of the ‘Integrity branch’ in the Australian political system. Do you feel they are adequately achieving this role?

2. The Ombudsman is frequently accused of being a ‘toothless tiger’ due to its inability to pass binding recommendations. What is the justification for denying them this power, and do you think they should be granted it?