What role does the Judiciary play?

As early as New South Wales v Commonwealth (Wheat Case) in 1915, the High Court of Australia decided that the strict insulation of judicial power was a fundamental principle of the Constitution, shown in Chapter III. This also applies to tribunals and commissions set up by Federal Parliament which, unlike some of their equivalents in the states, can only recommend consequences.

While the lawmaking function is generally vested in the Parliament, Judges also make law by deciding cases or deciding common law. Collectively, the judiciary declares and interprets the law whenever it decides cases. The result of a case is the decision of the judge or court, generally provided as a written judgment.

Depending upon the activism of the judges on the High Court bench, the judiciary can take a limited or extensive approach to interpreting and changing the laws brought before it by Parliament. Some important examples of this kind of activism can be seen in the Tampa Crisis in August 2001.

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