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State Constitutional Landmarks

State Constitutional Landmarks

Edited by George Winterton


Fifteen landmark cases and controversies of parliamentary government in the Australian colonies and States are recounted in all their political and legal drama by some of Australia’s leading constitutional scholars.

  • The amazing saga of Justice Boothby in the 1860s
  • Privy Council decisions establishing the plenary power of colonial legislatures
  • The dismissal of NSW Premier Jack Lang in 1932
  • The resolution of deadlocks between State legislative Houses
  • The making of the Australia Acts 1986
  • Debate on the separation of judicial power in the States
  • The survival of the NSW Legislative Council
  • The power to expel an MP in NSW
  • One-vote, one-value in WA
  • Affirmation of the rule of law in WA
  • The Franca Arena saga in NSW
  • The power to force ministers to produce documents in NSW

Sesquicentenary 1856-2006 Responsible Government in New South Wales   A NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government publication.


    Introduction: Australian States: cinderellas No Longer?
    George Winterton
    Justice Boothby: A Disaster that Happened
    John M Williams
    Plenary Within Limits: Powell v Apollo Candle
    Keven Booker
    Thomas McCawley v The King
    Nicholas Aroney
    Trethowan’s Case
    Jeffrey Goldsworthy
    The Dismissal of the Lang Government
    Anne Twomey
    Clayton v Heffron
    Anne Twomey
    Deadlocks in State Parliaments
    John Waugh
    Tonkin v Brand: Triumph for the Rule of Law
    Peter Johnston
    Armstrong v Budd and the Power of Expulsion
    Gareth Griffith
    The Making of the Australia Acts 1986
    Anne Twomey
    Egan v Willis and Egan v Chadwick: The Triumph of Responsible Government
    Gerard Carney
    Arena v Nader and the Waiver of Parliamentary Privilege
    Gareth Griffith and David Clune
    BLF v Minister for Industrial Relations: The Limits of State Legislative and Judicial Power
    Fiona Wheeler
    The Kable Case: A Guard-Dog that Barked But Once?
    H P Lee
    McGinty v Western Australia: Electoral Equality and the Demise of the “Implied Rights Venture”
    Peter A Gerangelos



    George Winterton’s collection of essays attempts to fill a gap in Australian constitutional literature, and complements his earlier collection dealing with federal constitutional landmarks. …
    At its best, this book describes the personalities, events and politics behind each of these landmarks, as well as summarising the legal issues. You don’t need a legal background to read it, although it would help. In some chapters, quite detailed legal analysis is given. But there is generally enough colour and anecdote to break up the pages of legal discussion. This is a great way to open up constitutional law to the general public. I would recommend the book to lawyers with an interest in public law, or anyone interested in Australian political history.

    Law Institute Journal (Victoria), September 2007

    There is nothing more dangerous than a book which contains detailed analyses which confute the reader’s dearly held perceptions. This is such a book. … There is much here to transform and entrance both the general and the specialist reader. More importantly, each of the contributors has the ability to place the potentially ‘dry’ legal issue in its social and historical context. As soon as the surrounding facts of any of the great controversies are explored, the topic tends to come alive …
    The book is beautifully produced with a detailed index. For those who wish to dip into questions of state constitutional law it provides a fascinating and accessible vehicle.

    Victorian Bar News Winter 2007

    [A f]ascinating and readable insight into major Australian state constitutional landmarks ...
    The book, written by leading constitutional scholars, such as Anne Twomey, John Waugh, Gareth Griffith, Jeff Goldsworthy, H P Lee and John Williams, covers major landmarks (both cases and constitutional developments) that are of interest to lawyers, historians and the layperson. The drama in many of the essays brings alive the characters involved, and makes for easy reading. Topics covered include the nature of State legislature power, issues of intra-parliamentary battles between the two houses, parliamentary deadlocks, separation of judicial powers in the States, and the straddling between State and Commonwealth Constitutional law issues.
    … Each essay provides an interesting thorough account of a particular issue in the arena of state constitutional matters.
    … The Table of Cases and Statutes is thorough and extensive. The index, however, lacks the same detail. The book will provide a valuable resource for legal researchers, lawyers, teachers, students of Australian legal history, and anyone interested in constitutional issues. The structure of the book allows the reader to pick and choose those areas of [most] interest, but reading the book as a whole provides an overview of 150 years of major state constitutional developments.

    Australian Law Librarian, Vol 15 No 1, 2007

    Professor Winterton assembles 15 papers, contributed by a number of Australia’s foremost and most easily readable constitutional authors, which delved into some of the landmark cases and events which have helped shape the modern constitutional principles to which State legislative power is subject. … Those who take the time to read this book will certainly enjoy it…
    … two real attractions of the book are the breadth of issues which it canvasses and the divergence in approach to those issues which has resulted from its being an anthology rather than the work of one.
    … Professor Winterton has presented a collection of fascinating insights into the political and legal manoeuvring which eventually produced some of the leading constitutional principles which today regulate State governance. Eminently readable and thoroughly recommended.

    Law Society of Tasmania newsletter, August 2007


    Foreword - The Hon James Spigelman AC


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    Published 5 January 2007
    Publisher The Federation Press
    ISBN 9781862876071
    Australian RRP $75.00
    International Price $70.00
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    Law - Constitutional

    NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government

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