Topics

These lawgovpol.com topic pages are concise summaries of significant concepts, institutions and processes in Australian law and government. These pages have been written by lawgovpol.com authors.

An overview of Australian government
What is the structure of Federal parliament?
What are State parliaments?
What is executive government?
What are subordinate authorities?

An introduction to laws
What is a law?
Who makes our laws?
What is the difference between criminal and civil law?
How do values shape our laws?

Parliament-made law
What is legislation?
How is legislation initiated?
How are laws influenced by prime ministers and State premiers?
How do ministers influence the law?
What is the role of backbenchers?
What is the role of parliamentary committees?
What is the role of governors and governors-general?
How does a bill become law?

Law reform
Why is law reform necessary?
What are the obstacles to law reform?
What is the Australian Law Reform Commission?
What is the Victorian Law Reform Commission?
What are Royal Commissions?
What is the role of the Ombudsman?
What are pressure groups?
What role does the media play in law reform?

Constitutional law
What is a constitution?
What were the origins of Australia’s constitutions?
What is the structure of the Commonwealth Constitution?
What are the different constitutional powers?
What are some restrictions on Federal and State power?
How is the Constitution amended?
Why is constitutional reform difficult to achieve?
What else can change the balance of Federal and State power?
What is the High Court and what does it do?
What is constitutional interpretation?
How is legislation challenged in the High Court?

The protection of rights
What are rights and how are they protected?
How are rights expressly protected in the Constitution?
What are implied constitutional rights?
What are some international covenants on rights?
How are rights protected in Britain?
How are rights protected in New Zealand?
How are rights protected in the United States?
How are rights protected in Canada?
How are rights protected in South Africa?
Comparison: Rights in Australia and abroad (PDF)

The courts
What is a court?
What are court hierarchies?
Magistrates and judges
What is common law?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of common law?
What is the doctrine of precedent?
What are the different types of precedent?
What is statutory interpretation?
What are aids to statutory interpretation?

Civil disputes and torts
What is a dispute?
What is a tort?
What is a contract?
What is a personal injury dispute?
What is a class action?
What is defamation?

Dispute resolution
What is a dispute?
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of ADR?
What is the Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal or VCAT?