Taylor v Attorney General of Queensland: 29 Jun 1917

(High Court of Australia) The 1908 Act provided that, when a bill passed by the Legislative Assembly in two successive sessions had in the same two sessions been rejected by the Legislative Council, it might be submitted by referendum to the electors, and, if affirmed by them, should be presented to the Governor for His Majesty’s assent. Upon receiving such assent, the Bill was to become an Act of Parliament in the same manner as if passed by both Houses of Parliament, and notwithstanding any law to the contrary.
Held: This was a valid and effective Act of Parliament by virtue of the power conferred upon the Legislature of Queensland by S.5 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1865. It was further held that there was power to abolish the Legislative Council of Queensland by an Act passed by the Legislative Assembly and affirmed by the electors in accordance with the provisions of the 1908 Act. Barton J ‘The Constitution Act of 1867 provided for all laws passed under it to be enacted ‘by Her Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly in Parliament assembled’, and that the constitution did not recognise the making of laws by any other authority: ‘It is also true that in general the legislation of a body created by and acting under a written charter or constitution is valid only so far as it conforms to the authority conferred by that instrument of government, and that therefore attempted legislation, merely at variance with the charter or constitution, cannot be held an effective law on the ground that the authority conferred by that instrument includes a power to alter or repeal any part of it, if the legislation questioned has to be preceded by a good exercise of such power; that is, if the charter or constitution has not antecedently been so altered within the authority given by that document itself. . . Normally, therefore, in the absence of such a provision as s.5 of the Imperial Act, I should have been prepared to hold that the [1908 Act], which, though it professed to be an amendment of the Constitution Act of 1867, was merely, in view of its provisions, an Act at variance with the constitution, not preceded by a valid extension of the constitutional power, was therefore itself, as it stood, invalid. But in the present case the Imperial provision seems to me to take away the application of the principle I have stated to legislation of the kind which it authorises.’


Barton J, Isaacs, Gavan Duffy, Rich and Powers JJ


(1917) 23 CLR 457, [1917] HCA 31




Queensland Parliamentary Bills Referendum Act of 1908



Cited by:

CitedRegina on the Application of Jackson and others v HM Attorney General CA 16-Feb-2005
The applicant asserted that the 2004 Act was invalid having been passed under the procedure in the 1949 Act, reducing the period by which the House of Lords could delay legislation; the 1949 Act was invalid, being delegated legislation, had used the . .
CitedJackson and others v Attorney General HL 13-Oct-2005
The applicant sought to challenge the 2004 Hunting Act, saying that it had been passed under the provisions of the 1949 Parliament Act which was itself an unlawful extension of the powers given by the 1911 Parliament Act to allow the House of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.222718