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An Australian court has thrown out a challenge to the controversial Australian-style Direct Trade Agreement with New Zealand, finding that the deal was “undemocratic and unlawful” and the legislation was based on “misleading claims” of economic benefit.
Key points:The court ruled the Australian-type Direct Trade Act “is not subject to judicial review” and does not “meet the criteria for judicial review under Australia’s Constitution”The case was brought by a group of academics and campaigners seeking to overturn a key part of the ACT’s “right to privacy” legislation, which bans data collection and tracking of people’s private information.
The case had been brought by lawyers representing Australian citizens who claimed they were subject to bulk collection of their personal data by Australian intelligence agencies, which were seeking the bulk of data they collected from them.
In its judgement, the High Court found that the ACT was not subject in law to judicial scrutiny under the Australian Constitution.
“The ACT does not fall within the scope of the Constitution,” Justice Christopher O’Keefe wrote in the majority decision.
“It is not an Act of Parliament, it is not a legislative instrument, and its effect is a legislative power.”
Justice O’Kean also found that, in the absence of a legislative intention to allow data collection from people without reasonable expectation of privacy, the Act was “unwise and unreasonable” in a number of ways.
“In a democracy, the law is meant to be read in light of the people, not the politicians, and Parliament’s power to legislate to change that is not subject, therefore, to judicial interpretation,” he said.
“We are not dealing with a single-issue constitutional issue here, but instead a complex issue of privacy and freedom.”
The case in question was brought under the legislation, commonly known as the “right of every Australian citizen to be left alone”, as well as other laws and practices.
The High Court held that the legislation “is a power of government to make laws in matters of public concern, and it is therefore subject to constitutional scrutiny” and, therefore was “fundamentally contrary to the Constitution”.
The ruling was welcomed by the Australian Government, which has argued that the Act does not have the “fundamental objectives of the Australian people” and was “cruel, irrational and disproportionate” to the law it was supposed to address.
Topics:government-and-politics,law-crime-and‑justice,law—fraud,law,australiaFirst posted October 03, 2019 12:36:20Contact Julie Acker