Separation of Powers

Essay by raspberryHigh School, 12th gradeA, August 2004

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The separation of powers is defined as a doctrine where the political system of a nation divides its governmental powers into separate institutions. In Australia, governmental powers are divided into three separate institutions. These are the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. In theory, the ideas of the separation of powers is to avoid one body of government from obtaining too much power and, hence, creating an arbitrary system of government. Furthermore, no body of government is supposed to abdicate power to another body. The separation of powers ensures the checking and balancing of each arm of government, although this is not always a harmonious relationship and can provide tensions between the arms of government. Nevertheless, the separation of powers ensures that the actions of government are in accordance with the law and the rights of the people are protected.

The legislative power, the parliament, is the principle law-making institution at both the federal and state levels.

Parliament makes laws directly, known as 'statutes'. However, parliament are only able to make laws within the limits of the constitution otherwise the law can be challenged and overturned. Parliament can also delegate their law-making powers to other bodies of government including Ministers and local councils. Parliament has the power to disallow any delegated legislation it does not agree with or has not had presented within fifteen days of the legislation being gazetted by the executive. For example, the legislature has to power to disallow a regulation made by the executive if they believe that the executive has acted outside it powers delegated to them. It can abolish the regulation by a majority vote in only one house of parliament. Parliament has the constitutional convention control over the executive. This is to ensure 'responsible government' amongst the executive. It is only a member...