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|Melbourne Corporation v Commonwealth|
|Court||High Court of Australia|
|Full case name||The Lord Mayor, Councillors and Citizens of the City of Melbourne v The Commonwealth and Another|
|Date decided||13 August 1947|
|Citation(s)||(1947) 74 CLR 31;  HCA 26|
|Judge(s) sitting||Latham CJ, Rich, Starke, Dixon, McTiernan, Williams JJ|
|(5:1) any Commonwealth law that is otherwise valid under a head of power in s51 or some other part of the Constitution if it denies the existence or ability of a State to govern itself or the federal structure of the Commonwealth or singles out any one State|
The Melbourne Corporation principle is an implied limit on Commonwealth legislative power under the Constitution of Australia. This is due to the express federal nature of the governmental structure described by the Constitution in having a federation of states combine into one Commonwealth.
The principle renders constitutionally invalid any Commonwealth law that is otherwise valid under a head of power in s51 or some other part of the Constitution if it:
- Denies the existence or ability of a State to govern itself or the federal structure of the Commonwealth; and
- Singles out States.
This constitutional protection is one of the few reliable protections in the Australian Constitution against legislative and executive power, the other main protection being the Chapter III Separation of Powers Doctrine.
- Full text of the decision
- Anne Twomey, 'Federal Limitations on the Legislative Power of the States and the Commonwealth to Bind One Another', Federal Law Review, Vol. 31 No. 3.
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