Ever since its establishment by the Australian Constitution in 1901 the High Court of Australia has had a huge impact on the operation of both the political and legal systems in Australia. The Australian political and legal system has been impacted through different means. I will assess, the impact of High Court decision on the operation of the Australian Federal system and its consequences on the Federal balance, and also the impact of the Commonwealth State relations. The impact the High Court has on the Australian legal system, Assess the Legalist versus Activist debate and also Assess the concerns about the effect of political appointment to the High Court.
There have been many cases in the High Court which have Financially effected the federal balance. The Federal balance is essentially, the relationship between the commonwealth and the States regarding constitutional change since 1901, much of this due to the High Court interpretation of the Constitution seen through cases such as Federal Roads Case(1926), First Uniform Tax Case (1942), and Hammond Case (1997). Cases such as these have given more power to the Commonwealth and hence in some cases also changed the vertical fiscal imbalance. In 1926 the Federal Roads Case effected the Federal System, as the outcome of this case gave more power to the Commonwealth hence changing the Federal Balance. Section 96 - grants - was used in this case to favour the Commonwealth and hence make the states use their specific purpose grant on the resurfacing of Eyre Hwy. This case therefore evidently changed the Federal Balance as it granted more powers to the Commonwealth. The First Uniform tax case can be seen as particularly important in the Federal Balance, as it led to the Commonwealth collection of taxes and gave rise to Vertical Fiscal Imbalance - The disparity between the collection and spending of government revenue at the State and Federal Level.