World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Section 51(v) of the Constitution of Australia

Article Id: WHEBN0003179681
Reproduction Date:

Title: Section 51(v) of the Constitution of Australia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Australian constitutional law, Constitution of Australia, Australia Post, Section 25 of the Constitution of Australia, Section 41 of the Constitution of Australia
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Section 51(v) of the Constitution of Australia

Section 51(v) of the Constitution of Australia is a subsection of Section 51 of the Constitution of Australia that gives the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia power to legislate on "postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services".

Contents

  • Postal Services 1
  • Telephonic services 2
  • Other like services 3
  • External sources 4

Postal Services

In 1901, Section 51(v) was used by the Commonwealth to merge the colonial mail systems into the Postmaster-General's Department (or PMG). This body was responsible for telegraph and domestic telephone operations as well as postal mail. In 1975 the Australia Post was formed, taking over the postal functions of the PMG. Australia Post was corporatised in 1989, and its existence is therefore now supported under the corporations power.

The power also supports the issue of Australian postal stamps.

Telephonic services

The power has supported Australia’s regulatory environment for telecommunications in Australia, such as the telecommunications part of the Trade Practices Act. See Communications in Australia

Other like services

The most problematic part of this power has been the words 'other like services'. The High Court has taken a flexible approach to interpreting this provision that has recognised that technology has changed since the constitution was written.

In the case of R v Brislan, in 1935, the High Court decided that s51(v) included the power to regulate radio broadcasting. However, in Brislan four of the judges held radio to be a wireless type of ‘telegraphic or telephonic service’, rather than an ‘other like service’.

In the 1965 case of Jones v Commonwealth (No 2) the High Court found that television broadcasting also fell under the ambit of s51(v). Although the communications power is often presumed to apply broadly as new technologies arise, it is uncertain, in the absence of litigation, whether Commonwealth regulation will be supported. For example, it is unclear whether regulation of internet content would be supported under Section 51(v).

The Commonwealth has already relied on Section 51(v) to regulate parts of the internet. For example, the Interactive Gambling Act (Cth), which regulates the operation of online casinos within Australia and advertising of online gambling, was based on s51(v). Other forms of gambling are a state and territory responsibility.

In March 2013 Australia's accession to the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime came into force following the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Act 2012 (Cth). The amendments to the Criminal Code which removed the earlier "carriage service" (telephone and internet) elements of some computer offences (in part 10.7) were apparently supported by the s51(xxix) external affairs power (arising from obligations under an international treaty). This may mean that ratification of the Convention extended the Commonwealth power in this area beyond the s51(v) power, avoiding the need to rely on the definition of 'other like services'.

External sources

Geraldine Chin Technological Change and the Australian Constitution [2000] MULR 25

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.