Australian commerce clause


Australian commerce clause

Similar to the American Commerce clause under Sec 8(1),Art I, the Australian constitution discusses the commerce clause in two separate chapters: (1) In sec 51(1) the commonwealth has power to make laws on trade and commerce with the foreign nations and with the states; and (2) The commerce clause is again discussed under the finance chapter. Sec. 92 discusses about the free flow commerce. It says in its first paragraph that trade and commerce will be absolutely free in Australia. but the second paragraph discusses about the revenue to be collected for the interstate commerce immediately before the imposition of the uniform duties of customs.In a landmark decision in "Cole v. Whitfield" (1988) it was held that freedom means economic freedom here and not personal right to freedom.

But, unlike the American constitution, the Australian commerce clause is clearer. Under sec 98, it says the commerce clause includes navigation as well. Under sec 99 the constitution states that the Commonwealth cannot prohibit any state or residents of any state from using the state water for irrigation purposes. The constitution not only prohibits the commonwealth only but also the states from showing discrimination against any state or authority. in sec. 102 no state can show preference to any state or any authority for the usage of the railways which is a state property over other states if the same discrimination is undue. but there are two exceptions to this discrimination clause:1. under sec 102 if the Interstate Commission certifies the discrimination as proper for the maintenance and development of the state property;2. under Sec.104,the stated can can levy tax on the carriage of goods by railways if the rate is similar to the internal carriage rates and if the Inter State commission certifies the same.finally the Australian constitution creates one Interstate commission under sec 101 for resolving the disputes regarding the free flow of commerce. the members are appointed by the Governor General.


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