Church, state, and the High Court of Australia

However, neither the Fathers of our [Australian] Constitution, nor numerous High Court judgments since that time, have given any support to suggestions that s.116 [Section 116 of the Australian Constitution] should be interpreted to support an American principle of separation of church and state. In an important 1981 High Court judgment challenging the validity of state aid to denominational schools, Justice Lionel Murphy made that argument, but was comprehensively voted down by the rest of the Bench.

My two cents

High Court of Australia
High Court of Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Section 116 of the Australian Constitution is similar to the First Amendment of the American Constitution, but it’s very interesting watching how the two respective court systems interpret it in different ways.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s also very interesting listening to Australians who blindly parrot what the court system of another country has to say—while not realising that their own court system has something different to say about it.

I’m not sure if the rest of the High Court judges (who voted down Justice Murphy) would still be alive, but if they were, I’d like to interview them about the case.

Quote source

Hogan, M. (2001). Separation of church and state? Available: Last accessed 20th Dec 2012.


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