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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on issues associated with international treaty obligations within the Australian constitutional context. It first examines the established principle of the common law of England that the provisions of a treaty do not form part of domestic law unless incorporated into domestic law by statute, before discussing the drafting history of the Constitution as well as the ramifications of that history. The chapter then turns to the power of the Commonwealth Parliament to enact legislation to implement Australia's treaty obligations. It also briefly addresses the relevance of international law to the interpretation of the Constitution itself. Finally, this chapter examines the role that international law plays in the interpretation of legislation that wholly or partly incorporates international obligations into domestic law, and the effect of such obligations on administrative action taken pursuant to such statutes.

Keywords: international law, international treaty obligations, domestic law, drafting history, Australia's treaty obligations

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