Sharples v Arnison [2001] QCA 518; [2002] 2 Qd R 444

Section 53 of the Constitution Act 1867 (Qld) provides that any Bill that expressly or impliedly provides for the alteration of the office of the Governor of Queensland or ‘in any way affects’ certain specified sections must be approved at a referendum before it becomes a law. The argument in Sharples v Arnison [2001] QSC 56 proceeded that the Australia Acts (Request) Act 1985 (Qld) requested the enactment of Commonwealth legislation which would alter the office of the Governor of Queensland and that the Queensland Act therefore required approval in a referendum in order to be valid. The argument concludes that the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) is invalid because it was not enacted pursuant to a valid request from all the affected States and that this also affected the validity of the Australia (Request and Consent) Act 1985 (Cth), making the Australia Act 1986 (UK) invalid. The fundamental flaw is that the Australia Acts (Request) Act 1985 (Qld) did not of itself have the effect of expressly or impliedly altering the office of Governor. It merely requested the Commonwealth and Westminster Parliaments to do so. The question then arises as to whether such a request law ‘affected’ the purportedly entrenched provisions. A request for a change does not itself affect the existing law. The request may, indeed, be rejected. If so, there could be no effect upon the law.

Sharples v Arnison [2001] QCA 518:

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