Halliday v The Commonwealth of Australia [2000] FCA 950

In Halliday v The Commonwealth of Australia [2000] FCA 950 the applicants sought declarations that thirty three Acts and three regulations “establishing the New Taxation System and the Goods and Services Tax” were invalid.  The applicants were represented by David Fitzgibbon, who argued that the Acts were not passed by a validly elected Senate as required by the Constitution, since Section 10 of the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) terminated the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government in relation to State matters, yet the Government of the United Kingdom issued in the name of the Sovereign in Parliament under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom Letters Patent creating the Office of Governor in the States of Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, contrary to ss 10, 13 and 14 of the Australia Act. Accordingly, all writs for the election of Senators for the States were issued by Governors “appointed to offices established under a legal authority no longer operative” within Australia, and were hence invalid and the persons presenting themselves for election to the Senate were not elected in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Further, it was alleged that  is that the New Taxation System imposed civil conscription prohibited under section 51(xxiiiA) of the Constitution, by demanding that “every member of the population is required without payment or reward under threat of punishment to collect taxation owed by other persons to forward it at their own expense to the Commonwealth”.

It was also alleged that since all prices in remote areas include an extra transport component, the tax on any manufactured goods is greater than in more central locations, the Acts impose “differential taxation” between the States and parts of the States contrary to section 51(ii) of the Constitution, and that the Acts interfere with free trade, commerce and intercourse among the States contrary to section 92 of the Constitution, as a consequence of this, and that the Acts contravene section 116 of the Constitution in that they “force certain citizens to impose on others measures and demands contrary to their religion”, such as obligations not to collect tax or charge usury.

The respondents had applied for an order dismissing the proceeding on the ground that it discloses no reasonable cause of action. The court rejected each of the grounds referring to relevant jurisprudence on each point, and dismissed the application.

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