Checks and Balances

Checks and balances are the core of the rule of law and uphold the separation of powers because they ensure accountability. In Australia, the High Court enforces accountability by hearing challenges to the constitutionality of laws and the actions of the executive. It is essential that power of all kinds is controlled – legislative, judicial and executive. Legal processes and mechanisms which promote accountability of government maintain the separation of powers.

Rule of Law Education Centre supports processes which maintain checks and balances on government in Australia such as:

    1. 1) The role of the High Court as the ultimate independent and impartial arbiter of judicial review.
    1. 2) The accountability of Government Departments, agencies and statutory bodies to the Parliament.
    1. 3) Fundamental characteristics of laws in terms of the way in which they delegate power, and do not include arbitrary, overly discretionary or retrospective provisions.

Accountability and transparency is required of government agencies, especially those with coercive powers, to ensure that they act according to the law and not beyond it. With power comes responsibility, and the need for ongoing review of such power is essential.

Senate Estimates Surveys

  • Senate Estimates Survey No.7, survey
  • Senate Estimates Survey of ASIC’s Responses to Questions on Notice, survey
  • RoLIA Senate Estimates Survey No.6, survey
  • RoLIA Senate Estimates Survey No.5, survey
  • RoLIA Senate Estimates Survey No. 4, survey
  • RoLIA Senate Estimates Survey No. 3, survey
  • Senate Estimates Survey No. 2, media release