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The Australian National University

Fertile Ground for Federalism? Internal Security, the States and Section 119 of the Constitution

Peta Stephenson (2015) 43 (2)

Section 119 of the Australian Constitution confers a duty on the Commonwealth to protect the states against invasion. It also directs the Commonwealth to protect the states against domestic violence when an application is made by a state government. This article contends that there are compelling reasons to construe this second limb of s 119 as a federal constraint on the power of the Commonwealth to call out the military domestically. This interpretation of s 119 is consistent with the plain meaning and constitutional context of the provision and it coheres well with the High Court's revival of interpretive federalism.

Vol 43, Issue 2, 2015

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