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The Australian National University

A New Coat of Paint: Law and Order and the Refurbishment of Kable

Gabrielle J Appleby and John M Williams (2012) 40 (1)

The Kable doctrine is, and has always been, a difficult legal principle to define. For over a decade, and despite much academic attention, it had little consequence for state power. Until recently, the High Court deftly avoided its application by employing a number of techniques. As the politics of law and order in the states have increased, state Parliaments have felt emboldened by these cases to test the outer limits of their legislative power. In such an environment, federal anti-terrorism measures, introduced as extraordinary responses necessary for the exceptional nature of terrorism, have crept into general state policing and expanded. It is in this arena that the Kable doctrine has emerged once again. The principle is now vital to understanding the very real limits of state power, particularly in the law and order arena. This article traces the Court's approach to the principle in three recent cases involving the states' anti-organised crime measures (International Finance Trust Co v New South Wales Crime Commission, South Australia v Totani, and Wainohu v New South Wales) before offering some conclusions about where the current jurisprudence leaves the states and their perpetual campaign to achieve law and order.

Vol 40, Issue 1, 2012

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