The High Court Decides – The Marriage Survey Will Proceed, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Blog, 7 September 2017

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

In September 2017, the High Court handed down a decision that will have ramifications for a very important social issue: the lack of marriage equality in Australia.
In the two cases – Wilkie and others v The Commonwealth and Australian Marriage Equality Ltd and others v Minister for Finance – the High Court rejected challenges to the so-called ‘Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey’. This decision therefore now permits the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to lawfully proceed with a statistical survey to obtain the views of the Australian community on a fundamental human rights question.
This piece discusses why these challenges may have failed.
I argue that the plaintiffs were limited to arguing narrow, specific statutory interpretation arguments about the ability of the government to spend money on the survey. The case therefore turned on the meaning of words used in legislation, rather than the broader debate about rights or equality which are central to this issue.

Period7 Sep 2017

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleThe High Court Decides – The Marriage Survey Will Proceed, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Blog, 7 September 2017
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletCastan Centre for Human Rights Law Blog
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date7/09/17
    DescriptionIn September 2017, the High Court handed down a decision that will have ramifications for a very important social issue: the lack of marriage equality in Australia.
    In the two cases – Wilkie and others v The Commonwealth and Australian Marriage Equality Ltd and others v Minister for Finance – the High Court rejected challenges to the so-called ‘Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey’. This decision therefore now permits the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to lawfully proceed with a statistical survey to obtain the views of the Australian community on a fundamental human rights question.
    This piece discusses why these challenges may have failed.
    I argue that the plaintiffs were limited to arguing narrow, specific statutory interpretation arguments about the ability of the government to spend money on the survey. The case therefore turned on the meaning of words used in legislation, rather than the broader debate about rights or equality which are central to this issue.
    URLhttps://castancentre.com/2017/09/07/the-high-court-decides-the-marriage-survey-will-proceed/
    PersonsMaria O'Sullivan

Keywords

  • marraige equality