Structural protection of rights means that the Commonwealth has established mechanisms and principles that indirectly protect the people’s rights. Their overall aim is to prevent parliament from abusing its power.
There are three key structural protections in the Constitution:
Separation of powers establishes the three functions of the legal system, and in doing so prevents any one body from having absolute power over the law.
Representative government is a principle outlining that the government must act on behalf of the people they govern. The case of Roach v Electoral Commissioner extended this, by stating that “representative government” guarantees the right to vote.
Responsible government is a principle which states that members of government are kept accountable to parliament, and therefore to the people, for their actions.
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