Unions NSW v New South Wales

Jeremy Gans, ‘News: Justice Gageler Removes Himself from Unions NSW Case’ (6 November 2013).

The High Court has decided a special case brought by various NSW unions against the State of New South Wales. The unions sought a declaration by the court that several sections of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (NSW) were invalid. First, that s 96D, which prohibits ‘political donations’ from persons or entities that do not appear on a federal, State or local electoral roll, is invalid because it impermissibly burdens various freedoms of political communication and association implied by the Australian Constitution and the Constitution Act 1902 (NSW), and is inconsistent with provisions of the Electoral Act 1918 (Cth). Second, that s 95G(6), which aggregates the ‘electoral communication expenditures’ of political parties and affiliated organisations to limit the amount of campaign spending, also impermissibly burdens the freedom of political communication.The High Court granted both declarations, unanimously holding that those sections were invalid on the grounds that they impermissibly burdened the implied freedom of communication on governmental and political matters, contrary to the Australian Constitution. Justice Gageler, who gave advice to the Attorney-General of NSW while he was Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth recused himself from hearing the matter.

High Court Judgment [2013] HCA 58 18 December 2013
Result Declarations of invalidity made
High Court Documents Unions NSW v NSW
Full Court Hearings [2013] HCATrans 264 6 November 2013
[2013] HCATrans 263  5 November 2013
Directions Hearing [2013] HCATrans 156 25 July 2013
Leave Hearing [2013] HCATrans 118 15 May 2013