Hierarchy of Laws Exercise 1

A traffic officer hands a man a ticket for breaking a state speed limit.

A local council fines a family for not registering their cat.

A court dismisses a man’s claims because they were not in the prescribed form.

A traffic court ignores a lady’s protest at a traffic fine.

Someone tells these people about our Constitution, common law, Imperial Acts, individual rights, promise of justice, the Holy Bible, appeal to the Crown, Royal Prerogative, natural justice, divine law, Federal Law, but it all sounds too complicated.

How do you work out which law can be relied on and when?

Not all laws are equal. There is a hierarchy of laws, where lesser laws rely on more significant laws. By understanding that hierarchy you can respond wisely to various laws.

Exercise One

Here’s a simple exercise to help you sort out something of the Hierarchy of Laws. We’ll call this Exercise 1 – Basics, since there are more complex exercises to do once you do this one.

This is designed for Aussies, but you might be able to replicate it for your nation.

Take a blank sheet of paper and about a third of the way down the page write AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION.

We’ll start with the Australian Constitution since that is Law establishing Australia.

Anything above the words AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION is the HIGHER LAW which the Constitution relies on, and anything below relies on the Constitution for its existence.

If something is above, then it is Higher Law to the Constitution and everything below it. Higher Law comes first and wins over all lower laws.

Ready?

Step One

Let’s start with the First Paragraph of the Australian Constitution:

“WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland; and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established”

For those who struggle with the words here is a rewording of that paragraph: The people of the Australian colonies, humbly relying on God’s blessing, agree to unite in an unbreakable “Federal Commonwealth” (union of separate states working together for the good of all – like the European Union) which exists and operates under the authority of the Crown (the kings and queens) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and exists and operates by the rules set out in this Constitution.

Can you see anything in there that is shown to be ABOVE the Australian Constitution? Have a look.

Look only at what the Constitution was “under” – either stated as such or indicated by the words.

In the top section of your page write whatever you find the Constitution to be “under”.

Step Two

Now let’s go to Clause 5 in the Constitution:

“This Act (the Constitution), and all laws made by the Parliament of the Commonwealth under the Constitution, shall be binding on the courts, judges, and people of every State and of every part of the Commonwealth”

Can you see anything there that is shown to be UNDER the Australian Constitution? Have a look.

As you find things that are Under the Constitution, write them in the lower portion of your page.

Step Three

You will have three sections to your page: things “over” the Constitution; the Constitution itself; and things “under” the Constitution.

Where on your page would you put the following things?

Queen Elizabeth II. Council parking rules. Supreme Court Rules. The Prime Minister of Australia. Any promise made to you by the Kings of England. The Attorney General. A fine from a traffic court. The Bible. United Nations policy. Yourself.

Results Reviewed

This is Exercise 1 – Basics, so we’ll look deeper at this topic in later exercises. For now let’s make some foundational observations.

1. What did you put above the Australian Constitution after reading that first paragraph from the Constitution?

“WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland; and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established”

Since the people CREATED the Constitution by their vote to accept or reject it, anything “over” the people is also “over” the Constitution. The people put the Constitution under two entities, Almighty God and the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

What is Under the Constitution

2. What did you put under the Constitution after reading Clause 5?

“This Act (the Constitution), and all laws made by the Parliament of the Commonwealth under the Constitution, shall be binding on the courts, judges, and people of every State and of every part of the Commonwealth”

The Constitution is over the courts, judges and people of every part of the Commonwealth.

Looking back at the first paragraph we can also say that the “Federal Commonwealth” is under the Constitution.

The highest “Australian Law” is our Constitution. No law or rule by the Federal Parliament or by any state or by any government department, or by a local council, or a court, or a private company in Australia is allowed to go against the Constitution.

No decision made by the Parliament in Canberra can go against the Constitution. So all new laws must reflect the old law, our Constitution, or they are not valid laws.

Putting Things in Place

3. Where on your page did you put those things listed under point 3?

Queen Elizabeth II wears the “Crown”, so she, in her royal capacity, is above the Constitution.

Council parking rules are made by an entity that is under the Constitution.

Supreme Court Rules are also made by an entity under the Constitution.

The Prime Minister of Australia is part of the Federal Commonwealth, even as its accepted leader, and so is under the Constitution.

Any promise made to you by the Kings of England comes from a higher authority than the Constitution. So the Crown’s Promise in Magna Carta, over 700 years ago, stands as Higher Law than the Constitution and any other law made in Australia.

The Attorney General is part of the Federal Commonwealth and so is under the Constitution.

A fine from a traffic court is under the Constitution.

The Bible is given by Almighty God and so is Higher Law than the Constitution and all laws created in Australia or any of its states or territories. That’s why you swear an oath on the Bible and Parliament always begins with prayer. And the Holy Bible is allowed to be quoted in any court as lawful authority for your claims.

United Nations policy is separate to Almighty God, the Crown and the Australian Constitution, therefore it has no place in our laws. If the Federal Parliament or a state parliament agrees to some UN policy then that agreement comes under the Constitution and must be subject to all that is above the Constitution. We can never be ruled by the UN or outside forces unless we destroy our Constitution.

Yourself. You are in a very interesting position. Clause 5 says the Constitution and all laws made under it are binding on the “people of every State and every part of the Commonwealth”, so that puts you “under” the Constitution. But it is the “people” who created the Constitution and who are the only ones who have the power to change it or ever get rid of it. So you are both “under” the Constitution and “above” the Constitution.

Now do this exercise again and supervise your friends doing it. It will make you and them think about who you are and where you really stand in regard to the Law.

And look out for Exercise 2 on the Hierarchy of Laws.

PS: Help me Beta-test this exercise and give me your feedback. Ta.

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