Leslie Zines


At the Constitutional Convention of 1897-1898 there was discussion about whether the High Court should be able to give advisory judgments as to the validity of legislation. Many delegates declared that it was not part of the judicial power to determine abstract questions of law. Dr Quick specifically referred to the possibility that the term ‘matters’ was wide enough to permit the Commonwealth to obtain an ex parte interpretation of the Constitution (to which he was opposed). Other delegates were of the opposite view. An attempt by Patrick Glynn at the Adelaide Convention to insert a specific provision that would have allowed for advisory opinions was rejected. The concerns expressed included an absence of interested parties, the difficulty of the Court in contemplating the complex circumstances that might arise and the possible impairment of public confidence in the Court.