High Court of Australia

Austin v The Commonwealth of Australia [2003] HCA 3

215 CLR 185; 77 ALJR 491; 195 ALR 321

5 Feb 2003

Case Number: M10/2001


Gleeson CJ, Gaudron, McHugh, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne JJ


Constitutional law – Legislative power of Commonwealth - Implied limitation - Interference with governmental functions of States - Superannuation - Taxation - Statute - Validity - Whether liability of State judicial officers to pay Commonwealth superannuation contributions surcharge valid.

Constitutional Law – Taxation - Commonwealth legislation imposing superannuation contributions surcharge - Whether criteria for liability so incapable of ascertainment or lacking in general application as to deny legislation quality of law with respect to taxation.

Constitutional Law – Taxation - Section 55 of the Constitution - Whether legislation deals with more than one subject of taxation.

Constitutional Law – Legislative power of Commonwealth - Federal law requires State Government Actuary to supply information and perform calculations for the purpose of imposition of federal tax upon State employees and officeholders - Whether obligation amounts to conscription of State officers and institutions - Whether impermissible federal intrusion upon the employment authority of the State - Whether, if impermissible, provisions severable from law imposing federal tax.

Superannuation – Taxation - Superannuation contributions surcharge - Legislation - Construction - Whether State judge liable to pay - Whether State judge a member of a constitutionally protected fund - Whether State judge has a surchargeable contribution - Whether State judge a defined benefit member - Whether State judge has an accrued benefit.

Court and Judges – Statutes - Interpretation - Whether Master of Victorian Supreme Court a judge of that Court.

Words and phrases "discrimination" – "discriminate between", "subject of taxation", "surcharge", "surchargeable contributions", "constitutionally protected superannuation fund", "defined benefit member".

Commonwealth Constitution – ss 51(ii), 55, 114

Superannuation Contributions Tax (Members of Constitutionally Protected Superannuation Funds) Imposition Act 1997 (Cth)

Superannuation Contributions Tax (Members of Constitutionally Protected Superannuation Funds) Assessment and Collection Act 1997 (Cth)

Judges' Pensions Act 1953 (NSW)

Constitution Act 1975 (Vic) s 75(2)

Supreme Court Act 1986 (Vic)

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