High Court of Australia

Australian Communications and Media Authority v Today FM (Sydney) Pty Ltd [2015] HCA 7

4 Mar 2015

Case Number: S225/2014

Before

French CJ, Hayne, Kiefel, Bell, Gageler, Keane JJ

Catchwords

Statutes – Statutory construction – Clause 8(1)(g) of Sched 2 to Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) ("BSA") conditioned commercial radio broadcasting licence on licensee not using broadcasting service in commission of offence against another Commonwealth Act or a law of a State or Territory – Authority's functions included suspension and cancellation of licences and taking enforcement action under BSA – Authority authorised to conduct investigations for purposes of its functions – Where, as part of investigation, Authority made finding that licensee used broadcasting service to commit offence against State law and thereby breached cl 8(1)(g) licence condition – Whether Authority had power to do so in absence of criminal court finding offence proven.

Constitutional law (Cth) – Judicial power – Where ss 10 and 12 of Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005 (Cth), ss 5, 170 and 178 of BSA and cl 8(1)(g) of Sched 2 to BSA authorised Authority to find licensee of commercial radio broadcasting licence breached cl 8(1)(g) licence condition and to take enforcement action under ss 141 and 143 of BSA prior to criminal court finding offence proven – Whether provisions thereby impermissibly confer judicial power on Authority.

Words and phrases – "adjudging and punishing criminal guilt", "administrative enforcement action", "judicial power", "used in the commission of an offence".

Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005 (Cth) – ss 10, 12.

Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) – ss 5, 141, 143, 170, 178, 179; Sched 2, cl 8(1)(a), (g).

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