British Medical Association v The Commonwealth.

Does the prohibition in s51(xxiiiA) but not so as to authorise any form of civil conscription apply to the states? William J , Justice of the High Court of Australia in the British Medical association case (BMA), stated,

William J

It would no doubt be a form of industrial conscription to compel persons by law to work in industries

whether the industries were carried on by the Commonwealth or its authorities or by the States or their


authorities or by private individuals.

Webb J.

To require a person to do something which he may lawfully decline to do but only at the sacrifice of the

whole or a substantial part of the means of his livelihood would, I think, be to subject him to practical

compulsion amounting to conscription in the case of services required by Parliament to be rendered to the

people. If Parliament cannot lawfully do this directly by legal means it cannot lawfully do it indirectly by

creating a situation, as distinct from merely taking advantage of one, in which the individual is left no real

choice but compliance.




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