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Background paper: Constitutional Issues and National Natural Disaster Arrangements

  • Background paper
Publication date
Prepared by
The Office of the Royal Commission

This is the second paper of the Royal Commission that explores constitutional issues related to Australia’s national natural disaster arrangements.

This paper provides further detail on certain topics – particularly in relation to the ‘external affairs’ power in the Constitution, under which the Commonwealth Parliament can make laws to implement international agreements to which Australia is a party.

This paper, and the first constitutional paper, essentially consider the nature and extent of any Commonwealth constitutional constraints on how Australia responds to natural disasters. The Royal Commission will give consideration to any such constraints in considering any proposals for reform to national natural disaster arrangements.

Having considered what can be done, there will remain questions of policy: What should be done? How might Australia’s arrangements be improved to protect it better from natural disasters? Such policy questions will also be a focus of this Royal Commission.