Opinion No. 1681
COMMONWEALTH PLACES: PLACES ACQUIRED BY THE COMMONWEALTH FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES: SOVEREIGNTY OVER PLACES SO ACQUIRED: APPLICATION THERETO OF GENERAL LAW OF STATE: APPLICATION OF LIQUOR LAWS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA TO PARAFIELD AERODROME
CONSTITUTION ss 52(i), 109
26 March 1941
The Crown Solicitor, Government of South Australia
I refer to your letter of 20th March, 1941, relative to the interpretation of section 52(i) of the Constitution.
Apart from the power conferred under section 52(i) being ‘subject to this Constitution’, it is expressed to be a power to legislate ‘with respect to’, that is, on the subject of, the ‘places’ acquired. I think this means power to legislate on the subject of ‘places’ as places, such as the acquisition, possession, enjoyment and disposition of the places. In my opinion the State does not, under section 52, lose its sovereignty over those places when they are acquired by, or transferred to, the Commonwealth, and although the places become the property of the Commonwealth, they remain parts of the Territory or the State.
Other considerations would arise if State legislation were inconsistent with Commonwealth legislation so as to import section 109, but, with this qualification, I consider that the general law of a State continues to apply to a place acquired by the Commonwealth.
With the exception, perhaps, of a Defence regulation relating to Officers’ Messes, the Commonwealth has no law relating to liquor that could be applied to the Parafield Aerodrome and consequently I consider that the Liquor Laws of your State continue to be in force there.
You will appreciate that this is a personal note between us and will not, I trust, at any future time, be regarded as an admission of the Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth.
[Vol. 34, p. 73]