PUBLIC HOLIDAYS WHETHER COMMONWEALTH HAS POWER TO DECLARE GENERAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY: POWER TO DECLARE HOLIDAYS IN PUBLIC SERVICE AND BANKING
CONSTITUTION, s. 51 (xiii): COMMONWEALTH PUBLIC SERVICE ACT 1902, s. 72
Advice is asked as to what Commonwealth powers are in respect to declaring any particular day a holiday for the Commonwealth and also what the effect of such declaration would be on say banking and other private businesses.
Under section 72 of the Commonwealth Public Service Act, the Governor-General has power to proclaim any specified day to be kept as a holiday in the public offices of the Commonwealth.
Under the power to make laws as to banking, the Commonwealth Parliament could make provision for any day to be declared a bank holiday throughout the Commonwealth. But no Commonwealth legislation of the kind is at present in force.
In my opinion, the Commonwealth Government has no power, and the Commonwealth Parliament cannot confer the power, to enforce the general observance of a public holiday by private businesses.
[Vol. 14, p. 283]