Recent Cases

Love v Commonwealth of Australia; Thoms v Commonwealth of Australia [2020] HCA 3 (11 February 2020) (Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nettle, Gordon and Edelman JJ)


Constitutional law (Cth) – Powers of Commonwealth Parliament – Power to make laws with respect to naturalisation and aliens – Meaning of “aliens” – Where plaintiffs foreign citizens, born outside Australia, who did not acquire Australian citizenship – Where plaintiffs biological descendants of indigenous peoples – Where plaintiffs’ visas cancelled under s 501(3A) of Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – Whether statutory citizenship and constitutional alienage co‑terminous – Whether an Aboriginal Australian (defined according to tripartite test in Mabo v Queensland [No 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1) can be “alien” within meaning of s 51(xix) of Constitution – Whether s 51(xix) supports application of ss 14, 189 and 198 of Migration Act to plaintiffs – Whether plaintiffs satisfy tripartite test.

Words and phrases – “Aboriginal Australian”, “alienage”, “aliens”, “allegiance”, “body politic”, “citizen”, “connection to country”, “essential meaning”, “foreign citizen”, “indicia of alienage”, “nationality”, “non‑alien”, “non-alienage”, “non-citizen”, “obligation of protection”, “political community”, “polity”, “sovereignty”, “spiritual connection”, “subject”, “territory”, “traditional laws and customs”, “tripartite test”, “unlawful non-citizen”.