"Who is more powerful the Governor-General or the High Court? Can the Governor-General over rule the High Court?"

Thank you for a very interesting question.

It is not possible to say whether the Governor-General or the High Court of Australia is more powerful as they have different powers and roles to perform.

The Australian Constitution divides the power to make and manage laws between three largely separate groups:

This division is based on the principle of the ‘separation of powers’ and is intended to prevent any government from having unlimited power. Instead power is shared between the Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary which provide checks and balances on each other.

However, Australia does not have a complete separation of powers because some of the roles of the three groups overlap. For example, the Prime Minister and ministers are part of the Executive as well as the Parliament.

Significantly, the Governor-General is part of, or has a role in, all three groups:

The Governor-General is also the only person who can dismiss a Justice of the High Court, but Section 72(ii) of the Constitution places clear limits on their power to do so. A Justice can only be removed when the Governor-General acts on the advice of the Executive, and both Houses of Parliament, and in a case of “proved misbehaviour or incapacity”.

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