Constitutional issues in program design

Who should attend

This course has been designed for policy officers in departments who are responsible for the design and implementation of funding and grant programs, as well as government lawyers who advise them about those programs.

Course outline and objectives

This half-day course aims to ensure that Commonwealth officers who are engaged in developing and implementing Commonwealth grant and funding programs are introduced to the constitutional limits which apply to the Commonwealth's powers to engage in funding activities, and are better equipped to understand how those limits can be observed while ensuring that policy objectives are met.

The course will provide an introduction to the constitutional principles which apply to the design and implementation of funding and grant programs. This will include:

  • gaining an understanding of the need for legislative authority for Commonwealth funding programs and how this legislative authority might be obtained
  • developing some familiarity with the Commonwealth's legislative powers, particularly the important powers with respect to social welfare, corporations and external affairs, as well as the implied nationhood power, in order to see how those powers might support particular funding activities
  • briefly introducing other constitutional issues that may be relevant to program design.

The course will be interactive and discussion-based, and will use exercises and examples to illustrate key concepts. Comprehensive course materials will be provided to each participant.


Our presenters are AGS lawyers who have a great depth of knowledge of the government environment, and who practise extensively in this area of law. They illuminate important principles with real-world examples, encourage active discussion of the issues and lead participants through practical problem-solving exercises.


This is a half-day course, either 9 am to 12.30 pm or 1.30 pm to 5 pm. Morning/afternoon tea will be provided.


Standard fee – $440 (inclusive of GST) per person. No more than 20 people will be accepted on each course, and courses will only be conducted if we receive sufficient nominations.