Australian Constitution

Australian Crest

Text of the Constitution

The full text of all 128 Sections of the Australian Constitution is available here, either as single sections, chapters, or all on one page.

Constitutional Overview

What is the purpose of a Constitution? What are the main features of the Australian Constitution? What are the Conventions that underpin its operation?

Federalism

Australia is a federal system, one in which the Constitution divides power between the national, or federal, government and the States. As a result, the political and financial relationship between the States and the Federal Government is an ongoing concern.

The High Court

The High Court consists of seven Justices. Led by the Chief Justice, Robert French, the court has the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution and acting as the final court of appeal from all other courts in Australia.

Governor-General

The Governor-General is the Queen’s representative in Australia. The position has ongoing responsibilities within the political system and its powers are often debated, particularly in the light of the events of 1975.

Constitutional Reform

Only 8 out of 46 attempts to change the Constitution by referendum have been successful since 1901. Many argue that real constitutional reform has been performed by the High Court in its various judgements.

Republic or Monarchy?

The question of whether Australia should become a constitutional republic has been at the forefront of political debate over the past decade. The referendum held in 1999 recorded a 55% “No” vote, but the issue remains alive.

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