Susan Crennan

in The Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution

, pages 77-95
Published in print March 2018 | ISBN: 9780198738435
Published online November 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780191801730 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law


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This chapter discusses the federation of Australia, which has been described as ‘the greatest political achievement in Australian history’. In fact, this achievement transcended intercolonial rivalries, disparate fiscal policies, and other inequalities and distinctions between the Australian colonies, and personal and political antagonisms. The embodiment of federation, the Australian Constitution, a ‘political instrument’, furthermore combines constitutional monarchy, separate legislative, executive, and judicial powers as in the United States of America, and responsible parliamentary government modelled on the Westminster system and democracy. Federation required national sentiment and a national vision. It also required a willingness to accept compromise to further that national vision, tempered by widespread acceptance of continued dependence on Britain.

Keywords: federation; Australian Constitution; Australian history; Australian colonies; Westminster system; Britain

Article.  8743 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; Legal System and Practice

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