American Precedents in Australian Federation

American Precedents in Australian Federation

American Precedents in Australian Federation

American Precedents in Australian Federation

Excerpt

The superficial resemblance of the Australian to the American Constitution is obvious. Both organize a federal government. Both separate that government into three branches. Both establish a legislature composed of a house of representatives elected on a popular basis and a senate in which the states are equally represented. Both provide for a supreme or high court and empower the federal legislature to establish a system of inferior federal courts. Both constitutions delegate large powers, many of which are the same in the two documents, to the federal government, reserving the powers not so delegated to the states composing the union. Both carefully guarantee the integrity of these states and preserve to them large and essential powers.

An attempt has been made in this study to discover what the makers of the Australian Constitution knew about American institutions and to what extent they deliberately followed American precedents and were conscious of the resemblances of the two constitutions. It will be obvious that other governments than that of the United States -- particularly those of Great Britain and Canada -- contributed greatly to the making of the Australian Constitution, and that parts of the new government are purely Australian, or partly Australian, in origin. It has not, however, been the primary object of this study to trace influences other than American.

The records of the debates in the conferences and conventions in which the Australian Constitution was framed, and . . .

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