The Federation Press

Constitutional Advancement in a Frozen Continent

Essays in honour of George Winterton


Australia has been called the “frozen continent” for its many failures to effect changes to the Constitution via the processes prescribed in section 128. And yet this rigid referendum process has not impeded constitutional advancement. Today the Australian polity wields broad-ranging national powers over most spheres of activities in Australia. The High Court of Australia plays a pivotal role in ensuring that a document devised in a horse and buggy era continues to be of relevance in an age of fast-paced modernity. A broad spectrum of distinguished legal scholars and jurists engage in thoughtful and critical exegesis to explain the continuing evolution of the Australian Constitution.

The book was originally conceived as a festschrift to mark George Winterton’s retirement as Professor of Constitutional Law at Sydney University. He worked closely with H P Lee on the shaping of the framework of the volume and, in particular, worked very closely with Peter Gerangelos on the chapter which now appears under his name, a chapter which should be regarded as one co-authored with George Winterton. Unfortunately, George passed away without seeing the fruits of his labours. The book stands as a mark of admiration and respect for an outstanding and inspirational scholar.


...this book brings together the scholarly work of approximately 15 leading academics and practitioners in the field of constitutional law. Several of these contributors presently hold senior academic positions in leading universitites within Australian and knew Professor Winterton personally... the advanced writings contained in this book are highly sophisticated and not meant to be relied upon as an introductory text for law students or readers without a background in constitutional law... Essentially I would recommend this book to later year law students and legal practitioners who have a foundational understanding on jurisprudence and constitutional law... the content encapsulated within is definitely worthwhile to be read. - ACT Law Society Newsletter, Ethos, March 2010

The contributors, all distinguished scholars, generally examine the development of the topic under consideration. Only a basic level of constitutional knowledge is assumed. The book can therefore be highly recommended for those wishing to bring themselves up to date on constitutional issues at the federal level. And for the legions who followed George Winterton’s contribution to the debate on the republic, there is plenty of food for thought about the kind of change that might appropriately be taken. - Jeffrey Barnes, Law Institute Journal of Victoria, May 2010

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sir Gerard Brennan

George Winterton: A Friend to Students and Foreign Law
Rosalind Dixon

My Mate in Empire: George Winterton and the Republic Debate
Julian Lesser

George Winterton – A Singular, Gifted Scholar
Laurence Maher

A Voice not Stilled – An Obituary in Recollection of George Winterton
Robert French

The Constitutional Amendment Process: Poetry for the Ages
John M Williams

Advancing the Federal Principle through the Intergovernmental Immunity Doctrine
Geoffrey Lindell

Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto: Constitutional Fidelity in Troubled Times
HP Lee

The Constitution and the Environment
Peter Johnston

Commonwealth Power Over Industrial Relations: Evolution Without a Referendum
George Williams and David Hume

Native Title – A Constitutional Shift?
Robert French

The Express Rights Provisions: Form and Substance (or Opportunities Taken or Not Taken?)
Keven Booker and Arthur Glass

The Implied Rights Revolution – Balancing Means and Ends?
Nicholas Aroney

Parliament, the Executive, the Governor-General and the Republic: The George Winterton Thesis
Peter Gerangelos

The Separation of Judicial Power and Progressive Interpretation
Fiona Wheeler

Original Meanings and Contemporary Understandings in Constitutional Interpretation
Jeffrey Goldsworthy

Chief Justice Gleeson and the Constitution
Leslie Zines

Constitutional Advancement - Some Reflections
Sir Anthony Mason


Of interest...