The Federation Press

Reflections on the Australian Constitution


Leading Australian constitutional practitioners and scholars come together in this volume to reflect on 100 years of the Australian Constitution and on possible directions for the future.

The essays are designed both to evaluate the Australian Constitution, in the light of the experience of the past 100 years, and to identify issues for the future. Most of the authors are prominent figures in Australian constitutional law at the turn of the past century. Some are distinguished in the practice of constitutional law: a former Chief Justice of Australia, Sir Anthony Mason; a senior Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, who also was the inaugural President of the Native Title Tribunal, Justice Robert French (recently appointed to the High Court of Australia); a leader of the constitutional Bar, David Jackson QC.

Others are well-known constitutional scholars: Leslie Zines, George Winterton, Geoffrey Lindell, Brian Opeskin, George Williams, Cheryl Saunders, John Waugh and Christos Mantziaris.

The two exceptions are equally distinguished, but for other reasons. Professor John White is a leader of the Australian scientific community. Professor Thomas Fleiner is a leading international constitutional scholar and a former president of the International Association of Constitutional Law.

One of the strengths of the book is the breadth and depth of knowledge of its authors. In reflecting on their collective experiences over at least the last two decades of the 20th century, it adds an important new layer to the foundation of constitutional experience on which the next generation of scholars and practitioners may build.


This is a collection of essays by a distinguished list of contributors ... It is part of an innovative series from Federation Press ... It makes a very interesting read for anyone with even the slightest interest in our constitutional law and history. It is also important that we keep debating for our own time the fundamental issues it discusses. - Law Institute Journal (Victoria), March 2004

Government agencies already operate subject to judicial review of certain of their decisions but as Christos Mantziaris points out in his impressively researched and argued discussion, they are always looking for new ways to avoid scrutiny ...
Anyone wanting an update in constitutional law will find this an invaluable work. It is a sobering thought that at least half of the 300 cases cited here have been decided in the last 20 years, and perhaps a quarter in the last 10 years. Although not as fluid as, say, tax law, constitutional law does not stand still and all lawyers need to have a sense of it. - Law Society Journal (NSW), September 2003

Table of Contents

The Australian Constitution in retrospect and prospect
The Hon Sir Anthony Mason

Lawyers, historians and Federation history
Mr John Waugh

The acquisition of independence
Professor George Winterton

The Constitution and the people
Justice Robert French

Changing attitudes to federalism and its purpose
Professor Leslie Zines

Internationalisation of rights and the Constitution
Mr D F Jackson QC

National Science and Industry Policy - balancing the centrifugal tendency
Professor John W White

The executive - a common law understanding of legal reform and responsibility
Mr Christos Mantziaris

Australian constitutional law in a global era
Mr Brian Opeskin

Globalisation of the Constitution - the impact of international norms
Professor George Williams

Future prospects of the Australian Constitution
Professor Cheryl Saunders

The Age of Constitutions
Professor Thomas Fleiner

Table of Cases
Table of Statutes

Of interest...