Commentary

Changing the Australian Constitution was always meant to be difficult – here’s why

Constitutional law Constitutional reform Referendum Australia
Description

Debates about constitutional change in Australia inevitably raise the poor success rate of referendums. Only eight out of 44 attempts have ever succeeded and there has not been a successful constitutional change since 1977.

So why was the referendum chosen as the means of amending our federal constitution, and was it really intended to be so hard to succeed?

In the 1890s, adopting a referendum as the means of amending the constitution was quite radical. None of the countries from which the framers of the constitution drew precedents and inspiration – the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States – used a referendum.

Why then did Australia take a different path and entrust the people with the final decision on constitutional change?

Read the full article on The Conversation.

Publication Details
Publication Year:
2019