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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the peculiar role and status of the State Constitutions in Australia: how they provide for the constitutional system of each State, the extent to which they operate as superior law, and the relationship they have with the Commonwealth Constitution. The Constitutions of the six Australian States are less well known than the Australian Constitution, although their history is longer and their existence is fundamental to the Australian constitutional order. Their most significant feature is that they exist as legal instruments separate from the Australian Constitution. Pre-existing the Australian Constitution as the Constitutions of the colonial forebears of the States, they were retained ‘as is’ upon federation, except in so far as they were qualified by the Australian Constitution in order to create the federal system. No change was imposed, however, on the substance or structure of the new State Constitutions.

Keywords: State Constitutions, Australian Constitution, Commonwealth Constitution, Australian States, constitutional reform

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