Criticisms of the Australian constitution abound but the nation’s history of constitutional reform has been one of failure. Of the 44 referenda held to date, the ‘yes’ vote has prevailed on only eight occasions and more than four decades have elapsed since the last amendment. While the slow rate of reform has itself been the subject of criticism, Australia is not alone in eschewing change. As the foundational documents of nations, constitutions are intended to endure and, for this reason, also intentionally difficult to alter.
In the next year or so, Australians will be asked to vote again, this time on enshrining a First Nations Voice as an advisory body to parliament and government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The recent death of Queen Elizabeth II has also sparked renewed calls for Australia to renounce constitutional monarchy and become a republic. It is timely then to consider not just these two potential referenda but also broader questions relating to constitutional change.
Call for papers
For the Fourth Annual Australia and the World Symposium, submissions are invited on but not limited to the following topics:
- The history and politics of Australian constitutional reform
- The Uluru Statement and the proposed referendum on the First Nations Voice to Parliament
- Australian constitutional monarchy and the republican movement
- What the pandemic revealed about the Australian Constitution and federalism
- Comparisons between the Australian constitution and those of other nations
- The role of Constitutional Courts
- Judicial activism on constitutional matters in Australia and beyond
- The relationship between constitutions and truth and reconciliation processes
- Lessons for Australia from the constitutional reform of other nations
The purpose of the annual symposia is to spark interdisciplinary conversations between scholars on the major issues confronting Australia and engender future research and publications. The symposium is also a potential pathway into the ANU Press Australia and the World Series. Contributions from early career researchers and from scholars from any discipline, nationally or internationally, are welcomed.
The Symposium will be held face-to-face on the ANU Acton campus.
To participate, please submit a title, abstract (250-500 words) and bio (100 words) by Midnight (AEDST) Friday 27 January 2023 by emailing email@example.com