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Consistently with the aims of the series, the book canvasses the Australian constitutional system in a way that explains its form and operation, provides a critical evaluation of it and conveys a sense of the contemporary national debate.
The chapters deal respectively with the foundations of Australian constitutionalism, its history from the time of European settlement, the nature of the Australian Constitutions, the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, federalism and multi-level government, rights protection and prospects for future change.
Running through all the chapters is the story of the gradual evolution of Australian constitutionalism within the lean but almost unchanging framework of the formal, written, national Constitution. A second theme traces the way in which the present, distinctive, constitutional arrangements in Australia emerged from creative tension between the British and United States constitutional traditions on which the Australian Constitution originally drew and which continues to manifest itself in various ways.
The book is written in a clear and accessible style for informed but non-specialist readers in countries around the world. Each chapter is followed by additional references to enable particular issues to be pursued further by readers who seek to do so.