the australian constitutional thingy

Catherine Driscoll catherine.driscoll at
Mon Nov 8 14:24:50 PST 1999

Rob writes

>One thing (it has occurred to me) that we should inform interested
>Americans about, is that the Australian constitution (the effective focus
>of today's expensive embarrassment) is unknown to all but a dozen lawyers
>and a handful of lonely academics. Our system is the product of a sorta
>common-law process - entirely run on convention, and almost entirely
>without recourse to the actual (and astonishingly dated and incongruent)
>constitution - only almost no-one knows that either.

yeah i love that such protective instincts can be conjured towards this non-descripion of our political system. and why did almost no one seem to mention that if australia was run according the constitution it would be nothing like the system which is supposed to 'work' so well...

>Still, if anything good has come out of this, it is that Australians still
>won't know anything about the constitution in whose name they cast their
>vote. None of that hands-on-hearts stuff for us! Well, except for this
>nauseating Olympics business, which is only gonna get worse, I s'pose. If
>I stop smoking, d'ya reckon I could get a seat on the space-shuttle?

no patriotism, no 'nation' -- yeah well, there are moments, you know, when the phobia seems to have nasty symptoms. like these, where many of the people i know who voted against not because they wanted to elect a president, or only secondarily for that reason, but mostly because it wasn't about 'them' or 'their' interests.

a possibly irrelevant curiosity everyone has been ranting about how labour voters/seats voted no and it interested me to find that in my home seat, a national party stronghold, my labour-voting family and their friends all seem to have voted yes (though, ok, complaining all the way about how much money was spent on it etc [and that is not a criticism btw]), but the dominant national-voting group seem to have voted no like i said, probably irrelevant


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