Constitutional Design and Australian Exceptionalism in the Adoption of National Bills of Rights Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractWhy has Australia not followed Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in adopting a formal bill of rights at the national level? We argue that the Australian Constitution has made the difference. The Constitution has underpinned a comparatively strong parliamentary check on the executive, weakening the rationale for a bill of rights and impeding legislative initiatives towards this end; thwarted the drive for a constitutional bill of rights; and helped delegitimize statutory approaches to a bill of rights in general and the “dialogue model” in particular. The article ultimately questions the notion that a common approach to rights protection can apply across Westminster democracies.

publication date

  • 2014