Constitutional Change and Bicameralism in Australia: the Perversity of 'Reform'

Bruce Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


It is desirable for a constitution, as a power-limiting device, to possess significant rigidity or, in other words. 10 be entrenched. in the Australian states, with the exception of Queensland, the upper houses of parliament have an increasingly important role to play in providing that rigidity. The democratisation of state upper houses and the adoption ofelectoral systems which ensure incongruent partisan representation between houses in Australia's bicameral parliaments mean that upper houses have the political capacity to ensure that important legislation, including proposals for constitutional change, is properly debated in parliament and, to an extent in the wider community. In this context, it seems perverse that much so called 'reform' of upper houses in Australia continues to focus on various means ofsubordinating these chambers to the will of the lower house majority. This article argues that reform should be directed at enhancing, rather than weakening, the role of Australia's unique upper houses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-102
JournalAustralasian Parliamentary Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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