The Australia Acts 1986

The Australia Acts 1986

Australia’s Statutes of Independence

By Anne Twomey


The Australia Acts, one enacted in Australia and the other in the United Kingdom, are fundamental constitutional documents for Australia: they terminated the remaining constitutional links between the two countries. Negotiated behind closed doors, little has been known of their background and purpose.

Using previously confidential documents, this book reveals what was intended, what was disputed and what was rejected. It analyses each provision, its background, objectives, drafting changes and its current operation. It also provides a close analysis of the power to enact the Australia Acts, the validity of the provisions and their impact on the Crown and Australia’s independence.

The book addresses fundamental historical, political and constitutional matters, such as:

  • the current basis for Australian sovereignty and the binding nature of the Constitution
  • the relationship between federalism and the Crown
  • the status of the Queen of Australia and whether there is also a separate Queen of each State, and
  • the source of the power to amend Australia's constitutional documents and the limits on its exercise.

It is also essential for those who need to ascertain the extent of State legislative power, including:

  • the reach of the extra-territorial power of the States and whether a nexus is needed
  • whether the States can constitutionally entrench laws, such as a bill of rights
  • why the States cannot abdicate or limit the scope of their legislative powers
  • whether the States can apply the Australia Acts with retrospective effect to validate defective State laws.

Published 17 December 2010
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862878075
Australian RRP $145.00
International Price $135.00