Constitutions are agreements within Clubs, organisations, States, or associations, which are the rules or limitations, which the participating members agree to abide by, to determine how they will act in concert. With States a constitution limits the power of Governments.
The most obvious place to see constitutionalism working, is on the playing field of sport. No sport can proceed, as intended by its participants, unless they have a constitution which can be altered by common consent if necessary. Sport has only recently become possible on a Global basis, because of agreement by all players on the rules of the game. [As well as the physical and financial ease of moving around the world.]
The early development of sport, particularly on a world basis, was retarded and plaqued by on-going disputes about who was going to judge and apply the agreed 'rules'. The slow emergence of the 'Umpire' or 'Referee', was to remedy this problem, but not before some referee's were injured, and in some countries killed.
Once a way was devised, whereby neither side or external interest could appoint a referee of their choice, all the sports of the world flourished and so to-day we enjoy almost un-interrupted trouble free sport. But it was not like this in the beginning, as we sorted out the underlying principle.
As others have noted, constitutionalism is something natural in the 'whole warp & woof' of the universe, like the laws of motion. Adhere to the principle and everything runs smoothly, breach the principle and there is chaos.
Australia's constitution is like no other in the world and is the envy of the world. At Federation we did have the advantage of looking at all other Constitutions that had been made before ours, so we could avoid the mistakes of others. All through the 1880's & 1890's, right across Australia, endless debates were held and trial constitutions were drawn up, until finally, after many referendums we chose our existing constitution.
Not only was Australia the first nation ever to develop its own constitution, we became the first nation to successfully separate POWER from AUTHORITY. On the many occasions power has been sort to alter our constitution under section 128, only on eight occasions out of 42 attempts have Australians authorised the changes sought.
On the only other two occasions,* when Government has sought more power, outside what the constitution allows-once by an election and once by a referendum-Australian voters either authorised a change of Government, or withheld their authority to change the power structure.
More than most other constitutions, Australia's limits the power of Government, but advances power only by consent of the Governed. This constitution is the "high water mark" in constitutions around the world. Nobody else enjoys the freedom and safety from unlimited power, as do Australians.
The key to its success and annoyance to its detractors is the appointment of the referee, who is the Governor-General. To date, he has not been able to be bought with his life or money, as is the case in so many other nations.
*In 1974 over the 'Whitlam affair', when the Governor-General prorogued Parliament, and called an election.
In 1999 when a referendum was held to decide whether we changed from a Constitutional Monarchy to become a republic.
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