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Comparison of Minimalist Option 1 with the Current Constitution

See Stephen Souter's comparison chart for comparisons with other constitutional models. The HTML from the table on this page has been borrowed from Stephen Souter's page. Note: in the tables below:

Choosing the Head of State
ProposalExisting SystemPeter Crayson's Constitution
TermLength (yrs)Not stated
Usually 5
5 yrs
Multiple terms?YesYes
Qualif.Who is eligibleNot statedSame as member of Parliament
Serving MPs qualify?NoNo
Past MPs qualify?YesYes
Other qualificationsNoneCan't hold another "office or position of profit"
Who resolves disputes on qualif.N/AHigh Court sitting as Court of Disputed Returns
By whomQueen
Parliamentary joint sitting, or popular election (determined by Parliament)
Majority requiredN/A2/3 in case of joint sitting
Possible, but unlikely1-5 if chosen by joint sitting, 3-5 if popularly elected
Not stated
(in practice PM)
By Constitutional Council
RemovalBy whomQueenVote of joint sitting
Majority requiredN/A2/3
How InitiatedUnclearNot stated
GroundsNot requiredPresident is unfit to hold office, or has brought the office into disrepute, or is unable to perform functions by reason of physical or mental incapacity
Acting Head of State
Who is eligibleMost senior
State Gov.
(i) The Vice President;
(ii) officers specified by the Parliament;
(iii) persons designated by the Constitutional Council;
(iv) persons designated by the President;
(v) the President of the Senate; or
(vi) the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
How chosenQueen appointsAutomatic
Majority requiredN/AN/A
Can Acting Presidents be removed?YesProbably - by s.60(1) or s.60(3)
Limits on the use ofN/ANo more than 120 days
Ministry & Advisory Council
Unwritten practices codified?SomeYes
PM's role entrenched?NoYes
Advisory CouncilNameFederal Executive CouncilFederal Executive Council. (But note that there is also a Constitutional Council with a distinctly different role)
Ministers only?NoYes
Appointment on advice?In practiceN/A. Membership always ex officio.
PMAppointmentBy GGBy President
DismissalBy GGBy President
Appointment & dismissal req. advice?Uncertain (but prob. not)No
Other MinistersSpecial KindsNoneDeputy PM, Assistant Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries
Appoint. on advice?In practiceYes
Dismissal on advice?In practiceYes
Other Powers and Functions of the Head of State
Federal Executive PowerWho is vested with itQueenPresident
Who may exercise itGG (in practice on advice) President (on advice of Exec Council)
Pres. Assent to Bills
On advice?In practiceYes
Can a veto be overridden?NoNo
Commander-in-ChiefGGPresident (on advice of Exec Council)
Summoning & proroguing Parliament: on advice?In practiceWhen advised, is bound to do so, but may also summon at his discretion
Dissolutions: on advice?In practice When advised, is bound to do so, with some exceptions (ss. 4, 28, 62B)
Deputies power: on advice?In practiceYes (on advice of PM)
General limit on exercise of powers?NoneYes (s61, possibly s51(xl))
Head of State: Miscellaneous
SalaryCan be changed while in office?No alterationNo reduction
Who fixes salaryParliamentParliament
Presidency: Special FeaturesNoneThe exercise of some powers cannot be challenged in court (s61(4))
Other Republican Changes
Impose republic on States?N/AYes
Preamble: new one or modifications only?N/AMinor modifications
Covering clausesN/AAmended
Disallowance Power (s59)N/ARepealed
Reserve Bills Power (s60)N/ARepealed
Non-Republican Changes
Judges & serving soldiers can now sit in Parl.?N/ASoldiers only (s.44)
Other significant changesN/AEstablishment of Constitutional Council which includes, amongst others, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and whose job it is to nominate the President (with scope for expansion of this role to, say, appointment of High Court justices).

Retention of term "Crown" to mean the collective bodies politic, represented by the President.

The term "President in consultation with Council" is introduced with a meaning distinct from the terms "President", "President in Council"

Entrenchment of the Senate's proportional representation electoral system with minimum number of Senators per State set at ten.

Removal of the role of State Governments in regulating Senate elections and in filling casual vacancies in the Senate.

Retention of the role of State Governors as representatives of the Head of State - formerly the Queen, now the President - but with no shift in Federal-State powers.

Removal of spent or obsolete provisions, and removal of references to "colonies" except in the transitional provisions.

See Peter Crayson's comments for a complete list.

Last updated 10 December 1997.

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