Constitutional Conventions in Westminster Systems

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Brian Galligan, Scott Brenton
Cambridge University Press, Aug 4, 2015 - Law - 288 pages
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Conventions are fundamental to the constitutional systems of parliamentary democracies. Unlike the United States which adopted a republican form of government, with a full separation of powers, and codified constitutional structures and limitations for executive and legislative institutions and actors, Britain and subsequently Canada, Australia and New Zealand have relied on conventions to perform similar functions. The rise of new political actors has disrupted the stability of the two-party system, and in seeking power the new players are challenging existing practices. Conventions that govern constitutional arrangements in Britain and New Zealand, and the executive in Canada and Australia, are changing to accommodate these and other challenges of modern governance. In Westminster democracies, constitutional conventions provide the rules for forming government; they precede law and make law-making possible. This prior and more fundamental realm of government formation and law making is shaped and structured by conventions.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Constitutional conventions
8
Law and convention
24
Executive conventions
51
Cabinet government
72
Caretaker conventions
91
Minority and multiparty government
116
Parliament
137
The United Kingdom
173
Canada
189
Australia
204
New Zealand
217
Codifying conventions
233
Constitutional reform
249
Index
266
Copyright

Upper houses
157

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About the author (2015)

Brian Galligan is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Melbourne. He is the author or co-author of eight books on Australian politics and political economy, including: Beyond the Protective State (1992), A Federal Republic (1995), Citizens without Rights (1997) and Australians and Globalisation (2001). He is joint author of Australian Citizenship (2004) and Becoming Australian (2014) and co-editor of The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics (2007) and Human Rights in Asia (2011).

Scott Brenton is a Lecturer in Political Science and the Director of the Doctoral Academy at the Melbourne School of Government. He has published extensively on Australian politics, particularly on altering traditional forms of governance and challenging, or rather adapting, existing conventions. He has contributed to several major Australian Research Council projects, including the Parliamentary Accountability Project, the Democratic Audit of Australia and Strengthening Parliamentary Institutions.

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