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Five Things to Know About the Australian Constitution Paperback – December 27, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521603706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521603706
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,106,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'In this book, Helen Irving provides a neat and innovative way of looking at Australia's constitution. She simplifies difficult and complex issues that go to the heart of our system of government.' Michelle Grattan

Book Description

In this excellent new book by Helen Irving, your questions about Australia's constitution are answered. Many people want to understand and take part in the debate about constitutional issues but they face a significant hurdle: the constitution is almost unreadable. Helen Irving, one of this country's foremost constitutional experts, puts various constitutional confusions to rest, and invites a general audience into an understanding of the issues that were once reserved for experts.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By FurryMoses on November 28, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone who thinks they can pick up a copy of the Australian Constitution & have a pretty good idea of what it's about is almost certainly wrong.

This is because the constitution, as Helen Irving points out, has all the classic features of the modern mystery - it is full of false clues, characters who are not what they appear, hidden evidence & trails that lead to dead ends.
Unless we know this, we cannot answer the controversial national questions of our times.

Reading this book, is to have some sort of response to questions like:
Do Australian's have the right to burn their flag?
Why was Northern Territory's euthanasia law overturned?
Who can fire the Governor General?

The 5 things to know & understand are that the constitution doesn't mean what it says; doesn't say what it means; says some things without actually saying them; fails to say some things that might be important & says certain things that contradict each other.

Helen Irving paces this book really well, with enough interesting tidbits to always keep you wanting to know more. She writes with a comfortable combination of facts and friendly story telling and throws in the occasional wisdom of the way it could perhaps be - just enough to give you some idea of exactly what the problem is.

5 Things to Know about the Australian Constitution is a great primer on the constitution, with enough detail to ensure you're the king of any related conversation at the water-cooler. Highly recommended.
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