Topic: 'The people' of the Australian Constitution - self-constituting, bootstrapping, ratcheting and other issues

Presenter: Elisa Arcioni - Senior Lecturer, Sydney Law School

The Australian constitutional 'people' are a vague and intriguing group. The High Court, while demonstrating the jurisprudential power of the phrase 'the people', has only taken some steps in defining who those 'people' are. This seminar focuses on the ways in which the Court has rejected self-definition by individuals or groups, yet a majority of the Court has adopted a method of reasoning which grants 'the people' some measure of power to define themselves. This occurs through the use of legislative indications of constitutional identity. In this seminar I describe those methods of reasoning and consider a range of objections to the approach of the majority of the Court.

This seminar is presented by the TC Beirne School of Law, Research Seminar Series and the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law (CPICL). All welcome, please register by emailing Beth Williams.

Contact: Beth Williams, ph: 334 69350, email:

About Research Seminar Series

The UQ Law Research Seminar Series provides an opportunity to explore and critically discuss legal and interdisciplinary issues in an academic environment. The seminars are an integral part of the School’s research culture.

For further enquiries about this Seminar Series or if you are interested in presenting a seminar, please contact the Research Office (

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Sir Samuel Griffith Room, 1-W341, Forgan Smith Building