There is a widespread perception that Australian federalism is in need of far-reaching reform. However, few reform proposals have been informed by an adequate understanding of the principles and values that underlie the Australian Constitution, the interpretation of the Constitution by the courts and the political practices that have developed within that framework. Such principles derive from various political theories and the constitutional practices of comparable liberal-democratic countries. The aim of this project is to develop a rigorously systematic and theoretically informed understanding of these principles so that the ongoing interpretation and reform of the Australian federal system can be more coherently understood and assessed.

This research is funded by the Australian Research Council's Future Fellowship scheme (project number FT100100469).