The Over-Rated Mr. Clark: Putting Andrew Inglis Clark's Contribution to the Constitution into Perspective

Papers on Parliament, Vol. 61, pp. 73-80, 2014

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/04

8 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2014 Last revised: 6 Oct 2014

Helen Irving

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: January 27, 2014

Abstract

Andrew Inglis Clark, the 19th century Tasmanian politician, jurist, and ardent Americanist, is often (these days) described as the primary ‘architect’ or ‘author’ of Australia’s Constitution. Equally frequently, he is credited with valiantly, albeit unsuccessfully, proposing a Bill of Rights for the Constitution. This paper challenges these claims. It poses three questions: Was Clark the primary author of the Constitution?; If not, was he one of the Constitution’s ‘architects’? If neither, was he nevertheless a ‘Founding Father’? It concludes that Clark was none of these, but that he deserves recognition for a different contribution: namely, his successful insistence, before the Constitution was written, that Australia should follow the U.S. form of federalism, and finally, for his vision of Australian judicial independence.

Keywords: Clark, A.I, Australian Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federation

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Irving, Helen, The Over-Rated Mr. Clark: Putting Andrew Inglis Clark's Contribution to the Constitution into Perspective (January 27, 2014). Papers on Parliament, Vol. 61, pp. 73-80, 2014; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2386406

Helen Irving (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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