That Vague But Powerful Abstraction: The Concept of ‘The People’ in the Constitution

11 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2014

See all articles by Elisa Arcioni

Elisa Arcioni

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: February 10, 2014

Abstract

The concept of "the people" in the Australian Constitution is undoubtedly unfinished constitutional business. The concept is “vague” due to a lack of development by the High Court but also because it is an inherently fluid concept. Yet it is also “powerful” because of what "the people" has come to signify, which is something that I suggest should be further developed by the High Court. There are two questions that I consider in this paper. The first is: who are ‘the people’? The second is: what impact do they have on our understanding of the Constitution and constitutional terms?

Keywords: Australian Constitution, constitutional identity, the people, constitutional citizenship, constitutional community

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Arcioni, Elisa, That Vague But Powerful Abstraction: The Concept of ‘The People’ in the Constitution (February 10, 2014). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2393761 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2393761

Elisa Arcioni (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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