What Parliament Does

In our previous lesson we learned about how few constitutional freedoms we have. We learned that we all live under laws made by Parliament, and we learned that most of the freedoms we take for granted can be taken away by Parliament.


Slide lists key learnings in dot points

So who is the government? Do we have a democracy? Do we have a government of the people, by the people and for the people?

The answer is: ‘no we don’t’.

In the constitution of the United States they have a doctrine that ultimate political authority resides with the people. In Commonwealth countries, such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, we have the doctrine that power ultimately resides with Parliament. There is no equivalent doctrine of ‘we the people’. There are some around who advocate the idea that ‘we the people’ have some kind of constitutional right to rise up in defence of liberty but really that’s an American import. In the Commonwealth constitutional system, also known as the ‘Westminster’ system, power does not reside in ‘the people’ it resides in the Parliament.

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