Document Type



Adelaide Law Review




Although the framers of the Australian Constitution adopted many features of the United States Constitution, they rejected the separation of legislative and executive power in favour of responsible government in a parliamentary system like that of the United Kingdom. In doing so, Australians depended on existing conventions about the nature of responsible government instead of specification of its attributes in constitutional text. The United States Constitution contains detailed provisions about separation of powers, but unwritten conventions have produced some central features of American government. This article reviews conventions developed by Congress that constrain Presidents in the domestic sphere with regard to the appointment of executive and judicial officers and the funding of the federal government. The article then reviews conventions developed by Presidents that liberate them in the conduct of foreign relations and war making. These aspects of the American experience may aid the analysis of problems of executive power under the Australian Constitution.