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What is a Constitution?

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 “A constitution is a set of rules defining a system of government. It describes the institutional structure, the conditions under which power is held and exercised, and the procedures through which the rules themselves may be changed.”  – Alan Fenna, Essentials of Australian Government. Croydon Vic: Tertiary Press, 2000.

A constitution, in principle, sits above the “ordinary” laws that government make day-to-day. It is the fundamental law that binds together the political process.

Constitutions can consist of both written and unwritten components. The unwritten components are knows as conventions, or accepted practices that constitute informal rules.

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia is in a single document. The Western Australian Constitution, on the other hand, is found in two main and several supplementary documents.