This article examines whether Australia’s constitutional founders intended that adeliberative form of democratic government should govern federally in Australia.Deliberative democratic ideals have long occupied a prominent place in democratic theory.However, they have seldom been brought to bear in a sustained way on historicalquestions about Australia’s constitutional design. For constitutional scholars, democraticdeliberation is now generally a forgotten element of the Australian constitutional system.We show here how the framers concerned themselves with democratic deliberation,including how precisely they envisaged deliberative democratic practices during thefederation Conventions and within the new federation. Our focus is on the framers’understandings of deliberation within the institution of Parliament, and the subsidiaryissues bearing on that question such as the relationship between Parliament and theexecutive and the role of political parties. Our research suggests that deliberativedemocracy should assume a prominent place alongside more widely acknowledgedoriginal constitutional values.
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