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The German Constitution Turns 60

Basic Law and Commonwealth Constitution- German and Australian Perspectives


Jürgen Bröhmer

The 60 th anniversary of the German Constitution provided the backdrop for a Conference at the Australian National University on 22 nd and 23 rd May 2009, bringing together Australian and German constitutional scholars to discuss core features of the constitutions of both countries. The following issues were presented and discussed from an Australian and German perspective respectively: Federalism as both countries are organized as federations; the concept of human dignity which is a central pillar in the German constitutional and legal system but not mentioned in the Commonwealth Constitution at all; international cooperation and integration as a challenge for any constitutional system in the globalised world; the German Basic Law and the Australian Commonwealth Constitution and their important roles in resolving major social conflicts in both societies, the relationship between the various branches of government as a core issue for both constitutional systems, and the concept of free speech or, broader, the freedom of communication as the central and fundamental right and core prerequisite for any democratic system and the history of the Basic Law.
Contents: Jürgen Bröhmer: The Federal Element of the German Republic Issues and Developments – Nicholas Aroney: Bund, Bundesstaat and Staatenbund: The German Element in Australian Federalism – Saskia Hufnagel: The Impact of the German Human Dignity Principle on the Right to Life and the Right not to be Subject to Torture – Simon Bronitt: The Common Law and Human Dignity: Australian Perspectives – Torsten Stein: International Law and International Cooperation and Integration in the German Basic Law – George Williams: International Law and the War Power in Australia – Rolf Schwartmann: The Role of the Basic Law in Major Social Conflicts – Katharine Gelber: The Role of the Constitution in Major Social Conflicts – Jürgen Bröhmer: The Legislative and Executive Branch versus the Federal Constitutional Court and the Judiciary - Conflict or Cooperation? – Andrew Lynch: The Legislative and Executive Branch vs. The Constitutional Court and the Judiciary - Conflict or Cooperation? – Dieter Dörr: The Basic Law’s Concept of the Communication Freedoms and their Significance for a Modern ‘Multicultural’ and Democratic Society – Craig Collins: The Concept of the Communication Freedoms and their Significance for a Modern ‘Multicultural’ and ‘Democratic’ Society in Australia – Thomas John/Cornelia Koch: The Genesis of the German Constitution - From Total Devastation to the Dawn of a New Era.