The idea that originalism is a uniquely modern and American approach to constitutional interpretation is false. The traditional approach of common law courts to the interpretation of statutes was originalist, and it has been applied by the High Court of Australia to the interpretation of the Australian Constitution. This article describes that traditional approach and its operation in Australia, its renovation by the High Court in 1988, some complications to which it gives rise, and also explains the High Court’s reluctance to acknowledge that it is, indeed, originalist.
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|Published - 12 Oct 2017