chapter  6
19 Pages

The argument for section 116

ByLuke Beck

This chapter presents the 'standard account' of Henry Higgins' argument for section 116. Higgins had a good knowledge of the statute he explained to the Convention. Higgins was seeking to do more than simply have the Constitution operate as if God had not been recognised in the preamble. Higgins' general line of argument appears clear and, on first inspection, certainly appears to accord with the 'standard account'. Recognition of God in the preamble might lead to a judicial interpretation that the Constitution created the Commonwealth of Australia as a Christian nation. Higgins' comments in the Convention that in the United States there had been a lifting of banners by those seeking to have Sunday observance laws enacted throughout the country were accurate, although the banners were lifted long before Church of the Holy Trinity was decided. Higgins seems to have believed that thinking like that expressed in Church of the Holy Trinity worked to enable such an extension.