Procedures for Constitutional Amendments in other Countries
|USA ||Australia||Malaysia||South Africa||Switzerland
|(a) a 2/3 vote of both Houses of Congress |
(b) on the application of 2/3 of the State legislatures.
|The initial steps have to be|
|A Bill may originate in either House of the Parliament (Art. 66(2)).
||Within the Parliament by|
(a) a Cabinet member or
(b) a Deputy Minister or
(c) a member or committee of the National Assembly ("NA")or
(d) a member or committee of the National Council of Provinces ("NCP").
|(a) Total revision of the Constitution can be proposed by|
(i) one Council of the Federal Assembly or
(ii) one hundred thousand Swiss citizens entitled to vote.
(b) Partial revision may be brought about either
(i) by means of a popular initiative (presented by one hundred thousand Swiss citizens entitled to vote) or
(ii) according to the forms laid down for federal legislation.
||In situation (a) above, the Congress shall propose Amendments to the Constitution.In situation|
(b) above, the Congress shall on the application of the State legislatures call a Convention for proposing Amendments.
||In respect of popular initiative, if several different provisions are to be modified or introduced, each one must be the subject of a separate initiative request. An initiative request may consist of: |
(i) a general proposal or
(ii) take the form of a complete draft.
|IV. Sequence and timeframe of deliberation
||In both cases, the Amendments shall be valid when ratified by|
(a) 3/4 of the States legislatures
(b) 3/4 of special State (ratifying) Conventions.
|(a) The proposed law must be passed by an absolute majority of each House of Parliament and, not less than 2 months and not more than six months after its passage through both Houses, submitted in each State and Territory to the electors qualified to vote for the election of members of the House of Representatives|
(b) alternatively, if one of the Houses rejects the proposed law passed by an absolute majority of the other House or passes it with amendments the second mentioned House will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the second mentioned House again passes the proposed law by an absolute majority but the other House again rejects it,the Governor-General may submit the proposed law, either with or without any amendment subsequently agreed to by both Houses, to the electors in each State and Territory qualified to vote for the election of the House of Representatives.
(c) When a proposed law is submitted to the electors the vote shall be taken in such manner as the Parliament prescribes. But until the qualification of electors of members of the House of Representatives becomes uniform throughout the Commonwealth, only one-half of the electors voting for and against the proposed law shall be counted in any State in which adult suffrage prevails.
(d) If in a majority of the States a majority of the electors voting approve the proposed law, and if a majority of all the electors voting also approve the proposed law, it shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent.
|(a) Subject to certain exceptions, a Bill for making any amendment to the Constitution shall not be passed in either House of Parliament unless it has been supported on Second and Third Readings by the votes of not less than 2/3 of the total number of members of that House.
||(a) Section 1 may be amended by a Bill passed by the NA with a supporting vote of 75% of its members and the NCP with a supporting vote of at least 6 provinces;|
(b) Chapter 2 may be amended by a Bill passed by the NA with a supporting vote of 2/3 of its members and the NCP with a supporting vote of at least 6 provinces;
(c) Other provisions may be amended by a Bill passed by (i) the NA with a supporting vote of 2/3 of its members, and (if the amendment (1) relates to a matter that affects the NCP; (2) alters provincial boundaries, powers, functions or institutions; or (3) amends a provision that deals specifically with a provincial matter) (ii) the NCP with a supporting vote of at least 6 provinces;
(d) A Bill introduced by the persons or committees set out in (a) (b) & (c) of Part II above shall, at least 30 days before it is introduced, be published in the national Government Gazette for public comment; submit to the provincial legislatures for their views; and submit to NCP for a public debate if the amendment is not one that is required to be passed by NCP.
(e) The person or committee introducing the Bill must submit any written comments received from public and provincial legislatures to the Speaker for tabling in the NA and, in respect of certain amendments, to the Chairperson of the NCP for tabling in the NCP.
(f) A Bill passed by NA and where applicable NCP must be referred to the President for assent.
|(a) For Total revision, in either of the cases specified in para (a) in Part II above, if the majority of the Swiss citizens casting a vote give a positive answer, both Councils shall be elected anew in order to undertake the revision.|
(b) For Partial revision -
(i) if the request consists of a general proposal and if it meets with the approval of the Federal Chambers 1 , the latter shall prepare a partial revision along the lines of the proposal and submit its draft to the people and the Cantons for adoption or rejection. If the Federal Chambers do not approve of the request, the question of partial revision shall be submitted to the decision of the people; if the majority of the Swiss citizens casting a vote decide in the affirmative, the Federal Assembly shall undertake the revision in conformity with the decision of the people;
(ii) if the request is in the form of a complete draft and if it meets with the approval of the Federal Assembly, the draft shall be submitted to the people and the Cantons for adoption or rejection. If the Federal Assembly disagrees, it may prepare its own draft or recommend the rejection of the proposed draft and submit its own draft or recommendation of rejection together with the draft proposed by the initiative to the decision of the people and the Cantons.
(c) A federal law shall determine the procedure to be followed in the case of popular initiative requests and votes on the revision of the Federal Constitution.
(d) The revised Federal Constitution or the revised part of it, as the case may be, shall enter into force if it has been adopted by the majority of the Swiss citizens casting a vote and the majority of the Cantons.
|V. Special Provisions
||(a)No amendment may be made prior to 1808 to certain parts of Article 1.|
(b) No State without its consent shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
|No alteration diminishing the proportionate representation of any State in either House of the Parliament, or the minimum number of representatives of a State in the House of Representatives, or increasing, diminishing or otherwise altering the limits of the State, etc. shall become law unless the majority of the electors voting in that State approve the proposed law.||(a) A law making an amendment to certain provision of the Constitution (e.g. provisions in relation to Conference of Ruler, privileges of Legislative Assembly, national language, constitutional amendment etc.) shall not be passed without the consent of the Conference of Rulers.|
(b) Article 161E provides safeguards for constitutional position of States of Sabah and Sarawak.
|If a Bill relates to a matter which concerns a specific province, the NCP may not pass it unless it has been approved by the legislature(s) of the province(s) concerned.
Department of Justice
1.The expression "Federal Chambers" is used in the unofficial English translation of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation collected in Albert P. Blaustein and Gisbert H. Flanz (eds), Constitutions of the Countries of the World (Oceana Publications Inc), Vol XIX. It appears from the discussion of Professor J.-F. Aubert and Professor E. Grisel, "The Swiss Federal Constitution", in F. Dessemontet and T. Ansay (eds), Introduction to Swiss Law (Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2nd edition, 1995), pp 15-26 that the expression refers to the two Councils of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, namely the National Council and the Council of States (see p. 19).