Alternative History

Thirty-six amendments to the Constitution of Cygnia have been proposed by the Congress of the Union and put to referendum since the Constitution came into force on 1 January 1948. Only nine of these, having achieved a majority of affirmative votes in the majority of states, are part of the Constitution. Three of these were ratified simultaneously in 1977, all of them resulting from the aftermath of the constitutional crisis in 1975.

Article Eight of the Constitution of Cygnia detailed the three-step process for amending the nation's supreme law. Amendments must be properly Submitted, Approved and Assented.

  • For an amendment bill to be passed by Congress and submitted to referendum, it must first be presented by the Government to the House of Representatives, whereupon it goes through the same legislative procedures as other bills. If any changes are made by either House after the other has passed it, this other House has to agree with the changes before it can proceed. Once both Houses pass the bill with an absolute majority, it is then considered to be a Submitted Amendment.
  • A referendum is then held, two to six months after Submission, where all electors register either their approval or disapproval of the amendment. For the amendment to become approved, it must achieve a majority vote in the majority (currently 11) of the States, as well as in the Federal Territory. Even if the amendment is approved of according to the overall national vote, it will fail if it does not meet this requirement, known as the Double Majority.
  • After the amendment is approved by the electors, it is then presented to the President for Presidential Assent. Theoretically, he or she can withhold Assent, making the amendment fail, but as he or she usually acts with the advice of the Federal Executive Council — which includes members of the Government — the President almost always gives Assent to constitutional amendments.

Upon being properly ratified, an amendment becomes an operative addition to the Constitution.

In addition to these amendments, seven others were made part of the Imperial Constitution, which was in operation between Cygnia's establishment in 1793 and its replacement by the new constitution in 1949. While the content of these amendments were incorporated into the main body of the new Constitution, and as such are no longer considered "amendments", to avoid confusion, amendments added after the promulgation of the new constitution are numbered beginning with the Eighth Amendment.

The 36 amendments to the Cygnian Constitution — both ratified and unratified — are listed and detailed in the tables below.

Ratified amendments

No. Subject Date of submission Date of referendum Date of Presidential Assent Ratification time span
8th Ensured the constitutionality of the Financial Agreement, which had been reached by the federal and all state governments in 1960. The agreement discontinued the per-capita payments system that had existed since 1949 and restricted the borrowing rights of the states by subjecting such borrowing to control by a Loan Council. 10 June 1960 17 November 1960 13 February 1961 8 months
3 days
9th Extended the powers of government over a range of social services. 15 May 1963 28 September 1963 5 October 1963 4 months
20 days
10th Empowered Congress to create special legislation for Aboriginal Cygnians. Also removed Article Nine, Section Four, allowing Aboriginals to be included in federal censuses. 12 December 1966 27 May 1967 10 August 1967 7 months
28 days
11th Prohibits the denial of the right of Cygnian citizens, 18 years of age or older, to vote on account of age. 23 March 1971 1 July 1971 3 October 1971 6 months
11 days
12th Altered the method state legislatures used to fill casual vacancies in the Senate, namely by requiring them to replace a senator with a member of the same political party, and the senator's term to continue only until the end of the original senator's term. 8 March 1977 21 May 1977 29 July 1977 4 months
21 days
13th Allowed electors in the Cygnian territories to vote at referendums 8 March 1977 21 May 1977 29 July 1977 4 months
21 days
14th Provides a retirement age for federal judges. 8 March 1977 21 May 1977 29 July 1977 4 months
21 days
15th Delays laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until after the next general election. 25 September 1991 12 March 1992 5 May 1992 7 months
10 days

Summation of referendum data for each ratified amendment