Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1900 c. 12


Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900

(63 & 64 Vict.) CHAPTER 12.

An Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia.

[9th July 1900]

Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established:

And whereas it is expedient to provide for the admission into, the Commonwealth of other Australasian Colonies and possessions of the Queen:

Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Short title.

1 Short title.

1. This Act may be cited as theCommonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900.

S-2 Act to extend to the Queen's successors.

2 Act to extend to the Queen's successors.

2. The provisions of this Act referring to the Queen shall extend to Her Majesty's heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

S-3 Proclamation of Commonwealth.

3 Proclamation of Commonwealth.

3. It shall be lawful for the Queen, with the advice of the Privy Council, to declare by proclamation that, on and after a day therein appointed, not being later than one year after the passing of this Act, the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, and also, if Her Majesty is satisfied that the people of Western Australia have agreed thereto, of Western Australia, shall be united in a Federal Commonwealth under the name of the Commonwealth of Australia. But the Queen may, at any time after the proclamation, appoint a Governor-General for the Commonwealth.

S-4 Commencement of Act.

4 Commencement of Act.

4. The Commonwealth shall be established, and the Constitution of the Commonwealth shall take effect, on and after the day so appointed. But the Parliaments of the several colonies may at any time after the passing of this Act make any such laws, to come into operation on the day so appointed, as they might have made if the Constitution had taken effect at the passing of this Act.

S-5 Operation of the constitution and laws.

5 Operation of the constitution and laws.

5. This Act, and all laws made by the Parliament of the Commonwealth under the Constitution, shall be binding on the courts, judges, and people of every State and of every part of the Commonwealth, notwithstanding anything in the laws of any State; and the laws of the Commonwealth shall be in force on all British ships, the Queen's ships of war excepted, whose first port of clearance and whose port of destination are in the Commonwealth.

S-6 Definitions.

6 Definitions.

6.‘The Commonwealth’ shall mean the Commonwealth of Australia as established under this Act.

‘The States’ shall mean such of the colonies of New South Wales, New Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, and South Australia, including the northern territory of South Australia, as for the time being are parts of the Commonwealth, and such colonies or territories as may be admitted into or established by the Commonwealth as States; and each of such parts of the Commonwealth shall be called ‘a State.’

‘Original States’ shall mean such States as are parts of the Commonwealth at its establishment.

S-7 Repeal of Federal Council Act.

7 Repeal of Federal Council Act.

7. The Federal Council of Australasia Act, 1885, is hereby repealed, but so as not to affect any laws passed by the Federal Council of Australasia and in force at the establishment of the Commonwealth.

Any such law may be repealed as to any State by the Parliament of the Commonwealth, or as to any colony not being a State by the Parliament thereof.

S-8 Application of Colonial Boundaries Act.

8 Application of Colonial Boundaries Act.

8. After the passing of this Act the Colonial Boundaries Act, 1895, shall not apply to any colony which becomes a State of the Commonwealth; but the Commonwealth shall be taken to be a self-governing colony for the purposes of that Act.

S-9 Constitution.

9 Constitution.

9. The Constitution of the Commonwealth shall be as follows:—

THE CONSTITUTION.

This Constitution is divided as follows:—

 Chapter I.—The Parliament
                 Part I.—General
                 Part II.—The Senate
                 Part III.—The House of Representatives
                 Part. IV.—Both Houses of the Parliament:
                 Part V.—Powers of the Parliament:
                 Chapter II.—The Executive Government
                 Chapter III.—The Judicature:
                 Chapter IV.—Finance and Trade:
                 Chapter V.—The States:
                 Chapter VI.—New States:
                 Chapter VII.—Miscellaneous.
                 Chapter VIII.—Alteration of the Constitution.
                 The Schedule.
                

CHAPTER I.

The Parliament.

I

Part I.—General.

S-1 Legislative power.

1 Legislative power.

1. The legislative power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Federal Parliament, which shall consist of the Queen, a Senate, and a House of Representatives, and which is herein-after called ‘The Parliament,’ or ‘The Parliament of the Commonwealth.’

S-2 Governor-General.

2 Governor-General.

2. A Governor-General appointed by the Queen shall be Her Majesty's representative in the Commonwealth, and shall have and may exercise in the Commonwealth during the Queen's pleasure, but subject to this Constitution, such powers and functions of the Queen as Her Majesty may be pleased to assign to him.

S-3 Salary of Governor-General.

3 Salary of Governor-General.

3. There shall be payable to the Queen out of the Consolidated Revenue fund of the Commonwealth, for the salary of the Governor-General, an annual sum which, until the Parliament otherwise provides, shall be ten thousand pounds.

The salary of a Governor-General shall not be altered during his continuance in office.

S-4 Provisions relating to Governor-General.

4 Provisions relating to Governor-General.

4. The provisions of this Constitution relating to the Governor-General extend and apply to the Governor-General for the time being, or such person as the Queen may appoint to administer the Government of the Commonwealth; but no such person shall be entitled to receive any salary from the Commonwealth in respect of any other office during his administration of the Government of the Commonwealth.

S-5 Sessions of Parliament. Prorogation and dissolution.

5 Sessions of Parliament. Prorogation and dissolution.

5. The Governor-General may appoint such times for holding the sessions of the Parliament as he thinks fit, and may also from time to time, by Proclamation or otherwise, prorogue the Parliament, and may in like manner dissolve the House of Representatives.

Afterany general election the Parliament shall be summoned to meet not later than thirty days after the day appointed for the return of the writs.

The Parliamentshall be summoned to meet not later than six months after the establishment of the Commonwealth.

S-6 Yearly session of Parliament.

6 Yearly session of Parliament.

6. There shall be a session of the Parliament once at least in every year, so that twelve months shall not intervene between the last sitting of the Parliament in one session and its first sitting in the next session.

II

Part II.—The Senate.

S-7 The Senate.

7 The Senate.

7. The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate.

But until the Parliament of the Commonwealth otherwise provides, the Parliament of the State of Queensland, if that State be an Original State, may make laws dividing the State into divisions and determining the number of senators to be chosen for each division, and in the absence of such provision the State shall be one electorate.

Until the Parliament otherwise provides there shall be six senators for each Original State. The Parliament may make laws increasing or diminishing the number of senators for each State, but so that equal representation of the several Original States shall be maintained and that no Original State shall have less than six senators.

The senators shall be chosen for a term of six years, and the names of the senators chosen for each State shall be certified by the Governor to the Governor-General.

S-8 Qualification of electors.

8 Qualification of electors.

8. The qualification of electors of senators shall be in each State that which is prescribed by this Constitution, or by the Parliament, as the qualification for electors of members of the House of Representatives; but in the choosing of senators each elector shall vote only once.

S-9 Method of election of senators.

9 Method of election of senators.

9. The Parliament of the Commonwealth may make laws prescribing the method of choosing senators, but so that the method shall be uniform for all the States. Subject to any such law, the Parliament of each State may make laws prescribing the method of choosing the senators for that State.

The Parliament of a State may make laws for determining the times and places of elections of senators for the State.

S-10 Application of State laws.

10 Application of State laws.

10. Until the Parliament otherwise provides, but subject to this Constitution, the laws in force in each State, for the time being, relating to elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State shall, as nearly as practicable, apply to elections of senators for the State.

S-11 Failure to choose senators.

11 Failure to choose senators.

11. The Senate may proceed to the despatch of business, notwithstanding the failure of any State to provide for its representation in the Senate.

S-12 Issue of writs.

12 Issue of writs.

12. The Governor of any State may cause writs to be issued for elections of senators for the State. In case of the dissolution of the Senate the writs shall be issued within ten days from the proclamation of such dissolution.

S-13 Rotation of senators.

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