Australian Constitution PDF

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Australian Constitution PDF Details
Australian Constitution
PDF Name Australian Constitution PDF
No. of Pages 142
PDF Size 579 KB MB
Language English
CategoryEnglish
Source www.pmc.gov.au
Download LinkAvailable ✔
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Australian Constitution

Dear friends, here we are going to offer the Australian Constitution PDF for all of you. The Constitution of Australia is also called as Australian Constitution. The Constitution of Australia is a constitutional document which is known as the supreme law in Australia.

It was established in Australia as a federation under a constitutional monarchy and outlines the structure and powers of the Australian government’s three constituent parts which are known as the executive, legislature, and judiciary. As ‘the birth certificate of a nation the Australian Constitution has properly been described.

It also provides the basic rules for the government of Australia. Certainly, the Constitution is the fundamental law of Australia binding everybody including the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of each State. Accordingly, even an Act passed by a Parliament is invalid if it is contrary to the Constitution.

Australian Constitution PDF

Background to the Constitution

The Constitution was drafted at a series of conventions held during the 1890s and attended by representatives of the
colonies. Before the Constitution came into effect, its terms were approved, with one small exception, by the people of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania.

The Australian Constitution was then passed as part of a British Act of Parliament in 1900 and took effect on 1 January 1901. A British Act was necessary because before 1901 Australia was a collection of six self-governing British colonies and ultimate power over those colonies rested with the British Parliament. In reality, however, the Constitution is a document which was conceived by Australians, drafted by Australians and approved by Australians.

Since that time, Australia has become an independent nation, and the character of the Constitution as the fundamental law of Australia is now seen as resting predominantly, not on its status as an Act of the British Parliament, which no longer has any power over Australia, but on the Australian people’s decision to approve and be bound by the terms of the Constitution.

What has been judicially described as ‘the sovereignty of the Australian people is also recognised by section 128 which provides that any change to the Constitution must be approved by the people of Australia.

The Constitution itself is contained in clause 9 of the British Act. The first eight clauses of the British Act are commonly referred to as the ‘covering clauses’. They contain mainly introductory, explanatory and consequential provisions.

For example, covering clause 2 provides references to ‘the Queen’ (meaning Queen Victoria, who was a British sovereign at the time the British Act was enacted) shall include references to Queen Victoria’s heirs and successors.

Creation of the Commonwealth of Australia

On the commencement of the British Act on 1 January 1901, the Commonwealth came into being and the six colonies became the six States of Australia (covering clauses 4 and 6).

The Federal Structure

The Constitution establishes a federal system of government. It is for this reason that the establishment of the Commonwealth in 1901 is often referred to as ‘federation’. Under a federal system, powers are distributed between a central government and regional governments. In Australia, that distribution is between the Commonwealth and the six States.

(The relationship between the Commonwealth and the Territories is discussed below.)

Separation of Powers

Chapters I, II, and III of the Constitution confer the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the Commonwealth
on three different bodies which are established by the Constitution – the Parliament (Chapter I), the Executive
Government (Chapter II), and the Judicature (Chapter III).

Legislative power is the power to make laws. Executive power is the power to administer laws and carry out the business of government, through such bodies as government departments, statutory authorities and the defence forces. Judicial power is the power to conclusively determine legal disputes, traditionally exercised by courts in criminal trials and litigation about such things as contracts and motor accidents.

Despite the structure of the Constitution, there is no strict demarcation between the legislative and executive powers of the Commonwealth. Only the Parliament can pass Acts, but these Acts often confer on the Executive Government the power to make regulations, rules and by-laws in relation to matters relevant to the particular Acts.

For example, the Parliament may enact in the Customs Act that no person may bring a ‘prohibited import’ into Australia and then leave it to the Executive to specify in the Customs Regulations what is a ‘prohibited import’. This delegation of legislative power is not as extreme as it may appear, however, as both Houses of Parliament usually retain the power to ‘disallow’ (that is, reject), within a specified time, any regulation which has been made by the Executive.

The Crown and Responsible Government

As well as being a federation, Australia is a constitutional monarchy. Under this system of government, as the term
suggests, the head of State of a country is a monarch whose functions are regulated by a constitution. The concept of ‘the Crown’ pervades the Constitution.

For example, the Queen is part of the Parliament (section 1) and is empowered to appoint the Governor-General as her representative (section 2). The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as her representative (section 61). Despite the terms of the Constitution, the Queen does not play a day-to-day role in the Commonwealth Government.

Those few functions which the Queen does perform (for example, appointing the Governor-General) are done in
accordance with advice from the Prime Minister. The Governor-General performs a large number of functions. However, apart from exceptional circumstances (discussed below), the Governor-General acts in accordance with the advice of Commonwealth Ministers.

The reason for this is the principle of ‘responsible government’ which is basic to our system of government and which underlies our Constitution. Under this principle, the Crown (represented by the Governor-General) acts on the advice of its Ministers who are in turn members of, and responsible to, the Parliament.

It is for this reason that section 64 of the Constitution requires Ministers to be, or become, members of Parliament.

Representative Government

Another fundamental principle which underlies the Constitution is that of ‘representative government’ – that is,
government by representatives of the people who are chosen by the people. Consistently with this principle, sections 7 and 28 of the Constitution require regular elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate, and sections 7 and 24 require members of the Commonwealth Parliament to be directly chosen by the people.

Commonwealth Parliament

The Constitution established the Commonwealth Parliament comprising the Queen, a House of Representatives and a Senate (sections 1–60). The people of each of the six States elect the same number of senators (currently 12), regardless of their State’s population, and the people of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are each currently represented by two senators.

This gives a total of 76 senators. In the House of Representatives, the number of seats from each State (and Territory) depends on the population (although each State is guaranteed at least five seats). The current number of members of the House of Representatives is 150.

Articles on Australia’s Constitution

  • Changing The Australian Federal Constitution
  • The Australian Constitution (Article by Mr John Brett)
  • More Power to Canberra?
  • Power in many hands
  • The rule of law
  • The Australian Constitution (By John Brett)
  • Comments to ACM Toowoomba Branch by Brett Hogan Victorian Convenor, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
  • The Heiner Affair & The Indivisibility of Our Nation under Law Address by Kevin Lindeberg to Keynote Address by Kevin Lindeberg at the 2012 Annual General Meeting of ACM Toowoomba, 4 March
  • The significance of the Heiner Affair to the rule of law in Queensland Address by Kevin Lindeberg to the 2010 Annual General Meeting of ACM Toowoomba, 21 February 2010
  • Constitutions
  • The writing of the Australian Constitution
  • Address to 2001 People’s Conference by Richard J. Wood
  • Republic? More power for politicians (A booklet as 11 Web Pages)
  • Your Will Be Done (A booklet of 10 Web Pages)
  • Celebrating Federation National Conference 2001
  • Conference Address
  • Australia Day 1999
  • Winning 2001 Essays

Articles on Australia’s Constitution

  • The Australian Constitution › (Parliament of Australia)
  • Documenting Democracy › (National Archives of Australia)
  • The Samuel Griffith Society
  • Governor General of Australia
  • The British Monarchy
  • The Prince of Wales

Birth certificate of a nation

For at least 50 000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have lived on these lands and practised traditional cultures and languages. From the late 1700s, British colonies were established. By the late 1800s, these colonies had their own parliaments but were still subject to the law-making power of the British Parliament. Many colonists began to see the benefits of uniting into a federation.

During the 1890s a series of meetings, called conventions, were attended by representatives from each colony. During these conventions, the Constitution was drafted. The Constitution was then put to a vote by the people of the colonies in referendums.

The Constitution was approved in the referendums; however, it also had to be agreed to by the British Parliament. The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 was passed in 1900 and came into effect on 1 January 1901. The colonies became Australian states and the new Australian Parliament was formed.

Features

The Australian Constitution is divided into 8 chapters and 128 sections. It sets out the basis for Australia’s federal system of governance, the key features of which include:

  • an Australian Parliament and government, responsible for national decision-making and law-making
  • a bicameral Parliament, including the Queen (represented by the Governor-General), the Senate and the House of Representatives
  • 6 state governments, responsible for state matters
  • power-sharing arrangements between the Australian and state parliaments
  • the High Court of Australia, which is the final court of appeal. The High Court interprets the Constitution and decides its meaning, as well as settling disputes between the Australian and state governments.

Changing the Australian Constitution

The Constitution can only be changed with the approval of the Australian people. A proposed change must be approved by the Parliament and then be voted on by Australians in a referendum. A referendum is only passed if it is approved by a majority of voters in a majority of states, and by a majority of voters across the nation. This is known as a double majority.

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