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which—whatever may be its faults and its shortcomings—has proved acceptable to a large majority of the people of five great communities scattered over a continent; and proud of a people who, without the compulsion of war or the fear of conquest, have succeeded in agreeing upon the terms of a binding and indissoluble Social Compact.

THE ADDRESSES TO THE QUEEN.—The last step towards the acceptance of the draft Constitution by the five colonies was taken by the Legislatures in passing Addresses to the Queen praying that the Constitution should be passed into law by the Imperial Parliament. In the three southern colonies- Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania—this proceeding, after the emphatic vote of the electors, was little more than a matter of form ; and during the month of August both Houses of Parliament in each of those colonies adopted the Addresses without opposition and amid general congratulations.

In New South Wales there was a show of opposition, but only by a few of the most irreconcilable critics. Many of those who had opposed the Bill had been influenced by misgivings rather than by real hostility, and accepted the verdict of the people loyally. The Address was debated at length in the Assembly, but an amendment purporting to inform the Queen that 82,000 of her loyal and dutiful subjects had voted against the Bill, and that “such vote was not a declaration against Federation, but against the adoption of any Constitution which could not be amended by a majority of the Australian people,” was defeated by 75 votes to 22, and the Address was then passed on the voices. In the Council the opposition was stronger. An amendment, moved by Mr. C. G. Heydon, to declare that if the Parliament did not meet at the Seat of Government within four years, it should sit in alternate years at Sydney and Melbourne, was prompted by the fear that the sittings of the Parliament at Melbourne might become permanent.

Federalists recognized, however, that it was impossible to re-open the terms of union at this stage, and the amendwas defeated by a narrow majority of four. On 17th August the Address itself was carried, after several nights' debate, by 24 votes to 21.

In the Queensland Assembly the verdict of the people was also loyally accepted, and the Address was passed, on 4th August, by 57 votes to 9. In the Council, an amendment was moved to declare that the Bill had been carried by majorities in the Centre and North only ; but this effort to elevate sectional differences over the decision of the whole colony failed, and the Address was passed by 16 votes to 9.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA.—At the close of the Convention, Sir John Forrest had seemed prepared to recommend Western Australia to adopt the Constitution as it stood; but his attitude subsequently became less favourable. At the Premiers' Conference, 1899, it is understood that he asked, unsuccessfully, for certain concessions. In July, 1899, after the second referendum in New South Wales, the Constitution was for the first time submitted to the Parliament of Western Australia, and was referred to a Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly. On 19th September the Committee brought up its report, declaring its opinion that before Western Australia could safely join the Commonwealth, four amendments were necessary :

(1.) Enabling the colony to be divided into electorates for the

election of Senators; (2.) Empowering the Federal Parliament to authorize the con

struction of a transcontinental railway ; (3.) Allowing Western Australia, for five years after the adoption

of a federal tariff, to impose her own customs duties on

iutercolonial and other imports; (4.) Exempting Western Australia, for the same period, from the

jurisdiction of the Inter-State Commission. The object of the second of these amendments was to dispense with the necessity of the consent of South Australia (under sec. 51-xxxiv.) to the selection of the route and the construction of the line within that colony. The five years' control of the tariff was for the double purpose

of securing the revenue necessities of the colony and affording temporary protection to the West Australian farmers, and other producers of foodstuffs.

On the consideration of this report in the Legislative Assembly, the Government proposed to submit to the electors both the Bill as adopted by the Premiers' Conference and the Bill with the West Australian amendments. This was stoutly opposed by federalists, who were confident that there was an overwhelming majority of the population, especially on the goldfields, in favour of the Bill as it stood, and that the proposed alternative ballot would confuse the issue. In Parliament, however, the goldfields were very scantily represented as compared with the settled districts; and though Mr. Leake moved an amendment that the Bill as adopted by the Premiers' Conference should alone be referred to the people, the Government proposal was carried by the House.

In the Council the proceedings were hopelessly tangled. First a proposal by Mr. Matheson, that the Bill as adopted by the other colonies should be referred to the people, was negatived. Then a proposal by Mr. Whitcombe, that it was undesirable at present to submit the question of Federation to the people at all, was also rejected. The Government's proposal to submit both Bills met with the same fate; and finally a proposal by Mr. Hackett, to submit only the Bill with the Committee's amendments, was also lost. The result was that the submission of the Bill to the people was blocked altogether. The federalists raised the cry that the whole fiasco had been planned by the Government; and an agitation was promptly started on the goldfields for separation from Western Australia, under the power reserved by the Queen in the Constitution of the colony.

In January, 1900, Sir John Forrest, with a view to securing assent to his amendments, visited the eastern colonies and attended a Conference of Premiers at Sydney. He finally gave up three of the West Australian amendments, but stood firm on the five years' liberty to impose intercolonial customs duties. Had the matter been still in the stage of negotiation, this might have been granted; but the difficulty was that the Constitution was now a compact upon which the people of the accepting colonies had set the seal of their approval,

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and whose alteration the Governments of those colonies were unable to countenance.

NEW ZEALAND.—New Zealand, alone of the seven Australasian colonies, had, since the Convention of 1891, taken no part in the process of framing the Federal Constitution. Following the example of 1891, New Zealand is mentioned in covering clause 6 as a possible “State," but as yet she has taken no steps to adopt the Constitution. This does not mean that New Zealand is without interest in Australian Federation. The progress of the movement has been watched by that colony with keen attention; and a substantial section of public opinion favours the adoption of the Constitution. In July, 1899, a Federation League was formed in Auckland; and though the question of Federation has not risen to the magnitude of a party issue, it has been much discussed by politicians, by the press, and by the people. For the most part, however, Federation is in New Zealand not so much a national as a commercial question. Her geographical isolation from Australia by 1,200 miles of sea is a factor which cannot be neglected, though it may be exaggerated. At the same time, her commercial and other relations with Australia are most important; her interests, as regards defence and external affairs, are largely identical; and the alternatives either of union or of a reciprocal commercial arrangement with the Commonwealth are pressing themselves upon the attention of the people of New Zealand.

(18) ENACTMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION, 1900.

On 22nd December, 1899, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, in a telegraphic despatch to Earl Beauchamp, Governor of New South Wales, expressed a hope that a delegation from the federating colonies would visit England and be present when the Commonwealth Bill was submitted to the Imperial Parliament. This invitation was considered at a Conference of Premiers held at Sydney from 24th to 27th January; and it was arranged that a delegation should be sent, consisting of Mr. Edmund Barton (N.S.W.), Mr. Alfred Deakin (Victoria), Mr. J. R. Dickson (Queensland), Mr. C. C. Kingston (S.A.), and that they should be joined in London by Sir Philip 0. Fysh (Tasmania). It was agreed that the delegation should represent all the federating colonies in unitedly urging the passage of the Bill through the Imperial Parliament without amendment, and in explaining any legal or constitutional questions that might arise. The Government of Western Australia also expressed a desire to be represented, and, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, despatched Mr. S. H. Parker, Q.C., as a Delegate from that colony.

IMPERIAL CRITICISMS.— Towards the middle of March, 1900, the Australian Delegates arrived in London. Mr. Barton was appointed their spokesman; and on 15th March they had their first informal conference with the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Crown Law Officers. Mr. Chamberlain having welcomed the Delegates, Sir Richard Webster, Q.C., Attorney-General, indicated the provisions of the Bill which the Crown Law Officers thought required discussion and explanation, and perhaps amendment. The chief objection made was to clause 74, as restricting the right of appeal to the Privy Council.

It was evident from the outset that, whilst the Delegates were anxious to secure the passage of the Bill without amendment, the Imperial Government were equally anxious to amend certain provisions which seemed to them to affect Imperial interests. The only way in which the Imperial Government had been heard in connection with the framing of the Bill was in consultation with the Australian Premiers at London at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897, when certain criticisms had been made on the Bill as drafted at Adelaide. Mr. Chamberlain had subsequently sent Mr. Reid a confidential memorandum of the criticism of the Crown Law Officers, which included an objection to the almost total abolition of Privy Council appeals, as proposed in the Adelaide draft. (See Extract from this memorandum, Parl. Papers, May, 1900.) This memorandum had been handed by Mr. Reid to the Drafting Committee, and had led to several amendments being made, and particularly to a considerable modification of the clause relating to Privy Council appeals. The Crown Law Officers, however, were not satisfied with the new clause, and had also some new criticisms to offer.

A memorandum of the amendments suggested by the Crown Law Office was afterwards handed to the Delegates. (House of Com. Pap., May, 1900, p. 19.) These amendments, only five in number, were wholly confined to the covering clauses of the Bill. (1) As regards Privy Council appeals, it was proposed to modify the effect of clause 74 by adding to covering clause 5 a declaration that nothing in the Act or the Constitution should affect any prerogative of the Crown to grant special leave of appeal to Her Majesty in Council. (2) In covering clause 2, the words “This Act shall bind the Crown were proposed to be omitted, as involving an unnecessary interference with the prerogative. (3) In covering clause 5, the provision that the laws of the Commonwealth should be in force on British ships plying between ports of the Commonwealth was proposed to be omitted as being too wide and involving a possible conflict of jurisdiction ; whilst it was thought that all necessary powers of legislation in respect of the coasting trade were given by sec. 736 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 (see p. 50, supra). (4) It was proposed to declare, in covering clause 5, that the laws of the Commonwealth were “colonial laws” within the meaning of the Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865 (28 and 29 Vic. c. 63). A contention had been raised in Canada that this Act was not fully applicable to laws of the Dominion (see Lefroy, Legisl. Power in Canada, pp. 227-8); and the Crown Law Officers feared that in Australia a similar contention might derive some support from the definition of "colony” in covering clause 6. (5) It was proposed that the Constitution, instead of being appended to covering clause 9, should be placed as a schedule to the Act.

MEMORANDUM OF THE DELEGATES.-Preliminary to a further interview with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Delegates forwarded to him a Memorandum, dated 23rd March, of their reasons for urging the passage of the Bill in the form in which it had been affirmed by the people. (House of Com. Pap., May, 1900, p. 13). In defending the provisions proposed to be altered, they carefully guarded themselves against even appearing to acquiesce in the suggestion that any amendment was necessary. They called attention to the recital in the preamble that the people of the federating colonies had agreed to unite in a federal Commonwealth “under the Constitution hereby established ;” and argued that this recital would not be justified if the Constitution were in any way altered.

In answer to a question whether, if alterations were made, it was preferable that they should be placed in the covering clauses rather than in the Constitution itself, the Delegates replied that though this would, in appearance, be the less objectionable method, yet any amendment in the covering clauses which altered the meaning of the Constitution would be in effect an alteration of the Constitution, and would therefore be equally objectionable.

They then dealt categorically with the specific amendments foreshadowed by the Crown Law Officers. As regards the application of the Colonial Laws Validity Act, they thought that the meaning of the Bill was clear without the proposed amendment, and that the definition of “colony" in covering clause 6, which had been framed simply for the purpose of clearly including South Australia in the Bill, could not exclude the definition of "colony” in the Colonial Laws Validity Act from applying to the Commonwealth. In support of this view, they cited the definition of “colony" in the (Imperial) Interpretation Act, 1889 (52 and 53 Vic. c. 63). And they hinted that, if the Imperial Government thought that any doubt was raised by the definition in the Bill, it would be better to omit the definition, as being unnecessary, than introduce new matter.

With regard to the proposed omission of the provision relating to British ships, they pointed out that the provision was much more restricted than that inserted, at the instance of the Imperial Government, in the Federal Council Act of 1885. If the contention were correct that the matter was sufficiently provided for by the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, the phrase objected to was at the worst a harmless redundancy. But the expression coasting trade” in that Act was not defined, and might be taken to include only the trade of vessels plying within the three-mile” territorial limits. Moreover, the provision removed a further anomaly by protecting a vessel which passes from the territorial waters of one colony into those of another from being subjected to a change of laws, and by applying the uniform laws of the Commonwealth during the whole passage from one port of the Commonwealth to another. The power, though larger than that conceded by the Merchant Shipping Act, was larger only for the most beneficial purposes.

To the amendment relating to Privy Council appeals they objected as substantially altering, and in great part nullifying, clause 74 of the Constitution. They entered into an elaborate defence of clause 74, pointing out that it was not as far-reaching as was supposed in some

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