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could only operate in the direction of the extension, not the restriction. of any of the existing privileges of the individual colonies ; so that in those States where the franchise has been granted to women their right to vote cannot be withdrawn by the central authority so long as adult suffrage prevails. While the House of Representatives was to be elected for a period of three years, Senators were to be appointed for twice that term, provision being made for the retirement of half their number every third

year. The capital of the Commonwealth was to be established in federal territory.

Warmly received in Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, the Bill was viewed somewhat coldly by a section of the people of New South Wales, and this feeling rapidly developed into one of active hostility, the main points of objection being the financial provisions, equal representation in the Senate, and the difficulty which the larger colonies must experience in securing an amendment of the Constitution in the event of a conflict with the smaller States. So far as the other colonies were concerned, it was evident that the Bill was safe, and public attention throughout Australasia was riveted on New South Wales, where a fierce political contest was raging, which it was recognised would decide the fate of the measure for the time being. The fears expressed by its advocates were not so much in regard to securing a majority in favour of the Bill, as to whether the statutory number of 80,000 votes necessary for its acceptance would be reached. These fears were proved to be well founded; for on the 3rd June, 1898, the result of the referendum in New South Wales showed 71,595 votes in favour of the Bill, and 66,228 against it, and it was accordingly lost. In Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia, on the other hand, the Bill was accepted by triumphant majorities. Western Australia did not put it to the vote; indeed, it was useless to do so, as the Enabling Act of that colony only provided for joining a Federation of which New South Wales should form a part.

The existence of such a strong opposition to the Bill in the mother colony convinced even its most 'zealous advocates that some changes would have to be made in the Constitution before it would be accepted by the people; consequently, although the general election in New South Wales, held six or seven weeks later, was fought on the Federal issue, yet the opposing parties seemed to occupy somewhat the same ground, and the question narrowed itself down to one as to which should be entrusted with the negotiations to be conducted on behalf of the colony with the view to securing a modification of the objectionable features of the Bill. The new Parliament decided to adopt the procedure of sending the Premier, Mr. Reid, into conference, armed with a series of resolutions affirming its desire to bring about the completion of federal union, but asking the other colonies to agree to the reconsideration of the provisions which were most generally objected to in New South Wales. As they left the Assembly, these resolutions submitted-.-first, that, with equal representation in the Senate, the

three-fifths majority at the joint sitting of the two Houses should give way to a simple majority, or the joint sitting be replaced by a provision for a national referendum ; second, that the clause making it incumbent upon the Federal Government to raise, in order to provide for the needs of the States, £3 for every £1 derived from Customs and Excise Duties for its own purposes, and thus ensuring a very high tariff, should be eliminated from the Bill ; third, that the site of the Federal Capital should be fixed within the boundaries of New South Wales ; fourth, that better provision should be made against the alteration of the boundaries of a State without its own consent; fifth, that the use of inland rivers for the purposes of water conservation and irrigation should be more clearly safeguarded; sixth, that all money Bills should be dealt with in the same manner as Taxation and Appropriation Bills; and seventh, that appeals from the Supreme Courts of the States should uniformly be taken, either to the Privy Council or to the Federal High Court, and not indiscriminately to either ; while the House also invited further inquiry into the financial provisions of the Bill, although avowing its willingness to accept these provisions if in other respects the Bill were amended. These were all the resolutions submitted by the Government to the House, but the Assembly appended others in respect to the alteration of the Constitution and the number of Senators, submitting, on the first of these points, that an alteration of the Constitution should take effect, if approved by both Houses and a national referendum; that a proposed alteration should be submitted to the national referendum, if athirmed in two succeeding sessions by an absolute majority in one House, and rejected by the other ; and that no proposed alteration, transferring to the Commonwealth any powers retained by a State at the establishment of the federation, should take effect in that State, unless approved by a majority of electors voting therein; and, on the second point, that the number of Senators should be increased from six to not less than eight for each State.

The Legislative Council adopted the resolutions with some important amendments, discarding the suggestion in the first resolution for a national referendum ; submitting that the seat of the Federal Government should be established at Sydney; more clearly preserving the rights of the people of the colony to the use of the waters of its inland rivers for purposes of water conservation and irrigation; carrying all appeals from the Supreme Courts of the States to the Privy Council ; and declining to affirm its preparedness to accept the financial scheme embodied in the Bill. Further, the House suggested that the plan of submitting proposed alterations of the Constitution to the people by means of the referendum should be altered, and that no rights or powers retained by a State should be afterwards transferred to the Commonwealth without the consent of both Houses of Parliament of that State. The New South Wales Premier decided to submit the resolutions of both Houses to the other Premiers in conference, attaching, however, kreater importance to those of the Assembly, as embodying the views

of a House which had just returned from the country. This conference was held in Melbourne at the end of January, 1899, Queensland being represented ; and an agreement was arrived at, whereby it was decided that, in the event of a disagreement between the two Houses of Parliament, the decision of an absolute majority of the members of the two Houses should be final; that the provision for the retention by the Commonwealth of only one-fourth of the Customs and Excise revenue might be altered or repealed at the end of ten years, another clause being added, permitting the Parliament to grant financial assistance to a State ; that no alterations in the boundaries of a State should be made without the approval of the people as well as of the Parliament of that State ; and that the seat of Government should be in New South Wales, at such place, at least 100 miles from Sydney, as might be determined by the Federal Parliament, and within an area of 100 square miles of territory, to be acquired by the Commonwealth, it being provided that the Parliament should sit at Melbourne until it met at the seat of Government. A special session of the New South Wales Parliament was convened to deal with this agreement, and the Legislative Assembly passed an Enabling Bill, referring the amended Constitution to the electors. The Council, however, amended the Bill demanding--tirst, the postponement of the referendum for a period of three months ; second, making it necessary for the minimum vote cast in favour of the Bill to be one-fourth of the total number of electors on the roll ; third, deferring the entrance of New South Wales into the Federation until Queensland should come in. These amendments were not accepted by the Assembly, and a conference between representatives of the two Houses was arranged ; but this proved abortive, and twelve new members were appointed to the Upper House in order to secure the passage of the Bill. This course had the effect desired by the Government; for the Council passed the Bill on the 19th April, an amendment postponing the referendum for eight weeks being accepted by the Assembly. The Bill received its final assent on the 22nd April

, and the 20th June following was appointed as the date of the referendum. The poll resulted in a najority of 24,679 in favour of the Bill, the votes recorded for and against being 107 420 and 82,741 respectively. South Australia on the 29th April had re-affirmed its acceptance of the Biil by a majority of 48,937 votes, in Victoria it was again passed with a majority of 142,848 on the 27th July, while on the same date the Bill passed in Tasmania with a margin in its favour of 12,646 votes. Queensland adopted the measure on the 2nd September by a majority of 6,216. Western Australia still hung back, but at a referendum taken on the 31st July, 1900, the Bill was accepted with the decisive majority of 25,109 votes.

Though the Bill was favourably received by the Imperial Government, certain amendments, the most important of which referred to the appeal to the Privy Council, were proposed by Mr. Chamberlain, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. At a Premier's Conference, held in Sydney at the end of January, it was decided to send delegates to England from each of the federating colonies, who were to give their joint support to the Bill, but were not to consent to any amendment of its provisions. The six delegates arrived in England in March, 1900, and a series of conferences took place amongst themselves, and also with officers representing the Imperial Government. The most serious ground of contention was Clause 74, which prohibited appeals to Her Majesty in Council in matters involving the interpretation of the Constitution of the Commonwealth or of a State unless the public interests of other parts of Her Majesty's dominions were concerned. On all other questions the right of appeal from Supreme Courts of the States, as well as from the Federal High Court, was left untouched. Mr. Chamberlain proposed that, notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, the prerogative of Her Majesty of granting special leave to appeal might be exercised with respect to any judgment or order of the High Court of the Commonwealth or of the Supreme Court of any State. In other words, the Secretary of State insisted that Clause 74 should be amended so as to maintain the royal prerogative as to appeals on constitutional questions as well as other matters, while at the same time he promised a re-constituted Court of Appeal for the Empire in which the Australian Colonies would find representation. The delegates opposed most strongly the submission of constitutional disputes to the decision of the Privy Council under any pretext. A compromise, sup. ported by four of the six delegates, was therefore agreed upon, by which the consent of the Executive Government or Governments was made a necessary condition precedent to an appeal from the High Court to the Privy Council on constitutional questions. The new arrangement, however, evoked such hostile criticism in the colonies that the Premiers cabled a rejection of it. A fresh compromise was thereupon arrived at, by which it was determined that the right of appeal to the Privy Council, where a constitutional point purely Australian in character was involved, might be granted at the pleasure of the High Court. By this settlement the finality of the decisions of the High Court upon matters of constitutional interpretation is preserved. The arrangement proved satisfactory to both sides, and the amendment was accepted by the legislatures of the federating colonies. Thenceforward no further objection was made to the passing of the measure, and it received the royal assent on the 9th July.

Lord Hopetoun, who had formerly occupied the position of Governor of Victoria, was appointed first Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and arrived in Sydney on the 15th December. Meanwhile, by royal proclamation, the first day of January, 1901, was fixed on as the date of inauguration of the new Commonwealth. The first Federal Ministry was formed under the leadership of Mr. (row Sir) E. Barton, and was composed of the following members :

Mr. E. Barton (N.S.W.), Prime Minister and Minister of State for External Affairs ; Sir William Lyne (N.S.W.), Minister of State for Home Affairs; Sir George Turner (Vic.), Treasurer ; Mr. Alfred Deakin (Vic.), Attorney-General and Minister for Justice ; Mr. C. C. Kingston (S.A.), Minister for Trade and Customs; Sir J. R. Dickson (Q.), Minister for Defence ; Sir John Forrest (W.A.), Postmaster-General. Mr. R. E. O'Connor (N.S.W.), and Mr. (now Sir) N. E. Lewis (Tas.) were also appointed as Ministers without portfolio, the former occupying the position of Vice-President of the Executive Council. A few days later Sir James Dickson died after a short illness, and the portfolio of Minister of Defence was assigned to Sir John Forrest, while Mr. J. G. Drake, who held office as Postmaster-General of Queensland, was appointed to a similar position in the Federal Executive. Mr. Lewis only held office in the Commonwealth Cabinet until the Federal elections had taken place, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Sir Philip 0. Fysh. The Ministry as above constituted was sworn in on the 1st January, 1901, the ceremony taking place in a specially-erected pavilion in the Centennial Park, Sydney. The festivities in connection with this epoch-making event in Australian history lasted for several days, additional interest being lent to the proceedings by the presence of detachments of troops from Great Britain, India, and the various provinces of Australasia. The death of Queen Victoria, which took place on the 22nd January, 1901, possesses a melancholy interest for these States from the fact that one of the last great public acts of the deceased sovereign was the signing of the proclamation establishing the Commonwealth. Under the Constitution, the control of Customs and Excise in the various States passed over to the Federal authority with the inauguration of the Commonwealth, and attention was at once devoted to placing matters in connection with these services in working order. The taking over of the postal administrations of the States was not finally dealt with till the 1st March, and the same date saw the transfer of the Defence Departments. These were the only divisions of State administration over which the Commonwealth Government thought necessary to assume control, though the Constitution rendered it permissible to take over lighthouses, lightships, beacons, buoys, and quarantine, by the simple act of proclaiming the dates, and without further legislation.

As it was necessary for the Federal elections to take place early in 1901, much detail work was cast upon the Ministry in the shape of arranging for the various preliminaries in connection with recording the votes in the six States. In the first Parliament each State returned six members to the Senate, while section 26 of the Constitution provided for the number of representatives in the Lower House as follows:New South Wales, 26; Victoria, 23 ; Queensland, 9 ; South Australia, 7 ; Western Australia, 5 ; Tasmania, 5. Parliament may increase or diminish the number of members, provided that it does not alter the proportion of members to Senators, and does not bring the number of members returned from an original State below five. The chief interest in the elections settled round the question of the fiscal policy of the new

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