Resource Sheet 2

Extract from resolutions passed at the first Australasian Federal Convention, Adelaide, 1897

That in order to enlarge the powers of self government of the people of Australia, it is desirable to create a Federal Government which shall exercise authority throughout the Federated Colonies, subject to the following principal conditions:-

  1. That the powers, privileges, and territories of the several existing colonies shall remain intact, except in respect of such surrenders as may be agreed upon to secure uniformity of law and administration in matters of common concern.
  2. That, after the establishment of the Federal Government, there shall be no alteration of the territorial possessions or boundaries of any colony or colonies concerned…
  3. That the exclusive power to impose and collect duties of Customs and excise, and to give bounties, shall be vested in the Federal Parliament.
  4. That the exclusive control of the military and naval defences of the Federated Colonies shall be vested in the Federal Parliament.
  5. That the trade and intercourse between the Federated Colonies, whether by land or sea, shall become and remain absolutely free.

Subject to the carrying out of these, and such other conditions as may be hereafter deemed necessary, this Convention approves of the framing of a federal Constitution, which shall establish:-

  1. A Parliament, to consist of two Houses, namely a States Assembly or Senate, and a National Assembly or House of Representatives: the States Assembly to consist of representatives of each colony, to hold office for such periods and be chosen in such manner as will best secure to that Chamber a perpetual existence, combined with definite responsibility to the people of the State which shall have chosen them: the National Assembly to be elected by districts formed on a population basis, and to possess the sole power of originating all Bills appropriating revenue or imposing taxation.
  2. An Executive, consisting of a Governor-General, to be appointed by the Queen, and of such persons as from time to time may be appointed as his advisers.
  3. A Supreme federal Court, which shall also be the High Court of Appeal for each colony in the Federation.

Official report of the National Australasian Convention, Adelaide, 22 March to 5 May 1897.