The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act reminds us that we are a Commonwealth, formed for the common good under English Common Law. We are all in this together. We became the Commonwealth of Australia to make a better society for the good of all the people.

Commonwealth as defined in the Annotated Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia by Quick & Garran, page 311:

According to the derivation of the term from “common” and “weal,” or “wealth” it signified common well-being or common good.

Proclamation of Commonwealth under Clause 3 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act:

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.

The six (6) seperate Australian colonies were now States of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the office of Governor-General represented the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The first Governor-General of Australia, Lord Hopetoun, proclaimed the Commonwealth of Australia at a special ceremony in Centennial Park, Sydney, 1 January 1901.

It was also the Governor-General’s task to commission an interim or caretaker ministry until the people were able to elect their representatives to the newly created Commonwealth Parliament. These interim ministers, with Edmund Barton as Prime Minister, were sworn in as part of the inaugural ceremony at Centennial Park. Over the next months they organised the first federal election and made arrangements for the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament.

On Friday 29 March and Saturday 30 (in Queensland and South Australia) voters took part in the first election of representatives to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. Because there was as yet no federal electoral law, the election took place in accordance with the voting legislation in each of the States.

The Duke of Cornwall and York (later King George V) opened the first Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne on 9 May, 1901.

Immediately after the opening the new members of the Parliament made their way to Victoria’s Parliament House in Spring Street.

The Commonwealth Parliament continued to meet in Melbourne until 9 May, 1927 when its own Parliament House was opened in Canberra.

Categories: History


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