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COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - NOTES

(The Constitution)

This compilation was prepared on 4 September 2013
taking into account alterations up to Act No. 84 of 1977

[Note: This compilation contains all amendments to the Constitution made by the Constitution Alterations specified in Note 1
Additions to the text are shown in bold type
Omitted text is shown as ruled through]

Prepared by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, Canberra

  

  

  


Contents

Covering clauses

1............ Short title [see Note 1]........................................................................ 7

2............ Act to extend to the Queen's successors............................................. 7

3............ Proclamation of Commonwealth [see Note 2]..................................... 7

4............ Commencement of Act........................................................................ 8

5............ Operation of the Constitution and laws [see Note 3]........................... 8

6............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 8

7............ Repeal of Federal Council Act [see Note 4]........................................ 8

8............ Application of Colonial Boundaries Act............................................. 9

9............ Constitution [see Note 1].................................................................... 9

Chapter I--The Parliament                                                                                             1

Part I--General                                                                                                                       1

1............ Legislative power................................................................................ 1

2............ Governor-General............................................................................... 1

3............ Salary of Governor-General................................................................ 1

4............ Provisions relating to Governor-General............................................ 1

5............ Sessions of Parliament. Prorogation and dissolution.......................... 2

6............ Yearly session of Parliament............................................................... 2

Part II--The Senate                                                                                                              3

7............ The Senate [see Note 5]...................................................................... 3

8............ Qualification of electors...................................................................... 3

9............ Method of election of senators [see Note 6]........................................ 3

10.......... Application of State laws.................................................................... 4

11.......... Failure to choose senators................................................................... 4

12.......... Issue of writs...................................................................................... 4

13.......... Rotation of senators............................................................................ 4

14.......... Further provision for rotation [see Note 7]......................................... 5

15.......... Casual vacancies [see Note 8]............................................................. 6

16.......... Qualifications of senator..................................................................... 8

17.......... Election of President........................................................................... 8

18.......... Absence of President.......................................................................... 8

19.......... Resignation of senator......................................................................... 8

20.......... Vacancy by absence............................................................................ 9

21.......... Vacancy to be notified......................................................................... 9

22.......... Quorum............................................................................................... 9

23.......... Voting in the Senate............................................................................ 9

Part III--The House of Representatives                                                                10

24.......... Constitution of House of Representatives......................................... 10

25.......... Provision as to races disqualified from voting.................................. 10

26.......... Representatives in first Parliament.................................................... 11

27.......... Alteration of number of members..................................................... 11

28.......... Duration of House of Representatives.............................................. 11

29.......... Electoral divisions [see Note 9]......................................................... 11

30.......... Qualification of electors.................................................................... 12

31.......... Application of State laws.................................................................. 12

32.......... Writs for general election.................................................................. 12

33.......... Writs for vacancies............................................................................ 12

34.......... Qualifications of members................................................................ 12

35.......... Election of Speaker........................................................................... 13

36.......... Absence of Speaker.......................................................................... 13

37.......... Resignation of member..................................................................... 13

38.......... Vacancy by absence.......................................................................... 13

39.......... Quorum............................................................................................. 14

40.......... Voting in House of Representatives.................................................. 14

Part IV--Both Houses of the Parliament                                                              15

41.......... Right of electors of States................................................................. 15

42.......... Oath or affirmation of allegiance....................................................... 15

43.......... Member of one House ineligible for other........................................ 15

44.......... Disqualification................................................................................. 15

45.......... Vacancy on happening of disqualification......................................... 16

46.......... Penalty for sitting when disqualified................................................. 16

47.......... Disputed elections............................................................................. 16

48.......... Allowance to members...................................................................... 17

49.......... Privileges etc. of Houses................................................................... 17

50.......... Rules and orders............................................................................... 17

Part V--Powers of the Parliament                                                                            18

51.......... Legislative powers of the Parliament [see Notes 10 and 11]............. 18

52.......... Exclusive powers of the Parliament.................................................. 20

53.......... Powers of the Houses in respect of legislation.................................. 20

54.......... Appropriation Bills........................................................................... 21

55.......... Tax Bill............................................................................................. 21

56.......... Recommendation of money votes..................................................... 21

57.......... Disagreement between the Houses.................................................... 22

58.......... Royal assent to Bills.......................................................................... 22

59.......... Disallowance by the Queen............................................................... 23

60.......... Signification of Queen's pleasure on Bills reserved.......................... 23

Chapter II--The Executive Government                                                              24

61.......... Executive power................................................................................ 24

62.......... Federal Executive Council................................................................. 24

63.......... Provisions referring to Governor-General........................................ 24

64.......... Ministers of State.............................................................................. 24

65.......... Number of Ministers......................................................................... 25

66.......... Salaries of Ministers......................................................................... 25

67.......... Appointment of civil servants........................................................... 25

68.......... Command of naval and military forces.............................................. 25

69.......... Transfer of certain departments......................................................... 25

70.......... Certain powers of Governors to vest in Governor-General.............. 26

Chapter III--The Judicature                                                                                       27

71.......... Judicial power and Courts................................................................. 27

72.......... Judges' appointment, tenure, and remuneration................................ 27

73.......... Appellate jurisdiction of High Court................................................. 28

74.......... Appeal to Queen in Council [see Note 12]........................................ 29

75.......... Original jurisdiction of High Court................................................... 29

76.......... Additional original jurisdiction.......................................................... 30

77.......... Power to define jurisdiction.............................................................. 30

78.......... Proceedings against Commonwealth or State.................................... 30

79.......... Number of judges............................................................................. 30

80.......... Trial by jury...................................................................................... 30

Chapter IV--Finance and Trade                                                                               32

81.......... Consolidated Revenue Fund............................................................. 32

82.......... Expenditure charged thereon............................................................. 32

83.......... Money to be appropriated by law...................................................... 32

84.......... Transfer of officers........................................................................... 32

85.......... Transfer of property of State............................................................. 33

86.......... [Customs, excise, and bounties] [see Note 13]................................. 34

87.......... [Revenue from customs and excise duties] [see Note 13]................. 34

88.......... Uniform duties of customs................................................................ 34

89.......... Payment to States before uniform duties........................................... 34

90.......... Exclusive power over customs, excise, and bounties........................ 35

91.......... Exceptions as to bounties.................................................................. 35

92.......... Trade within the Commonwealth to be free....................................... 35

93.......... Payment to States for five years after uniform tariffs........................ 36

94.......... Distribution of surplus...................................................................... 36

95.......... Customs duties of Western Australia................................................ 36

96.......... Financial assistance to States............................................................. 37

97.......... Audit................................................................................................. 37

98.......... Trade and commerce includes navigation and State railways............ 37

99.......... Commonwealth not to give preference.............................................. 37

100........ Nor abridge right to use water........................................................... 38

101........ Inter-State Commission..................................................................... 38

102........ Parliament may forbid preferences by State...................................... 38

103........ Commissioners' appointment, tenure, and remuneration................... 38

104........ Saving of certain rates....................................................................... 39

105........ Taking over public debts of States.................................................... 39

105A..... Agreements with respect to State debts............................................. 39

Chapter V--The States                                                                                                    41

106........ Saving of Constitutions..................................................................... 41

107........ Saving of Power of State Parliaments............................................... 41

108........ Saving of State laws.......................................................................... 41

109........ Inconsistency of laws........................................................................ 41

110........ Provisions referring to Governor...................................................... 41

111........ States may surrender territory........................................................... 42

112........ States may levy charges for inspection laws..................................... 42

113........ Intoxicating liquids............................................................................ 42

114........ States may not raise forces. Taxation of property of Commonwealth or State          42

115........ States not to coin money................................................................... 42

116........ Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion........................ 43

117........ Rights of residents in States.............................................................. 43

118........ Recognition of laws etc. of States..................................................... 43

119........ Protection of States from invasion and violence................................ 43

120........ Custody of offenders against laws of the Commonwealth................ 43

Chapter VI--New States                                                                                                 44

121........ New States may be admitted or established....................................... 44

122........ Government of territories.................................................................. 44

123........ Alteration of limits of States.............................................................. 44

124........ Formation of new States................................................................... 44

Chapter VII--Miscellaneous                                                                                         45

125........ Seat of Government.......................................................................... 45

126........ Power to Her Majesty to authorise Governor-General to appoint deputies [see Note 14]        45

Chapter VIII--Alteration of the Constitution                                                   46

128........ Mode of altering the Constitution [see Note 1]................................. 46

Schedule                                                                                                                                     48

Notes                                                                                                                                             49

 

 


[9th July 1900]

Notes to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act

Note 1

The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (the Constitution) as shown in this compilation comprises the Constitution amended as indicated in the Tables below.

Table of Acts

Act

Number
and year

Date
of Assent

Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) 1906

1, 1907

3 Apr 1907

Constitution Alteration (State Debts) 1909

3, 1910

6 Aug 1910

Constitution Alteration (State Debts) 1928

1, 1929

13 Feb 1929

Constitution Alteration (Social Services) 1946

81, 1946

19 Dec 1946

Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967

55, 1967

10 Aug 1967

Constitution Alteration (Senate Casual Vacancies) 1977

82, 1977

29 July 1977

Constitution Alteration (Retirement of Judges) 1977

83, 1977

29 July 1977

Constitution Alteration (Referendums) 1977

84, 1977

29 July 1977

 

 

 


Table of Amendments

ad. = added or inserted     am. = amended     rep. = repealed     rs. = repealed and substituted

Provision affected

How affected

S. 13....................................

am. No. 1, 1907

S. 15....................................

rs. No. 82, 1977

S. 51....................................

am. No. 81, 1946; No. 55, 1967

S. 72....................................

am. No. 83, 1977

S. 105..................................

am. No. 3, 1910

S. 105A...............................

ad. No. 1, 1929

S. 127..................................

rep. No. 55, 1967

S. 128..................................

am. No. 84, 1977

 

 


Note 2

Covering Clause 3--The Proclamation under covering clause 3 was made on 17 September 1900 and published in Gazette 1901.

Note 3

Covering Clause 5--see also the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 .

Note 4

Covering Clause 7--The following Acts have repealed Acts passed by the Federal Council of Australasia:

Defence Act 1903 (No. 20, 1903), s. 6

Pearl Fisheries Act 1952 (No. 8, 1952), s. 3 (Pearl Fisheries Act 1952 repealed by Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act 1968, s. 3)

Service and Execution of Process Act 1901 (No. 11, 1901), s. 2 (subsequently repealed by Service and Execution of Process Act 1963, s. 3).

Note 5

Section 7--The number of senators for each State was increased to 12 by the Representation Act 1983, s. 3.

Note 6

Section 9--The following State Acts have been passed in pursuance of the powers conferred by s. 9:

 

State

Number

Short title

How affected

New South Wales

No. 73, 1900

Federal Elections Act 1900

Ss. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and the Schedule repealed by No. 9, 1903; wholly repealed by No. 41, 1912

 

No. 9, 1903

Senators' Elections Act 1903

(still in force)

Victoria

No. 1715

Federal Elections Act 1900

Repealed by No. 1860

 

No. 1860

Senate Elections (Times and Places) Act 1903

Repealed by No. 2723

 

No. 2399

Senate Elections (Times and Places) Act 1912

Repealed by No. 2723

 

No. 2723

Senate Elections (Times and Places) Act 1915

Repealed by No. 3769

 

No. 3769

Senate Elections (Times and Places) Act 1928

Repealed by No. 6365

 

No. 6365

Senate Elections Act 1958

(still in force)

Queensland

64 Vic. No. 25

The Parliament of the Commonwealth Elections Act and the Elections Acts 1885 to 1898 Amendment Act of 1900

Operation exhausted

 

3 Edw. VII. No. 6

The Election of Senators Act of 1903

Repealed by 9 Eliz. II. No. 20

 

9 Eliz. II. No. 20

The Senate Elections Act of 1960

(still in force)

South Australia

No. 834

The Election of Senators Act 1903

(still in force)

Western Australia

No. 11, 1903

Election of Senators Act 1903

(still in force)

Tasmania

64 Vic. No. 59

The Federal Elections Act 1900

Repealed by 26 Geo. V. No. 3

 

3 Edw. VII. No. 5

The Election of Senators Act 1903

Repealed by 26 Geo. V. No. 3

 

26 Geo. V. No. 3

Senate Elections Act 1935

(still in force)

Note 7

Section 14--For the provisions applicable upon the increase in the number of senators to 12 made by the Representation Act 1983, see s. 3 of that Act.

Note 8

Section 15--The proposed law to alter the Constitution entitled "Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) 1977" was submitted to the electors in each State of the Commonwealth on 21 May 1977: it was not approved by a majority of all the electors voting in a majority of the States. See Gazette 1977, No. S100.

Note 9

Section 29--The following State Acts were passed in pursuance of the powers conferred by s. 29, but ceased to be in force upon the enactment of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902:

 

State

Number

Short title

New South Wales

No. 73, 1900

Federal Elections Act 1900

Victoria

No. 1667

Federal House of Representatives Victorian Electorates Act 1900

Queensland

64 Vic. No. 25

The Parliament of the Commonwealth Elections Act and The Elections Acts 1885 to 1898 Amendment Act of 1900

Western Australia

64 Vic. No. 6

Federal House of Representatives Western Australian Electorates Act 1900

Note 10

Section 51--The following Imperial Acts extended the legislative powers of the Parliament:

Whaling Industry (Regulation) Act 1934, s. 15

Geneva Convention Act, 1937, s. 2

Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939, s. 5

Army and Air Force (Annual) Act 1940, s. 3.

Note 11

Section 51 (xxxvii)--The following Acts have been passed by the Parliaments of the States to refer matters to the Parliament under section 51 (xxxvii):

 

State

Number

Short title

How affected

New South Wales

No. 65, 1915

Commonwealth Powers (War) Act 1915

Expired 9 Jan 1921; see s. 5

 

No. 33, 1942

Commonwealth Powers Act 1942

Expired; see s. 4

 

No. 18, 1943

Commonwealth Powers Act 1943

Expired; see s. 4

 

No. 48, 1983

Commonwealth Powers (Meat Inspection) Act 1983

Repealed by No. 147, 1997

 

No. 182, 1986

Commonwealth Powers (Family Law-Children) Act 1986

(still in force)

 

No. 61, 1992

Mutual Recognition (New South Wales) Act 1992

(still in force)

 

No. 104, 1992

Commonwealth Powers (State Banking) Act 1992

(still in force)

 

No. 100, 1993

Commonwealth Powers (Poultry Processing) Act 1993

Repealed by No. 55, 1997

 

No. 102, 1996

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (New South Wales) Act 1996

(still in force)

 

No. 1, 2001

Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001

(still in force)

 

No. 114, 2002

Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002

(still in force)

 

No. 49, 2003

Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2003

(still in force)

 

No. 69, 2008

Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008

(still in force)

 

No. 35, 2009

Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 115, 2009

Industrial Relations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 6, 2010

Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010

(still in force)

Victoria

No. 3108

Commonwealth Powers (Air Navigation) Act 1920

Repealed by No. 4502, 1937

 

No. 3658

Commonwealth Arrangements Act 1928

Part III Repealed by No. 4502, 1937

 

No. 4009

Debt Conversion Agreement Act 1931 (No. 2)

Repealed by No. 73, 2005

 

No. 4950

Commonwealth Powers Act 1943

Not proclaimed to come into operation and cannot now be so proclaimed

 

No. 92, 1986

Commonwealth Powers (Family Law-Children) Act 1986

(still in force)

 

No. 2, 1993

Mutual Recognition (Victoria) Act 1993

Expired; see s. 6

 

No. 59, 1996

Commonwealth Powers (Industrial Relations) Act 1996

Repealed by No. 24, 2009

 

No. 4, 1998

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Victoria) Act 1998

(still in force)

 

No. 62, 1998

Mutual Recognition (Victoria) Act 1998 (Vic)

(still in force)

 

No. 6, 2001

Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001

(still in force)

 

No. 14, 2003

Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2003

(still in force)

 

No. 84, 2004

Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2004

(still in force)

 

No. 75, 2008

Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008

(still in force)

 

No. 24, 2009

Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 60, 2009

Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 11, 2010

Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010

(still in force)

Queensland

12 Geo. V. No. 30

The Commonwealth Powers (Air Navigation) Act of 1921

Repealed by 1 Geo. VI. No. 8

 

22 Geo. V. No. 30

The Commonwealth Legislative Power Act 1931

Repealed by No. 46, 1983

 

7 Geo. VI. No. 19

Commonwealth Powers Act 1943

Expired; see s. 4

 

14 Geo. VI. No. 2

The Commonwealth Powers (Air Transport) Act of 1950

(still in force)

 

No. 37, 1990

Commonwealth Powers (Family Law-Children) Act 1990

(still in force)

 

No. 67, 1992

Mutual Recognition (Queensland) Act 1992

(still in force)

 

No. 43, 2001

Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001

(still in force)

 

No. 79, 2002

Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002

(still in force)

 

No. 45, 2003

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Queensland) Act 2003

(still in force)

 

No. 78, 2003

Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2003

(still in force)

 

No. 58, 2008

Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008

(still in force)

 

No. 37, 2009

Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 49, 2009

Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) and Other Provisions Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 16, 2010

Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010

(still in force)

South Australia

No. 1469, 1921

Commonwealth Powers (Air Navigation) Act 1921

Repealed by No. 2352, 1937

 

No. 2061, 1931

Commonwealth Legislative Power Act 1931

(still in force)
Act of limited application

 

No. 3, 1943

Commonwealth Powers Act 1943

Expired; see s. 5

 

No. 89, 1986

Commonwealth Powers (Family Law) Act 1986

(still in force)

 

No. 72, 1993

Mutual Recognition (South Australia) Act 1993

(still in force)

 

No. 27, 1999

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (South Australia) Act 1999

(still in force)

 

No. 21, 2001

Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001

(still in force)

 

No. 50, 2002

Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002

(still in force)

 

No. 43, 2008

Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008

(still in force)

 

No. 47, 2009

Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 57, 2009

Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 86, 2009

Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 2, 2010

Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010

(still in force)

Western Australia

No. 4, 1943

Commonwealth Powers Act 1943

Repealed by No. 58, 1965

 

No. 57, 1945

Commonwealth Powers Act 1945

Repealed by No. 58, 1965

 

No. 30, 1947

Commonwealth Powers Act 1943, Amendment Act 1947

Repealed by No. 58, 1965

 

No. 31, 1947

Commonwealth Powers Act 1945, Amendment Act 1947

Repealed by No. 58, 1965

 

No. 73, 1947

Commonwealth Powers Act 1945, Amendment Act (No. 2) 1947

Repealed by No. 58, 1965

 

No. 81, 1947

Commonwealth Powers Act 1945-1947, Amendment (Continuance) Act 1947

Repealed by No. 58, 1965

 

No. 53, 1995

Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 1995

Expired; see s. 7

 

No. 6, 2001

Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 2001

(still in force)

 

No. 7, 2001

Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001

(still in force)

 

No. 53, 2002

Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002

(still in force)

 

No. 26, 2006

Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2006

(still in force)

 

No. 30, 2007

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 2007

(still in force)

 

No. 13, 2010

Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010

(still in force)

Tasmania

11 Geo. V. No. 42

Commonwealth Powers (Air Navigation) Act 1920

Repealed by 1 Geo. VI. No. 14

 

No. 46, 1952

Commonwealth Powers (Air Transport) Act 1952

(still in force)

 

No. 62, 1966

Commonwealth Powers (Trade Practices) Act 1966

Expired; see s. 2

 

No. 5, 1987

Commonwealth Powers (Family Law) Act 1987

(still in force)

 

No. 33, 1993

Mutual Recognition (Tasmania) Act 1993

(still in force)

 

No. 39, 2001

Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001

(still in force)

 

No. 68, 2002

Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002

(still in force)

 

No. 60, 2003

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Tasmania) Act 2003

(still in force)

 

No. 18, 2006

Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2006

(still in force)

 

No. 51, 2009

Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

 

No. 88, 2009

Industrial Relations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009

(still in force)

Note 12

Section 74--See Privy Council (Limitation of Appeals) Act 1968, Privy Council (Appeals from the High Court) Act 1975 and Kirmani v Captain Cook Cruises Pty. Ltd [No. 2] (1985) 159 CLR 461.

Note 13

Sections 86 and 87--the headings for these sections have been added for compilation purposes.

 

Note 14

S. 126--See clause IV of the Letters Patent relating to the Office of Governor-General, published in Gazette 2008, S179.


 



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