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§ 104. “The People of the Commonwealth.”

Attention may be drawn to the above expression “the people of the Commonwealth” for the purpose of contrasting of it with another, to be found in section 7, “the people of the States.” (Note, § 68, supra.) A federation is, as we have already seen, defined by some authorities as a State having a dual system of government; (see “Federal,” § 27, supra); hence, in a federation it is said there is a dual citizenship. It follows that each natural-born or naturalized subject of the Queen permanently residing within the limits of the Commonwealth is entitled to be considered as a citizen of the Commonwealth, and, at the same time, a citizen of the State in which he resides. Every such person thus owes a double duty, and can claim a double right; a duty to the Commonwealth, as the great community embracing all the people, to yield obedience to its laws, to assist in its defence, and to take part in promoting its interests; a right to claim from the Commonwealth the equal protection of its laws, and to share in the honour and advantage of its rule. Such a person also owes a duty to the particular State in which he resides, regarding that State as a part of the Commonwealth, guaranteed to possess and enjoy certain privileges and immunities; a duty to obey its laws, and at the same time to assist in


  ― 450 ―
defending the State domain against unconstitutional invasion; a right to demand from the State the equal protection of the laws of the State. In one capacity such a person is described by the Constitution as one of “the people of the Commonwealth;” in the other he is one of “the people of a State.” From this dual citizenship, and, in order to assist in its preservation, every person living under such a form of government has a duality of political rights and powers. He is entitled, not only to assist in carrying on the government of his State, as a part of the Commonwealth, but to assist in the government of that wider organization of the nation itself. In the latter work, taken and considered by itself, he has also a dual right and power; viz., to join in returning members to the House of Representatives in which centralizing, consolidating, nationalizing, and progressive elements of the community are represented, and also to assist in returning members to the Senate, in which the moderating, restraining, conserving and provincial elements of the community are represented. The duty of a citizen having these dual functions, and of the Federal Parliament so dually constituted, will be to reconcile and harmonize all these apparently conflicting yet necessary and inevitable forces.

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