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Executive power.

61. The executive power of the Commonwealth272 is vested in the Queen273, and is exerciseable by the Governor-General273 as the Queen's representative, and extends to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth.

CANADA.—The Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen. (B.N.A. Act, 1867, sec. 9.)

HISTORICAL NOTE.—In the Commonwealth Bill of 1891, the substance of this section was contained in clauses 1 and 8 of Chap. II. (Conv. Deb., Syd. (1891) pp. 777–8.)

At the Adelaide session, the clauses were introduced in the same form. In Committee, Mr. Reid and Mr. Carruthers suggested adding “in Council” after “Governor-General.” Mr. Reid argued that the prerogative, so far as the colonies were concerned, was limited to the right of assembling, proroguing, and dissolving Parliament, pardoning offenders, issuing proclamations, &c. Executive acts were always done on the advice of the Executive Council; the refusal to receive advice was not an Executive Act at all. Mr. Barton replied that Executive acts were either (1) exercised by prerogative, or (2) statutory. Constitutional practice would prevent the prerogative, except occasionally, being exercised without ministerial advice, and the words were unnecessary and opposed to usage. No amendment was moved. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 908–15.)

At Sydney, Mr. Reid obtained the substitution of “exercisable” for “exercised”—apparently to avoid a direction to the Queen, and make the words declaratory. (Conv. Deb. Syd., p. 782.)

At Melbourne, the words “and authority” (after “power”) were omitted; and after the fourth report the two clauses were condensed into one. (Conv. Deb. Melb. p. 1721.)

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