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Commencement of Act.

4. The Commonwealth shall be established29, and the Constitution of the Commonwealth shall take effect30, on and after the day so appointed. But the Parliaments of the several colonies may at any time after the passing of this Act make any such laws31, to come into operation on the day so appointed, as they might have made if the Constitution had taken effect at the passing of this Act.

UNITED STATES.—The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same.—Const., Art. VII. CANADA.—The subsequent Provisions of this Act shall, unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, commence and have effect on and after the Union, that is to say, on and after the day appointed for the Union taking effect in the Queen's Proclamation; and in the same Provisions, unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, the name Canada shall be taken to mean Canada as constituted under this Act. —B.N.A. Act, sec. 4.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—Clause 4 of the Commonwealth Bill of 1891 was as follows:—

“Unless where it is otherwise expressed or implied, this Act shall commence and have effect on and from the day so appointed in the Queen's proclamation; and the name ‘The Commonwealth of Australia’ or ‘The Commonwealth’ shall be taken to mean the Commonwealth of Australia as constituted under this Act.”

This clause, with the omission of the second word “where,” was adopted at the Adelaide Session, 1897. Mr. Carruthers suggested that the introductory words were vague; and Mr. Kingston proposed to substitute “Except in regard to section 3, which shall come into operation at the passing of the Act.” This was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 621–5.) At the Sydney Session, following the suggestions of the Legislatures of New South Wales and Tasmania, the words “unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, this Act” were omitted, and the words “The Constitution of the Commonwealth” were substituted. A provision was then added that “The Parliaments of the several colonies may at any time after the passing of this Act make any such laws, to come into operation on the day so appointed, as they might have made if the Constitution had been established at the passing of this Act.” (Conv. Deb., Syd. [1897], pp. 228–31.) At the Melbourne Session, verbal amendments were made before the first report and after the fourth report.

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