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Organization of the Executive Government.

The establishment of a federal executive power of course adds to the complexity of governmental relations. Although in the past complexity and not simplicity in the sources of laws has been characteristic of our colonial institutions, there has been in each of the colonies but a single executive and a single system of courts to enforce those laws. In the Commonwealth duality runs through all the functions of government.note It is true that the scheme of the Constitution is to reproduce the Crown in the Commonwealth; and just as the Queen is a constituent part of the Parliament, so the Executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen (as is the executive government in Canada), though it is exerciseable by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative. It has alreadynote been pointed out that, except in a few cases, colonial governments have no corporate existence save in the Crown, and that it has been a question whether colonial ministers hold office under the Crown. The Letters Patent command “Our Ministers and


  ― 215 ―
Officers” in the colonies to be obedient, and the Instructions speak of “Our Executive Council”; but despatches from the Colonial Office to the Governor generally speak of “Your Ministers.” The ordinary usage of the Colonial Office was perhaps not unconnected with the fact that the “Colonial Ministers of the Crown,” “Her Majesty's Ministers for Victoria,” were associated with awkward claims. The Commonwealth Constitution brushes aside all doubts on this question by declaring that Commonwealth Ministers are the “Queen's Ministers of State for the Commonwealth” (section 64); and in section 44 it speaks of the “Queen's Ministers for a State.”

Notwithstanding the general vesting of executive power by section 61, it is within the discretion of the Parliament to provide the machinery for carrying out its own laws, to establish bodies or offices to which their execution is entrusted, and it would appear even to designate the persons who shall constitute such bodies or fill such offices. It is long since our Legislatures departed from the practice of laying down merely the broad outlines of law; the characteristic of British legislation has been extreme minuteness of enactment, the extent to which it has plunged into the details of administration. It is true that at the present day there is a tendency in the Legislature to permit much to the Crown in Council, or in the colonies to the Governor-in-Council. Even in the United States it is admitted that the authorities which are to execute an act of the Legislature, as distinguished from a power created by the Constitution, are within the discretion of the Legislature—“the authority which makes the laws has large discretion in determining the means through which they shall be executed; and the performance of many duties which they may provide for by law, they may refer either to the chief executive of the state, or at their option to any other executive or ministerial officer, or even to a person specially named for the duty.”note




  ― 216 ―

Where particular powers are granted to a particular authority it is of course not in the power of the Legislature to commit them elsewhere, unless, as in the case of the appointment of civil servants, it is expressly provided that the Legislature may confer the power on some other authority.

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