previous
next

The States Constitutions.

By section 106, “The Constitution of each State of the Commonwealth shall, subject to this Constitution, continue as at the establishment of the Commonwealth or as at the admission or establishment of the State, as the case may be, until altered in accordance with the Constitution of the State.” By section 107, “Every power of the Parliament of a Colony, which has become or becomes a State, shall, unless it is by this Constitution exclusively vested in The Parliament of the Commonwealth or withdrawn from the


  ― 286 ―
Parliament of the State, continue as at the establishment of the Commonwealth or as at the admission or establishment of the State, as the case may be.” In speaking of “the Constitution of each State,” the section suggests that there is in each State a law or body of laws, defined and ascertainable, to which the term “Constitution” can be applied. This is, however, no more true of the States than it is of the United Kingdom. As has been seen in chapter i., the constitutional law of the Colonies, taking that term in its narrowest sense, is to be ascertained only by the consideration of a number of statutory provisions and prerogative instruments. In no respect does the Constitution of the Commonwealth differ more markedly from the Constitution of the Dominion of Canada, than in this—that, while in Canada the British North America Act, distributing as it did the powers of government between Dominion and Provinces, had to organize both, the Australian Constitution had not, as any part of its object, the framing of a government for the States. The principle of State autonomy has been carefully observed. In accordance with this principle, the Constitution omits clauses of the Bill of 1891, which required that there should be a Governor in each State, and proposed that the Parliament of each State might make such provision as it thought fit as to the manner of appointment of the Governor of the State, and for the tenure of his office and for his removal from office. The Constitution no doubt assumes the continuance of the States Governments in their present form, in that it refers to the “Governor,” the “Governor with the advice of the Executive Council” (section 15), “the Parliament,” the “Houses of the Parliament of the State sitting and voting together,” and “the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State.” So far as the Governor of a State is concerned, the Constitution provides by section 110, that “the provisions of this Constitution relating to the Governor of a State extend and apply to the chief executive officer or administrator of the government of the State.” For the rest, there is room


  ― 287 ―
for some doubt as to the consequences of an alteration of the State Constitutions. But whatever may be the inconvenience to the Commonwealth of the abolition of certain State machinery, it cannot affect the power of the State over its own institutions.

previous
next