Australia Federation







Australia Federation



Federation in Australia

The now unified six states of Australia weren’t always united as they are now today. New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland weren’t states yet back then but separate governing colonies. Each of them has their own government, economic system and even their own little armies.

Finalizing the Constitution and choosing the form of government that the federation would use also went through a lot of hurdles and faced many opposing views. Several constitution models were considered such as the Canadian Constitution, the Swiss Federal Constitution, and the Constitution of the United States of America. The first draft ever written of the Australian Constitution was made by Andrew Inglis Clark in May 1890.



Clark consulted with Moncure Conway and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. about his draft, which was based mainly on the British North America Act and the US Constitution.

He presented his final draft to Sir Henry Parkes and the others in February 1891. The final Australian Constitution that is used up to this day bears around 86 sections, which are undeniably taken from Clark’s draft.

Australian Federation

After facing a lot of criticisms and oppositions all throughout the second half of 19th century, the said self-governing colonies were finally enforced to come together as states of the Commonwealth of Australia, effective on the 1st of January 1901 under the Constitution of Australia.It wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century when efforts to unify the colonies into a federation began.


Through the unrelenting efforts of Sir Henry Parkes, New South Wales’ Premier, the movement for the Federation of Australia eventually became a success.
The federation of Australia was a long and arduous process before it materialized.


The first proposal for a Federal Council body was presented as early as 1867 by Sir Henry Parkes, who was only a Colonial Secretary back then.


However, the Duke of Buckingham that time, who also serves as the Secretary of the State for the Colonies, didn’t entertain the proposal.

It wasn’t until 13 years later, when he was already the Premier of New South Wales, did Parkes brought the proposal again in the 1880 conference. Each of the colonies had their own concerns and reservations regarding this federation.


Most of them were worried about the distribution of power and their individual revenues from trade and commerce. They are worried that they might be putting themselves at the disposal of larger and hence, more powerful, states.

Australia Federation


The larger colonies, on the other hand, are worried that they might be obliged to financially support the struggling economies of the smaller colonies, such as South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.




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