CHAPTER XVI - FURTHER ALTERATIONS OF CONSTITUTIONS  pp. 61-187

FURTHER ALTERATIONS OF CONSTITUTIONS

By George William Rusden

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It must ever be an interesting study to analyze the transformations of the Constitutions of the Australian colonies after they were submitted to local arbitrament. New Zealand formed an exception. In the other colonies changes, whether wise or foolish, were made after discussions, and in terms of local or Imperial enactment. In New Zealand it may truly be said that the adoption of responsible government was the unlawful result of insidious claims made by members elected under her Constitution Act (15 and 16 Viet., cap. 72), which had not provided, and was not intended to provide in any manner, for local responsible government. The Act contained no word about it; and though speeches of law-makers must not be called in to construe their handiwork, it is fair to say that the absence of any allusion to responsible government in speeches in the Houses proves that the subject was not considered or decided upon. The title of the Act designated it as one to “grant a Representative Constitution.” Such institutions had existed for many years in Australia without responsible government. Moreover, there was ample proof, internal in the law, and in the Royal Instructions which accompanied it to the colony, that the perversion of the Constitution was unwarrantable.

History of Australia Volume 1

George William Rusden

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Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139012997

History of Australia Volume 2

George William Rusden

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Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139013000