Australian Colonies Government Act

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The Australian Colonies Government Act, formally known as the Act for the Better Government of Her Majesty's Australian Colonies (1850), was legislation enacted by the British Parliament, which enabled the creation of new Australian colonies with a similar form of government to New South Wales. In other words, they would have a bicameral parliament watched over by a vice-regal representative. The Act specifically mentioned Port Phillip and Moreton Bay as districts which were likely to become separate colonies in the foreseeable future.

The Act was a response to the demand of the Port Phillip (later called the colony of Victoria) and Moreton Bay settlers, who felt inadequately represented in the New South Wales Legislative Council and who resented their taxes being channeled to the New South Wales area. The Act, which took effect on 2 July 1851, provided an initial constitution for Victoria. It provided for a Victorian Legislative Council of 21 elected members and 30 members appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor. This body was given jurisdiction over all but Australian lands and could pass any legislation not in conflict with the extant English laws. The Act provided that the current arrangements would continue either until a charter of justice were issued, or until legislation was passed by the Victorian Legislative Council.[1]

The Act also recognized the desire for progress toward self-government of other colonies in Australia, and similar constitutional provisions were applied to Tasmania and South Australia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bennett, J. M. (2001). Sir William a'Beckett: First Chief Justice of Victoria 1852-1857. Leichhardt, New South Wales: The Federation Press. ISBN 1-86287-409-3.