The Australian Federation is an autonomous domain of the British crown. In theory, it is subject to the legislative authority of the UK Parliament. But the English constitutional system recognizes legal “conventions” or customs, which have the force of law without invalidating the formulated law. By a constitutional convention, the UK Parliament cannot exercise its legal powers in respect of Australia except at the request and with the consent of the local legislature. Some British statutes, dating from an era prior to that in which this convention was established, remain in force in Australia and can only be repealed by the UK Parliament. But under the Westminster Statute of 1931 (law passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the council and at the request of the Dominions), the Parliament of the Federation may, by applying the provisions of the law, ensure the power to reject any British law that applies to the Australia and that it deals with issues on which the parliament of the Federation has the competence to legislate. The district of Canberra (federal capital) is among the territories governed by the Federation. The Island of Nauru is a territory under the mandate of the British Empire, jointly exercised by the Australian Federation, the United Kingdom and the Dominion of New Zealand. For Australia 2012, please check eningbo.info.
The constitution of the Australian Federation is a law approved by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, (Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900) on the draft drawn up by the representatives of the populations of the states (the ancient colonies) gathered in assembly. But the constitution can be and was amended by the parliament of the Federation and with the consent of the majority of the population of the Federation itself, as well as of the majority of the population in the majority of the individual states (paragraph 128 of the constitution). In many respects it is modeled on that of the United States of America, but differs from it in several important points:
- The governor general is appointed by the king, but, by convention, on the proposal of the Federal Executive Council; the latter, also by convention, is responsible to the House of Representatives modeled on the English model.
- The exclusive powers of the parliament of the Federation are few. While it has wider powers than those possessed by the United States Congress, states can legislate on most matters. The laws promulgated by the states are void, if in contrast with the valid laws of the Federation.
- There is no strict separation between the federal courts and those of the various states, although the questions relating to the limits between the legislative powers of the Federation and those of the states, or between the legislative powers of the various states among themselves, are federal laws reserved to the High Court of Justice of Australia.
- Recourse to the king and the King in Council is granted in many matters, both by state and federal courts; although in most constitutional matters the right to appeal can only be granted by the High Court of Australia. Consequently, only in most constitutional matters can the Australian courts be considered as the last instance of jurisdiction. In matters that may be brought before the king and his council, the decisions of the Judicial Committee of the (British) Private Council are binding upon the competent courts of Australia, and are thus one of the sources of law.
- As a result of the decisions taken by the Australian High Court of Justice, the principles applied by the United States Supreme Court in the interpretation of the United States Constitution cannot be applied in the interpretation of the Federation Constitution. It is to be interpreted as a British statute, according to the principles applied by the British courts in interpreting British law.