The Relationship Between British and Australian Law Throughout Our Political History

Topics: British Empire, Australia, United Kingdom Pages: 17 (4819 words) Published: April 25, 2011
In this essay i will examine the relationship between British and Australian law throughout our political history. The first settlement of British subjects and convicts, brought along with them their British laws and system of government. I will look

at the effect their system and laws had on our first formed governments and how it has helped mould our government of today.

I will examine if throughout the years, the progression of new laws and 'acts' eventually gave Australia full and true independence from British rule.

Paragraph 1-2 will explain how, from early settlment in the late 1700s, to the beginning of federation in 1901, the laws (legislation and the court systems) which were formed to accomodate the new fast growing colonies of Australia.

Paragraph 3 explains the evolution of the new colonies and the problems that arose from their seperate legal systems.This led up to' Federation' In Jan.1901, with the eventual joining of the colonies and the newly drafted Constitution.

Paragraph 4 tells how the Constitution changed the government into a federal government and what those changes entailed. Some of the first arguments and reasons from those who opposed federation and the new system are given.

Paragraph 5 shows how the Constitutution and federation established a federal system of government, with the one central government(Commonwealth)and regional governments(States).

Paragraph 6 states how the central government was divided into three seperate branches, all with seperate powers.It shows what those seperate powers entail and how they effect each branch.

Paragraph 7 shows how the Australia's growing independence away from Britain led to new systems of government such as the 'Statute of Westminster' .This system however still allowed Britain several legislative and constitutional links to State government so the 'Australia Act 1986' was assented, rendering the Australian states as subject to Britain.

Paragraphs 8-10 shows how over the years, political parties were formed to voice both opposition and approval to the remaining ties Australia still has to Britain. This led up to the question of 'should Australia become a republic' and a referendum was held in 1999.Arguments for and against Australia becoming a republic by both parties(ARM & ACM) are mentioned.

Paragraphs 11-12 describes events in which the office of the Governor-General had used its 'reserve powers' as written in the Constitution to effect the outcome of Australian political situations.

In 1787 the first shipment of convicts set sail for the newly discovered land known as New Holland, later renamed Australia .They arrived on January 26th 1788. The British Crown Colony settlement of New South Wales was established. As British settlers overseas, the the colonists were entitled by British tradition to govern themselves. 'The first settlers also came with the authority of 'The First Charter of Justice', which provided for the establishment of civil and criminal courts'(Hudson & Sharp1993,p12). Later, seperate new colonies were run under the same system of law.

The main colony of New South Wales which was a penal colony established it's own legislature in 1823 and formed the Legislative Council. The courts however practised like military tribunals rather than British courts and was often arbitrary as there was no trial by jurys. In 1814 a Second Charter of Justice established three new courts of civil juditure, The Governors Court, The Supreme court and the leuitenant Governors Court.(Hudson& Sharp1993,p27).

After a change of government in Britain colonial councils were told they could write up their own constitution for self government, local new laws were produced. Concerns over their validity however prompted the Imperial Parliament of Britain to pass the 'Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865' which defined the colonial parliaments constitutional limits. The 'Act' did state however that if any law passed were at odds with...
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