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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the design of Australia's federal system. Two historical propositions affirmed in the preamble to the Constitution are central to this conception. These are, firstly, that the Constitution was predicated on an agreement between the people of the Australian colonies and, secondly, that the intention was to unite the colonies into an indissoluble federal commonwealth. The Australian Constitution does not rest upon the consent of an already consolidated people; nor does it create a unitary state. It is the result of an agreement among several mutually independent political communities and it establishes a federal system of government that preserves their continuing existence as self-governing polities.

Keywords: federalism, Australia's federal system, Australian Constitution, Australian colonies, federal commonwealth, self-governing polities

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