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[The Premiers meet at the 1891 Federal Convention. National Archives of Australia C 4076/1]

Federation was a unique achievement:

  • It was peaceful.
  • Although the British had first proposed it decades before, it was actually drafted in Australia by Australians and approved by the Australian people in each of the colonies.
  • The British allowed Australians to change their Constitution without reference to London.
  • The Governor-General was granted by a constitutional provision the direct exercise of the executive power of the Commonwealth.

Federation was thus the sixth pillar of the nation.

The Federal Constitution has since served us well, allowing Australia to enjoy peaceful limited government, in peace and in war, in prosperity and in depression.

Under it the nation has evolved peacefully from being a self governing Dominion within the British Empire, to full independence as a Realm within the Commonwealth.

The Federation was based on the new entity being an indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown.

This is the fundamental nature of the federal  structure of the nation : it is an indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown.

There have always been those who want to remove the Crown, but they were not elected to the nineteenth century conventions.

For almost all of the first century of federation, nol Australian leader had questioned the place of the Crown in our constitutional system.  

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