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Enclosure 2 in No. 10.

Attorney General's Office, Sydney, December 29, 1853. WE have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 27th instant, transmitting to us, by command of his Excellency the Governor General, the accompanying copy of a bill passed by the Legislative Council on the 21st instant, and presented to his Excellency for the Royal assent, intituled "a Bill to confer a constitution on New South "Wales, and to grant a Civil List to Her Majesty, and requesting We will carefully

SIR,

peruse this Bill, with the view of ascertaining whether in our opinion there is any objection to his Excellency giving his assent to it."

2. In reply we have the honour to state that this bill must be reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure thereon.

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3. We do not think that any amendments are necessary to give legal effect to the intentions of the Legislative Council, and to render the bill in other respects unobjec

tionable.

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-:

J. W. PLUNKETT, Attorney-General.
W. M. MANNING, Solicitor-General.

Enclosure 3 in No. 10.

To his Excellency Sir Charles Augustus Fitz Roy, Knight Companion of the Royal
Hanoverian Guelphic Order, Governor-General of all Her Majesty's Australian Pos-
sessions, and Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief of the Territory of New South
Wales and its Dependencies, and Vice-Admiral of the same, &c. &c. &c.
May it please your Excellency :-

WE, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the members of the Legis-
lative Council of New South Wales, in Council assembled, beg respectfully to present to
your
Excellency the following resolutions, adopted this day by the Council, and to request
that your Excellency will be pleased, in accordance with the twelfth of those resolutions,
to forward to his Grace, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the draft Act of Par-
liament herewith enclosed, as being a fit enactment to give the required validity to the
Constitution Bill:-

"6

1. That in the opinion of this House the "Bill to confer a Constitution on New South Wales, and to grant a Civil List to Her Majesty," which has just passed this House, is an embodiment of all the rights for which this House and preceding Legislative Councils have for years been contending, and will, when passed into law, redress all the grievances enumerated in the petitions to Her Majesty and both Houses of Parliament, adopted by this House on the 5th December 1851.*

2. It gives plenary powers of legislation in all matters of local and municipal con

cernment.

3. It prevents, except in certain enumerated cases relating solely to the prerogative of the Crown and imperial interests, the double power of veto, which has hitherto been the source of much uncertainty and dissatisfaction.

4. It greatly enlarges the basis of popular representation.

5. It establishes among us, for the first time, an independent judiciary.

6. It abolishes the schedules annexed to the Imperial Act now in force, and involves a necessary implication that the Imperial Parliament has no right to tax the inhabitants of this colony, or to appropriate any portion of its revenues.

7. It surrenders to the control of the Legislature the waste lands of the Crown, subject to the maintenance of the vested rights and other interests that have grown up under existing laws, and

8. To the like control and appropriation the entire consolidated revenues of the colony, from whatever source arising, except that portion thereof which is voluntarily granted to Her Majesty by way of civil list.

9. And, as a necessary consequence, it establishes a responsible government, properly so called, and places in the hands of responsible Ministers the appointment to all offices of trust and emolument within the colony, thus giving to the inhabitants thereof, as nearly as circumstances will admit, the same rights and privileges which belong to their fellow-subjects in the United Kingdom.

10. In framing this Bill, it has been the anxious desire of this House that the Legislative Council and House of Assembly should form as close an approximation as possible to the constitution of both Houses of the Imperial Parliament; and the whole scope of this measure is to give stability to those British institutions which we have; to introduce those which we have not; to cement that union which now happily exists between this colony and the parent country; and to perpetuate, if possible, that identity of laws, habits, and interests, which it is so desirable to have enduring.

11. Such being the intention of this Bill, and the power to frame it having been delegated to this House, under an admission that it was more competent than Par

Page 21 of Papers on Australia Constitutions presented to both Houses of Parliament by Her Majesty's command, 1st July 1852.

liament itself to devise a suitable constitution for this colony, this House desires to record its earnest hope that his Excellency the Governor-General will lose no time in forwarding to the Minister for the Colonies this Bill for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure thereon; and that his Excellency will be pleased to accompany it with such explanations as he may deem necessary, to show the large majorities both of the nominated and elective members by which it has been supported in all its stages, and ultimately passed.

12. That the Draft Act of Parliament brought up by the Select Committee to authorize Her Majesty to assent to the Bill, of which a copy is hereto appended, be transmitted to the Governor-General, with a request that his Excellency will be pleased to forward it to his Grace, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as being a fit enactment to give the required validity to this Bill.

13. That an address, embodying these resolutions, be presented to his Excellency the Governor-General.

(Signed)

CHARLES NICHOLSON,

Legislative Council Chambers, Sydney,

21st December 1853.

Speaker.

An Act to authorize Her Majesty to assent to a bill of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, and to repeal so much and such parts of divers Acts of Parliament therein enumerated as relate to the colony of New South Wales, and as are repugnant to the said bill.

NEW SOUTH
WALES.

5 & 6 Vict., c. 76.

WHEREAS the Legislative Council of the colony of New South Wales, constituted and assembled by virtue of and under the authority of the Act of Parliament passed in the session holden in the tenth and eleventh years of Her Majesty's reign, intituled, "An Act for 13 & 14 Vict., c. 59. the better Government of the Australian Colonies," did in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three, pass a Bill, intituled "An Act to confer a Constitution on New South Wales, and to grant a Civil List to Her Majesty," of which a copy is contained in the schedule to this present Act annexed: And whereas the said Bill was presented for Her Majesty's assent to the then Governor of the said colony of New South Wales, and the said Governor did thereupon declare that he reserved the said Bill for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure thereon: And whereas it is by the final provision of the said reserved Bill provided, that the foregoing provisions thereof shall have no force or effect until so much and such parts of the said recited Act of Parliament, and of another Act passed in the fifth and sixth years of Her Majesty's reign, intituled "An Act for the Government of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land," and of another Act, passed in the said fifth and sixth years of Her Majesty's reign, intituled "An Act for regulating the Sale of 5 & 6 Vict., c. 36. Waste Lands belonging to the Crown in the Australian Colonies," and of another Act passed in the eighth year of Her Majesty's reign, intituled "An Act to clear up doubts 7 & 8 Vict., c. 72. as to the regulation and audit of the Customs of New South Wales," and of another Act, passed in the same year, intituled "An Act to explain and amend the Act for the 7 & 8 Vict., c. 74. Government of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land," and of another Act passed in the ninth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Fourth, intituled "An Act 9 Geo. IV., c. 83. to provide for the Administration of Justice in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, and for the more efficient government thereof, and for other purposes relating thereto,' and of another Act passed in the ninth and tenth years of her Majesty's reign, intituled "An Act to amend an Act for regulating the Sale of Waste Lands belonging to the 9 & 10 Vict., c. 104. Crown in the Australian Colonies, and to make further provision for the management thereof," as severally relate to the colony of New South Wales, and as are repugnant to the said reserved Bill shall have been repealed: And whereas it is not competent to Her Majesty to assent to the said reserved Bill without the authority of Parliament for that purpose, inasmuch as the said Bill is in certain respects repugnant to the said several recited Acts of Parliament: And whereas it is expedient that Her Majesty should be authorised to assent to the said reserved Bill, and that so much and such parts as aforesaid of the said recited Acts should thereupon be repealed: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the consent and advice of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows :—

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I. It shall be lawful for Her Majesty, with the advice of Her Majesty's Privy Council to assent to the said reserved Bill, anything in the said recited Acts of Parliament, or any law, statute, or usage to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.

II. If Her Majesty, with the advice of Her Privy Council, shall assent as aforesaid to If Her Majesty the said reserved Bill, so much and such parts of the said recited Acts as in any way shall assent to relate to the colony of New South Wales, and as are repugnant to the said reserved Bill, such reserved or as in any way relate to the control and management of the waste lands of the Crown, Bills, certain proor to the appropriation of any revenues of the Crown thence or otherwise arising within visions in the the said colony, and also the first, second, and third parts of the Schedule A to the said recited Acts repealed. first recited Act mentioned or referred to in the final provision of the said reserved Bill, shall be repealed upon and from the day on which the said reserved Bill (being first so assented to by Her Majesty in Council) shall take effect in the said colony.

Her Majesty empowered to assent

to reserved Bills.

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III. This Act may be amended or suspended by any Act to be passed in this Session of Parliament.

PETITIONS.

NEW SOUTH WALES.

CONSTITUTION BILL.

To the Honourable the Legislative Council of New South Wales in council assembled.
The humble petition of the undersigned inhabitants of the colony of New South Wales,
Humbly showeth,

THAT, in the opinion of your petitioners, the proposed Constitution Bill now before your honourable council is radically defective, and opposed to the wishes and interests of the inhabitants of this colony, who believe that a representative legislature, consisting of two elective chambers, will alone possess that stability, energy, and usefulness, which are maintained by public confidence, and without which no government can permanently

exist.

That your petitioners earnestly remonstrate against any attempt, in the hasty manner now proposed in the Legislative Council, to impose a Constitution on the colony which is framed in direct opposition to the wishes of the people.

That the proposed alteration of the Electoral Act is calculated to increase that inequality in their representation, of which the Colonists have so justly complained, which inequality, instead of being increased, ought now to be rectified, and the representative system established on a just and satisfactory basis.

That your honourable Council having been elected without reference to the proposed change of Constitution, the colonists are entitled to demand the interposition of such delay between the first and second readings of the proposed Bill, as will enable them to express their views fully on this momentous subject.

Your petitioners therefore pray, that your honourable Council will be pleased to postpone the further consideration of the measure in question, for at least one month, in order to give the Colonists at large the opportunity of expressing their sentiments on the subject.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

[Here follow 2,630 signatures.]

To the Honourable the Legislative Council of New South Wales, in Council assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned inhabitants of Morpeth, and the surrounding district,

Respectfully showeth,

THAT your petitioners have read with the deepest feelings of regret the Bills, and the accompanying Report, framed by a Committee of your honourable House appointed to draw up a Constitution for the colony to be submitted to the British Government for its approval.

That the recommendation of the Committee to form an Upper House, to consist of members nominated for life by the Governor, is opposed to the opinions of the colonists, as expressed, not only by themselves on several occasions, but likewise through their representatives in their place in Council.

That the proposal of the Committee to create hereditary titles is repugnant, not only to the feelings of your petitioners, in common with their fellow colonists, but is also opposed, as they believe, to the opinions of the most enlightened men of the age.

That your petitioners, anxious that the future legislature of this country should command public respect and confidence, are deliberatively of opinion that the elective principle only should be recognized in the formation of an Upper Chamber, and that the members of such Upper Chamber should be elected for a longer term of years than, and by a different franchise from, those of the Lower House. An Upper House so constituted would, in the opinion of your petitioners, be regarded with a degree of respect and confidence which one on the nominee principle would altogether fail to command.

That the distribution of the proposed additional seats in the Lower House of Legislature is not as impartial as your petitioners would desire; the Committee being evidently under the impression that the Electoral Act of 1851 met with general approbation, whereas that Act was quite opposed to the wishes of the community, an undue preponderance being given by it to the pastoral over the agricultural and commercial interests.

Your petitioners therefore trust that your honourable House will, in the discussion of the new Constitution Bill, be pleased to take these their views into your favourable consideration.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

[Here follow 236 signatures.]

To the Honourable the Legislative Council of New South Wales.
The Petition of the Inhabitants of Moreton Bay, in Public Meeting assembled, at
Brisbane, January 1st, 1853,
Showeth,

THAT whereas the Petition of the Inhabitants of Moreton Bay, dated 22nd November 1852, against the passing of the 51st clause of a Bill now before your Honourable House, intituled "A Bill to confer a Constitution on New South Wales," was, by your House, rejected as being informal and insufficient.

And whereas your petitioners still retain the opinion expressed in their late petition, that the effect of the 51st clause of the above Bill would tend to deprive the inhabitants of the territories lying northward of the 30th degree of south latitude of the privileges conferred on them by the 34th and 35th sections of the Act of the Imperial Parliament, 14th and 15th Victoria, cap. 59.

Your petitioners once more respectfully, but most earnestly, protest against the passing of the said Bill in its present shape, inasmuch as by the provisions of its 51st clause your petitioners would be for ever debarred from enjoying the rights conferred on them by Her Most Gracious Majesty in Parliament, and sanctioned by every principle of justice and expediency.

And your petitioners will ever pray.

[Here follow 324 signatures.]

To the Honourable the Legislative Council of New South Wales.

The Petition of the undersigned Inhabitants of that part of the District of Scone, situated in the County of Brisbane,

Humbly showeth,

THAT your petitioners have read with much dissatisfaction the Report and Bill brought up by the committee of your honourable House, appointed on the 20th May 1853, to prepare a constitution for this colony.

That whilst your petitioners would prefer that there should be but one House of Parliament, the whole of the members of which elected by the people, they would look upon the establishment of an Upper House of Parliament, with members elected by and from the members of the Lower House, or elected by the people throughout the country, as a mitigated evil; but to the establishment of an Upper Chamber, with members nominated by the Crown, they are decidedly and determinedly opposed, and that opposition is only the more exasperated by the proposition to saddle their descendants, for all time coming, with an order of privileged legislators, holding, by hereditary descent, power to crush the efforts of the friends of liberty in this land.

That your petitioners cannot admit the pretext, that the committee was bound to adopt a Constitution similar to that of Canada; it being notorious that the present advisers of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen are opposed to the nomination of colonial legislators by the Crown; besides the simple fact of the home Government having referred the matter back to the colony at all, clearly demonstrates, in the opinion of your petitioners, that it can have had no wish to force on it a servile copy of the Canadian Constitution; otherwise, the Imperial Government would, doubtless, have settled the matter at once by obtaining an Act of Parliament for the purpose.

That your petitioners have observed, with bitter feelings, the tone of commendation with which the committee speak of the Electoral Act now in force; a law which, for the following reasons, they hold unjust :

1. Because by it one portion of the community-the inhabitants of the squatting districts-have, when tested either by their numbers or population, or by their amount of property, an unfair and unequal share of representatives, and thereby securing to itself an overwhelming political power, with which it is seeking to aggrandize itself at the expense of all other classes of the community.

2. Because the power by it placed in the hands of chief constables in the country districts, as collectors of the electoral lists, is one too great to be safely placed in the hands of any man, much less in the hands of such men as chief constables are usually chosen from.

3. Because, in the opinion of your petitioners, at least one month should be allowed to parties for filing notices of claims for their names to be on the electoral list of their respective districts; or, on the other hand, for filing notices of objection to parties whose names may be wrongfully on the said list.

4. Because your petitioners believe that the constitution of the Revision Courts under it for the country districts is bad, and that any inquiry into the right of any individual to have his name on the electoral list of his district, would be safer in the hands of juries than in those of the magistracy.

That your petitioners are of opinion that, in the preparation of any Bill for a new Constitution for this colony, provision ought to be made for the extension of the franchise, at least so as to admit 51. householders; and that the protection of the ballot ought to be conceded to all voters.

NEW SOUTH
WALES.

NEW SOUTH
WALES.

That your petitioners were not at all prepared to find it proposed to place the electors of the united counties of Philip, Brisbane, and Bligh in a still worse position as to political power than they are under the Electoral Act before alluded to; and whilst they would have hailed with satisfaction an augmentation of representatives for the electorates possessing a large population, even although the electorate with which they are connected was left without any share of the proposed additional members for your honourable Council, they view with far different feelings the proposition to give an additional member to each of four squatting districts, and they confess their inability to arrive at any principle that would justify granting to any squatting district twice the amount of political power meted to these counties. By the census of 1851, the population of the united counties of Philip, Brisbane, and Bligh was more than double that of any squatting district in the colony; and in the said counties are formed settled and permanent homes, with corn fields and vineyards; the occupied land being for the most part held by freehold right, certainly to the extent of 2000-fold that held in the same way in any squatting district, and supporting but little less live stock; altogether, the capital invested in them is infinitely greater. Your petitioners are induced to mention the possession of this wealth because an opinion appears to obtain in your honourable Council, that the whole of the wealth of the country districts is settled in the squatting electorates.

That your petitioners are, on account of its unprecedented extravagance, strenuously opposed to the proposition to pension off the present occupants of the high offices of the Government, at the full amount of their newly-increased salaries, in the event of their being ousted from office, by the working of responsible government; besides, such a course, in the opinion of your petitioners, would be holding out a premium for objectionable conduct. The sooner they displeased the country by their mismanagement of its affairs, the sooner they would be released from any sort of trouble or responsibility, coupled with the enjoyment of their incomes.

That your petitioners are opposed to any grant from the public revenues for religion, on the ground that the State should in no way interfere with religious matters, as it cannot do so without confounding truth with error.

And your petitioners humbly trust that your honourable House will take the premises into your favourable consideration, and decline to adopt the Report, or pass the Bill prepared by the Constitution committee.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

[Here follow 65 signatures.]

To the Honourable the Legislative Council of New South Wales, in Council Assembled.
The humble Petition of the under-signed Inhabitants of Murrurundi,

Humbly showeth,

THAT, in the opinion of your Petitioners, the Constitution Bill introduced into your honourable House is at variance with our acknowledged rights as British colonists, the principles on which the whole bill is framed being either those essentially unjust or defective.

1. In proposing to constitute a part of the legislature of this colony by an assumed prerogative, the exercise of which is hostile to the rights of freemen.

2. In conferring on those legislative favourites a hereditary right of legislation, thus most unjustly disposing of the rights of the colonists, and afterwards dooming and abandoning them to the accidents of birth, to the great injury of themselves and their posterity.

3. In proposing to perpetuate the present unfair division of the electoral districts. 4. In proposing to fix too extravagant salaries on the Chief Officers of the Government, and in attempting to render the present grant for public worship a permanent part of the constitution.

Your Petitioners therefore pray that your honourable house will reject the proposed bill, and adopt only such a Constitution as shall have a purely representative basis and equal rights to all classes.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

[Here follow 88 signatures.]

To the Honourable the Legislative Council of New South Wales.

The Petition of the under-signed inhabitants of the town and district of Yass, Humbly showeth,

THAT your petitioners have directed their attention to a report now before your Honourable House relative to the formation of a new constitution for the colony, against the adoption of which, in its present state, your petitioners feel it their imperative duty earnestly and emphatically to record their protest.

That your petitioners view with the strongest distrust and alarm the proposed scheme of an upper house of crown nominees, and the creation of a hereditary order of colonial

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