Notes

  1. The Constitution as printed above contains all the alterations of the Constitution made up to 31 May 2013. These notes generally deal with matters up to that date. Particulars of the Acts by which the Constitution was altered are as follows:

    Act Number
    and year
    Date of
    Assent
    Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) 1906 1, 1907 3 Apr 1907
    Constitution Alteration (State Debts) 1909 3, 1910 6 Aug 1910
    Constitution Alteration (State Debts) 1928 1, 1929 13 Feb 1929
    Constitution Alteration (Social Services) 1946 81, 1946 19 Dec 1946
    Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967 55, 1967 10 Aug 1967
    Constitution Alteration (Senate Casual Vacancies) 1977 82, 1977 29 July 1977
    Constitution Alteration (Retirement of Judges) 1977 83, 1977 29 July 1977
    Constitution Alteration (Referendums) 1977 84, 1977 29 July 1977

    Table of Amendments

    ad. = added or inserted; am. = amended; rep. = repealed; rs. = repealed and substituted

    Provision affected How affected
    s. 13 am. No. 1, 1907
    s. 15 rs. No. 82, 1977
    s. 51 am. No. 81, 1946; No. 55, 1967
    s. 72 am. No. 83, 1977
    s. 105 am. No. 3, 1910
    s. 105A ad. No. 1, 1929
    s. 127 rep. No. 55, 1967
    s. 128 am. No. 84, 1977
  2. Covering clause 3 – The Proclamation under covering clause 3 was made on 17 September 1900 and is published in Gazette 1901, p. 1.
  3. Covering clause 5 – Cf. the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942.
  4. Covering clause 7 – The following Acts have repealed Acts passed by the Federal Council of Australasia:

    Defence Act 1903 (No. 20, 1903), s. 6

    Pearl Fisheries Act 1952 (No. 8, 1952), s. 3 (Pearl Fisheries Act 1952 repealed by Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act 1968, s. 3)

    Service and Execution of Process Act 1901 (No. 11, 1901), s. 2 (s. 2 subsequently repealed by Service and Execution of Process Act 1963, s. 3).

  5. Section 7 – The number of senators for each State was increased to 12 by the Representation Act 1983, s. 3.
  6. Section 9 – The following State Acts have been passed in pursuance of the powers conferred by s. 9:

    State Number Short title How affected
    New South Wales No. 73, 1900 Federal Elections Act 1900 Ss. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and the Schedule repealed by No. 9, 1903; wholly repealed by No. 41, 1912
    No. 9, 1903 Senators' Elections Act 1903 (Still in force)
    Victoria No. 1715 Federal Elections Act 1900 Repealed by No. 1860
    No. 1860 Senate Elections (Times and Places) Act 1903 Repealed by No. 2723
    No. 2399 Senate Elections (Times and Places) Act 1912 Repealed by No. 2723
    No. 2723 Senate Elections (Times and Places) Act 1915 Repealed by No. 3769
    No. 3769 Senate Elections (Times and Places) Act 1928 Repealed by No. 6365
    No. 6365 Senate Elections Act 1958 (Still in force)
    Queensland 64 Vic. No. 25 The Parliament of the Commonwealth Elections Act and The Elections Acts 1885 to 1898 Amendment Act of 1900 Operation exhausted
    3 Edw.VII. No. 6 The Election of Senators Act of 1903 Repealed by 9 Eliz. II. No. 20
    9 Eliz. II. No. 20 Senate Elections Act 1960 (Still in force)
    South Australia No. 834, 1903 The Election of Senators
    Act 1903
    (Still in force)
    Western Australia No. 11, 1903 Election of Senators Act 1903 (Still in force)
    Tasmania 64 Vic. No. 59 The Federal Elections Act 1900 Repealed by
    26 Geo. V. No. 3
    3 Edw. VII No. 5 The Election of Senators Act 1903 Repealed by
    26 Geo. V. No. 3
    26 Geo. V No. 3 Senate Elections Act 1935 (Still in force)
  7. Section 13 was amended by the Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) 1906, and previously read as follows:

    "13. As soon as may be after the Senate first meets, and after each first meeting of the Senate following a dissolution thereof, the Senate shall divide the senators chosen for each State into two classes, as nearly equal in number as practicable; and the places of the senators of the first class shall become vacant at the expiration of the third year, and the places of those of the second class at the expiration of the sixth year, from the beginning of their term of service; and afterwards the places of senators shall become vacant at the expiration of six years from the beginning of their term of service.

    The election to fill vacant places shall be made in the year at the expiration of which the places are to become vacant.

    For the purposes of this section the term of service of a senator shall be taken to begin on the first day of January following the day of his election, except in the case of the first election and of the election next after any dissolution of the Senate, when it shall be taken to begin on the first day of January preceding the day of his election."

  8. Section 14 – For the provisions applicable upon the increase in the number of senators to 12 made by the Representation Act 1983, see s. 3 of that Act.
  9. Section 15 was amended by the Constitution Alteration (Senate Casual Vacancies) 1977, and previously read as follows:

    "15. If the place of a senator becomes vacant before the expiration of his term of service, the Houses of Parliament of the State for which he was chosen shall, sitting and voting together, choose a person to hold the place until the expiration of the term, or until the election of a successor as hereinafter provided, whichever first happens. But if the Houses of Parliament of the State are not in session at the time when the vacancy is notified, the Governor of the State, with the advice of the Executive Council thereof, may appoint a person to hold the place until the expiration of fourteen days after the beginning of the next session of the Parliament of the State, or until the election of a successor, whichever first happens.

    At the next general election of members of the House of Representatives, or at the next election of senators for the State, whichever first happens, a successor shall, if the term has not then expired, be chosen to hold the place from the date of his election until the expiration of the term.

    The name of any senator so chosen or appointed shall be certified by the Governor of the State to the Governor-General."

  10. Section 15 – The proposed law to alter the Constitution entitled "Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) 1977" was submitted to the electors in each State of the Commonwealth on 21 May 1977: it was not approved by a majority of all the electors voting in a majority of the States. See Gazette 1977, No. S100, p. 1.
  11. Section 29 – The following State Acts were passed in pursuance of the powers conferred by s. 29, but ceased to be in force upon the enactment of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902:

    State Number Short title
    New South Wales No. 73, 1900 Federal Elections Act 1900
    Victoria No. 1667 Federal House of Representatives
    Victorian Electorates Act 1900
    Queensland 64 Vic. No. 25 The Parliament of the Commonwealth Elections Act
    and The Elections Acts 1885 to 1898 Amendment Act of 1900
    Western Australia 64 Vic. No. 6 Federal House of Representatives
    Western Australian Electorates Act 1900
  12. Section 51 – The following Imperial Acts extended the legislative powers of the Parliament:

    Number Short title Provision How affected
    24 & 25 Geo. V. c. 49 Whaling Industry (Regulation) Act 1934 s. 15 For the United Kingdom, repealed by 1989 c. 43; in Australia, no longer necessary
    1 Edw. VIII. & 1. Geo. VI. c. 15 Geneva Convention Act 1937 s. 2 No longer necessary; see 5 & 6 Eliz. II. c. 52, s. 6(a) and Geneva Convention Act 1938 (Cth), No. 14, 1938
    2 & 3 Geo. VI. c. 62 Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939 s. 5 Repealed by 7 & 8 Eliz. II. c. 19, s. 10(3)(a) and the Fourth Schedule
    3 & 4 Geo. VI. c. 18 Army and Air Force (Annual) Act 1940 s. 3 Repealed by 2 Eliz. II. c. 5
  13. Section 51 (xxiiiA) – This section was inserted by the Constitution Alteration (Social Services) 1946.
  14. Section 51 (xxvi) was amended by the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967, and previously read as follows:

    "(xxvi) the people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws;"

  15. Section 51 (xxxvii) – The following Acts have been passed by the Parliaments of the States to refer matters to the Parliament under section 51 (xxxvii):

    State Number Short title How affected
    New South Wales No. 65, 1915 Commonwealth Powers (War) Act 1915 Expired 9 Jan 1921; see s. 5
    No. 33, 1942 Commonwealth Powers Act 1942 Expired; see s. 4
    No. 18, 1943 Commonwealth Powers Act 1943 Expired; see s. 4
    No. 48, 1983 Commonwealth Powers (Meat Inspection) Act 1983 Repealed by No. 147, 1997
    No. 182, 1986 Commonwealth Powers (Family Law – Children) Act 1986 (Still in force)
    No. 61, 1992 Mutual Recognition (New South Wales) Act 1992 (Still in force)
    No. 104, 1992 Commonwealth Powers (State Banking) Act 1992 (Still in force)
    No. 100, 1993 Commonwealth Powers (Poultry Processing) Act 1993 Repealed by No. 55, 1997
    No. 102, 1996 Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (New South Wales) Act 1996 (Still in force)
    No. 1, 2001 Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001 (Still in force)
    No. 114, 2002 Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002 (Still in force)
    No. 49, 2003 Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2003 (Still in force)
    No. 69, 2008 Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008 (Still in force)
    No. 35, 2009 Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 115, 2009 Industrial Relations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 6, 2010 Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010 (Still in force)
    No 131, 2010 Vocational Education and Training (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010 (Still in force)
    No. 44, 2011 Business Names (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2011 (Still in force)
    Victoria No. 3108 Commonwealth Powers (Air Navigation) Act 1920 Repealed by No. 4502, 1937
    No. 3658 Commonwealth Arrangements Act 1928 Part III repealed by No. 4502, 1937; Parts I and II repealed by No. 6223, 1958
    No. 4009 Debt Conversion Agreement Act 1931 (No. 2) Repealed by No. 73, 2005
    No. 4950 Commonwealth Powers Act 1943 Not proclaimed to come into operation and cannot now be so proclaimed
    No. 92, 1986 Commonwealth Powers (Family Law – Children) Act 1986 (Still in force)
    No. 2, 1993 Mutual Recognition (Victoria) Act 1993 Expired; see s. 6
    No. 59, 1996 Commonwealth Powers (Industrial Relations) Act 1996 Repealed by No 24, 2009
    No. 4, 1998 Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Victoria) Act 1998 (Still in force)
    No. 62, 1998 Mutual Recognition (Victoria) Act 1998 (Still in force)
    No. 6, 2001 Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001 (Still in force)
    No. 14, 2003 Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2003 (Still in force)
    No. 84, 2004 Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2004 (Still in force)
    No. 75, 2008 Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008 (Still in force)
    No. 24, 2009 Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 60, 2009 Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 11, 2010 Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010 (Still in force)
    No. 79, 2011 Business Names (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2011 (Still in force)
    Queensland 12 Geo. V. No. 30 The Commonwealth Powers (Air Navigation) Act 1921 Repealed by 1 Geo. VI. No. 8
    22 Geo. V.
    No. 30
    The Commonwealth Legislative Power Act 1931 Repealed by No. 46, 1983
    7 Geo. VI. No. 19 Commonwealth Powers Act 1943 Expired; see s. 4
    14 Geo. VI. No. 2 The Commonwealth Powers (Air Transport) Act 1950 (Still in force)
    No. 37, 1990 Commonwealth Powers (Family Law – Children) Act 1990 (Still in force)
    No. 67, 1992 Mutual Recognition (Queensland) Act 1992 (Still in force)
    No. 43, 2001 Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001 (Still in force)
    No. 79, 2002 Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002 (Still in force)
    No. 45, 2003 Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Queensland) Act 2003 (Still in force)
    No. 78, 2003 Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2003 (Still in force)
    No. 58, 2008 Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008 (Still in force)
    No. 37, 2009 Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 49, 2009 Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) and Other Provisions Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 16, 2010 Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010 (Still in force)
    No. 34, 2011 Business Names (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2011 (Still in force)
    No. 11, 2012 Vocational Education and Training (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2012 (Still in force)
    South Australia No. 1469, 1921 Commonwealth Powers (Air Navigation) Act 1921 Repealed by No. 2352, 1937
    No. 2061, 1931 Commonwealth Legislative Power Act 1931 (Still in force)
    No. 3, 1943 Commonwealth Powers Act 1943 Expired; see s. 5
    No. 89, 1986 Commonwealth Powers (Family Law) Act 1986 (Still in force)
    No. 72, 1993 Mutual Recognition (South Australia) Act 1993 (Still in force)
    No. 27, 1999 Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (South Australia) Act 1999 (Still in force)
    No. 21, 2001 Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001 (Still in force)
    No. 50, 2002 Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002 (Still in force)
    No. 43, 2008 Water (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2008 (Still in force)
    No. 47, 2009 Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 57, 2009 Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 86, 2009 Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 2, 2010 Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010 (Still in force)
    No. 2, 2012 Vocational Education and Training (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2012 (Still in force)
    No. 4, 2012 Business Names (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2012 (Still in force)
    Western Australia No. 4, 1943 Commonwealth Powers Act 1943 Repealed by No. 58, 1965
    No. 57, 1945 Commonwealth Powers Act 1945 Repealed by No. 58, 1965
    No. 30, 1947 Commonwealth Powers Act 1943, Amendment Act 1947 Repealed by No. 58, 1965
    No. 31, 1947 Commonwealth Powers Act 1945, Amendment Act 1947 Repealed by No. 58, 1965
    No. 73, 1947 Commonwealth Powers Act 1945, Amendment Act (No. 2) 1947 Repealed by No. 58, 1965
    No. 81, 1947 Commonwealth Powers Act 1945-1947, Amendment (Continuance) Act 1947 Repealed by No. 58, 1965
    No. 53, 1995 Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 1995 Expired, see s. 7
    No. 6, 2001 Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 2001 Expired; see s. 7
    No. 7, 2001 Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001 (Still in force)
    No. 53, 2002 Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002 (Still in force)
    No. 26, 2006 Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2006 (Still in force)
    No. 30, 2007 Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 2007 (Still in force)
    No. 13, 2010 Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010 (Still in force)
    No. 52, 2010 Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 2010 (Still in force)
    No. 41, 2011 Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Laws) Act 2011 (Still in force)
    No. 6, 2012 Business Names (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2012 (Still in force)
    Tasmania 11 Geo. V. No. 42 Commonwealth Powers (Air Navigation) Act 1920 Repealed by 1 Geo. VI. No. 14
    No. 46, 1952 Commonwealth Powers (Air Transport) Act 1952 (Still in force)
    No. 62, 1966 Commonwealth Powers (Trade Practices) Act 1966 Expired; see s. 2
    No. 5, 1987 Commonwealth Powers (Family Law) Act 1987 (Still in force)
    No. 33, 1993 Mutual Recognition (Tasmania) Act 1993 (Still in force)
    No. 39, 2001 Corporations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2001 (Still in force)
    No. 68, 2002 Terrorism (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2002 (Still in force)
    No. 60, 2003 Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Tasmania) Act 2003 (Still in force)
    No. 18, 2006 Commonwealth Powers (De Facto Relationships) Act 2006 (Still in force)
    No. 51, 2009 Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 88, 2009 Industrial Relations (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2009 (Still in force)
    No. 15, 2010 Personal Property Securities (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010 (Still in force)
    No. 30, 2011 Business Names (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2011 (Still in force)
    No. 50, 2011 Vocational Education and Training (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2011 (Still in force)
  16. Section 72 was amended by the Constitution Alteration (Retirement of Judges) 1977, and previously read as follows:

    "72. The Justices of the High Court and of the other courts created by the Parliament:

    1. shall be appointed by the Governor-General in Council;
    2. shall not be removed except by the Governor-General in Council, on an address from both Houses of the Parliament in the same session, praying for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity;
    3. shall receive such remuneration as the Parliament may fix; but the remuneration shall not be diminished during their continuance in office."
  17. Section 74 – See Privy Council (Limitation of Appeals) Act 1968, Privy Council (Appeals from the High Court) Act 1975 and Kirmani v Captain Cook Cruises Pty Ltd (No. 2); Ex parte Attorney-General (QLD) (1985) 159 CLR 461.
  18. Section 105 was amended by the Constitution Alteration (State Debts) 1909, and previously read as follows:

    "105. The Parliament may take over from the States their public debts as existing at the establishment of the Commonwealth, or a proportion thereof according to the respective numbers of their people as shown by the latest statistics of the Commonwealth, and may convert, renew, or consolidate such debts, or any part thereof; and the States shall indemnify the Commonwealth in respect of the debts taken over, and thereafter the interest payable in respect of the debts shall be deducted and retained from the portions of the surplus revenue of the Commonwealth payable to the several States, or if such surplus is insufficient, or if there is no surplus, then the deficiency or the whole amount shall be paid by the several States."

  19. Section 105A – This section was inserted by the Constitution Alteration (State Debts) 1928.
  20. Section 126 – See clause IV of the Letters Patent relating to the Office of Governor-General, published in Gazette 2008 S179, pp. 3 and 4.
  21. Section 127 (titled "Aborigines not to be counted in reckoning population") was repealed by the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967, and previously read as follows:

    "127. In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted."

  22. Section 128 was amended by the Constitution Alteration (Referendums) 1977, and previously read as follows:

    "128. This Constitution shall not be altered except in the following manner:

    The proposed law for the alteration thereof must be passed by an absolute majority of each House of the Parliament, and not less than two nor more than six months after its passage through both Houses the proposed law shall be submitted in each State to the electors qualified to vote for the election of members of the House of Representatives.

    But if either House passes any such proposed law by an absolute majority, and the other House rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with any amendment to which the first-mentioned House will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the first-mentioned House in the same or the next session again passes the proposed law by an absolute majority with or without any amendment which has been made or agreed to by the other House, and such other House rejects or fails to pass it or passes it with any amendment to which the first-mentioned House will not agree, the Governor-General may submit the proposed law as last proposed by the first-mentioned House, and either with or without any amendments subsequently agreed to by both Houses, to the electors in each State qualified to vote for the election of the House of Representatives.

    When a proposed law is submitted to the electors the vote shall be taken in such manner as the Parliament prescribes. But until the qualification of electors of members of the House of Representatives becomes uniform throughout the Commonwealth, only one-half the electors voting for and against the proposed law shall be counted in any State in which adult suffrage prevails.

    And if in a majority of the States a majority of the electors voting approve the proposed law, and if a majority of all the electors voting also approve the proposed law, it shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent.

    No alteration diminishing the proportionate representation of any State in either House of the Parliament, or the minimum number of representatives of a State in the House of Representatives, or increasing, diminishing, or otherwise altering the limits of the State, or in any manner affecting the provisions of the Constitution in relation thereto, shall become law unless the majority of the electors voting in that State approve the proposed law."

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