The Tension between Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces in Australia

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The Australian Commonwealth of States was set up in response to the need among the people to withstand and oppose the forces of colonialism, as symbolized by the rule of Britain. The authors of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution were Chief Justice Griffith and Justices Barton and OConnor, who had intended that the Constitution of Australia should exist on its own merit and not merely as a British statute. The Australian Commonwealth Act of 1900 has accorded Federal powers to the Commonwealth such that Constitutional control of the Privy Council is retained, while central powers are reduced to their narrowest limits and in this manner, has made it possible for the States to unite under one common umbrella of central defense to proclaim national independence in the future.
The Federation of six Australian States was formulated with the knowledge that the Commonwealth and the States were in and of themselves, sovereign states with their own spheres of authority. In formulating the Australian federation, the founders were not anxious to toe the Canadian line which was deemed too centralist and were more inclined to favor the loose administrative style of the American Federation that was more decentralized3. Through this, the Commonwealth was conferred with the powers to maintain the peace and to make laws for peace, order and for the good of the Commonwealth in all the areas that had been designated under Section 51 of the Constitution, whereby the States were permitted to retain all their powers, with the exception of those powers that were wrested away, for the common good of the Commonwealth. Such areas included defense and foreign affairs. Areas not specifically identified under the central jurisdiction arenbsp.designated as residual powers which in the case of a Federation like Australia are considered to be within the purview of the States, since Australia has a decentralized federal system, unlike Canada that has a centralized federal system of Government.