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Australia Act 1986 (Cth)

Australia Act 1986 (Cth), coverAustralia Act 1986 (Cth), provisionsAustralia Act 1986 (Cth), p1
Australia Act 1986 (Cth), p2Australia Act 1986 (Cth), p3Australia Act 1986 (Cth), p4
Australia Act 1986 (Cth), p5Australia Act 1986 (Cth), p6Australia Act 1986 (Cth), p7


This document made Australian law independent of British parliaments and courts. The Commonwealth’s Australia Act was the final one of the seven Acts of the seven Australian parliaments needed for a constitutional change to the whole Federation. The British Parliament also legislated to complete the untying of this constitutional ‘apron string’.

The Australia Acts ended the inclusion into Australian law of British Acts of Parliament and abolished all remaining constitutional provision for appeals from Australian courts to the Privy Council in London.

From the date of Proclamation (see below) Australian law was ‘home grown’ – built on British foundations, but built according to the decisions of Australia’s own legislatures and courts.


The Prime Minister and the Premiers of the six States reached agreement at conferences held in 1982 and 1984 to introduce legislation in each of the parliaments for a uniform change. Each State, and the British Parliament, passed individual Acts before the Commonwealth enacted its own Australia Act. None of the eight Australia Acts give the date on which they will become operative. This had to be done simultaneously, once all the legislation was in place.

A Proclamation, signed by Queen Elizabeth II at Government House in Canberra on 2 March 1986, stated that the Act will come into effect at 5.00 am Greenwich Mean Time the next day. At this ceremony Queen Elizabeth presented Prime Minister Bob Hawke with the original Proclamation, and an Assent original of the Australia Act (UK), to which she had signed her assent on 7 February 1986.

Although this Act defines Australia as a ‘sovereign, independent and federal nation’, and the Australia Acts are often described as completing the process of constitutional development begun with the Federation movement, Australian still retains the Queen as head of state. A referendum to remove this final tie by replacing the Crown with a President was held in Australia on 6 November 1999. The required majority of voters and majority of States necessary to make an alteration to the Constitution was not achieved and this final tie remains in place.

The seven Australia Acts thus remain the most recent step towards Australian constitutional independence, in a path from the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act in 1900, to the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the Balfour Declaration in 1926, the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act in 1942 and then the Australia Act in 1986.


This document has a cream-coloured cover, the pages are stapled and glued inside.

Detail from the cover of the Australia Act 1986.Detail from the cover of the Australia Act 1986.

Long Title:An Act to bring constitutional arrangements affecting the Commonwealth and the States into conformity with the status of the Commonwealth of Australia as a sovereign, independent and federal nation. (No. 142 of 1985)
No. of pages:7 + cover + provisions
Medium:Cream paper
Measurements:32 x 20.1 cm
Provenance:House of Representatives
Features:A formal document marking a national change
Location & Copyright:National Archives of Australia
Reference:NAA:A1559, 1985/142

Comment by Nelle- the criminals in govt did this behind our backs and expected the referendum in 1999 to back them up-they failed but this wasn’t disclosed- excepting for the 1967 referendum when 90% of Australians voted for the Aboriginals to be enshrined in the constitution and race taken out Australians always vote no -when the rapscallion Turnbull wanted his SSM bill rammed through he refused a referendum he had a plebiscite -he could control this easier than a referendum so regardless if the no vote won he pushed on when most had gone home for Christmas it has set the bench mark for future treachery -the Bill went through and in law before the New Year-such a underhand trick and because he did that we, the majority, have been intimidated ever since- now I think the same thing will happen with the Voice-the treachery of labor is all ready to push the Bill through regardless of the outcome of the referendum-such is how low our country has nosedived -truth honesty and integrity have disappeared into the mists of time.

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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