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Winning Entries to the 2013 Regional Essay Competition

Winning Essays:

2013 Division 1 (15-18 years) Winner

“How was the Federal Constitution of Australia developed and then accepted in 1901? Compare this with the way in which the Constitution of the State of Queensland was developed and then approved in 2001. Describe how each could be changed.”

Alison Thomas (Fairholme College, Toowoomba)

‘In history's page, let every stage Advance Australia fair!’ The words sung by thousands of Australians signify the historic events which have shaped our nation as one ruled by the people. Perhaps the most significant event initiating this label was the introduction of Constitution at both Federal and State levels. However the process of development and acceptance of the Federal Constitution of Australia greatly differs to that which was implemented for the development and approval of the Constitution of the State of Queensland, and furthermore the method of alteration of each Constitution.

The history that shrouds the endorsement of the Federal Constitution has had a significant impact upon the nation. The key factors which stimulated this development were a general recognition of the shared identity and culture between the six separate colonies and the benefit each would receive upon forming a national federation (Newton, K 2005, Recent Constitutional Developments in Queensland, p.1). Although the idea had been around since 1847, the movement towards Federation, and in consequence, Federal Constitution, was not accepted until January 1901. The formation of the Constitution occurred in two major steps. In 1897, Australian politician, Edmund Barton, organised the National Australasian Convention where a draft of the constitution was agreed upon by ten delegates from each state excluding Queensland. This was put to the public in the form of a referendum, yet was not passed until alterations to the bill were made and another vote was held in 1899 (Red Apple Education 2013, History of the Constitution and its formation, para 1). Despite the initial opposition from Western Australia, the Bill was taken to London for British approval within Parliament and then officially accepted by the Monarch (Newton, K 2005, Recent Constitutional Developments in Queensland, p.1 ). The acceptance of this document was greatly dependent upon the initial consent of the people, an action less significant within the formation of the Queensland Constitution.

The way in which the State of Queensland Constitution developed had less influence from the people. As Queensland was already an alleged state under the Federal Constitution, the establishment of a State Constitution had negligible effects upon the legal system. In contrast to Federal Constitution, various laws and documents of constitutional significance were already in use within Queensland prior to the decision of introducing a State Constitution (Queensland Parliament 2011, The Queensland Constitution and other relevant Acts, para 1). Consequently the development process involved only the consultation of the widespread community and many debates and analysis’ to combine and initiate minor amendments of these documents. The Queensland Constitutional Review Commission (QCRC) was established under the Parliamentary Committees Act 1995 to put this process into effect. Similarly to the Federal Bill, the official document required consent from the Governor General, thus on Queensland Day in 2002, the Constitution of Queensland 2001 commenced (Queensland Government 2013, System of Government, para 5). This demonstrates that the development process was less dependent upon the people’s opinion which is also indicative of how the bill can be changed.

The process of altering a constitution is primarily based upon the approval of the people. In the federal system, the bill outlining the proposed change is firstly passed through each house of Parliament then if approved by both, or twice by one within 3 months, is administered to go forward to the public in the form of a referendum (Parliamentary Education Office 2012, Changing the Australian Constitution, para 1). After a referendum has been announced, members of Parliament in support or opposition of the bill prepare a case for or against respectively to be lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission and distributed to the public. All Australian citizens eligible on the electoral roll are required to vote for or against the alteration. A referendum is passed if a majority of people from majority of states, known as a double majority, vote ‘yes’ (Australian Electoral Commission n,d, The Australian Constitution Alteration process, para 1). This system has proved effective as demonstrated from the significant alterations made to the Bill since first being drafted; this includes the striking of discrimination against aboriginal rights in a 1967 referendum. Within the Queensland Act however, alterations can able to be made to Constitution without public consent unless there is the presence of certain ‘entrenchment sections’ which require both a referendum and legislative amendment before changes can be induced (Queensland Parliament 2011, Changes to the Queensland Constitution, para 1). Both demonstrate the complex system needed to initiate change within the Constitution.

As outlined, the development and acceptance of a Federal Constitution relied primarily upon the will of the people for unity and put to effect through a system of liberal actions. In contrast, the establishment of the Constitution of the State of Queensland was produced from a conventional need of general organisation of the system and developed through a less defined system. However, both processes which brought about both Constitutions signify the effectiveness of a democratic nation.

Alison Thomas

Bibliography

Australian Electoral Commission n.d, The Australian Constitution Alteration process, n.d, viewed 19 May 2013,

Government of Western Australia 2010, A Nation at Last, 30 December, Perth, viewed 19 May 2013,

Newton, K 2005, Recent Constitutional Developments in Queensland, 2005, online publication, Australasian Parliamentary Review, viewed 16 May 2013,

Parliamentary Education Office 2012, Australian Constitution, 5 October, Canberra, viewed 19 May 2013,

Queensland Government 2013, System of Government, n.d, Brisbane, viewed 19 May 2013,

Queensland Parliament 2009, Referendums, February, Brisbane, viewed 19 May 2013,

Queensland Parliament 2011, The Queensland Constitution, n.d, Queensland Parliament, viewed 19 May 2013,

Red Apple Education 2013, The Constitution, n.d, Sydney, viewed 19 May 2013,

Smith, R Carrodus, G Delany, T 2012, Oxford Big Ideas History 9, Oxford University Press, Australia.

You Me Unity n.d, The Constitution, n.d, National Relay Service, Canberra, viewed 19 May 2013,


2013 Division 1 (15-18 years) Second place (shared)

“How was the Federal Constitution of Australia developed and then accepted in 1901? Compare this with the way in which the Constitution of the State of Queensland was developed and then approved in 2001. Describe how each could be changed.”

Shari Collingwood (St Ursula's College, Toowoomba)

TIn 1890, 102 years after the first fleet arrived in Australia, Australia consisted of six autonomous colonies all operating under British laws. As many colonists were beginning to form their own Australian identity, they desired detachment from British customs to adopt their own laws. By this time, Queensland was an independently run colony, having separated from New South Wales in 1859.

With the growth of national pride in the 1890’s, discussions of Australia as a federation amplified. With the influence of the Sir Henry Parkes, New South Wales Premier, the Australasian Federation Convention was held in 1980 and discussion began on the adoption of the Australian constitution. In 1891, a committee consisting of Edmund Barton, Andrew Inglis Clark, Charles Kingston and Samuel Griffith drafted the Constitution of Australia, although, with Australians feeling the strain of the national depression, it was largely dismissed. In 1893, groups supportive of the Australian Federation attended a convention and arranged meetings to redraft the constitution, agreeing to allow all voting Australians the right to a referendum.

In 1897 and 1898, three meetings were held and the original draft was modified by Sir Edmund Barton, John Downer and Richard O’Connor to produce a final draft. A national referendum was then scheduled, although Queensland and Western Australia did not participate. With the resignation of Queensland’s Premier, many Queenslanders were unaware of the significance of the constitution. Western Australia was worried about the financial hardship caused by federalisation and the majority of New South Wales opposed the bill. To hopefully improve popularity, a referendum with a modified constitution was held. Only Western Australia was exempt and all other colonies passed the bill. Finally, to ensure federalisation, The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 was taken to London and signed by Queen Victoria in 1900. With the constitution in place, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and South officially became the Commonwealth of Australia on 1st January 1901. Western Australia joined the Commonwealth soon after.

Although now a federate state, Queensland did not have its own set of official government policies until 2001. The Queensland Constitution was established to amalgamate the various constitutional and political rights of Queensland into one document, allowing ease of access by Queenslanders. Associated with The Constitution of Queensland 2001 is the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001 that outlines Queensland’s government policies and structure. These acts have acknowledged Queensland’s Legislative Assembly’s role, local government structure and the judiciary. To pass the constitution, the document was presented in parliament and passed unopposed on 29th January 1999. In 2001, Peter Beattie, Queensland’s former Premier, presented the Constitution of Queensland 2001 act to the government.

Section 128 of the Australian Constitution outlines how the Constitution can be changed. To alter the constitution, the desired changes must be passed as a bill by the federal government, which is then referred to the Governor General who organises a national referendum. If the majority of Australians in a majority of states vote for the changes, the alterations are made and the Constitution is modified.

Unlike changes to the Australian Constitution, many amendments in the Queensland Constitution need not be passed by a state referendum, but by the state government. There are several constitutional acts however that are entrenched documents, meaning they require not only approval from the state government but also a state referendum. Furthermore, a referendum must be held before these entrenched sections are presented in state parliament with the desired amendments.

Today, Australia is one of the world’s most politically stable countries and for this we thank our forefathers, the constitutional creators and permanent fixators of Australia’s ‘indissoluble Commonwealth’.

Bibliography

Australian Government (2013) Our Government. australia.gov.au [Accessed 15th April 2013]

F.K Crowley (2013). Forrest, Sir John (1847-1918). adb.anu.edu.au [Accessed 15th April 2013]

Federation in Australia (2000). www.kidcyber.com.au [Accessed 15th April 2013]

Museum of Australian Democracy (2013). Parkes, Henry. explore.moadoph.gov.au [Accessed 16th April 2013]

National Archives of Australia (2012). Fast Facts. constitution.naa.gov.au [Accessed 15th April 2013]

National Archives of Australia (2013). Professor Helen Irving, A window onto our constitutional history. www.naa.gov.au [Accessed 15th April 2013]

Parliament of Australia (2013). Records of the Australasian Federal Conventions of the 1890s. www.aph.gov.au [Accessed 15th April 2013]

Queensland Government (2011). The Queensland Constitution. www.parliament.qld.gov.au [Accessed 16th April 2013]

Queensland Government (2013). Creation of a State. www.qld.gov.au [Accessed 15th April 2013]

Wikipedia (2013). Edmund Barton. en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 16th April 2013]


2013 Division 1 (15-18 years) Second place (shared)

“How was the Federal Constitution of Australia developed and then accepted in 1901? Compare this with the way in which the Constitution of the State of Queensland was developed and then approved in 2001. Describe how each could be changed.”

Riley de Jong (Toowoomba Grammar School)

On the 1st January 1901, the six former British Penal Colonies, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia, federated under a Constitution to form a new, independently governing nation, the Commonwealth of Australia. This Constitution was, “the set of rules by which the new Commonwealth Government of Australia would be governed” (Parliamentary Education Office, n.d). It outlined the structure of the new Government, the sharing of power between the new Federal and State Governments, and the role of the Governor-General as the Head of State. Similarly, the Queensland Constitution, approved in 2001, outlined the structure and responsibilities of the Government and the role of the State’s Governor.

In the late 1880’s, the idea of Federation became popular in Australia, mainly as a result of an increasing sense of nationalism, born through an increase in Australian culture and identity. Amongst the figures behind the idea of Federation was Sir Henry Parkes, the then-Premier of New South Wales. In a stirring speech in Tenterfield he called for “…a government for the whole of whole of Australia”, and proposed, “a convention of leading men from all the colonies…who will fully represent the opinions of the parliaments of the colonies” to draft a constitution for the proposed government (Bannon, J 2009). Thus, the first Australasian Federation Convention met in Sydney in March 1891, and drafted a constitution based heavily on the Constitution of the United States of America and the Westminster System of Government used in the British Parliament. However, due to an economic depression and huge unemployment between 1892 and 1894, Federation and the new Constitution were forgotten as the Colonies attempted to stimulate economic growth. However, further Conventions took place in 1897 and 1898, which made further amendments to the Draft Constitution of 1891, and revived the idea of Federation. Federation under the new Constitution was then put to a referendum in 1898. This failed to achieve a majority across the six colonies, and yet more amendments were made to the Constitution. Finally, a second referendum was held in 1899, and Australia voted ‘yes’ to federation under a Constitution. After being passed by the British Parliament, the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act was given Royal assent by Her Majesty Queen Victoria in July 1900. This Act, which included the new Constitution, recognised Australia as one independent nation, which would be governed by a bicameral Parliament with a Governor-General as Head of State.

The Constitution of Queensland was created somewhat differently. Prior to its approval in 2001, Queensland’s Constitution was spread across many different Acts. The first of these Acts was the Constitution Act (QLD) 1867, which was established when Queensland gained independence from New South Wales. However, further amendments were made to this, and other significant Acts were established, resulting in many Constitutional Acts. Therefore, between 1993 and 2001, reviews of these Constitutional Acts and the possibility for Constitutional Reform were undertaken. An initial report from the Queensland Constitutional Review Commission, which was in favour of combining the various Constitutional Acts, was followed by further reviews from Parliamentary and Independent Commissions (Newton, K 2005). Public consultation also featured throughout the process. Further parliamentary debate culminated in the passing of the Constitution of Queensland and the Parliament of Queensland Act in 2001. These Acts were then given Royal assent by the Governor of Queensland, and came into effect in July 2002.

There is a set process for changing any parts of the Australian Constitution. Section 128, which relates to altering the Constitution states that a proposed change must be read and debated in the House of Representatives, and if successfully passed, must then go to the Senate for debate. If the Bill then gains a majority in the Senate, it can be passed to the Australian Public, who votes on the proposed change in a referendum. The change can only gain Royal assent and become part of the Constitution if a majority of voters, in a majority of states/territories vote in favour of the change. However, due to the unicameral (one House) nature of the Queensland Parliament, the process for Constitutional change is slightly different for the Queensland Constitution. Most parts of the Constitution can be altered simply through parliamentary debate in Queensland’s single House of Parliament, the Legislative Assembly, and Royal assent by the Governor. However, there are certain ‘Entrenched Acts’ which cannot be changed without first receiving a majority of favourable votes in a state referendum. These Acts include the Constitution Act 1867, the Constitution Amendment Act 1890 and the Constitution Amendment Act 1934, which relate to the reformation of the Legislative Council, changes to the current parliamentary term and the office of the Governor.

Bibliography

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, 2013, Articles on the Writing of the Australian Constitution [Online] Accessed 13/4/13 australia.gov.au

Australian Government, 1900, The Constitution of Australia [Online] Accessed 14/4/13 australia.gov.au

Australian Government, 2013, Australia’s Federation [Online] Accessed 13/4/13 australia.gov.au

Australian Government, 2013, Our Government [Online] Accessed 14/4/13 australia.gov.au

Australian Government ComLaw, 2003, Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act [Online] Accessed 14/4/13 australia.gov.au

Bannon, J, 2009, The Henry Parkes Oration 2009, Great National Questions and Local Matters: Australia’s Federation then and Now [Online] Accessed 14/4/13 australia.gov.au

Brett, J 2011, The Australian Constitution [Online] Accessed 13/4/13 australia.gov.au

The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia, 2010, The 1891 Australasian Convention [Online] Accessed 13/4/13 australia.gov.au

The Constitutional centre of Western Australia, 2010, The Australasian Federal Convention 1897/1898 [Online] Accessed 13/4/13 australia.gov.au

The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia, 2010, A Nation at Last: Of to see the Queen! [Online] Accessed 14/4/13 australia.gov.au

Mason, K.J 2002, Experience of Nationhood: Modern Australia since 1901 (4th Ed.), McGraw-Hill, NSW

Museum Of Australian Democracy, n.d., Australia’s System of Government [Online] Accessed 14/4/13 static.moadoph.gov.au

Newton, K 2005, Recent Constitutional Developments in Queensland [Online], Accessed 13/4/13 australia.gov.au

Parliament of Australia, 2013, The Development of the Westminster System [Online], Accessed 14/4/13 australia.gov.au

Parliamentary Education Office, n.d., Fact Sheet: Australian Constitution [Online] Accessed 14/3/13 australia.gov.au

Queensland Parliament, 2011, The Constitution of Queensland [Online] Accessed 14/4/13 australia.gov.au

Wikipedia, 2012, The Constitution of Australia [Online] Accessed 13/4/13 australia.gov.au

Wikipedia, 2012, Federation of Australia [Online] Accessed 14/4/13 australia.gov.au


2013 Division 2 (11-14 years) Winner

“In 2013 Her Majesty the Queen will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of her Coronation on 2 June 1953. Describe the sequence of events during the Coronation Service and their significance.”

Ethnee Furness (Christian Outreach College, Toowoomba)

‘In 2013 Her Majesty the Queen will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of her Coronation on 2 June 1953. Describe the sequence of events during the Coronation Service and their significance.’

The second of June 1953 marked the coronation of Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; she was about to become Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The coronation is the most important day in a sovereign’s life and includes several significant events.

The coronation begins with the Princess processing through the Abbey into the Theatre, while verses from Psalm 122 are sung. She is presented to the people then takes an oath, swearing to govern with justice and mercy, to maintain the Law of God, uphold the Gospel and maintain the doctrine of the Church of England. The Princess is presented with a Bible, ‘To keep your Majesty ever mindful of the Law and Gospel of God as the rule for the whole life and government of Christian princes,’ (Guide to the Coronation Service, 2003). This signifies the importance of Christian values and beliefs in the British monarchy and how the Queen is an example of Christian faith to all in her kingdom.

Following the Bible presentation, the Communion service commenced. The Princess is seated in the Coronation Chair and disrobed of the crimson robe. A canopy is held over the chair and the Princess anointed on the hands, breast and head. The anointing is the most solemn part of the coronation service. The anointing symbolises the monarch being set apart and consecrated for her duties as Sovereign. The ceremonial events centred around the Bible indicate the Godly influence on the Constitutional Monarchy.

Finally, the Princess is invested with the Regalia. The Princess then returns to the altar holding the Sceptre in one hand, representing kingly power, and in the other, the Rod with the Dove, representing justice and mercy. The Archbishop places St. Edward’s Crown on her head, then trumpets sound and Her Majesty is acclaimed with ‘loud and repeated shouts’ (Oremus, 2013). The Regalia are the most recognized symbols of the Queen; each item represents different aspects of the manner in which the Queen leads her kingdom. The Regalia remind the Queen of her need to rule her Kingdom under God’s power as represented by the Rod and Sceptre.

The newly crowned Queen then moves to the Throne, visible by all. At the moment she was placed in the Throne she took possession of the kingdom. The people then pay homage to her, performed by, first, the Lords Spiritual (bishops) then the Lords Temporal. Following the homage, the people cry out, ‘God save Queen Elizabeth! Long live Queen Elizabeth! May the Queen live for ever.’ The solemnity of the homage proves the high regard at which the Queen is placed in the monarchy and how crucial her role is in order for the British Royal Family to perform their vocations effectively.

Lastly, the Communion service resumes with the Lord’s Prayer, and Bible verses. The communion emblems are partaken, ending with the choir singing Te Deum Laudamus. Communion is taken with repentance by all, highlighting reliance on God that the whole Royal Family have so they may be capable leaders of their kingdom.

Elizabeth walked into the abbey as a princess, and emerged as our Queen. The Monarch bears a great responsibility for upholding the systems and values of the Commonwealth of Nations, one she could only perform with the grace and mercy of God. The coronation ceremony reminds us of the power and honour the position of Monarch holds, our Queen administers this role with great justice and mercy. As Monarch she leads her realm with faith and reverence in her God. These principles are the basis for good governance across all countries of the Commonwealth.

Bibliography

Announcement of events to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation, 2013 The British Monarchy, accessed 9 April 2013, www.royal.gov.uk

Corby, T 1996 Queen Elizabeth II on her 70th birthday, Britannia, accessed 9 April 2013, www.britannia.com

Guide to the Coronation Service, n.d Westminster Abbey, accessed 9 April 2013, www.westminster-abbey.org

Mathewson, A 2006 Winning Entries to the 2006 Essay Competition, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy Toowoomba Branch, accessed 9 April 2013, http://www.ourconstitution.org

Mathewson, H 2008 Winning Entries to the 2008 Essay Competition, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy Toowoomba Branch, accessed 9 April 2013, http://www.ourconstitution.org

Queen Elizabeth Coronation, 2013 Picsearch.com, accessed 9 April 2013,

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, n.d Oremus.org, accessed 9 April 2013, www.oremus.org

The Queen - 60 years of defending the faith, 2012 Godandpoliticsuk.org, accessed 9 April 2013, godandpoliticsuk.org

The Queen's Quiet Faith, 2012 First Things, accessed 9 April 2013, www.firstthings.com

The Queen wearing the simple Colobium Sindonis dress, 2013, photograph, Fashion-era.com, accessed 9 April 2013, www.fashion-era.com

Thesaurus, 2013 Thesaurus.com, accessed 9 April 2013, thesaurus.com


2013 Division 2 (11-14 years) Second place

“In 2013 Her Majesty the Queen will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of her Coronation on 2 June 1953. Describe the sequence of events during the Coronation Service and their significance.”

Eve Smibert (Fairholme College, Toowoomba)

The Royal Coronation Service

For over a thousand years, the Royal Coronation ceremony has remained, in essence, the same. A rich history lies in the shadows of this colourful and complex ceremony, and from this history traditions older than nations have formed. As well as being an awe - inspiring occasion, every ritual is steeped in symbolism that unfortunately few appreciate and recognise in modern times.

The coronation service takes place a few months after the sovereign’s accession, following a period of mourning for the late king or queen, and also due to the sheer magnitude of such a ceremony. Westminster Abbey has witnessed 38 coronations, as the Coronation has been held at the Abbey for almost 900 years. The first king to be crowned in Westminster Abbey was William the Conqueror in 1066; the most recent coronation there was Queen Elizabeth II’s on 2 June 1953. Dignitaries from all across the globe travel to attend this powerful imperial occasion. As well as many international guests, representatives of the Houses of Parliament, Church and State also attend.

Conducting the service is the Archbishop of Canterbury; he has held this responsibility since the Norman Conquest in 1066. The monarch is escorted to the Coronation Chair by individuals carrying the processional regalia. This regalia includes two of the Royal maces, three swords (each of which represent Mercy, Spiritual Justice and Temporal Justice), the Great Sword of State (symbolising the Sovereign’s Royal Authority) and St Edward’s Staff. After being seated, the monarch takes part in the Coronation Oath administered by the Archbishop. During the Oath, the Sovereign vows to govern the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon with justice and mercy. The monarch also swears and that they will try to their upmost power to maintain the laws of God, and the true profession of the gospel as issued by the Church of England. All of these promises are symbolised by the four swords in the coronation regalia.

After the Coronation Oath, the Archbishop blesses, consecrates and anoints the Sovereign on their hands, breast and head using the ampulla and the spoon. The ampulla is a golden eagle flask containing the holy oil used in the anointing. Dressing in the coronation robes follows the anointing. The spurs, the Jewelled Sword of Offering and the armills are then presented. The Queen was given new armills by the Commonwealth in 1953. Following this, the Sovereign’s Orb is placed in the monarch’s right hand. The Sceptre with the Cross represents the Sovereign's temporal power, while the Sceptre with the Dove - or Rod of Equity and Mercy - symbolises the Sovereign's divine role. The coronation ring is then traditionally placed on the ruler’s pinkie - although in 1953, the Archbishop forced the ring on the Queen’s index finger.

The climax of this auspicious occasion comes when the Archbishop of Canterbury places St Edward’s Crown on the monarch’s head. Homage is then paid, with the Duke of Edinburgh being the first to pay homage after the Archbishop and bishops. Holy Communion is then celebrated, and the coronation is complete.

The Coronation ceremony is a beautiful display, enriched to the core with history and symbolism. Her Majesty the Queen is celebrating the 60th anniversary of her coronation in 1953, and due to the decision to have the ceremony televised, the general public were able to witness this incredible ceremony in its entirety for the first time in history. Possibly, very few of those watching realised just how much this ceremony represents.

Bibliography

www.royal.gov.uk

www.westminster-abbey.org

www.royal.gov.uk



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