Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role and structure of different entities within a state, the executive, the parliament or legislature, the judiciary. Not all nation states have codified constitutions, though all such states have a jus commune, or law of the land, that may consist of a variety of imperative and consensual rules; these may include customary law, statutory law, judge-made law, or international rules and norms. Constitutional law deals with the fundamental principles by which the government exercises its authority. In some instances, these principles grant specific powers to the government, such as the power to tax and spend for the welfare of the population. Other times, constitutional principles act to place limits on what the government can do, such as prohibiting the arrest of an individual without sufficient cause. In most nations, such as the United States and Singapore, constitutional law is based on the text of a document ratified at the time the nation came into being.
Other constitutions, notably that of the United Kingdom, rely on unwritten rules known as constitutional conventions. Constitutional laws may be considered second order rule making or rules about making rules to exercise power, it governs the relationships between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive with the bodies under its authority. One of the key tasks of constitutions within this context is to indicate hierarchies and relationships of power. For example, in a unitary state, the constitution will vest ultimate authority in one central administration and legislature, judiciary, though there is a delegation of power or authority to local or municipal authorities; when a constitution establishes a federal state, it will identify the several levels of government coexisting with exclusive or shared areas of jurisdiction over lawmaking and enforcement. Some federal states, most notably the United States, have separate and parallel federal and state judiciaries, with each having its own hierarchy of courts with a supreme court for each state.
India, on the other hand, has one judiciary divided into district courts, high courts, the Supreme Court of India. Human rights or civil liberties form a crucial part of a country's constitution and uphold the rights of the individual against the state. Most jurisdictions, like the United States and France, have a codified constitution, with a bill of rights. A recent example is the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, intended to be included in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, that failed to be ratified; the most important example is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under the UN Charter. These are intended to ensure basic political and economic standards that a nation state, or intergovernmental body is obliged to provide to its citizens but many do include its governments; some countries like the United Kingdom have no entrenched document setting out fundamental rights. A case named Carrington is a constitutional principle deriving from the common law.
John Entick's house was ransacked by Sherriff Carrington. Carrington argued that a warrant from a Government minister, the Earl of Halifax was valid authority though there was no statutory provision or court order for it; the court, led by Lord Camden stated that, "The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances, where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law for the good of the whole. By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it so minute, is a trespass... If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, the plaintiff must have judgment." The common law and the civil law jurisdictions do not share the same constitutional law underpinnings. Common law nations, such as those in the Commonwealth as well as the United States, derive their legal systems from that of the United Kingdom, as such place emphasis on judicial precedent, whereby consequential court rulings are a source of law.
Civil law jurisdictions, on the other hand, place less emphasis on judicial review and only the parliament or legislature has the power to effect law. As a result, the structure of the judiciary differs between the two, with common law judiciaries being adversarial and civil law judiciaries being inquisitorial. Common law judicatures separate the judiciary from the prosecution, thereby establishing the courts as independent from both the legislature and law enforcement. Human rights law in these countries is as a result built on legal precedent in the courts' interpretation of constitutional law, whereas that of civil law countries is exclusively composed of codified law, constitutional or otherwise. Another main function of constitutions may be to describe the procedure by which parliaments may legislate. For instance, special majorities may be required to alter the constitution. In bicameral legislatures, there may be a process laid out for second or third readings of bills before a new law can enter into force.
Alternatively, there may further be requirements for maximum terms that a government can keep power before holding an election
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in which Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning constitutional monarch and head of state. Each realm is independent from the other realms; as of 2019, there are 16 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and the United Kingdom. All 16 Commonwealth realms are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states. Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth. In 1952, Britain's proclamation of Elizabeth II's accession used the term realms to describe the seven sovereign states of which she was queen—the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon. Since new realms have been created through independence of former colonies and dependencies and some realms have become republics. There are 16 Commonwealth realms with a combined area of 18.7 million km2 and a population of 144 million, of which all but about two million live in the six most populous: the United Kingdom, Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Jamaica.
The Commonwealth realms are, for purposes of sovereign states. They are united only in their voluntary connection with the institution of the monarchy, the succession, the Queen herself. Political scientist Peter Boyce called this grouping of countries associated in this manner, "an achievement without parallel in the history of international relations or constitutional law." Terms such as personal union, a form of personal union, shared monarchy, among others, have all been advanced as definitions since the beginning of the Commonwealth itself, though there has been no agreement on which term is most accurate, or whether personal union is applicable at all. Since the Balfour Declaration of 1926, the realms have been considered "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown." and the monarch is "equally and explicitly of separate, autonomous realms." Andrew Michie wrote in 1952 "Elizabeth II embodies in her own person many monarchies: she is Queen of Great Britain, but she is Queen of Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon... it is now possible for Elizabeth II to be, in practice as well as theory Queen in all her realms."
Still, Boyce holds the counter-opinion the crowns of all the non-British realms are "derivative, if not subordinate" to the crown of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom no longer possesses any legislative power over any country besides itself, although some countries continue to use, by their own volition, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as part of their own judiciary. Since each realm has the same person as its monarch, the diplomatic practice of exchanging ambassadors with letters of credence and recall from one head of state to another is redundant. Diplomatic relations between the Commonwealth realms are thus at a cabinet level only and high commissioners are exchanged between realms. A high commissioner's full title will thus be High Commissioner for Her Majesty's Government in. For certain ceremonies, the order of precedence for the realms' high commissioners or national flags is set according to the chronological order of, when the country became a Dominion and the date on which the country gained independence.
Conflicts of interest have arisen from this relationship amongst independent states, ranging from minor diplomatic matters—such as the monarch expressing on the advice of one of her cabinets views that counter those of another of her cabinets—to more serious conflicts regarding matters of armed conflict, wherein the monarch, as head of state of two different realms, may be at war and at peace with a third country, or at war with herself as head of two hostile nations. In such cases, viceroys have tended to avoid placing the sovereign directly in the centre of the conflict, meaning that a governor-general may have to take controversial actions on his or her own initiative through the exercise of the reserve powers. In recent years, advocates have argued for free movement of citizens among a subset of the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, which they argue "share the same head of state, the same native language, the same respect for the common law." Opinion on the prospect of the plan coming to fruition is mixed.
British Eurosceptics have expressed a preference for a relationship "similar in nature and goals to the EU" between the same four countries: the CANZUK Union without repeating the "mistakes of Europe"—though this possibility has been characterised as "difficult and in some ways far-fetched". Despite this, public opinion polling conducted by organisations such as CANZUK International and YouGov have indicated widespread support for free movement of goods and people across Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with support for the proposals ranging from between 58–64% in the United Kingdom, 70–72% in Australia, 75–77% in Canada and 81–82% in New Zealand; the evolution of the Commonwealth realms has resulted in the Crown having both a shared and a separate character, with the one individual being mona
Monarchy in Alberta
By the arrangements of the Canadian federation, Canada's monarchy operates in Alberta as the core of the province's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. As such, the Crown within Alberta's jurisdiction is referred to as the Crown in Right of Alberta, Her Majesty in Right of Alberta, or The Queen in Right of Alberta; the Constitution Act, 1867, leaves many royal duties in Alberta assigned to the sovereign's viceroy, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy. The role of the Crown is both practical, it is thus the foundation of the executive and judicial branches of the province's government. The Canadian monarch—since 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II—is represented and her duties carried out by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, with most related powers entrusted for exercise by the elected parliamentarians, the ministers of the Crown drawn from amongst them, the judges and justices of the peace.
The Crown today functions as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of power. This arrangement began with the granting of Royal Assent to the 1905 Alberta Act and continued an unbroken line of monarchical government extending back to the late 18th century. However, though Alberta has a separate government headed by the Queen, as a province, Alberta is not itself a kingdom. Government House in Edmonton is owned by the sovereign only in her capacity as Queen in Right of Alberta and is used both as an office and official event location by the lieutenant governor, the sovereign, other members of the Canadian Royal Family; the viceroy resides in a separate home provided by the provincial Crown and the Queen and her relations reside at a hotel when in Alberta. Members of the royal family have owned Alberta property in a private capacity: for example, King Edward VIII owned the E. P. Ranch the former Bedingfield Ranch, near High River, for a more than 40 years.
Those in the Royal Family perform ceremonial duties when on a tour of the province. Monuments around Alberta mark some of those visits, while others honour a royal event. Further, Alberta's monarchical status is illustrated by royal names applied regions, communities and buildings, many of which may have a specific history with a member or members of the Royal Family. Associations exist between the Crown and many private organizations within the province. Examples include the Royal United Services Institute of Alberta, under the patronage of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, which received its royal prefix from Queen Elizabeth II in 1990. At the various levels of education within Alberta there exist a number of scholarships and academic awards either established by or named for members of the Royal Family; the main symbol of the monarchy is the sovereign herself, her image thus being used to signify government authority. A royal cypher or crown may illustrate the monarchy as the locus of authority, without referring to any specific monarch.
Additionally, though the monarch does not form a part of the constitutions of Alberta's honours, they do stem from the Crown as the fount of honour, so bear on the insignia symbols of the sovereign. The Queen or others in her family may bestow these honours in person: the Queen, when in the province in 2002, appointed Alberta citizens to the Royal Victorian Order and presented in Alberta, on her official Canadian birthday in 2005, the insignia of the Venerable Order of Saint John to new inductees. A request was made by Premier Ralph Klein for the Queen of Canada to give royal assent to a bill in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in May 2005; this request was turned down by the Office of the Governor General "for two reasons: such an unprecedented ceremony would hinder ability to'Canadianize' the Crown and the constitution assigns to the Lieutenant-Governor the function of giving royal assent to provincial bills." That assertion, was contested by Professor and Senior Director of Interdisciplinary Programs at the University of Alberta, Kenneth Munro.
Though Queen Elizabeth II did not tour any part of the province during her Golden Jubilee royal tour in 2002, the legislative assembly and government introduced a number of events and initiatives to mark the anniversary. More than 4,000 Albertans attended the Lieutenant Governor's Jubilee Levée on 23 June, where Lois Hole stated: "what we want to realize is how important the monarchy is to Canada and to Alberta." Three years the Queen was in Alberta to mark the province's 100th anniversary of entry into Confederation, where she attended, along with an audience of 25,000, a kick-off concert at Commonwealth Stadium and addressed the legislative assembly, becoming the first reigning monarch to do so. At the same time, the Ministry of Learning encouraged teachers to focus education on the monarchy and to organize field trips f
Monarchy of Sweden
The Monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden, a constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system. The Kingdom of Sweden has been a monarchy since time immemorial. An elective monarchy, it became an hereditary monarchy in the 16th century during the reign of Gustav Vasa, though all monarchs before that belonged to a limited and small number of families which are considered to be the royal dynasties of Sweden. Sweden in the present day is a representative democracy in a parliamentary system based on popular sovereignty, as defined in the current Instrument of Government; the monarch and the members of the Royal Family undertake a variety of official and other representational duties within Sweden and abroad. Carl XVI Gustaf became King on 15 September 1973 on the death of Gustaf VI Adolf. Scandinavian peoples have had kings since prehistoric times; as early as the 1st century CE, Tacitus wrote that the Suiones had a king, but the order of Swedish regnal succession up until King Eric the Victorious, is known exclusively through accounts in controversial Norse sagas.
The Swedish king had combined powers limited to that of a war chief, a judge and a priest at the Temple at Uppsala. However, there are thousands of runestones commemorating commoners, but no known chronicle about the Swedish kings prior to the 14th century, there is a small number of runestones that are thought to mention kings: Gs 11, U 11 and U 861. About 1000 A. D. the first king known to rule both Svealand and Götaland was Olof Skötkonung, but further history for the next two centuries is obscure, with many kings whose tenures and actual influence/power remains unclear. The Royal Court of Sweden, does count Olof's father, Eric the Victorious, as Sweden's first king; the power of the king was strengthened by the introduction of Christianity during the 11th century, the following centuries saw a process of consolidation of power into the hands of the king. The Swedes traditionally elected a king from a favored dynasty at the Stones of Mora, the people had the right to elect the king as well as to depose him.
The ceremonial stones were destroyed around 1515. In the 12th century, the consolidation of Sweden was still affected by dynastic struggles between the Erik and Sverker clans, which ended when a third clan married into the Erik clan and the House of Bjelbo was established on the throne; that dynasty formed pre-Kalmar Union Sweden into a strong state, king Magnus IV ruled Norway and Scania. Following the Black Death, the union weakened, Scania reunited with Denmark. In 1397, after the Black Death and domestic power struggles, Queen Margaret I of Denmark united Sweden and Norway in the Union of Kalmar with the approval of the Swedish nobility. Continual tension within each country and the union led to open conflict between the Swedes and the Danes in the 15th century; the union's final disintegration in the early 16th century led to prolonged rivalry between Denmark-Norway and Sweden for centuries to come. Catholic bishops had supported the King of Denmark, Christian II, but he was overthrown in a rebellion led by nobleman Gustav Vasa, whose father had been executed at the Stockholm bloodbath.
Gustav Vasa was elected King of Sweden by the Estates of the Realm, assembled in Strängnäs on 6 June 1523. Inspired by the teachings of Martin Luther, Gustav I used the Protestant Reformation to curb the power of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1527 he persuaded the Estates of the Realm, assembled in the city of Västerås, to confiscate church lands, which comprised 21% of the country's farmland. At the same time, he broke with the papacy and established a reformed state church: the Church of Sweden. Throughout his reign, Gustav I suppressed both aristocratic and peasant opposition to his ecclesiastical policies and efforts at centralisation, which to some extent laid the foundation for the modern Swedish unitary state. Sweden has only been a hereditary monarchy since 1544 when the Riksdag of the Estates, through Västerås arvförening, designated the sons of King Gustav I as the heirs to the Throne. Tax reforms took place in 1538 and 1558, whereby multiple complex taxes on independent farmers were simplified and standardised throughout the district and tax assessments per farm were adjusted to reflect ability to pay.
Crown tax revenues increased, but more the new system was perceived as fairer. A war with Lübeck in 1535 resulted in the expulsion of the Hanseatic traders, who had had a monopoly on foreign trade. With its own burghers in charge, Sweden's economic strength grew and by 1544 Gustav controlled 60% of the farmlands in all of Sweden. Sweden now built the first modern army in Europe, supported by a sophisticated tax system and an efficient bureaucracy. At the death of King Gustav I in 1560, he was succeeded by his oldest son Eric XIV, his reign was marked by Sweden's entrance into the Northern Seven Years' War. The combination of Eric's developing mental disorder and his opposition to the aristocracy led to the Sture Murders in 1567 and the imprisonment of his brother John, married to Catherine Jagiellon, sister of King Sigismund II of Poland
Monarchy in the Canadian provinces
The monarchy of Canada forms the core of each Canadian provincial jurisdiction's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, being the foundation of the executive and judicial branches of government in each province. The monarchy has been headed since February 6, 1952 by Queen Elizabeth II who as sovereign is shared with both the Commonwealth realms and the Canadian federal entity. She, her consort, other members of the Canadian Royal Family undertake various public and private functions across the country. However, the Queen is the only member of the Royal Family with any constitutional role. Royal Assent and the royal sign-manual are required to enact laws, letters patent, Orders in Council. However, the Constitution Act, 1867, leaves the monarch's direct role in the provinces in question and many royal duties in these regions are assigned to the sovereign's provincial viceroys, known as lieutenant governors, who are appointed by the Queen's federal representative, the governor general. Further, within the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, the Crown's direct participation in any of these areas of governance is limited, with most related powers entrusted for exercise by the elected parliamentarians, the appointed ministers of the Crown drawn from amongst them, the judges and justices of the peace.
The Crown today functions as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of power, the sovereign acting as a custodian of the Crown's democratic powers and representing the "power of the people above government and political parties."In all provinces, the monarchy's roots lie in the British Crown, while in some in Eastern Canada, the French Crown had influence. Over the centuries, the institution throughout the country has evolved to become a distinctly Canadian one, represented by unique symbols for each province; the Canadian monarchy is a unitary institution over all eleven of Canada's governmental spheres. At the same time, the one Crown operates separately within each area of governance. There is one monarch, "but she acts in different rights"; such is demonstrated when the sovereign takes on different legal personas in a case wherein a provincial government files a lawsuit against the federal and/or another provincial government. As it was put in Attorney-General of Canada v. Higbie: "When the Crown, in right of the Province, transfers land to the Crown, in right of the Dominion, it parts with no right.
What takes place is a change of administrative control." The Canadian Crown thus both remains above and links together all of the jurisdictions in Confederation. The arrangement provides that each of Canada's provinces are all sovereign of each other and the federal realm; the sovereignty of the provinces is passed on not by the governor general or federal parliament, but through the overreaching Crown itself to the monarch's viceregal representatives in the provinces, the lieutenant governors, the limitation that they act, in the Queen's name, only on the advice of the relevant provincial ministers of the Crown or legislature. The Supreme Court found in 1918 that provincial legislation cannot bind the federal Crown except "by express terms or necessary intendment", nor can the Queen in her federal council or parliament legislate for the provinces beyond the provisions of the constitution; the provincial Crown "exists to safeguard the independence of each province". The system was set up as such by the Fathers of Confederation because they saw such a use of constitutional monarchy as a bulwark against any fracturing of the Canadian federation.
In 1939, Sir Shuldham Redfern Secretary to the Governor General, said that, without a common allegiance to the Crown, the regions of Canada might break up. The British North America Act, 1867, was written so as to reflect the view of John A. Macdonald and the Earl of Derby that the provinces were subordinate to the federal Crown, with the lieutenant governors appointed by the governor general and not—as is done with the governors of the Australian states and was suggested be integrated in Canada by the 1979 Task Force on National Unity—by the Queen herself. Further, while the lieutenant governors did each hold a great seal and prorogued parliament in the Queen's stead, granted Royal Assent to bills that bore the Queen's name, it was still expected that the latter be given in the name of the governor general; that rule was never followed in Ontario and Quebec and the other provinces soon followed suit. In 1882, the legitimacy of the lieutenant governors as direct representatives of the monarch was established by the Lord Watson of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the case of Maritime Bank v. Receiver-General of New Brunswick.
In his ruling, which discovered a provincial guise of the Crown and thus further empowered the provinces, Watson stated: "the Lieutenant Governor... is as much a representative of Her Majesty, for all purposes of Provincial Government as the Governor General himself is, for all purposes of Dominion Government." As well, the Judicial Committee found in 1932 that there was a definite separation between the provincial and federal treasuries.
Monarchy in Saskatchewan
By the arrangements of the Canadian federation, the Canadian monarchy operates in Saskatchewan as the core of the province's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Constitution Act, 1867, leaves many royal duties in Saskatchewan assigned to the sovereign's viceroy, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy; the role of the Crown is both practical. It is thus the foundation of the executive and judicial branches of the province's government; the Canadian monarch—since 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II—is represented and her duties carried out by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, with most related powers entrusted for exercise by the elected parliamentarians, the ministers of the Crown drawn from amongst them, the judges and justices of the peace. The Crown today functions as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of power.
This arrangement began with the granting of Royal Assent to the 1905 Saskatchewan Act, continued an unbroken line of monarchical government extending back to the mid 17th century. However, though Saskatchewan has a separate government headed by the Queen, as a province, Saskatchewan is not itself a kingdom. Government House in Regina is owned by the sovereign only in her capacity as Queen in Right of Saskatchewan and is used both as an office and as an official event location by the lieutenant governor, the sovereign, other members of the Canadian Royal Family; the viceroy resides in a separate home provided by the provincial Crown and the Queen and her relations reside at a hotel when in Saskatchewan. Those in the Royal Family perform ceremonial duties when on a tour of the province. Monuments around Saskatchewan mark some of those visits, while others honour a royal personage or event. Further, Saskatchewan's monarchical status is illustrated by royal names applied regions, communities and buildings, many of which may have a specific history with a member or members of the Royal Family.
Gifts are sometimes offered from the people of Saskatchewan, via the Office of Protocol and Honours, to a royal person to mark a visit or an important milestone. Unofficial gifts are offered on various occasions, including a carload of locally milled flour from Yorkton for Princess Elizabeth on her marriage in 1947, Royal Family members and viceroys have been conferred honorary degrees by Saskatchewan universities. Associations exist between the Crown and many private organizations within the province. Examples include the Globe Theatre, under the patronage of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, which received its royal prefix from Queen Elizabeth II in 1993. At the various levels of education within Saskatchewan, there exist a number of scholarships and academic awards either established by or named for members of the Royal Family, such as the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship in Parliamentary Studies and the Queen Elizabeth II Centennial Aboriginal Scholarship; the main symbol of the monarchy is the sovereign herself, her image thus being used to signify government authority.
A royal cypher, crown, or the provincial arms may illustrate the monarchy as the locus of authority, without referring to any specific monarch. Additionally, though the monarch does not form a part of the constitutions of Saskatchewan's honours, they do stem from the Crown as the fount of honour, so bear on the insignia symbols of the sovereign; the Queen or others in her family may bestow awards in person: in 2004, the Princess Royal presented to 25 recipients the Saskatchewan Protective Services Medal, marking the first time a member of the Royal Family had presented a provincial honour in Canada, when the Queen was in the province in 2005, she appointed Saskatchewan citizens to the Royal Victorian Order. Under the authority of the Queen in Right of Saskatchewan, other members of the Royal Family have received Saskatchewan honours. In 1882, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, her husband, the Governor General of Canada, were the first members of the Royal Family to pass through what would become Saskatchewan.
During a stop at the not yet named territorial capital, in the dining room of the Royal Train, Princess Louise named the new community Regina, after her mother, Queen Victoria. Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, presided over the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Saskatchewan's entry into Confederation and Princess Anne marked Re
Parliament of Australia
The Parliament of Australia is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It consists of three elements: the Senate and the House of Representatives; the combination of two elected chambers, in which the members of the Senate represent the states and territories while the members of the House represent electoral divisions according to population, is modelled on the United States Congress. Through both chambers, there is a fused executive, drawn from the Westminster system; the upper house, the Senate, consists of 76 members: twelve for each state, two each for the territories, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Senators are elected using the single transferable vote proportional representation system and as a result, the chamber features a multitude of parties vying for power; the governing party or coalition has not held a majority in the Senate since 1981 and needs to negotiate with other parties and Independents to get legislation passed. The lower house, the House of Representatives consists of 150 members, each elected using full-preference instant-runoff voting from single-member constituencies known as electoral divisions.
This tends to lead to the chamber being dominated by two major political groups, the centre-right Coalition and the centre-left Labor Party. The government of the day must achieve the confidence of this House in order to gain and remain in power. Although elections can be called early, every three years the full House of Representatives and half of the Senate is dissolved and goes up for reelection. A deadlock-breaking mechanism known as a double dissolution can be used to dissolve the full Senate as well as the House in the event that the Upper House twice refuses to pass a piece of legislation passed by the Lower House; the two Houses meet in separate chambers of Parliament House on Capital Hill in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. The Commonwealth of Australia came into being on 1 January 1901 with the federation of the six Australian colonies; the inaugural election took place on 29 and 30 March and the first Australian Parliament was opened on 9 May 1901 in Melbourne by Prince George, Duke of Cornwall and York King George V.
The only building in Melbourne, large enough to accommodate the 14,000 guests was the western annexe of the Royal Exhibition Building. After the official opening, from 1901 to 1927 the Parliament met in Parliament House, which it borrowed from the Parliament of Victoria, it had always been intended. This was a compromise at Federation due to the rivalry between the two largest Australian cities and Melbourne, which both wished to become the new capital; the site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital city in 1908. A competition was announced on 30 June 1914 to design Parliament House, with prize money of £7,000. However, due to the start of World War I the next month, the competition was cancelled, it was re-announced in August 1916, but again postponed indefinitely on 24 November 1916. In the meantime, John Smith Murdoch, the Commonwealth's Chief Architect, worked on the design as part of his official duties, he had little personal enthusiasm for the project, as he felt it was a waste of money and expenditure on it could not be justified at the time.
He designed the building by default. The construction of Old Parliament House, as it is called today, commenced on 28 August 1923 and was completed in early 1927, it was built by the Commonwealth Department of Works, using tradesmen and materials from all over Australia. The final cost was about £600,000, more than three times the original estimate, it was designed to house the parliament for a maximum of 50 years until a permanent facility could be built, but was so used for more than 60 years. The building was opened on 9 May 1927 by the Duchess of York; the opening ceremonies were both splendid and incongruous, given the sparsely built nature of Canberra of the time and its small population. The building was extensively decorated with British Empire and Australian flags and bunting. Temporary stands were erected bordering the lawns in front of the Parliament and these were filled with crowds. A Wiradjuri elder, Jimmy Clements, was one of only two aboriginal Australians present, having walked for about a week from Brungle Station to be at the event.
Dame Nellie Melba sang the National anthem. The Duke of York unlocked the front doors with a golden key, led the official party into King's Hall where he unveiled the statue of his father, King George V; the Duke opened the first parliamentary session in the new Senate Chamber. In 1978 the Fraser Government decided to proceed with a new building on Capital Hill, the Parliament House Construction Authority was created. A two-stage competition was announced, for which the Authority consulted the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and, together with the National Capital Development Commission, made available to competitors a brief and competition documents; the design competition drew 329 entries from 29 countries. The competition winner was the Philadelphia-based architectural firm of Mitchell/Giurgola, with the on-site wor