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Constitutions are the basic documents of a society. The drafting of the Australian constitution was the product of intense negotiation and debate. Line by line it represents the work of dozens of delegates and the considerations of millions of Australians. This authoritative and unique book brings together, for the first time, all the critical documents that formed the Commonwealth Constitution of 1901, tracing the Constitution from its most embryonic stages to its enactment. From the time that the colonies obtained self-government in the 1850s the issue of a large federation was being considered. In the latter part of the 19th century the colonies, through their delegates, came together in a series of conventions to draft a constitution that was to be put to the people. The documents included in this book tell the story of that painstaking process. This easily accessible collection of primary source material includes drafts of the Constitution, memoranda, personal letters relating to the drafting, and comments by the drafters themselves. It contains Hansard extracts, speeches, resolutions from Australasian Federal Conventions and comments on the drafts. It also reproduces newspape