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Preamble Referendum: Exposure Draft

This is the full text of the Exposure Draft for the Constitutional Preamble referendum released by Prime Minister John Howard.

This was the initial bill.

Full text of Exposure Draft for Constitutional Preamble referendum.

Constitution Alteration (Preamble) 1999

Exposure Draft

The Commonwealth Government has agreed that exposure drafts of the Constitution Alteration (Preamble) 1999 and explanatory statement be released for public comment. Exposure drafts of the Constitution Alteration (Establishment of Republic) 1999 and Presidential Nominations Committee Bill 1999 were released for comment on 9 March 1999.

The Government welcomes comments on the drafts. However, comments on the Constitution Alteration (Preamble) 1999 must be received by 30 April 1999 to be taken into account.

There may be further drafting involved, and the Government intends to make a final decision on all amendments in May.

If passed by Parliament, the final versions of the Constitution Alteration (Establishment of Republic) 1999 and Constitution Alteration (Preamble) 1999 will be put to the Australian people at a constitutional referendum, likely to be in November 1999.

The Presidential Nominations Committee Bill 1999 would not form part of a referendum, but was also released to ensure all the main elements of the proposal are available for comment.

Comments should be made in writing and addressed in the first instance to:

Mr John Doherty
Convenor, Referendum Taskforce
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
3-5 National Circuit

Telephone: (02) 6271 5564
Facsimile: (02) 6271 5566 Released 25 March 1999



The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia


Presented and read a first time

Constitution Alteration (Preamble) 1999

No. , 1999

A Bill for an Act to alter the Constitution to insert a preamble


1. Short title

2. Commencement

3. Insertion of preamble

4. Effect of preamble

Schedule—Preamble to the Constitution

The Parliament of Australia, with the approval of the electors, as required by the Constitution, enacts:

1. Short title

This Act may be cited as the Constitution Alteration (Preamble) 1999.

2. Commencement

This Act commences on 1 January 2001.

3. Insertion of preamble

The Constitution is altered by inserting after the Title the preamble set out in the Schedule to this Act.

4. Effect of preamble

The Constitution is altered by inserting after section 125 the following section:

125A Effect of preamble

The preamble to this Constitution has no legal force and shall not be considered in interpreting this Constitution or the law in force in the Commonwealth or any part of the Commonwealth.

Schedule—Preamble to the Constitution


With hope in God, the Commonwealth of Australia is constituted by the equal sovereignty of all its citizens.

The Australian nation is woven together of people from many ancestries and arrivals. Our vast island continent has helped to shape the destiny of our Commonwealth and the spirit of its people.

Since time immemorial our land has been inhabited by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, who are honoured for their ancient and continuing cultures.

In every generation immigrants have brought great enrichment to our nation’s life.

Australians are free to be proud of their country and heritage, free to realise themselves as individuals, and free to pursue their hopes and ideals. We value excellence as well as fairness, independence as dearly as mateship.

Australia’s democratic and federal system of government exists under law to preserve and protect all Australians in an equal dignity which may never be infringed by prejudice or fashion or ideology nor invoked against achievement.

In this spirit we, the Australian people, commit ourselves to this Constitution.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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