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Why was Proclamation Day Important?

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Constitution Act 1889
Constitution Act 1889:
The Constitution Act 1889 set up a system of parliamentary self-government in the colony. It is the founding document of the Parliament of Western Australia.
Courtesy State Records Office

Proclamation Day marked the occasion when the new Constitution was publicly announced, granting the colony of Western Australia responsible government. It marked the transition of Western Australia from a colony under British rule to self-government.

It was the first key step towards democracy in WA and meant that:

  • More people had a say in how they were governed,

  • More people had the right to vote.

The Western Australian Constitution set up the basic components of the State’s system of government including:

  • the Parliament,

  • the Executive,

  • the Judicial system,

and established a relationship between the Governor, Premier, Cabinet and the new Parliament.

The new Constitution established our Parliament with two Houses:

  • the Legislative Council (Upper House) and

  • the Legislative Assembly (Lower House).

This resulted in greater representation of the people in the process of government. The power to govern was substantially transferred from the Governor to the elected members.

What is a constitution?

A constitution is a set of rules defining a system of government. It describes the institutional structure, the conditions under which power is held and exercised, and the procedures through which the rules themselves may be changed.

The first Parliament of Western Australia
The first Parliament of Western Australia:
Members of the first Legislative Assembly elected in 1890.
Courtesy Battye Library 3976B

Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.