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The Drafters of the Constitution

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On 18 March 1891, to prepare the groundwork for drafting a constitution, the National Australasian Convention appointed three committees: one to address finance, taxation and trade; another to consider the establishment of a federal judiciary; and a third to examine in detail and frame specific provisions to be drafted into a constitution Bill.

The committees drew up reports for a sub-committee that was to draft the constitution. The members of this drafting committee were:

Sir Samuel Griffith
Andrew Inglis Clark
Charles Kingston

They spent the Easter break working through the reports and framing a document that would be accepted by the convention, the colonial parliaments and the people of Australia. They put together the final revision of the draft constitution on board the Queensland Government steamer Lucinda. They received unofficial advice from the following:

Bernhard Wise
Edmund Barton
Sir John Downer
Andrew Thynne
Henry Wrixon

Members of the 1897 National Australasian Convention also appointed three select committees to consider and report on finance, the judiciary and constitutional machinery respectively. The committees met privately and worked at resolving the differences of opinion that had emerged during discussions.

The drafting committee comprised:

Edmund Barton
Richard O'Connor
Sir John Downer

On 16 March 1898, after much debate, the convention finally adopted the constitution in the form of the Draft of a Bill to Constitute the Commonwealth of Australia.