After 1967 the ability to legislate over Aboriginal people became a concurrent power. If the Commonwealth passes a law in this area is it now an exclusive power under s109?
Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900: Original Public Record Copy (1900).
Parliament House Art Collection, Art Services Parliament House
This image shows the front page of the original public record copy of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900. There is a a red ribbon tied in a bow on the left hand side of the document. The paper looks faded from age.
Permission for publication must be sought from Parliament House Art Collection. Contact DPS Art Services, phone: 02 62775034 or 02 62775123
The 1967 referendum gave the Australian Parliament the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Prior to 1967, section 51 (xxvi) of the Australian Constitution stated that Parliament could make laws with respect to 'people of any race, other than the Aboriginal race in any state'. This meant the states, rather than the Australian Government, had responsibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples affairs.
Today, state parliaments can still make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; however if these laws conflict with laws made by the Australian Parliament the state law will be overridden. This is because under section 109 of the Constitution if the Australian Parliament and a state parliament pass conflicting laws on the same subject, the federal law overrides the state law.