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For Peace, Order and Good Government: The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
Navigation
Origins
Early proposals
Six colonies
Drafting a constitution
Declaration of the Commonwealth
Election
Conducting the first Federal election
Who could vote?
The election campaign
Opening
9 May 1901
The royal visit
Celebrations
Members
The first federal parliamentarians
Ministry of May, 1901
Edmund Barton
Work
Political parties
Legislative program
Relationship between the houses
Administration

 

The Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth ...

Constitution, Section 51

The Australian Parliament which met for the first time in May 1901 was the most democratic in the world. The members of the first Parliament were a remarkable group of individuals, fired with a sense of destiny. In three years of hard work they laid the legislative foundation of the nation.

This exhibition tells the story of our first federal Parliament: its origins, who its members were, how it worked, and its achievements.

ORIGINS ELECTION OPENING MEMBERS WORK
The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia: Origins
The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia: Elections
The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia: Opening
The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia: Members
The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia: Work
The Origins of the Australian Parliament Electing the First Commonwealth Parliament The Inauguration of the Australian Parliament The First One Hundred and Eleven A Nation-building Parliament

The public exhibition For Peace, Order, and Good Government, on which this online exhibition is based, was erected by the Department of the Senate at Parliament House, Canberra, in March 2001, as a Department of the Senate Centenary of Federation Project. It was dismantled in March 2008.

View photographs of the original exhibition