Exactly on all-fours with the English precedent: establishing a Public Accounts Committee in the Antipodes

Journal article


Jones, Kate 2006. Exactly on all-fours with the English precedent: establishing a Public Accounts Committee in the Antipodes. Victorian Historical Journal. 77 (2), pp. 194 - 211.
AuthorsJones, Kate
Abstract

[Extract] In 1856 a British act of parliament established a bicameral legislature consisting of a Legislative Assembly, the lower house, and a Legislative Council, the upper house, in the colony of Victoria. Much later in the nineteenth century, the parliament of Victoria established a Committee of Public Accounts with the avowed intention of creating an exact copy of the equivalent committee in the British parliament. As Melbourne was a city that hoped to be another London, so the parliament of Victoria was in some respects a self-conscious imitation of the British parliament. The Victorian colonial parliament, like the parliaments of other colonies and countries created by the British Empire, is often described as following the Westminster system, referring to its derivation from the British houses of parliament at Westminster. This apparently traditional term covers a multitude of forms. R.A.W. Rhodes and Patrick Weller surveyed more than thirty works to conclude that there is no agreed definition. They did, however, divide the Westminster systems of the old British Empire into the transplanted and the implanted. The transplanted Westminster systems are defined in the following terms: 'In the pre-1945 Empire settlers, mainly of European heritage, took for granted the benefits of the British approach to government. They adapted and adjusted it to their own conditions and beliefs'. This, it appears, was what Victorian parliamentarians were doing; they took the British model and made adaptations to it, both stated and unstated.

Year2006
JournalVictorian Historical Journal
Journal citation77 (2), pp. 194 - 211
PublisherRoyal Historical Society of Victoria
ISSN1030-7710
Page range194 - 211
Place of publicationMelbourne, Australia
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