Story: Constitution

Federation with Australia

Federation with Australia

Australia's constitution is contained in the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900. In the years before this act was passed New Zealand had the opportunity to join Australia as a federal state, but decided not to. It is still possible for New Zealand to join. This 1899 cartoon shows New Zealand Premier Richard Seddon in a lifeboat leaving a ship symbolising Australia, watched by the premiers of the six Australian colonies. The caption 'Aut caesar aut nullus' (either caesar or nothing) refers to the Roman emperors and suggests that Seddon wants to be in the top position rather than a subordinate one.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: J-040-007
Cartoon by Ashley Hunter

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Matthew Palmer, 'Constitution - What is a constitution?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 June 2024)

Story by Matthew Palmer, published 20 Jun 2012