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Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (consolidated as of July 25, 2003)

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Year of Version 2003 Dates Entry into force: January 1, 1901 Type of Text Constitution/Basic Law Subject Matter Other Notes The 1901 Constitution, the supreme law of the Federal Government of Australia (also known as the Commonwealth of Australia), unified the Australian colonies as a single nation and established the law under which the government of the Australian Commonwealth operates. The Constitution has successfully been amended 8 times by referendum and consolidated in 2003 (taking account of amendments up to Act No. 84 of 1977). It delineates the powers and duties of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, details the division of powers between the federal and state governments, and reserves individual rights to the people.

The federal government of Australia has the Queen represented by the Governor-General and a bicameral parliament which consists of two Houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. These three elements make Australia a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy.

The Constitution contains provisions that specifically refer to intellectual property by giving the Parliament the power to enact laws relating to patents, copyrights and trademarks. Section 51, Part V, Article 51(xviii) stipulates: “The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to…(xviii): copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trademarks”.

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Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (consolidated as of September 4, 2013) (AU473)

WIPO Lex No. AU171