This draft constitution is an interesting hybrid of early French revolutionary and radical ideas: needless to say, it was never put into operation.
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Transcript: Enclosure No 15 in Duplicate Despatch
No 162 of the 20 Dec 1854 THE NEW CONSTITUTION! AND ORDER OF THINGS TO BE ADOPTED THIS MEMORABLE 6TH. DEC, 1854, BY THE RESIDENTS OF VICTORIA, &C. _____________________
1.All taxes and tallages of every kind which bear upon labor, or provisions, luxuries, or any article whatsoever, to be abolished : the Custom-house to be converted into an office of Marine Registry, and all persons in it to be preferred to such vacancies in the general government as may hereafter be open, if the officers are suitable.
2.All sums of money required for the maintenance of the Government to be levied upon property, real and chattel, and upon the absentee proprietors of Victorian property ; the latter to be taxed at the rate of 75 per cent upon the ascertained income remitted.
3.Every male between 16 and 60 years of age to be at once enrolled as citizen soldiers; each man to provide and bear arms and ammunition; elect officers; enrol in companies and attend drill once a week to protect life and property.
3.A new electorial Constitution to be at once formed, and all property qualifications in the elector and elected to be abolished. Two Houses of Legislation to be erected : the one to represent the bulk of the people the second to be a small Assembly – an Elected Senate. Every 5000 inhabitants to return two members of the Lower House, and one of the Senate : all to be elected on the one day all over the Colony. A convention, based on these principles to be held as soon as possible. All headlands commanding the harbours of Melbourne and Geelong, to be immediately fortified, and floating batteries to be immediately constructed for the harbors, for which purpose one of the public founderies to be hired to cast long-range cannon, of the necessary calibre, for the defence of the Colony from any external attack. Powder mills also immediately established, and a premium offered for saltpetre, charcoal, sulphur, and other such material. A mint to be forthwith established.
4. The Government to be prohibited from borrowing any money at interest - but to forthwith issue notes of one pound each, received in payment of the property Tax, which should be immediately established. All officers and privates of the army or police now XXX service, to be immediately provided for, by three month’s pay, and land in fee for ever, at the rate of one hundred acres to the lowest private, and an increased grant to non-commission officers and those in commission, providing all such persons actually settle down upon their grants and cultivate the same. Such as may be required to keep up merely a staff of instructors, to be retained on pay in the public service. A military college to be forthwith established.
5. All land of the Colony, not actually purchased and paid for, to be leased to bona fide cultivators in Farms of 250 acres each, at a nominal rent, and the right of purchase reserved to the occupier, within the period of seven years’ rent. The interests of squatters to be regarded, and an honest commission of disinterested men to be appointed, who shall be sworn to adjudge compensation to squatters, whose lands shall be required by the people.
6. All private property to be held and protected by the citizen soldiers. All taxes on digging land quarrying stone, making bricks, digging gold, silver, copper, coal, or, in short any kind of goods whatsoever, to be totally and forever abolished.
7. A Provisional Directory of twelve to be appointed this day, to carry out those general principles in the most peaceful manner. GOD SAVE OUR QUEEN, VICTORIA !
Slate, Williams & Co., Printers 94 Bourke Street, Melbourne