§ Lord Newall
asked Her Majesty's Government:
When they will respond to representations from the Australian Government to release one of the original copies of the Australia Constitution Act 1900 on a permanent basis.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)
The Government have received representations from the Australian Government requesting that the original copy of the Australia Constitution Act 1900 at present on loan to Australia and on display in Parliament House in Canberra should remain in Australia permanently. The British Government have decided that it would be right to find a way to offer the document to the Commonwealth of Australia as a gift. The copy of the Act is a public record under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958 and cannot at present be disposed of as a gift or on a permanent loan. The Government will, therefore, shortly be introducing legislation relating only to this particular case designed to place this document outside the provisions of the Public Records Act and enable it to be released to the Commonwealth of Australia as a gift.