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How and why did Federation occur The movement to Federation At the end of the 1800s Australia was divided into six separate colonies instead of being one nation But people had been talking for years about whether Australia should be one nation and in the 1890s a series of meetings called conventions or conferences was held to discuss federation of the colonies The Premier of New South Wales Sir Henry Parkes had announced in 1889 that the time had come to form a national parliament and government There were many who did not agree but by 1891 there was a convention held in Sydney to write a federal constitution This was then sent back to the colonial parliaments for approval But at the same time Parkes was losing the leadership of NSW and the issue of federation was no longer a top priority Without the largest colony the others could not proceed towards federation In 1893 a conference was held in Corowa on the Murray River and attended by politicians from NSW and Victoria business representatives from Melbourne and people from Victorian branches of the Australian Natives Association an organisation which wanted federation John Quick a lawyer from Bendigo suggested that the whole process should start again but with the people electing delegates to a new conference which would then write a constitution and put it back to the people at referendums His scheme was accepted enthusiastically by the conference There was then a meeting of colonial premiers in 1895 in Hobart and New South Wales Victoria South Australia and Tasmania accepted Quicks scheme However Western Australias parliament agreed only that it would elect delegates to a convention rather than having the people elect them and Queensland could not agree and was eventually not represented at the convention at all In 1897 elections were held to choose delegates to attend a convention to draw up a constitution The convention was
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