WHETHER IMPERIAL GOVERNMENT HAS POWER TO PRESCRIBE UNIFORM
CONSTITUTION, s. 51 (vi)
The Constitution gives authority to the Commonwealth to make laws with respect to the naval and military defence of the Commonwealth and of the several States, and this in my opinion certainly includes power to prescribe what uniform the Australian forces shall wear, at all events within the Commonwealth. It is conceded in the despatch under consideration that Colonel A.'s action was justified by the dress regulations of the Commonwealth Forces and consequently there is no ground whatever for complaint.
In my opinion the prohibitory direction contained in the despatch of the Secretary of State for the Colonies as to the further wearing of uniform as well as the suggestion that the sanction of the War Office must be applied for if it is desired to wear any particular uniform are contrary to law, and must be disregarded by this Government. To admit the validity of those directions would be to surrender our powers of self-government.
[Vol. 5, p. 38]
* See also Opinion No.255.