This act, formally "Act for the Better Government of Her Majesty's Australian Colonies" (1850), was legislation of the British House of Commons separating the southeastern Australian district of Port Phillip from New South Wales and establishing it as the colony of Victoria. It was passed in response to the demand of the Port Phillip settlers, who felt inadequately represented in the New South Wales Legislative Council (self-governing since 1842) and who resented their revenues being channeled to the New South Wales area. The act, which took effect on July 1, 1851, provided for a Legislative Council of 20 elected members and 10 members appointed by the governor. This body was given jurisdiction over all but crown lands and could pass any legislation not in conflict with English law. The act also recognized the desire for progress toward self-government elsewhere in Australia, and similar constitutional provisions were applied to Tasmania and South Australia.
[from Encyclopedia Britannica, entered by Joel P. Henderson '93]