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ACM Home arrow The Succession

The Succession

The Succession

 

...the Succession in Australia...  


As Australia became independent, probably by 1926 and certainly by 1942,  our oldest institution  which is  at the very centre of our constitutional system, the Crown, also evolved.

With independence, it  separated from the once indivisible Imperial Crown of the British Empire and became the Australian Crown.

At the same time the British  Empire evolved into the British Commonwealth, which then became the Commonwealth.

This has been confirmed by  the highest legal and constitutional authority in our nation, the High Court.

In 1999, in Sue v Hill, the High Court ruled that the Australian Crown is legally and constitutionally separate from the Canadian, New Zealand, British and other Crowns. 

What we have is well known in international law. It is a "personal union."  This best describes the fact that the Queen is Queen of Canada and also Queen of Australia etc. 

It is important to understand that this is not a union of states, or a colonial or residual legal or constitutional relationship with or subservient to the United Kingdom.

The union is personal in the Sovereign.
 

The key word is "personal"; it is not "legal" or "constitutional." 

If the law governing the succession, the Act of Settlement, 1701 is to be changed, the constitutional convention among the Realms - those 16 countries which share The Queen - is that the Realms should legislate  together.  

There is a specific acknowledgement of this convention in the preamble to the Statute of Westminster, 1931. This is an integral part of Australian constitutional law -it is a schedule to the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act, 1942.

There have long been suggestions that the Act of Settlement should be amended in relation to the succession of females and Catholics.   At common law, males at the same level always rank before females. Under the Act, Catholics and those married to Catholics could not succeed. This was imposed by Parliament  to remove the influence of the Stuarts who were trying to follow France  in moving to a more absolutist moncarchy.

This would reflect modern views on these matters.  

This would require legislation by all of the Realms.  

Legislation on the succession was passed after the Abdication in 1936, when the Australian PM was the most adamant of The King's Commonwealth Prime Ministers in objecting to his proposed marriage to Mrs Simpson, who would later become the Duchess of Windsor, and in arguing that were it to take place it would be unacceptable to Australia.

Now those who claimed so vociferously claim the law of succession is so offensive that the Australian constitutional system should be rent asunder are usually being tendentious.

  It is not they are in any way interested in  reforming or modernising   the law of succession.  

Their motives are transparently obvious.

They are using the Act of Settlement to destroy our constitutional system. In fact the last thing they want is any change in the law.  

There is no evidence that any of them have done anything whatsoever to seek an amendment of the law, indeed when some of these people who claim to be so "concerned" about the discriminatory nature of the Act of Settlement  have actually been in a political office where they could have initiated such a change.

In fact they have done precisely nothing, which indicates that their "concern" is not so much shallow as non- existant.  

When, for example have they raised this in discussion with the other Realms?

It is not the Sovereign who is blocking change -  if change is thought appropriate.  

We understand that Buckingham Palace has, for example, advised that The Queen would not object to a change in the primogeniture rule which presently requires  that males of the same rank succeed before females.

Change to the law of succession is in the hands of the politicians of all the Realms.

 If the republican politicians were actually concerned about this, rather than using it to score points they would begin discussions within the Commonwealth on this question.





Succession and the Realms - Australian and Canadian issues Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Thursday, 21 February 2013

Professor Anne Twomey addressed the Department of Political Science at University College London last year on  succession  to the Crown and the problems in the Realms. This was well before the introduction of legislation to address the issue.


....not too complex....

Pointing out that current talk of ending male primogeniture and some anti-Catholic discrimination was merely the latest in a series of attempts to reform succession, Professor Twomey highlighted the reluctance of recent governments to actually implement reform – allegedly because of the complexity of dealing with the realms.

This reluctance was unfounded, she said.

Read more...
 
Queensland Attorney General Peter Bleije speaks to the Queensland Succession Bill Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Monday, 18 February 2013

The Hon.Jarrod Pieter Bleijie, MP, Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, introduced the Queensland Succession to the Crown Bill, 2013 into the Queensland Parliament on 14 February, 2013.

 In this First Reading of the Bill, the Attorney, a strong constitutional monarchist, emphasised the importance of maintaining the continuing close link between the Crown and the State of Queensland.

 
Succession changes - everything you wanted to know Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 20 November 2011

Image [The following video is of a lecture given by Professor Anne Twomey on changing the law of succession and the problem of the realms, especially Australia and Canada. This was given in the University of London on 26 September, 2011. Professor Twomey is based in the University of Sydney and has fequently spoken at functions arranged by ACM.]  


Image

[Changing the Rules of Succession and the Problem of the Realms from the Department of Political Science University of London on Vimeo.]

Pointing out that current talk of ending male primogeniture and some anti-Catholic discrimination was merely the latest in a series of attempts to reform succession, Professor Twomey highlighted the reluctance of recent governments to actually implement reform – allegedly because of the complexity of dealing with the realms.

This reluctance was unfounded. Professor Twomey began with an outline of the Statute of Westminster, which in 1931 formally recognised that the Dominions of the Empire possessed full responsible government: the legislatures of the Dominions now had the power to amend or repeal existing British laws affecting them, including the Act of Settlement.


...Statute of Westminster...



To prevent each Dominion from creating its own rule of succession and thereby ‘bifurcating’ the personage of British crown, two safeguards were enacted.

Read more...
 
Sabotage succession, says republican commentator Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 15 November 2011

It was to be expected that some – perhaps many - republicans would be unhappy with the changes in the law relating to the succession.

One republican commentator is even proposing that the process be sabotaged by splintering it.  (I checked the date to ensure it wasn’t 1 April.) It won’t happen. 

Image
[ King George VI succeeded on different days in Ireland and South Africa ]

 

Republicans have long complained about the present succession law which they say the sexist and discriminatory.  The point we have often made here is that none of the republican politicians tried to do anything about it when they were in office.  So how genuine were they?


...monarchists “suspicious”...

  

A commentator with the Fairfax press, and former ABC Media Watch presenter, Richard Ackland,  complains that the support for the changes shown by constitutional monarchists  is “suspicious.”

“With these changes,” he concedes “ it will be harder to make accusations the Crown is sexist or intolerant or old-fashioned.”



...sabotage proposal...



 
He actually proposes that republican politicians should sabotage the process which will involve not only the national parliaments of the 16 realms, but in Australia, a cooperative process including the states.

“Think,” he says, ‘what would happen if not every relevant parliament passed the amending legislation. It would mean there would be different lines of succession throughout the Commonwealth itself and throughout Australia.”



...1936 succession diverged...


A slight divergence in the succession actually occurred in the confusion surrounding the abdication of King Edward VIII and the succession of his brother King George VI in 1936. The reigns of the two Kings overlapped over three days. 

Read more...
 
Royal Visit 2011 - Perth - The Succession Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 13 November 2011
 
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