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Our self funded monarchy


This column has long argued –  for many years we were alone - that The Queen and the Royal Family represent an extraordinary bargain for each of the sixteen realms over which The Queen reigns and for all of the countries which are members of the Commonwealth of which Her Majesty is Head.

Long presented by republicans as a drain on the taxpayers, the truth is this.  Not only is the Royal Family entirely self funding -they  actually produce a profit for the British taxpayer. The Queen is effectively paying taxes to the UK government at the extraordinary rate of 85%.  

This  benefit to the British Treasury and indeed the Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and other Treasuries, is quite apart from their tourist and promotional potential.

As for Australia, nothing  - not a cent - has ever been paid to The Queen or any of the other members of our Royal Family. There is no salary, commission, or fees. We pay no superannuation, and there is no golden handshake. The same is true of Canada, New Zealand and the twelve other Realms.


The Queen and no member of the Royal Family receive any personal salary as, for example Presidents typically do.

Nor is there any provision for a pension or superannuation. (Incidentally, King Charles II magnanimously awarded a pension to Mrs. Cromwell, the widow of Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell as dictator during the republic had murdered his father after a mock trial.)

 In fact the Queen does not retire; and abdication merely because of old age or convenience is ruled out.

In a desperate attempt to show some substantial taxpayer outlays, costs which are going to be incurred anyway, such as security are charged to visits, often on an inflated basis. Of course announcing this is in itself a serious security breach as it informs terrorists and others, but that does not seem to stand in the way of those with a political agenda. 

At the time of the Royal Wedding in 2011, some republican commentators were attributing the cost of a public holiday to the Royal Family. The decision to call a holiday was the government's not The Queen's.

Apart from inappropriate and exaggerated attribution of "costs" to the Royal Family, we have also pointed out the fact that the British government and Parliament have failed lamentably to fulfil their side of an agreement made with The Queen at the beginning of her reign.





...Civil List...  




Because so many fail to appreciate these facts we repeat: The Queen does not receive a personal salary or pension as presidents do.

Until April 2012, a return of some – some- of the Crown's income were made to The Queen through the  UK civil list and grants in aid. These were to maintain the official residences, and to pay the staff, the entertainment, and ceremonial and other functions head of state functions in the United Kingdom.

The Civil List and other grants-in-aid involved the government giving back a relatively small portion of The Queen’s money. The government kept the rest.  
This convention began in 1760. It was agreed then that the costs of the Crown would be paid from the Crown Estate and certain other hereditary revenues which would be handed over to Parliament.

From that time the practice developed of the Sovereign agreeing at the beginning of his or her reign to hand over these revenues during his or her reign to the Parliament in return for a Civil List.

In return Parliament would provide sufficient funds to allow The Queen to fund her state functions.




...a bargain..




This has proved to be a bargain, at least in the present reign.  But for decades the British politicians failed miserably to perform their side of the agreement. Notwithstanding inflation, the Civil List was frozen for about twenty years.
None of the other Realms contributed. They do absorb some of the overheads relating to the time The Queen or a member of the Royal Family is in the relevant Realm, just as they do to their many foreign state visitors.

In Australia, these overheads have sometimes been  artificially inflated by creative accounting, probably for the purposes of creeping republicanism.( In New South Wales, Government House was even purloined by the politicians for use for purposes including partisan politics, at least between the years 1999-2011. To read more go to the  Main Menu and then to the section 
Return The Governor )

Unwisely, the attributed costs of providing security have sometimes been revealed. This is a dangerous practice as it reveals what security is normally provided, something which for elementary reasons should not be made public. A protest by ACM about this has been  considered by the government.


The fact is The Queen and our Royal Family provide a unique an extraordinary bargain. That they also attract tourist and other revenue is of course also a relevant consideration. This is not only in the United Kingdom. A Royal Visit to Australia, for example, can attract international attention.




...new British arrangements...

 

 

 ACM has long argued that the British arrangements should be reformed by all of the  income of the Crown Estate being  returned to The Queen, leaving it to Her Majesty to grant what is not needed in legitimate expenses to the British government. 

In April 2012 the arrangements for the funding of The Queen’s Official Duties were reformed . The new system of funding, referred to as the ‘Sovereign Grant’, replaces the Civil List and the three Grants-in-Aid (for Royal Travel, Communications and Information, and the Maintenance of the Royal Palaces) with a single, consolidated annual grant.

The Sovereign Grant is designed to be a more permanent arrangement than the old Civil List system, which was reign-specific. Funding for the Sovereign Grant comes from a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate revenue (initially set at 15%). The grant will be reviewed every five years by the Royal Trustees (the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Keeper of the Privy Purse), and annual financial accounts will continue to be prepared and published by the Keeper of the Privy Purse.

 

The new system provides for the Royal Household to be subject to the same audit scrutiny as other government expenditure, via the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee. The former in ACM's view should not be mandatory,in that the choice of auditor should be left to The Queen. The latter in  ACM's view is entirely inappropriate, allowing unknown politicians to gain international status by grandstanding about the audited expenditure by the Crown of income of the Crown Estate.

In our view the allocation of the surplus of Crown Estate income remaining after covering state overheads should be a matter for determination by the Sovereign. There is for example a crying need to replace Britannia as a Royal Navy hospital ship and Royal Yacht. Those who know, recognize that  this was a tremendous investment for the foreign relations, international trade  and influence of  Britain and the Commonwealth. Why should not the Palace discuss the allocation of the Crown Estate surplus over time to achieve this desirable objective?    



 



TV programme of the year Print E-mail
Royal Finances
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 06 February 2007
 Print E-mail
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Republicans remain divided over the Commonwealth of Nations.  Some think it a waste of time, and as we noted in this column on 5 September, 2006, some even wanted us to pull out of the Commonwealth Games.  Others say they will allow us to stay in the Commonwealth if only we agree to become a republic.  In the referendum campaign, the republican leadership seems to have been unaware of the way in which the Commonwealth deals with such a major change.  (The extraordinary story of just how unprepared the republicans were can be found in The Cane Toad Republic.  When they were exposed, the republicans were furious.)

The Honourable Daryl Melham has a different tack.  He predictably campaigned against the “cost” of the 2006 Royal Visit, which is inflated by apportioning the salaries of people who are going to be paid anyway.  And unlike politicians, The Queen and members of the Royal Family are paid nothing, now or in retirement.  Mr. Melham should be looking into the taxpayer funded financing of some republicans who have retired from politics, quite often to lucrative businesses.  Their extraordinary expenses are still being paid by the taxpayers, and with minimal scrutiny.  Recently Mr. Melham curiously extended his interest to the costs of almost all tours of visiting foreign heads of government and state; but there can be no doubt as to his principal target. 

In the meantime, the republican movement announced that it would politicise the Melbourne Commonwealth Games by using them to campaign for a republic.  As nobody noticed their campaign, they at least did not suffer the indignity of the very public failure of their Mate for Head of State campaign.  Then the republicans tried to stop people singing the Royal Australian Anthem alongside the National Anthem when The Queen opened the Games.  ACM, the Prime Minister, and even some republicans denounced this as a snub to The Queen. The Victorian Premier defended the ban, claiming support from one monarchist  who wrote to The Australian on 2 March 2006 saying  that the playing of the Royal Australian Anthem would  “ give the impression that the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne is a British event” and that banning it was not a snub.  The ban failed dismally when the 80,000 present joined Dame Kiri in the eight bars of the Royal Anthem the republicans had grudgingly conceded when it was clear most Australians were outraged. (The 80,000 were helped by a band of young monarchists who distributed the Royal and National Anthems.  I am told that not one person rejected the text.)

Well, as usual, the republicans were completely out of touch. Not only did 80,000 people attend, a large number watched the games on television.  Indeed, the top TV show for 2006 was the opening, by Her Majesty, of the Commonwealth Games.  Thirteen Commonwealth Games programmes were included in the top 50 television programmes for 2006.  On a rough calculation, the aggregated audience was around 25 million.

Unlike some international organizations, the Commonwealth has standards.  If a country breaches those standards, it is expelled, suspended or subject to other sanctions.  To do this, they don’t need some interminable inquiry, this is done with commendable speed. And you won’t find a dictatorship with an appalling human rights record heading a committee on human rights.

Now, according to a Reuters report, summarized in The Sydney Morning Herald’s “World Focus” of 19 December, 2006 under “The Wealth of Nations”, several countries are lining up to join up.  Reuters listed Algeria and Rwanda, neither of which was part of the British Empire, as well as Yemen, The Sudan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.



 
A politician's curious campaign-what do his constituents think? Print E-mail
Royal Finances
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 05 September 2006

“It’s time we pulled out of the one-sided debacle that is the Commonwealth Games,” announced one member of the republican commentariat in the Sydney Morning Herald on 15 March, 2006, which we reported in this column on 9 April, 2006. Now the Hon. Daryl Melham, a member of Her Majesty’s Loyal Australian Opposition, who has on several occasions solemnly affirmed or sworn allegiance to his Sovereign, seems to have added the Commonwealth Games to his other favourite target. This is the Office of the Governor-General, the miniscule detail of which seems also to attract the regular and obsessive interest of one  Senate Estimates Committee. The Hon. Daryl Melham is the Member of the House of Representatives for one part of inner Western Sydney where the principal issues are law and order, transport, schools, and hospitals. We wonder what his constituents think of his curious campaigns. 

Before anyone gets too carried away about his revelation concerning the  called “costs” of The Queen’s recent homecoming, principally as Head of the Commonwealth to open the Commonwealth Games, we should remember that, unlike a politician,  no allowance or salary has ever been paid to The Queen of Australia, who has reigned for over half the life of our nation. Nor will she ever receive a golden handshake or massive amounts of superannuation, subsidised as no worker’s is, by the taxpayer.  Much of the so called “costs” were an accounting allocation of salaries for people who would be paid anyway, for receptions for Australians to meet and see her, and security or the consequences of security advice which we pay to protect any VIP. This would presumably include security for those politicians who spend their time beating up this sort of issue and harassing the office of the Governor-General, a distinguished Australian who has served his country so honourably on the field.

The Hon. Daryl Melham has never ever raised his voice in protest about the millions and millions the republicans diverted -and the many millions they still want to divert - from schools, hospitals etc to finance their forlorn search for some sort of a republic which would actually get up.  Perhaps we should thank the honourable gentleman for this attack on the arrangements what was essentially about the Commonwealth Games. We know that the republicans plan to throw out our extraordinarily successful constitutional system and our flag. Thanks to him, we now know that what we suspected is true, some of them also   have the Commonwealth Games and probably, the Commonwealth in their sights.  Where will it end?

 

 
A remarkable bargain Print E-mail
Royal Finances
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 13 July 2006

Pound signThe British government, and presumably the British taxpayer, has once again made a particularly handsome profit from the monarchy – over 147 million pounds, that is about A$ 350 million. The profit increased this year by about 7 million pounds, that is over A$16 million.

The profit arises because of the income the British Government receives from the Crown Estate and certain other hereditary revenues. In return, the government funds the costs of the British Monarchy, which last year were 37.4 million pounds. Until 1760, the costs of the Crown were paid by The King directly from these revenues. From that time the practice developed of a Sovereign agreeing, for the term of his or her reign, to hand these over to the Parliament in return for what was called the Civil List. Even with other grants –in-aid, this has proved to be a bargain, at least in the present reign.

For each Briton, this year the cost of the Crown is about 62 pence per year. Balanced against this is the fact that the government received, for each Briton, about three pounds 10 pence. In other words, the annual profit from the monarchy for each Briton is around two pounds 48 pence. When the annual report on Royal finances was released in London on 28 June, 2006,  Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, stressed that this was “… the annual cost, not the daily, weekly or monthly cost.”

Read more...
 
Governor-General welcomed in the outback Print E-mail
Royal Finances
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 08 July 2006

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The Governor-General, His Excellency, Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC and His Honour, Mr. Ted Egan AO, Administrator of the Northern Territory, recently packed their swags for an outback trip to encourage more Australians to cross the Great Divide. The Governor-General was exactly the right choice to head what was an important campaign. The theme tells it all- ‘Back to the Bush, Bridging the Divide’. The fact is that 85-percent of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast, and of those, two-thirds live in a capital city.

As Ted Egan, who is National Patron of the Year of the Outback 2006, said on an ABC Landline programme on the visit broadcast on 21 May, 2006, “… the person who is the best symbol that that I know of the outback is the Governor-General of Australia because he was born at Wiluna, son of a stockman, and look what he's achieved.“He went into the young army at a young age, became a General, won the Military Cross for bravery. Governor of Western Australia and now Governor-General of the nation. We're thrilled that he has come along and we reckon it will make a big impact. We're constantly saying to him, (sings) ‘Take me back to the bush right away, take me back to the bush, mate and that's where I'll stay.’

Nevertheless, some of the senators at the Senate Estimates Committee hearing on 22 May 2006 (there is a link on our site) weren’t so sure. For some odd reason, they usually try to suggest in these hearings that Government House is a tad out of touch, which coming from the senators is a bit rich, as they say. This time they insisted on calling the man who handled the luggage, tents and so on, the Governor-General’s “valet”, which he clearly wasn’t. But you will understand the implication. Then their  Senatorial Lordships ( two can play at that game)   wanted to know  whether a gift was offered to The Queen on her recent visit ( yes, a framed photograph of her vice regal representatives), whether there were any costs associated with the visit of Prince Edward (no, there weren’t),  and all sorts of information about the paintings at Government House which hang mainly in the reception  areas of Government and Admiralty House to showcase Australia, the implication being they should have been hanging in the art gallery (where the chances are they might well be in storage). One obvious  question was whether there is a… nudge nudge  wink wink…a  croquet lawn at Government House. It seems that if part of the grass was once  so designated by somone, it hasn’t been used for that purpose for many years . But you get the idea.

 

Read more...
 
A Sydney MPs Strange Obsession Print E-mail
Royal Finances
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 31 May 2005

According to Malcolm Farr, MP Daryl Melham vows that if ever he were appointed governor-general he would resign from the Revesby Workers' Club. Mr Farr was writing in the Daily Telegraph on 30May, 2005 in a piece headed somewhat impertinently, “TIME FOR G-G TO FACE A FEW FACTS.”

Mr.Farr says this vow is no big deal.

Read more...
 
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