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ACM Home arrow Head of State

Head of State

Head of State

The only serious argument republicans make to advance their cause is that "we need an Australian as Head of State".

It was argued nine times in the official Yes case sent to all electors in the 1999 referendum. Malcolm Turnbull told the Parliamentary Committee investigating the referendum bill that replacing The Queen with an Australian citizen as Head of State was the most important part of the change.

There is overwhelming evidence that the Governor-General is Head of State. We have posted a large number of articles on this website dealing with this question,  including republican attempts to deny that the Governor General is Head of State.

If you wish to point friends or family to this section, they can  click on the icon "Head of State" in the left hand column of our frontpage at www.norepublic.com.au

A selection of our reports and videos follow. The most relevant outside links are:

   
  • Quadrant: Head of State debate resolved  Further discussion of the decision in R v South Australia with an account of republican attempts to ignore the overwhelming argument that the Governor-General is Australia's Head of State.
 

 

 



Peter FitzSimons - Still dreaming about the head of state Print E-mail
Head of State
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 06 November 2011

 

I have received the following note from Peter FitzSimons – sent also to the 1,076,999 other readers of the Sydney Sunday newspaper The Sun-Herald on 6 November.  In it Mr FitzSimons  returns to the debate about the head of state, one which the late Professor George  Winterton - a considerable constitutional lawyer - eventually dismissed as “arid”.

Mr. FitzSimons, incidentally, conceived the republicans' failed Mate for a head of state campaign. He obvioulsy spends a lot of time thinking about the head of state. Probably more than any other Australian.


Image
[ Grateful thanks to Peter Nicholson from The Australian - see www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au or www.theaustralian.news.com.au.]

 





...Peter FitzSimons’ note "Flint folly #247" ...

   



 

“Where are you, Professor David Flint?

 

“I still don't understand why, when British Prime Minister David Cameron convened a meeting at CHOGM last week for "the 16 countries who have the Queen as they head of state", you did not vigorously protest.

 

“Why didn't you shrilly cry, as usual, that in Australia are Governor-Ggeneral is our true head of state, so there's no need to become a republic?

 

“If you still maintain it, you might care to correct The Queen herself.

 

“’Meet the Press”” ran a clip from her first visit to Australia in 1954 where she clearly states  "proud I am to be the head of such a country.”  ( I know Peter–they interviewed me DF).

 Oh, and another you might correct on the whole issue is the chief justice of the High Court, Robert French.   (We have - see “Republican dreams”, 4 August 2008 and “With the utmost respect,Your Honour”, 31 July 2008. DF)
 

In a speech in May  His Honour said:

 

“ 'It is unacceptable in contemporary Australia that the legal head of the Australian state, under present constitutional arrangements, can never be chosen by the people or their representatives, cannot be other than a member of the Anglican Church, can never be other than British and can never be an indigenous person.  Our nationhood is not complete until the change to a republic is made.' 

“This is what he said." ( And said not long after he affirmed or swore allegiance to The Queen of Australia. DF)






...my reply...


   

Dear Peter,

 I have to let you know that the rank and file  Australian is not lying awake at night wondering who his or her head of state is.

Read more...
 
Parliament declares Governor-General to be Head of State Print E-mail
Head of State
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 29 September 2011

While our Constitution does not say who the Head of State is, there is no doubt that under international law the Governor-General is Head of State. And in 1907, the High Court, consisting of our founding fathers, described the Governor-General as the ” Constitutional Head of the Commonwealth.”

That is why ACM has consistently argued that the Governor-General is the Head of State, an describing our monarch as such or as the  1907 High Court bench of Founding Fathers did, as the Sovereign.
 

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In any event, Parliament has declared the Governor-General to be the Head of State, as our government does when advising other governments and the United Nations.

This arose in the context of an important international treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents.

The Convention, or treaty, was incorporated into Australian law in 1976 under the Crimes (International Protected Persons) Act.

Article 1 of the Convention provides that “the term ‘internationally protected person’ means (a) a Head of State, including any member of a collegial body performing the functions of a Head of State under the constitution of the State concerned...”
 

The article then goes on to refer to other officials including a “Head of Government”.  Readers may wonder at the extended definition of “Head of State” to include members of a collegial body. This is to encompass those countries which do have a collegial body as a Head of State, for example the Federal Council in Switzerland or the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  

The term “Head of State” would no doubt include the Heads of State of countries which have more than one. One example is Andorra where the co-Princes are the King of France, or his successor - the President of the Republic of France along with  the Bishop of Urgellll, and  England under King William III and Queen Mary II. 



...declaration...



 The declaration of the Governor-General as Head of State may be found in subsection  3A(1) of the Crimes (International Protected Persons) Act which provides that “... (1)  For the purposes of this Act, the definition of ‘internationally protected person’ in paragraph 1 of article 1 of the Convention  has effect as if the reference in that definition to a Head of State included, in relation to Australia the Governor-General...” 

 So there we are. The Governor General is the Head of State. Our governments and Parliament say so 
 



 

 
Paul Kelly : If the GG was Head of State in 1995, why not now? Print E-mail
Head of State
Written by Thomas Flynn   
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
About a month ago Paul Kelly wrote an op-ed for The Australian discussing the upcoming visits by The Queen and the President of the United States.

In the course of this article, he delivered himself of the following dictum:
For the record, and for republicans and monarchists alike, the Queen, not the Governor-General, is our head of state, a somewhat elementary point we need to get right.

[ Mr. Paul Kelly ]
[ Paul Kelly ]

So never mind what Sir David Smith, the former Official Secretary to five Governors-General, had to say. Never mind the High Court of Australia. Paul Kelly has spoken on this "elementary point" and that settles the matter.

David Flint wrote a letter to The Australian on this point, which was not published.

Back at the time of the referendum republicans insisted that the President would perform all the functions of the Governor-General. They also said that the President would be Head of State. Which presumably meant that the Governor-General was already Head of State. The only problem was that they needed to assert that The Queen is Head of State. This contradiction was never really resolved. It is glaring in a speech by then Prime Minister Paul Keating to the House of Representatives made on 7th June 1995.

In fact an editorial in The Weekend Australian of 24th-25th June 1995, praising an intervention by then Governor-General Bill Hayden, described him as "head of State" three times. And who was editor of the Australian when this editorial was published?

That would be Paul Kelly.

(Read the complete editorial after the break.)

Read more...
 
No republic for a generation - at least - declares the leading republican media advocate Print E-mail
Head of State
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 29 June 2011

 

Paul Kelly, the Editor-In-Chief of The Australian at the time of the 1999 referendum, concedes that Australia will not become a politicians’ republic for a generation - at least. (The Australian 29/6)  He was the republicans leading media advocate.

He now blames the republicans.  They self-destructed, he says.

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[ Paul Kelly]




...savage attack...




 But in his book March of Patriots, he blamed the constitutional monarchists. He attacks them, savagely,  for being “unscrupulous,” “destructive” and “disreputable”. Our argument was fraudulent, he said.

In an interview I conducted with former Prime Minister John Howard on 5 November 2009, he volunteered his unqualified view that ACM had behaved with honour.


This is corroborated by Cardinal Pell in 1998 at the 1998 Constitutional Convention. Speaking to a motion endorsing the republican model which went to the 1999 referendum, the His Eminence said:

Yesterday the monarchists voted with discipline, integrity and honour. Lloyd Waddy was the very model of a modern major general. They did not vote tactically. Their virtue brought its own reward. Republican disarray yesterday was our own doing. The republicans know well that to divide is to rule even when the division is self-inflicted.”

Mr. Tim Fischer, former Deputy Prime Minister and republican, offered similar praise at the Corowa Conference 2001 where again we refrained from voting on the choice of republican models.

Image
[ Cardinal Pell - monarchists voted with discipline, integrity and honour ]





...republican advocate...



 

 

Mr. Kelly admitted to  a constitutional seminar in 1993 that the media would give prominent and priority coverage to constitutional change because "the media has a vested interest in change – change equates to news and news is the life blood of the media.'

On this extraordinary admission, Sir David Smith writes: “In other words, the media would support constitutional change, not because it is good to Australia but because it is good for the business.”(Head of State, Macleay press, Sydney, 2005, page 189)


(Continued below )

Read more...
 
One monarchist is worth six republicans - Sydney Morning Herald Print E-mail
Head of State
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 18 June 2011
The following are, I believe, beyond dispute:

·          On his own testimony, the former Governor-General Bill Hayden is not - and has never been - an “avowed republican”, notwithstanding repeated republican claims. 

Image
{ Bill Hayden is second from the left in this photograph from Life Magazine]

·          The term “head of state” is diplomatic, and thus governed by international law. As such, there is no doubt whatsoever that the Governor-General is head of state.

·          The term” head of state” does not appear in the Constitution.

·          In 1907 the High Court, consisting of founding fathers, declared unanimously, that the King (or Queen) is the sovereign, and the Governor-General is the “constitutional head of the Commonwealth.” 

.           Federal governments invariably hold out the Governor-General as Head of State  whenever he or she goes overseas on official business, and he or she is invariably  received by foreign governments and international organistions  as Head of State.

·          The Queen is not a "foreign national."



Most of these emerged in a stream of correspondence in the letters pages of The Sydney Morning Herald, which seems to have concluded that one monarchist  is worth six republicans.


 

...Governor-General is head of state...


(Continued below)
Read more...
 
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