“Some of us believe that Australia is already a form of republic under the Crown: a "crowned republic". Australia now enjoys all the desirable features of a republican government and a constitutional monarchy without any disadvantages of either system. Agitation for change is unnecessary, irrelevant, divisive and distracting.”
The ACM Charter, drafted by former High Court judge, Michael Kirby.
In this way many prominent constitutional monarchists and some prominent republicans, including judges , professors, senior lawyers and politicians use this terminology or consider it acceptable. They include John Howard, Michael Kirby, Tony Abbott, and Justice Ken Handley.
Under international law the Vatican City is a state. It is distinct from the Holy See, the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome. The Bishop of Rome enjoys a primacy over other Catholic bishops and is Pope.
Unlike the Vatican City, the Holy See is not a state but has long enjoyed international legal personality- longer than almost all modern states and longer than all other organisations enjoying international legal personality. Ambassadors including Australia's are accredited to the Holy See. The Holy See is a state party to a number of international conventions or treaties, and enjoys permanent observer status at the United Nations.
The Vatican City is an elective monarchy, in which the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope or Supreme Pontiff, is the Sovereign. As such His Holiness enjoys the fullness (or plenitude) of legislative, executive and judicial powers (Article 1: Fundamental Law) .
The Vatican City is thus an elective and absolute monarchy, one which is obviously not hereditary.
...republic & head of state...
This example of monarchy demonstrates the fallacy in a constitutional debate of attempting to limit the meaning of words so as to fit a political agenda. We see this in the attempts of those wishing to remove the Australian Crown of imposing their agenda driven restrictive meaning of the word “republic”.
To describe the Commonwealth Australia as a republic, albeit a crowned republic, is not erroneous. The term “head of state” is somewhat different as it already has a technical meaning in customary international law.
Those who want significant constitutional change – even if it is negative rather than positive – will not persuade the Australian people by what is no more than a Humpty Dumpty attempt to limit the meaning of words to fit their agenda. Unwilling to reveal their plans for the constitution and the Flag, like Humpty Dumpty, they wish to be the masters.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.
''The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.
''The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'
(Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll)
In Australia, the people are the masters, as we saw in 1999.
The Australian published a reply to their editorial on 7 February under their heading, " Our crowned republic":
You say in your editorial praising the Queen (6/2) that a different monarch would almost certainly have seen Australia become a republic long ago.
Have you forgotten that the republican charge in 1999 was that monarchists were not mentioning the Queen? The suggestion was that doing so would damage our case because of the matrimonial problems of some members of the royal family.
The fact is, our case was always 100 per cent based on the constitution and not on the virtues of the Queen who was neutral in the campaign.
If republicans demonstrated one thing in 1999, it was the inability of their best minds to construct a model superior to our present crowned republic.
On the 10th Anniversary of the 1999 republican referendum landslide, Australia's leading broadcaster Alan Jones AO moves the vote of thanks to former Prime Minister John Howard on the delivery of his address: "The Crowned Republic".
This was at a lunch offered by Australians for Constitutional Monarchy in Sydney's Tattersall's Club on 6 November, 2009
The respected columnist Gerard Henderson takes issue in his syndicated column (18/10) with my comment on Channel 10’s Meet the Press (16/10) that Australia is "already a republic … we're a crowned republic".
This was in response to a question about when I thought we would become republic which was assumed inevitable. My reply included the remark - " We are already a republic … we're a crowned republic". “This is quite misleading - as Flint's very own position indicates," Dr. Henderson says. “He is national convener of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy. He does not claim to represent such an entity as ‘Australians for a Crowned Republic’".
But on that, our 1992 foundation Charter written by former High Court Justice Michael Kirby had already declared: “Some of us believe that Australia is already a form of republic under the Crown: a "crowned republic". Australia now enjoys all the desirable features of a republican government and a constitutional monarchy without any disadvantages of either system.
ACM is a broad church. That said, the term is endorsed by leading monarchists, including John Howard, Michael Kirby,Tony Abbott and Justice Ken Handley.
The origin of the word is from the Latin res publica, meaning public matter. The closest word in English is Commonwealth, which is of special relvance as Australia was constituted as an indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown .
The first edition of the Macquarie Dictionary gives the following three relevant definitions of a republic:
This is a further report in our section on the Crowned Republic, a term preferred by many experts to describe the present constitutional system. This may be compared with various proposals for some form of politicians' republic. To access the Crowned Republic section , just click on this icon on the front page. The Crowned Republic is also the name of our education site; to access this, go to the educational resource icon on the right of the front page. It is the one with a statue of the Australian soldier; alternatively, just click here.
Australia’s leading republicans have joined Australia’s leading constitutional monarchists in agreement about Australia already being a republic....a crowned republic.
With so many republicans also agreeing the Governor-General is the Australian Head of State, the public are no doubt confirmed in their lack of interest in any proposal to remove our oldest institution from our constitutional system. It is after all the one provides leadership beyond politics and is a significant check and balance on the exercise of political power.
Among those who are more who are on the public record with a considered opinion that it may be “appropriate to regard Australia as a crowned republic” include these prominent republicans:
· The former Chair of the Australian Republican Movement and of the Republic Advisory Committee as well as the official Vote Yes Committee in the referendum, Malcolm Turnbull.
· The former Premier of New South Wales, the Hon.Nick Greiner.
· A former convenor of the Australian Republican movement, Emeritus Scholar of La Trobe University Dr. John Hirst.
· The prominent former member of the Constitutional Centenary foundation and television presenter, Mary Kostakidis.
· The former Senator and Minister for Education in the Hawke and Keating governments, Senator Susan Ryan.,
· The former Chair, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Commission, Lois O'Donoghue CBE, AM.
· That most distinguished republican constitutional lawyer, the late Professor George Winterton sometime Professor of Constitutional Law in the University of New South Wales and Challis Professor of Constitutional law in the University of Sydney.
· The Vice Chancellor of the University of Melbourne and Co-Chair with the then Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd, of the 2020 summit, Dr. Glyn Davis.
...Mr. Keating accepts the advice...
Their comment was in their unanimous Report of the Republic Advisory Committee appointed by the then Prime Minister Paul Keating.
Although funded by the taxpayers, Mr. Keating made it a condition of appointment that the every appointee bar none be republican.
When one Premier nominated a constitutional monarchist, the nomination was rejected. A similar approach was adopted in appointing the governance panel at the 2020 Summit. ( A section on this site is dedicated to the Summit.)
One constitutional monarchist - out of 100 - was appointed, Senator Brandis. It is believed they assumed he was a republican.
The Committee reported to Mr. Keating in 1993. In his address to Parliament on how he would act on the report, Mr. Keating did not dissent from their considered opinion about the status of Australia as a crowned republic.
...supporting republican views...
The Professor of Politics at the John Curtin institute of Public Policy at Curtin University, Alan Fenna says the “ term ‘Crowned Republic is the more apt.”
The Professor of Political Science at the University of Melbourne, and formerly Professor in the Research School of Social Science at the Australian National University Brian Galligan sees Australia as a federal republic, or a disguised republic.
Leading constitutional monarchists who say that Australia is a crowned republic include: –
· The former Prime Minister, the Hon. John Howard.
· The former High Court Justice, Michael Kirby.
· The Leader of Her Majesty's Australian Opposition, the Tony Abbot.,
· The Acting Justice of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, Justice Ken Handley.
· The former Chairman of the Australian Press Council, Australian Broadcasting Authority and Associate Commissioner of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the National Convener of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, Emeritus Professor David Flint.
...so much agreement...
With so many republicans also agreeing with leading monarchists that the Governor-General is the Australian Head of State, the public are no doubt confirmed in their lack of interest in any proposal to remove the Australian Crown.
It is after all our oldest institution providing leadership beyond politics and also, a significant check and balance in our constitutional system.