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ACM Home arrow Resources arrow Constitutional Monarchy in the Muslim World

Constitutional Monarchy in the Muslim World
Constitutional Monarchy in the Muslim World

Of the seven oldest continuing democracies in the world, five are constitutional monarchies, four of which have Queen Elizabeth II as their sovereign.

This is testimony to the fact that constitutional monarchy under the Westminster system is the only constitutional model which has been imported by other countries and which has operated successfully for any extended period of time.

This is not limited to the Christian world, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Reformed. Constitutional Monarchy has worked very well in Arab and other Muslim countries.

...more freedom, peaceful transitions of power....

In these countries there has been more freedom of speech, with governments changing in elections or on the floor of parliament. Minorities have been better protected. The Copts in Egypt are a case in point. They were best protected under the British occupation and then the constitutional monarchy.  It was only after the installation of a republic that the persecution recommences, along with restricted rights and a dictatorship.

It would be unrealistic to expect that a monarchy in a developing country be as little involved in the direction of the government as in say, Canada.  But even where the monarch  actually governed as in say Iran, few would doubt that the position then was vastly superior to what is happening now.

A marvellous feature of monarchy is how it evolves, and evolves in a democratic direction, as we see today in Morocco.

Had the Shah survived  (and the French and American governments of the day must bear a great part of the blame), it is likely that under his son Iran would today be a happier, freer and less threatening power.

Filter     Order     Display # 
Item Title
Malaysia enthrones new King
The Last Ottoman
Morocco and constitutional monarchy
Morocco's democratic election
Jordan's King Abdullah leads in Middle East
Libya: The Return of the King?
Jordan: proposals for constitutional reform
Saudi King condemns Syrian regime
An Australian remembers Egypt - cosmopolitan and free
Emergence of constitutional monarchies - the real Middle Eastern story
Moroccans overwhelmingly approve constitutional monarchy 2011
Yet another republican model
World's latest constitutional monarchy - Morocco
Libyans comparing Gadaffi with the King he overthrew
The hereditary republic of Syria
The Iraqis could do worse than return to being a constitutional monarchy.
Constitutional monarchy: Bahrain to Libya
Libya: restoring the constitutional monarchy?
Calls for Saudi constitutional monarchy
Gaddafi and the Irish Republican Army
Gaddafi suspended from UN Human Rights Council - what was he doing there?
Egypt: republic a disaster
Afghan King farewelled
What can Nepal learn from Iran?
Iran should be high on the agenda
The Iranian situation
Iran: a danger to the world
Iranian Crown Prince warns of dangers to the world from dictatorship
Iran: Tragic Death of Shah's Younger Son
Lost Voices of Afghanistan.
Egyptian Copts abandoned by Canberra
Egypt : no end to Copt persecution
Nostalgia for a cosmopolitan and free Egypt
Kingdom of Morocco: the success story of the Arab world
King of Morocco announces referendum
The King of Libya
Shah or president?
Afghanistan error compounded
Afghanistan debate
Tunis to Cairo
King Mohammed V of Morocco 1909-1961
Egypt: a new dawn?
<< Start < Prev 1 Next > End >>
Results 1 - 42 of 42
  • Reserve Powers of the Crown  ( 27 items )

    The Dismissal 

    According to Sir Zelman Cowan, the reserve powers of the Crown include the power to dismiss a ministry, to grant or refuse dissolution, and to designate a prime minister.    Few legal observers would deny the existence of the reserve powers, although in controversial cases there is a debate as to the manner and time of their use.  

    In Australia, these powers are exercisable at the federal level by the governor-general. They are not reviewable by the courts, not being justiciable, nor is it for The Queen to review their exercise.  .It is therefore inappropriate for a viceroy to discuss their exercise in advance with the Sovereign.

    In addition, it is relevant at this point to recall that The Queen of Australia can alone exercise certain important powers of the Crown. These relate to the appointment and dismissal of the viceroys. This is normally done on advice tendered in writing in an original document, but there is argument that this too is in the nature of a reserve power. 

    Certainly there are indications that it would be an error to regard The Queen as an automaton, assenting without question to advice, particularly that relating to a dismissal.

    The existence of these powers is an important constitutional check and balance on the exercise of power.


    ...Interesting Links...


    Reserve Powers of the Governor-General and The Provisions for Dismissal by Sir Harry Gibbs, former Chief Justice 

    An Historical Perspective On The Reserve Powers, by  JB Paul  21 August 1999 

    Examples Of The Use Of Vice-Regal Power In Australia Since Federation

  • Orthodoxy and Monarchy  ( 28 items )

    Orthodoxy & Monarchy

    onarchy is closely related with all countries where the Orthodox Church is dominant.

    There are also close links with our Australian Monarchy.
    Orthodox priest, Fr. Andrew Phillips has said, the Monarchy is, in fact, one of the few remaining vestiges of Orthodox Christianity in the West. Christian monarchy was inherited from the first Christian Emperors. It is not by chance, Fr. Phillips says, that the Golden Jubilee celebration of Her Majesty's accession coincides with the Feast of Sts. Constantine and Helen. Constantine himself was born in Eboracum or what is now York in England.
    “The Queen is herself the blood descendant of Orthodox saints such as St Edward the Martyr.
    “No less than three Orthodox saints are among the close relatives of Queen Elizabeth the Second. Two of these are granddaughters of the Regina-Imperatrix Victoria - St Alexandra the Tsaritsa and her sister, St Elizabeth the New Martyr. Tsar St Nicholas is the third. 

     The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, is an Orthodox Christian as well  (he returned to Orthodoxy in the 1990's). On widowhood, his mother became an Orthodox nun and had her chapel in Buckingham Palace until her death in 1969 when she was buried beside St Elizabeth Fedorovna in Jerusalem.

  • Royal Commissions  ( 6 items )
    Royal Commissions

    Republicans tried to get rid of Royal Commissions, or at least change their name.  But Royal Commissions have long enjoyed an important place in Australia, casting light into issues shrouded in darkness.

    The link to the Crown stresses the Royal Commission is above politics and independent. The Australian Law Reform Commission in its 2010 report,
    Royal Commissions and Official Inquiries,  recommended that Royal Commissions be retained, and their name not be changed

    The Law Reform Commission gave two reasons for retaining Royal Commissions. First, the term ‘Royal Commission’ is very well-known, which means that it is a clear way to communicate to the public the extraordinary nature of such an inquiry.

     Secondly, the title ‘Royal Commission’ is helpful in that it indicates how the highest form of public inquiry is established—namely by the Governor-General of Australia. The Law Reform Commission says that it  is appropriate that "the Australian head of state should continue to be responsible for establishing the highest form of public inquiry in Australia".

    Similar principles apply in the states and territories.
  • Governor of New South Wales  ( 8 items )

    Governor of New South Wales


    Sir David Martin took office as Governor of New South Wales on 20th January 1989. Wishing  to explain the office of Governor to the Australian people and to make it accessible, he appeared in this educational video which Thomas Flynn has divided into eight parts.



  • Royal Yacht Britannia  ( 6 items )
    Royal Yacht Britannia

    HMY Britannia  was built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland. She was launched by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, on 16 April 1953 and commissioned on 11 January 1954.

    She was the 83rd royal yacht since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Charles II had 25 Royal Yachts, while five were simultaneously in service in 1831.

    Designed to be converted into a hospital ship in time of war, HMY Britannia carried The Queen, other members of the Royal Family, and various dignitaries on 696 foreign visits and 272 visits in British waters. Over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986 were evacuated by Britannia.

    The ship was an enormous source of prestige and influence, not only for the United Kingdom, but for the entire Commonwealth especially the Realms which share The Queen as their Sovereign or Monarch, including Australia, Canada New Zealand and the Pacific and Caribbean Realms.  In a foreign country she would attract enormous attention, and the High Commis,sioners from the Commonwealth  would be prominent among the foreign diplomats often invited on board. The visit would attract even more attention than a Royal Visit normally does. 

    Although Britannia could have been refitted with new engines at a relatively low cost,  the Conservative government announced in 1997 that it would replace the Royal Yacht if re-elected. The Opposition  was silent as to its plans.  After the election, with no serious cost-benefit analysis, the new Labour government  under Tony Blair, with Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that the vessel would be retired and that there would be no replacement.

    Ths was short sighted and possibly mean spritited decision which was to the disadvantage of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. 


  • Crowned Republic  ( 24 items )


    Crowned Republic

    “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.

    Read more

    See also: Constitutional Monarchies and Republics compared


    [The Crowned Republic is the name of the ACM's education site which can be accessed here.]

  • Keating Turnbull Republic: The Nineties  ( 16 items )

    Keating-Turnbull Republic: The Nineties

    At the behest of the Australian Republican Movement, the  Keating-Turnbull Republic was developed, principally at the taxpayers' cost, during the nineties.

    In its final version and as the republicans preferred model, it was put to the people in a referendum in 1999. 

    The question was settled and approved by a Parliament dominated by republican politicians.

    Although enjoying overwhelming political and media support, the referendum was defeated nationally, in each and every state, and in 72% of electorates.

    The origins of this republican movement can be traced back to the sixties. It followed Australia's first two republican movements, the aim of which was to establish first a racist republic, and then a communist soviet or people's republic.


    Recent Republican Movements
    Article Index
    Recent Republican Movements
    A republic of the Arts
    The cultural cringe
    The dismissal of the Whitlam government
    The Australian Republican Movement
    A celebrities' republic
    Paul Keating’s vision
    The 1999 referendum
    All Pages

    In the sixties, some in Australia’s intelligentsia thought the problem with the Australian Crown had something to do with the deference their class seemed obliged to offer to Britain, although the British seemed unaware of the issue. 

    Our constitutional system is of course something entirely unrelated to the personal psychological problems of some Australian intellectuals. 

    What put republicanism on the map was not the issue of some “cultural cringe “ to Britain, but a naked struggle for power in 1975 between two politicians neither of whom was willing to compromise.

    The Prime Minister, EG Whitlam, whose government was extremely unpopular, was not prepared to have his term shortened by the Leader of the Opposition impatient for government, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser was not prepared to wait the eighteen or so months needed for an election to be held in the normal course of events, and used his numbers on the Senate to delay supply until the Prime Minister advised an early election. 

    It has been unconstitutional since the reign of King Charles I for a government to rule, or to spend money without supply being granted by Parliament. The Whitlam government investigate ways of continuing without supply, on bank loans for example. But these were refused.

    Eventually, the Governor- General would have had to act. On 11 November, 1975 rather than a general election, Mr Whitlam advised a half senate election. The timing of this would depend on the state governors, advised by mainly hostile governments. Moreover, even if the election were favourable to Mr. Whitlam, new senators would not take their place until 1 July 1976.

    The Governor-General withdrew Mr Whitlam’s commission, called on Mr. Fraser to form a government provided it would only take a caretaker role and would advise a double dissolution of the Parliament. This he did, the election being held on 13 December, 1975, which resulted in a landslide against Mr. Whitlam>

    This essentially political crisis was resolve democratically. Nevertheless it has led to calls to change the Constitution, and remove or codify the powers of the Governor-General, and to end the role of the Australian Crown.

    This led to the increased interest in such a change, but it was not until Paul Keating became Prime Minister that an Australian government adopted an agenda for change. However, Paul Keating was defeated in the 1996 election, but not before his rival, John Howard had decided to neutralise the issue in the election by adopting a policy of calling a constitutional convention to consider the matter. 

    This convention was held in 1998, and was followed by the referendum in 1999. Notwithstanding considerable political, media and financial support, the referendum was defeated, nationally, in all states and in 72% of electorates.

    A republic of the Arts

    The arts have had a long association with nationalistic Australian republicanism. It goes back to Henry and Louisa Lawson, who embraced the narrow, racist and isolationist vision of a new Australia espoused by the Bulletin. Mark McKenna also includes the painter Adelaide Ironside, and the poet Charles Harpur as "artistic" republicans.

    In more recent years we have had Donald Horne, Patrick White, Geoffrey Dutton, Les Murray and Arthur Boyd. McKenna attributes the republicanism of these artists and writers to the strong sense of nationalism they asserted through their work in this seemingly isolated country.

    Republicanism became a convenient refuge for artists who wished to signify their separation from the "cultural Mecca" of London. They feared a form of psychological dependence that would shackle their creative endeavour in making Australian art. Concerns about a "cultural cringe" are not new.

    P.R.Stephensen insisted as long ago as 1936 on the impossibility of a distinctly Australian culture developing while Australia remained intellectually or politically dependent on the British Empire. In the 1960s this sentiment developed significantly, led largely by writers such as Geoffrey Dutton and Donald Horne who spent time in England in the 1960s.

    But by then, the campaign seemed curiously dated. Weren't these artists fighting yesterday's battles? Hadn't they noticed that the dominant cultural influence in Australia was now that of the United States? As Michael McKenna observes, republicanism was being led by intellectuals who had only belatedly decided that they no longer needed to feel inferior to Britain.

    Meanwhile most Australians, who identified with Americana, were seeing the revival of Australian film, watching for the first time Australian television dramas, and hearing at least some Australian music.

    The cultural cringe

     No doubt the average Australian wondered, if they paid any attention at all to the issue, why  these intellectuals were worrying about British influence. 

     So we have the phenomenon of members of the Australian intelligentsia leading from behind. As French politician Alexandre Augustine Ledru Rollin exclaimed, "Ah well! I am their leader; I really had to follow them."

    Given the profound impact that writer Donald Horne was to have on the later republicans, it is worthwhile to consider more deeply his early approach. From a contemporary perspective they seem to be only of academic interest. His observations about British domination of Australian culture are obviously no longer accurate reflections of Australian society - the Australian sun has long set on British cultural predominance.

    But Horne's conclusions are historical in that he spends a great deal of time discussing the “ problem” of past perceptions of Australia, rather than those which prevail today.

    In 2008, the Lowy Institute Poll showed that from a list of countries of interest to Australia ( New Zealand was not included),  Australians are by far most favourably disposed towards Great Britain. Horne wrote that for the extreme empire loyalists of the past, loyalty was primarily a matter of the empire and the monarch. Loyalty was due to Australia precisely because Australia was British.

    To the extent that Australians deviated from "Britishishness” they denied their heritage and their destiny. Even to distinguish between the interests of Australia and Britain was disloyal. It is telling that even in 1965 Horne preferred to address a mentality that existed in Australia in the past tense. 

    Overlooking the example of Canada, Horne claimed the crisis was that Australia has no identity and its only hope is to pursue republicanism. So some politicians’ republic is necessary because Australia lacks an identity.

     The dismissal 

     The dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975, followed by an election, changed the republican debate. What was a curious academic school, the obsession with a cultural cringe, suddenly had legs. It is worth recalling the immediate causes of the 1975 crisis.

    They were Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Fraser's impatience for government and the determination of the Whitlam government that it would try to govern without supply that is without the authorisation of funding by parliament. It was the Governor-General's decision to act before supply ran out that brought the crisis to an end.

    The crisis was in no way caused, provoked or exacerbated by The Queen. But logic is not necessarily a guide for political action, and many blamed the monarchy, rather than the politicians who had actually caused the crisis. So the dismissal provided a new source of republican sentiment.

     Until then the Labor Party had been as monarchist as the Liberal and Country Parties. Labor leaders such as John Curtin, Dr H.V. Evatt and Ben Chifley were as royalist in sentiment and in action as R.G. Menzies. After all, it was our great wartime prime minister, John Curtin, who recommended that a Royal Duke be made Governor-General.

    A new Labor Platform  

    But in July 1981, six years after Whitlam's dismissal, a national conference of the Labor Party voted to support a republic. There were in fact two motions, this one from the floor, and another from the executive, asking for an inquiry on the subject and a report. According to the historian Alan Atkinson, the motion from the executive should have been put first, but Neville Wran, the national president, gave priority to the motion from the floor. It was carried unanimously. Labor was committed to a republic without any form of consultation or discussion within the broader party.

    A motion in 1991 for a public education campaign, culminating in a referendum to make Australia an "independent" republic on 1 January 2001 was carried - but "not very vigorously", according to the then ALP president.

    What then are we to make of something being official ALP policy? The first platform of the ALP aimed for the total exclusion of "coloured and other undesirable races". For many years Labor was committed to the widespread nationalisation of industry and the banks. Both of these policies have not only been abandoned, but reversed. Will republicanism stay as ALP official policy?

    Before he endured the indignity of dismissal, Gough Whitlam was asked whether it was correct that he wished to transform the office of Governor-General into a presidency.

    He replied: “No, I do not think that is said. I have used the term that the Governor-General is viceroy and some people seem to think that is an extraordinary concept but constitutionally it is quite obvious. He is the stand-in for the Queen when she is not in residence here. He can do everything that she can do as head of state. The system ... works quite well.

    “After all, no government of any political complexion can be better pleased than with a system where the head of state, the ceremonial head, holds the position for a certain number of years on the nomination of the national head of government. The system works very well and our governors-general, certainly the Australian ones, have always been top men.”

    So before his dismissal Mr Whitlam clearly thought the Australian system quite agreeable. He is of course entitled to change his views. In 1983 he wrote that he believed not merely in a symbolic change, but in large-scale substantive alterations to the constitution.

    The case for a republic, he says, is not primarily directed against the monarchy "but against the faults" in the Australian constitution.

     He believes that the case rests not so much on the need to sever links with the Crown, but on the need to strengthen Australia's own institutions and democratic safeguards.

    He says any worthwhile improvement of the constitution will require major changes, and "since the monarchy is integral to, and virtually inseparable from, the constitution as it stands, the only realistic course is to replace it altogether".

    The action of Sir John Kerr certainly gave a renewed impetus to the cause of republicanism in Australia. A former governor-general, Sir Zelman Cowan, points out that a republic, of itself, would not necessarily dispose of the problem of the exercise of such discretions.

    But the fact that a governor-general, "unelected and the representative of the queen", acted in this way is seen by some - perhaps by a growing number of Australians - as grounds for  remaking the constitution without monarchical institutions and  representation.

    He believes the achievement of "full" independence for Australia, the changing pattern of her relationships with the world, and the changing character and composition of Australian society and the Australian people have all affected our view of the special relationship with Britain and its institutions.
    Mark McKenna says that the modern push for a republic had its roots in Donald Horne's response to the dismissal. Horne saw a need to remove the monarchy not only to assert our national  identity, but also to democratise the constitution.

    McKenna points out that Australians are reluctant to endorse constitutional change. So Horne's republic might sink quickly if it were too closely linked with substantive changes to the constitution. Isolating the republic as a mere question of patriotism, of national identity, from the problem of substantive reform is precisely the approach embodied in the ARM's platform.

    It was no doubt hoped this has the added advantage of avoiding what Australians have traditionally done in referenda -look closely at the details of the proposed change. 

    The Australian Republican Movement

    The smouldering passion for revenge ignited by the 1975 dismissal was directed at the Crown, and only relatively briefly at Malcolm Fraser. Yet Fraser had forced the issue and taken the country to the brink. Ironically now a republican, he has escaped the ignominy that was directed at Sir John Kerr. Little blame today is attached to Gough Whitlam who, through his wit, fine sense of humour and patrician elegance, today enjoys a high standing in Australian life.

    But his new found republican mission would have been dissipated had it not been not for  the creation of the Australian Republican Movement but rather that change to a politicians’ republic  became part of Prime Minister Paul Keating's agenda, as he put it part of the   "big picture".

    The Australian Republican Movement was not born in such    heroic circumstances as were the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta or the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

    Rather, according to republican writer Thomas Keneally, it came about over lunch with Malcolm Turnbull, in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Woollahra:

     “That lunch at Jill Hickson's and Neville Wran's table had now reached the point where nearly all the fish they bought the day before  at the Sydney Fish Markets had been eaten.

    “In a manner all too typical of generous Sunday lunches in Sydney, a number of bottles of Hunter Valley Chardonnay had also been drained.

    “Neville Wran leaned over the table and said, ‘The other thing I want to see happen bcf()re I bloody well die is an Australian republic.’
     McKenna says that Keneally's description of a "boozy lunch", while honest, was not particularly astute: wine as the wellspring of the Australian republic.

     The concept of a group of citizens leading the republican debate proved to be effective, but it would also lend itself to allegations of elitism.

    A celebrities' republic 

    The ARM, McKenna says, was not so much a people's movement as a "media offensive by a minority of influential individuals who claimed to have the people's interest at heart".  

    The argument that the ARM's approach is elitist has also been expressed by other republicans. In 1995, launching Tony Abbott's book The Minimal Monarchy, poet and long-time republican Les Murray declared:

     "I am probably (seen as) a notorious old republican. Have I turned away from all that suddenly and become a royalist? No....I've become more of a republican lately, out of fear of the ugly, elite republic towards which we are being rushed at the moment ­ the republic of celebrities and hectoring and social scorn."  

    An anonymous internal report leaked to the press expressed similar concerns about the ARM's leadership. Later in the same month, The Australian reported that the ARM had come under attack from within its own ranks for being controlled by a "Sydney dinner party set" and being anti-democratic.

    A document prepared within one of the movement's state branches also claimed many potential members resent the "brash, egocentric, sometimes overbearing, sometimes bullying personal style" of its chairman, Malcolm Turnbull.

    A fundraising function in Melbourne was described as one where the champagne was decent and the canapes okay, but the timing and placement were terribly wrong.

     "It was a night to forget. Mostly because so many republicans cannot bear to remember it without wincing." (Virginia Trioli, The Bulletin, 30 March 1999)

    With photographs of the opulent evening splashed across the daily press, she  said the event produced the answer to only one question of any importance: where do osprey feathers actually come from?

    Answer, they come from society leader, Susan Renouf.

    A Prime Minister with visions: Paul Keating 

    The ALP platform, disgruntled artists and the Australian Republican Movement - even together - were not enough to make republicanism a real political force.

    Everything was to change when Paul Keating overthrew Bob Hawke in the Labor caucus.  Keating's prime ministership was based on his “big picture” image as a leader seeking national re-invigoration and new defin­itions of Australian identity.

    He was never without an opportunity to speak on these issues: even when announcing the Australian of the Year in 1995, Keating managed to reduce Arthur Boyd's entire artistic oeuvre to an attempt to distil the essence of Australia on canvas!  

    As Alan Atkinson says, politicians - especially Keating _ are often confused about what they mean by Australian identity. Sometimes they mean our profile in the world; sometimes what they think about themselves. "If he feels more excited and dis­tinctive as a leader among leaders, it ought to follow (in his view) that we should feel more significant as Australians."

    It is the prime minister's task, Atkinson says, to build our profile in the world. It is not Australians' task to colour themselves to match his profile.  For a government that had been almost a decade in power and was about to go to the polls at a time of high unemployment and economic recession, the republic provided Keating with a means of reinvigorating the government and distinguishing his prime ministership from that of his predecessor.  

    He used it, too, to paint the Liberals as un-Australian and to distract Labor supporters from his free market policies and also to drive a wedge into the liberal Party. Sufficient numbers of liberal politicians succumbed to this tactic.

     Keating's drive for a republic was encouraged by Paul Kelly, then editor-in-chief of Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper, The Australian. From the time of Keating's appointment as prime minister, The Australian maintained a consistently pro-republican line, regularly leading editorials with sympathetic headlines such as "Our republic a historical opportunity".

    Keating planned to change the flag and the constitution before the centenary of federation. But he was defeated in 1996 but not before his rival, John Howard had decided to neutralise the issue in the election by adopting a policy of calling a constitutional convention to consider the matter. 

     The trail set by The Australian was to be followed even more vigorously in more recent years by The Sydney Morning Herald. Once Sydney's conservative newspaper, the Herald, relieved of the     patrician stewardship of the Fairfax family, has given itself over to a series of small “l” liberal causes. Newspaper editors around the country have followed. Now, an editor or journalist who is not a republican is a rare bird indeed.   

    This sudden rush of republicanism among the political establishment and the elites was remarkable, given that only eight years ago the mere suggestion that republicanism would play a central role in Australian politics would have been thought absurd.

     The convergence of a Labor prime minister wearing a streak of republican nationalism like a badge of honour, the London media's intrusion into private lives of the Royal Family and the birth of the ARM, have assisted the growth of republicanism. But this was still essentially a vague idea of removing the Crown, not for a specific constitutional model.

     For the ARM, Keating and the Australian, there has been a common desire to address what they see as a need for a singularly Australian concept of national identity that would not be shared with Britain, nor presumably with Canada or even New Zealand.The is little evidence that Australians  are  interested in going down this path.

    In February 1999 the Bulletin Morgan Poll on the three most important things the "federal government should be doing something about" ranked "the republic vs the monarchy and flag issues" at 4 per cent, up from I per cent. Employment (53 per cent), health (37 per cent) and education (35 per cent) were the leading issues.

    And this was after years of massive media promotion of republican issues, as well as the government created and funded Republic Advisory Committee and the Constitutional Convention of 1998.

     Historians and political scientists have discussed narrow republicanism for years. But this discussion has remained limited to the elite, found mainly in academia and the opinion pages of the broadsheet press. While the rhetoric is about a republic as a vehicle for 'inclusion', there are few signs that Australian women  or Australian Aboriginals are about to lead the republican charge.

    The republican debate in Australia has narrowed to a point where the agitators now concede that the aims of the official republicanism are actually embraced by the existing constitution. The Republic Advisory Committee even admitted that it may be appropriate to regard Australia as a "crowned republic". There has also been a partial concession made in the nationalist republican debate now that the “cultural cringe" has absolutely no relevance.
      A politicians’ republic is now claimed to be only about how to express the Australian identity. It is no longer whether the Australian identity is distinct from a British one. Everybody knows that it is, and probably always was.

    As Mark McKenna writes, the republican debate is therefore no longer about whether we are British or Australian - it is about "how we wish to be Australian". Official ARM republicans would do well to remember the wisdom that prevailed a century ago when our present constitution was adopted.

    Sir Henry Parkes said that our constitutional system would "not come to meet with wild ravings of some person who may call out 'Republicanism', without the slightest knowledge of what he is talking about.

    The 1999 referendum 

    The story about the referendum  is set out in more detail in another section of the Crowned Republic site. Suffice to say, although enjoying considerable political, media and financial support, the referendum was defeated in 1999, nationally, in all states and in 72% of electorates. The Australian Republican Movement did not go into liquidation as it promised before the referendum. It has however changed into an umbrella organization trying to include once mortal enemies, conservative republicans and those who wish to have a general election to fill the presidency, a matter considered elsewhere.    




  • Racist Republic?  ( 7 items )

    A Racist Republic?


    The time when republicanism was an issue in the Australia was not at Federation, but some decades before. This began around the time of the gold rushes, when a movement developed for a white Australia policy. But the British imperial authorities were opposed to any discriminatory immigration policy.  So the more radical thought this could only be achieved by secession as a white republic.

    This movement was led by an influential journal, The Bulletin. This was founded by J.F. Archibald, who financed the magnificent fountain bearing his name in Hyde Park Sydney.  For a small population, the circulation of the journal was very high, and at times reached around 80,000.  The motto on the journal’s masthead was “Australia for the White Man”, a motto which still existed until it was taken over by Sir Frank Packer in 1961.  

    Interest in a separate white racist republic waned with the movement to federation. Among the powers of the new Parliament was one over immigration. To try to circumvent British displeasure with the White Australia Policy, a South African style discretionary dictation test was introduced.

      Republicans today are embarrassed when it is pointed out that their most significant predecessors were those in the nineteenth century who were principally interested in a racist republic, and those in the twentieth century who wanted to impose a Soviet style peoples’ republic onto the nation.

    A very racist republic

    While there is a strong nationalistic republican tradition in early Australian history, it would seem curious that there is little reference to this by contemporary official republicans who nevertheless loudly appeal to patriotic  sentiments.

    The reason is simple: many of the early patriotic republicans embraced embarrassing doctrines. Late nineteenth century republicanism was dominated by the leading Australian journal at the time, The Bulletin. In 1888, 40,000 people attended an anti-Chinese demonstration in the Sydney domain.

     The Bulletin  said that “ Australia had to choose between independence and infection, between the Australian republic and the Chinese leper" .  The Bulletin wanted an Australian form of ethnic cleansing: the expulsion of all Asians. Little is said within the present republican movement of these antecedents. Certainly not  from Robert Hughes, the Australian born critic of Time magazine, who at a rally in 1996 tried to draw some tenuous link between our constitution and racism.

    He clearly overlooked nineteenth century Australian republicanism.  

    The Bulletin attacked Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary, when Royal Assent was refused to the Queensland Sugar Works Guarantee Amending Bill, which banned coloured labour.

    On 22 June 1901, the year of federation, The Bulletin observed: “If Judas Chamberlain can find a black, or brown or yellow race.... That has as high a standard of civilisation and intelligence as the whites, that was progressive ... as brave, as sturdy, as good nation-building material, and that can intermarry with the whites without the mixed progeny showing signs of deterioration, that race is welcome.”

    The Bulletin's racism was to linger well beyond its republicanism. It is only within living memory that it suppressed the motto on its front page masthead: "Australia for the White Man".

    It is true that there were attempts by the Labor movement in the 1880s to link the maintenance of monarchical institutions with the persistence of social inequality in Australia. But by the end of the next decade, when Labor politicians began taking their seats in the colonial parliaments - not to mention their oaths of allegiance - it became apparent that reform could best be encouraged through the existing institutions.

    It was generally agreed that the monarch was no obstacle to reform. The Brisbane based Boomerang, for instance, explained in 1890 that:

    “Unless republicanism is thoroughly progressive and democratic practically, as well as nominally, we might as well remain exactly as we arc, Because we are discontented with King Log we do not want to place ourselves in the hands of President Stork ... The republic we want is a land of free men whereon the government rests on the people, and is by them with them and for them. No other form of republicanism will suit us not even though it does a few who follow the will-o-the-wisp of a mere name.” 

    Mark McKenna concludes that the Labor movement realised that Australia's monarchical institutions were as amenable to social democratic government guaranteeing equality as they were to the laissez-faire capitalist policies of the conservatives.

     It became equally apparent to that most nationalistically republican of journals, The Bulletin, that abolition of the monarchy was no longer a practical necessity.

     It conceded that the monarchy was practically unobjectionable so long as it was understood that the British monarch  held his or her position by the will of the nation and for the convenience of the nation.


    ...Federal conventions: only one republican delegate...

    In fact only one delegate at the nineteenth century constitutional conventions argued for the end of the monarchy.  

    He was George Richard Dibbs, the Premier of New South Wales. When he visited London,  he accepted a knighthood. The Bulletin referred to him as Sir George Republican Dibbs.

    Banjo Paterson wrote this ballad on  GR Dibbs:

    This is the story of G.R.D.,
    Who went on a mission across the sea
    To borrow some money for you and me.

    This G. R. Dibbs was a stalwart man
    Who was built on a most extensive plan,
    And a regular staunch Republican.

    But he fell in the hands of the Tory crew
    Who said, "It's a shame that a man like you
    Should teach Australia this nasty view."

    From her mother's side she should ne'er be gone,
    And she ought to be glad to be smiled upon,
    And proud to be known as our hanger-on."

    And G. R. Dibbs, he went off his peg
    At the swells who came for his smiles to beg
    And the Prince of Wales -- who was pulling his leg
    And he told them all when the wine had flown,
    "The Australian has got no land of his own,
    His home is England, and there alone."

    So he strutted along with the titled band
    And he sold the pride of his native land
    For a bow and a smile and a shake of the hand.

    And the Tory drummers they sit and call:
    "Send over your leaders great and small;
    For the price is low, and we'll buy them all
    With a tinsel title, a tawdry star
    Of a lower grade than our titles are,
    And a puff at a prince's big cigar."

    And the Tories laugh till they crack their ribs
    When they think how they purchased G. R. Dibbs.

    [The Bulletin, 27 August 1892 ]

    ...Nn pantheon of republican antecedents....

    The realisation that there is little or no reason to complain about a monarchy  that is there only as long as the nation wants it, and holds its  powers in trust for the nation, has been expressly acknowledged  by Queen Elizabeth herself at her golden wedding celebrations at the Guildhall in 1997:

    " ... an hereditary constitutional monarchy  exists only with the support and consent of the people. "

    Australia’s 'nineteenth-century  republicanism, while it lasted, was overtly racist,  based on a narrow, isolationist and exclusive  image of Australia as a white man's land. It was motivated by a fear of Asian immigration.

    And these republicans were also  dismissive of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    Mark McKenna concludes: "There is no heroic pantheon of  republican antecedents in Australia."  


  • A People's Republic?  ( 14 items )

    A People's Republic



    In the history of Australian republicanism, our second republican movement was inspired by and led by the Communist Party of Australia. This  movement continued for more than the first half of the twentieth century.

    The Communists or Bolsheviks planned to establish a People’ Republic on the Soviet model found in Russia and Eastern Europe. There, the monarchy was seen as a check and balance on the government’s power, and was terminated wherever one existed.

    The move to establish a communist people’s republic in Australia succeeded the  first significant republican movement on this land.

    This was the movement in the second half of the nineteenth century to establish a white supremacist republic outside of the British Empire.

    Its proponents were dissatisfied with the tolerant racial policy of the colonial authorities both as regards immigration but alos in relation to the indigenous people.

    Those in favour of a White Australia realised this could be achieved by the new federal entity, which the founders ensured had power to deal with immigration.A white republic outside of the Empire was not necessary.  British opposition to a race based immigration policy could be disregarded at the federal level.

    In the hope of placating London, the policy was disguised by the administration of a dictation test. This transparent piece of hypocrisy was borrowed from South Africa. The strongest support for the policy came from the Labor Party and the unions, who feared that their newly won standards would be reduced by Asian immigration.


  • Fiji  ( 8 items )

    [ Fijian soldier serving in Iraq]


    In the nineteenth century when native ruler Seru Epenisa Cakobau  declared himself King or paramount chief of Fiji (Fijian: Tui Viti). In 1874, he voluntarily ceded sovereignty of the islands to Britain, which made Fiji a Crown colony within the British Empire.

    After nearly a century of British rule, Fiji became a Commonwealth realm, an independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations with Elizabeth II as monarch.

    Fijian was declared a republic during a military  coup in 1987, but as Her Majesty  observed, this was done without reference to the Fijian people. 

    Her Majesty had said she was "sad to think that the ending of the Fijian allegiance to the Crown should have been brought about without the people of Fiji being given an opportunity to express their opinion on the proposal."
    Her Majesty's statement was unusual. She spoke as The Queen of Fiji, and without the advice of Her Ministers, there being none.   This statement implies that at some stage the people of Fiji will have to decide on the status of the Crown. An intensely loyal people, there is no doubt that in a free vote, the monarchy would be restored. 

    Nevertheless, the Great Council of Chiefs recognises Elizabeth II as Tui Viti or the traditional Queen of Fiji, but the position is not one of a constitutional, or otherwise legal nature.

    The present Prime Minister Commodore Bainimaramahas  came to power as a result of a coup in 2006 He says that when democracy was eventually restored in 2014 years, Fiji would like to ask the Queen to resume her position as Queen of Fiji

    "I'm still loyal to the Queen - many people in Fiji are," he told Graham Davis ( see below) , acknowledging The Queen’s photograph above his desk. "One of the things I'd like to do is see her become Queen of Fiji again."

    It is clear that  The Queen would only return if Her Fijian Realm were to be governed along sound democratic principles.  

    ,,,,Australian government position...

    In the meantime the Australian government has been forthright in condemning the Fijian government, and has even sought to punish Fiji by blocking the United Nations use of Fiji soldiers in peace keeping operations and other sanctions.

    We have argued here that the present Australian government, like its predecessors, once again demonstrates a quite extraordinary inconsistency in its  foreign policy.   No sanctions are proposed against one of our largest trading partners, and a great power, although she never holds what Australians would call democratic elections.  There is no indication that she will ever hold democratic elections. 

    If Australia is to hold itself up as some sort of moral guardian, it ought to condemn all countries, whatever their size and power.

    To single Fiji out for condemnation alone makes Australia look like a bully, careful only to attack less powerful states. 



  • The Succession  ( 20 items )

    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.

  • Prince Philip  ( 18 items )

    On 6 February, 1952 the then Princess Elizabeth succeeded to the throne on the death of her father, the greatly loved King George VI.

    This meant he had to give up a promising naval career. 

    Prince Philip was born into the Greek Royal Family on 10 June, 1921, but his family was exiled from Greece when he was a child. He was educated in Germany and the UK.


    On leaving school in 1939, and without hesitation, he had joined the Royal Navy. In 1940 he graduated in 1940 from the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, the top cadet in his course.

    Commissioned a midshipman, he served on the battleship HMS Ramillies, protecting convoys of the Australian Expeditionary Force in the Indian Ocean.

    He later served in the Mediterranean on HMS Valiant in the Battle of Crete. He was mentioned in despatches for service during the Battle of Cape Matapan, and was awarded the Greek

     War Cross of Valour.



     In a series of courses at Portsmouth, he gained the top grade in four out of five sections and then served in convoy escort duties  on the east coast of Britain, and then in the
    invasion of Sicily. He was appointed first lieutenant of HMS Wallace and at 21, was one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy. He saw service in the British Pacific
    Fleet in the 27th Destroyer Flotilla, and was at Tokyo Bay when the instrument of Japanese surrender was signed.

    I remember seeing him on the Royal Visit in 1954. What a superb couple they were. The young Queen, a beautiful English rose, and the handsome Greek naval officer. They
    came not to exercise power, or to extract tribute, but as symbols of our oldest institution, the one which gives leadership above division and above politics.

    The first consort to a Queen since Prince Albert, he has carved out a unique role for himself. A pioneer, he has probably done more to modernise the monarchy than anybody
    else. One of his greatest achievements has been setting up the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme to help young people, which has been a great success across the world and
    well beyond the Commonwealth. The scheme  has, as Gerald Warner says, brought meaning and fulfilment to the lives of millions of youngsters: at any time there are around
    225,000 in the 14-25 age group participating. 

    A conservationist well before it was fashionable, he has played a significant leadership role in the World Wild Life Fund.  He has also played a significant role in several other
    organisations, including the English Speaking Union.

     He has taken up a number of causes, from British industry to the environment, and has never been afraid to speak out on issues he feels strongly about.   

    ...lazy journalistic campaign to caricature the Duke.... 

    Sections of the British press have conducted a tedious and infantile campaign to reduce him to a caricature, as they do with other royalty, including his son and grandsons. In
    Prince Philip’s case, this has involved taking obvious examples of his humour, and categorising these as “gaffes.” 

    As he  told the General Dental Council in 1960: "Dentopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it. I have been practising it for years."

    But as Gerald Warner says  most of his supposed "gaffes" were manufactured by the media. He says what everybody thinks but which “the PC nomenklatura forbids us to utter”.

    Mr Warner recalls the revelation in Adam Boulton's book Tony's Ten Years: Memoirs of the Blair Administration of his clash with the Downing Street spin doctors at the time of the
    death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

    The “pondlife in Number 10”, as Mr. Warner puts it were attempting to hijack the funeral and, in particular, to dictate roles for Princes William and Harry. “Down the telephone line
    from Balmoral thundered a classic Philippic: ‘**** off. We are talking about two boys who have lost their mother.’"

    “How refreshing to hear that decent, humane voice disrupting the manipulative spin and guff that has dominated our public life for 12 years,” observes Mr. Warner.

    But as we have seen some journalists have built up  a caricature of the Prince as someone who is forever "gaffe-prone." 

    This then breeds a spectacularly lazy form of journalism.The lazy journalist merely asks someone what Prince Philip said, finds a witty comment  and then circulates this as the
    "shock latest gaffe".

    They could produce a computer programme to do this.The unfortunate result is that even fair and experienced journalists will find it difficult to ignore something which has been
    artificially manufactured as newsworthy. This contrived capture of the news is something which serious journalists should consider carefully. Should they be mere tools in the
    hands of people who abuse the privileges which the media enjoy for the most important reasons?  

    Prince Philip is of course a more substantial person than the caricature the media presents. But some journalists never let the truth get in the way of a headline. The public see
    through this robotic campaign and recognize Prince Philip for the formidable man he is.



  • Mate for a Head of State  ( 10 items )
    Mate for a Head of State

    Why the sausages?

    The Mate for a Head of State campaign was launched by leading republicans in 2005 to raise public interest and support for a vague undefined politicians' republic.

    Widely reported in the media, it turned out to be a most embarrassing failure.


    [ Bondi Beach: the high point of the mate for head of state campaign ]

      The high point of the Mate for Head of State campaign was to be a series of “sausage sizzles” on the Sunday before Australia Day, 22 January 2006.

    And what publicity they had had in the media! It must have been worth millions.

    They had Peter FitzSimons and other media celebrities on side with substantial media promotion. Some reports were balanced, for example, 2GB’s Jim Ball and Channel 7’s David Koch, both of whom ran stories where the other side was allowed to speak.

    So you would think with all that , in a city of over 4 million people and a state of about 7 million people, a few interested members of the public would turn up for the main feature of the day.

    This was the widely advertised “Beachside Brunch & Sausage Sizzle”  between 10:30am-12:30pm in the Biddigal Reserve, a pleasant grassy rise just a hop step and jump to North Bondi Beach. 

    The republican movement’s big guns duly arrived for their sizzle, commandeering the only public barbecues at the end of the beach. We wondered whether Waverley Council, still mired in the controversies over its ban on our Australian flag flying over the Bondi Pavilion, and charging lifesavers to park their cars, actually consented to moving out ordinary Australians for the purposes of this political campaign. 

    So who turned up? An observer told us forty six, and a journalist who interviewed me said “about fifty.” But that included the republican big guns and the media!   

    Later, when my description of the fiasco at Bondi Beach was published in The Australian, these figures were challenged by an extremely irate and prominent republican.

    After some exchanges, when I asked him how many actually came, he insisted there were 300. But he was referring to the number of sausages, not the number of people. (And in any event we do not know whether the sausages were republican or monarchists.)

    And the public?

    Hardly anyone, it seems, notwithstanding the massive publicity. Not even for a free sausage!

     And in the meantime, crowds were queuing up a few yards away for a sausage sizzle at the North Bondi Surf Club. But these non-republican sausages weren’t free- they had to pay $1.30 for one sausage.

    But this was for a good cause, and Australians are interested in good causes.

    Rank and file Australians are obviously not at all interested in a republic. Not at all.    
    As we said, who will they blame for this fiasco? 

  • The Commonwealth  ( 87 items )
    The Commonwealth

    The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-three independent member states which grew out of the British Empire.

    Only two members, Mozambique and Rwanda, were not British colonies.

    The member states cooperate within a framework of common values and goals including the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace.

     The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.

    The Commonwealth Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General. Meetings of  Commonwealth Heads of Government are held every two years.

     Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth and as such is a symbol of the members free association.  Her Majesty is also the monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth which are referred to as Commonwealth realms. 


    The first usage of the term ‘Commonwealth of Nations’ appears to be to have been in 1884 by Lord Rosebery when he was visiting Australia.  He described the changing the British Eempire  with some of its colonies becoming more independent as a Commonwealth of Nations.

    Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers had occurred periodically since 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The Commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences.

    A specific proposal was presented by Jan Christian Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations," and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in the British Empire."  Smuts successfully argued that the Empire should be represented at the all-important Versailles Conference of 1919 by delegates from the dominions as well as Britain.

     In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, Great Britain and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".

    The members agreed that in future governors general should be appointed by the sovereign after consultation with and advice from the ministers of the respective Dominion.

    These aspects to the relationship were eventually formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Australia, New Zealand, and Newfoundland delayed ratification of the statute.  Newfoundland never did as it joined Canada in 1948 . Australia and New Zealand did in 1942 and 1947 respectively.

    ...British Commonwealth becomes The Commonwealth....

    After World War II, the British Empire was gradually dismantled to just 14 British overseas territories, still held by the United Kingdom today.

    In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature.  

    In addition, it was agreed that the overseas members should no longer be referred to as dominions, but rather as Commonwealth realms

    Burma (also known as Myanmar, 1948), and Aden (1967) are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon post-war independence.

    ...absent friends...

    Among the former British colonies, protectorates and mandates  which have  never become members of the Commonwealth are the United States (1776)  Egypt (independent in 1922), Iraq (1932), Transjordan (1946), British Palestine (part of which became the state of Israel in 1948), Sudan (1956), British Somaliland (which became part of Somalia in 1960), Kuwait (1961), Bahrain (1971), Oman (1971), Qatar (1971), and the United Arab Emirates (1971).


    The issue of countries with constitutional structures not based on a shared Crown but that wanted to remain members of the Commonwealth, came to a head in 1948 with passage of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, in which Ireland renounced the sovereignty of the Crown[ and thus left the Commonwealth. The Ireland Act 1949 passed by the Parliament of Westminster offered citizens of the Republic of Ireland a status similar to that of citizens of the Commonwealth in UK law.

    In April 1949 at a Commonwealth prime ministers meeting in London, it was agreed that a realm could become a republic and if approved by the other members could remain within the Commonwealth.

     Under this London Declaration, India agreed that, when it became a republic, in January 1950, it would accept the British Sovereign as a "symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth".

    ...until 2007, re-apply...

    Until 2007, a realm wishing to become a republic still had to reapply for membership of the Commonwealth.  This would have to be approved by all members.  In 1999, ACM revealed that Australian republicans, including the Attorney-General had overlooked the requirements of the London declaration. 

    Constitutional monarchists criticised the Republicans for not ascertaing this and ensuring that there would be no objection from other members to any change of status.  This would have required unanimous approval of other members. In practice approval seems to have been ssumed in the absence of an objection.  At that time Australia did not have the most friendly relations with the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir. He had vetoed our membership of another international group.

    Now,  change to a republic can be effected without reapplication provided the member is observing all of the Commonwealth criteria for membership. The judgement on this is made by the other members acting unanimously.  Thus it could be argued that the 2007 decision could still raise the issue of a veto following a change of status .

    Following India's precedent, other nations became republics, or constitutional monarchies with their own monarchs, while some countries retained the same monarch as the United Kingdom, but their monarchies developed differently and soon became fully independent of the British monarchy. The monarch of each Commonwealth realm, whilst the same person, is regarded as a separate legal personality for each realm.  In 1999 th 
  • Media and Monarchy  ( 66 items )

    Media and Monarchy

    Comment is free, but facts are sacred

    The  media play a crucial role in a modern democracy in informing the people. To do this they must be free. The media agree that there is an ethical requirement that  fact and comment should be distinguishable, and that the news should be as truthful as is reasonably possible.

    As the editor of the Manchester Guardian famously declared in 1921, " Comment is free, but facts are sacred"

    But while the private media are entitled to editorialise, this is not a luxury which the taxpayer funded public media, the ABC and SBS, can properly have.

    In the 1999 referendum, the media were mainly and strongly in favour of change.  What became clear was that this seriously affected the presentation of the news.

    As the international authority, and in his earlier career a highly respected editor, Lord  Deedes, wrote in the London Daily Telegraph :

    "I have rarely attended elections in any country, certainly not a democratic one, in which the newspapers have displayed more shameless bias. One and all, they determined that Australians should have a republic and they used every device towards that end."

    Dr Nancy Stone undertook a survey for The Samuel Griffith Society of two outlets at the time, The Age and The Australian.  Her research confirms Lord Deedes’ conclusion.

    The media's role

    "Our great misfortune, as we continue to consider the possibility of constitutional change,” observes Sir David Smith, an authority on the role and function of the Governor-General,” is that most Australians do not know enough about our present Constitution to be able to understand any proposals for change." 

    To make matters worse, there are those who ought to know better yet would ignore or misrepresent its current provisions in order to advance their case for change.

    “The media, who might have been expected to take a role in informing the electorate during the 1999 constitutional referendum campaign, behaved disgracefully, and no doubt would do so again in future. “Instead of reporting, the media were active partisans and conducted their own campaign for the republic.“

    For example, when former Governor-General Sir Zelman Cowen and former Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason signed an open letter for the republic, it was published on page 1 of The Australian.

    “The open letter in reply, signed by, amongst others, former Governor-General Bill Hayden and former Chief Justice Sir Harry Gibbs, was published on page 10 of The Australian.

    “Support for the present constitutional arrangements was equated with disloyalty to Australia, and there were some particularly nasty and offensive examples, such as The Daily Telegraph’s “Queen or Country” masthead; and The Australian’s “scales of justice” motif featuring a crown versus a slouch hat.

    “Writing just after the referendum, Tony Abbott, himself a former journalist at The Australian, noted that ‘the reputation of the media can hardly be enhanced by so consistently misreading the public mood, so unrelentingly barracking for the losing side – and by subsequently insisting that voters got it wrong. ... But if the media’s job is to reflect (as well as to lead) a pluralist society, journalists as a class should be embarrassed at the way they have allowed ideological enthusiasm to get the better of professional detachment.’ "

    Even the editor of The West Australian, himself a direct electionist republican, had this to say about The Australian’s coverage of the referendum debate:

    “’I think it’s one of the lowest ebbs in Australian journalism because The Australian’s become totally partisan. It’s boosterism at its worst and it’s propaganda that goes beyond the rights of a newspaper to have a point of view. It was semi-hysterical most days and as it became apparent that the yes case was in trouble, it got more hysterical.”

    “Even one year after the referendum, the ABC could not restrain itself. In a television news item about separate functions held in Sydney by Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and the Australian Republican Movement in November 2000 to mark the first anniversary of the referendum, the voice-over commentary by the ABC news reader told viewers that the republic would continue to be an issue 'because most Australians still wanted independence.'

    Sir David adds "What was that about ABC bias?” 

    The media in any future campaign

    So how will the media behave in any future plebiscite or referendum? Will they behave ethically?

    Sir David Smith doubts that they will lift their performance. If they do not, they will serioulsy risk the one valuable possession they have - their credibility.

    There is a concern among journalists as to the future of quality journalism, and that is justified. The closing of The Bulletin and the running down of current affairs progammes on the Nine network  reminded journlists that these had existed only because of the indulgence of the late Kerry Packer.

    The Australian only exists because its creator, Rupert Murdoch was - and perhaps still is - willing to subsidise it. The last thing journalist and editors should do is to jeopardise the standing of their outlets by indulging in shame faced bias in something as important as a proposal to change the bases of our constitutional system.

    And journalists and editors must understand that the power of the mainline media has been diluted.Well before the mainline media were already losing their monopoly with the advent of talk back radio, which they had seriously underrated.

    Since the 1999 campaign, the internet provides a way in which a voice minimised and suppressed by the mainline media can go behind the media filters and reach a large and increasing audience. 

    Another factor will be the model presented in any future referendum.

    If it involves a general election of the president, the united front among the mainstream media will fracture.  Most are opposed to this model. T

    In 1999, a united mainstram  media were unable to ensure a victory for the politicians' republic in 1999.

    But there can be no doubt that their long campaign for change had some effect, increasing to some extent  the "yes" vote.

    Should they behave as badly as they did in 1999, they will only reinforce the lack of confidence people already show about the media in survey after survey.
  • Prince Andrew  ( 11 items )

    Prince Andrew

    Prince Andrew, Duke of York, KG, GCVO, CD, ADC(P) (Andrew Albert Christian Edward; born 19 February 1960), is the second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

    He is currently fourth in line to the thrones of 16 countries.

    He is resident in and most directly involved with the United Kingdom, the oldest realm, while also carrying out duties in and on behalf of the other states of which his mother is sovereign.

    He also holds the earned rank of Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy, in which he served as an active duty helicopter pilot and later instructor in helicopter flight.

    He came under fire during the Falklands War. As well as carrying out various royal duties, he currently serves as the United Kingdom's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.

    He is not paid for the latter and any annuity paid to him under the Civil List is fully reimbursed by The Queen.

    He has offered realistic and perceptive observations on Anglo-American diplomacy; his conclusions concerning the US occupation of Iraq are not dissimilar to the revised opinions of President George Bush  in his auto biography.


  • 2020 Summit  ( 21 items )

    2020 Summit










































































    Having promised not to raise the republic issue (that is a politicians’ republic) in the first term, this emerged as the principal item on the agenda of the 2020 Summit held in April 2008 by the Rudd government.

    Attendance at the Summit was rigged as if we were living in some tinpot dictatorship, and it was then so mismanaged that a leading republican likened it to a Mad Hatters Tea Party.

    The governance panel of 100 produced one vote opposed to a republic and one abstention. 

    The one person who voted for the retention of the constitutional monarchy, Senator George Brandis, was widely but wrongly  assumed to be a republican.

    According to republican one leading republican delegate, it was so mismanaged it became a Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Then the  resolutions passed by the governance panel and approved at the plenary session called for the termination of constitutional links with the UK, links which were ended in 1986.

    The record was subsequently changed without explanation to amend the resolutions adopted.

    The Summit was an expensive public embarrassment.


  • Knights &amp; Dames  ( 60 items )


    King George V knights Sir John Monash on the battlefield

    [King George V knights Sir John Monash on the battlefield]

    In 1975, on the recommendation of the Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, The Queen approved the creation of a three level Order of Australia.

    The government intended that it would supersede all other honours for Australian purposes.

    The Queen is the Sovereign Head of the Order of Australia and the Governor-General is the Principal Companion. As Chancellor, the Governor-General is charged with the administration of the Order. The Official Secretary to the Governor-General is the Secretary of the Order.

    ...Knights  and Dames....


    The Fraser Liberal Government (1975–83) began recommending Imperial honours again and added a fourth level of knight (or dame) to the Order of Australia. .

    This level was removed by the Hawke Labor Government (1983–91). Proposals to restore this were rejected by the Howard Liberal Government (1996-2007)

    ...Imperial honours....


    The awards of knighthoods and ranks in Imperial honours orders continued to be recommended by State Coalition governments, but were suspended under State Labor governments. They were brought to an end by The Queen in 1994.

    Knights and dames and others holding Imperial honours retain legal recognition, for instance in the Australian Order of Precedence.

    ...Sovereign’s personal honours ....


    The Queen of Australia may  confer honours upon Australians where these emanate from her personally rather than on the advice of government, in particular the Order of the Garter (last awarded to former Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen, 1994), the Order of the Thistle (last awarded to former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies, 1963), the Order of Merit (last awarded to Dame Joan Sutherland, 1991), the Royal Victorian Order (the Knighthood was last awarded to David Smith, 1990), and the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (for services to St John Ambulance).

    ...a solution?...

    The absence of a fourth level of the Order of Australia makes it difficult to compare with imperial and foreign orders. In the meantime politicians who object to imperial knighthood seem to have no objection to accepting foreign knighthoods, and to seeking approval to the retention of the honorific “ the Honourable”.

    Australian honours do not obtain great recognition internationally in contrast with knighthoods – henc ethe high take up of the offer of the New Zealand government to allow certain recitionet of NZ honours to take one.

    The objection to knighthood sdoes not seem to be to the knighthood itself but rather to the titles. We have suggested a compromise in these columns based on a precedent offered by bishops of the Church of England.

    For some time it has been the practice of Anglican bishops to refuse the accolade, that is the dubbing, the stroke on the shoulder with the sword, and consequently, the title “Sir”.

    This is because a knight would once give military service to the king, and the clergy did not think this appropriate for them. 
     So when they accepted a knighthood, they would not them take the title, “Sir”. This was also the practice in Australia among Anglicans, Sir Marcus Loane being an exception.


    Catholic bishops in Australia would normally take the accolade, and proudly used the title granted by their Sovereign. You can imagine that there might have been a tinge of regret among the Anglican bishops (and their wives) when they read or heard of the activities of, say, Sir Norman Cardinal Gilroy or Archbishop Sir James Duhig. 

    Perhaps this Anglican practice provides the solution. Reinstate the AK and the AD, but allow recipients to reject the accolade. Those who don’t want the title could reject the accolade; those who were happy with it could accept it.  Is this the solution?    




  • Prince Charles  ( 87 items )
    Prince Charles

    Prince Charles, (Charles Philip Arthur George)  The Prince of Wales, KG KT GCB OM AK QSO CD SOM GCL PC AdC(P) FRS was born on 14 November 1948.

    As the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, he  is the heir apparent to sixteen Realms including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

    Since 1958, his principal title has been HRH The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay. Prince Charles was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun Schools, which his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had attended as a child. He spent two terms at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar in Australia.

    On being awarded a bachelor of arts degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, Prince Charles served with the Royal Navy from  1971 to 76. He married Lady Diana Spencer before an enormous worldwide television audience in 1981. They had two sons, Prince William of Wales in 1982 and Prince Harry of Wales in 1984. The marriage was dissolved in in 1996.

    Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.

    In 2005,  the Prince married Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

    Apart from his education in 1967, Prince Charles has often been in Australia, in particular in
     1970, 1974, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1994 1996 and  2005

    ..remarkable charity work...

     The prince is well-known for his charity work and sponsors The Prince's Trust, The Prince's Regeneration Trust, and the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, among other charities.

    ACM has long been indicating something newsworthy not much mentioned in the media - in a typical year he raises around  one quarter of a billion dollars (A$1 billion) for charity.

    He has been outspoken concerning architecture and the conservation of old buildings and has produced a book on the subject called A Vision of Britain (1989). He has also promoted herbal and other alternative medical treatment.
  • Prince Harry  ( 89 items )
    Prince Harry

    Prince Harry (His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales) is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He was born 15 September 1984 and is third in the line of succession to the thrones of 16 Realms including Australia Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

    His mother died in 1997. Prince Harry, then 13 walked  with his brother, father and grandfather  behind the funeral cortège from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey .
    After schools and a gap year in Australia and Lesotho, where he worked with orphaned children and produced the documentary film The Forgotten Kingdom, Prince Harry, enlisted in the Army . He was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry Regiment.

    The British Ministry of Defence and Clarence House made a joint announcement on 22 February 2007 that Prince Harry would be deployed with his regiment to the front line in Iraq  and served for 77 days on the front line in the Afghan War.  

    To protect his unit from excessive attention by the enemy, the Department of Defence withdrew him after his presence was revealed by an Australian magazine.
     He is to be best man at his older brother Prince William's  wedding to Kate Middleton to Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011.

    In October 2008, to pass the tests to fly military helicopters and was presented with his wings by his father on 7 May 2010.

    Having since passed his Apache flying test, it is reported that he may return to Afghanistan.

    ...sense of duty permeates...

    Washington Post correspondent, Marie Cocco wrote in the ContraCostaTimes on 1 March 2007, under this telling headline: “U.S. upper class more stuck up than Britain's royalty, ” that that it takes no nostalgia for the Crown to hear the honour in Prince Harry’s vow -- and to wince at the contrast with the US much larger force in Iraq, from which, she declares, the sons and daughters of the American well-heeled and the well-known are largely absent. 

    She says this sense of duty in the Royal Family is no new thing.  Older generations remember it in the Second World War, when The King and The Queen, as well as the Royal Family, stayed with the people.  Prince Harry’s grandfather and his father saw distinguished service.  More recently, in the Falklands war, Prince Harry’s uncle, Prince Andrew, also rode, or perhaps more correctly, flew into battle.

    Prince Harry encapsulates a long standard in our Royal Family, a sense of service. This is complemented by a strong sense of charity, of helping those less fortunate than he.


  • Prince William: The Early Years  ( 33 items )

    Prince William: The Early YearsPrince William of Wales KG FRS, William Arthur Philip Louis was born on 21 June 1982. He is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

     He is second in the line of succession, behind his father, to the thrones of Australia, Canada New Zealand, the United Kingdom and 12 other  independent states. 

    After graduating with a Master of Arts degree from the University of St Andrews, and spending parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and countries in Africa, he volunteered for service in the armed forces.

    ...military service...


    He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry,  serving with his brother Prince Harry.
     He then earned his wings by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, transferring to the Royal Air Force in 2009. 

    Prince William was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and underwent helicopter flying training and completed  generic and special-to-type helicopter training. He is now at RAF Valley on No. 22 Squadron performing co-pilot duties on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter.


    On 16 November 2010 it was announced that Prince William and Catherine Middleton are to marry on 29 April 2011. It was later announced that this would be at 11.00 am in Westminster Abbey, London. There is a separate collection on this,
    Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Royal Wedding Story.  Just click on the icon on the frontpage, or click here.

    This collection is restricted to comments and videos relating to the wedding. Other videos and comments relating to Prince William may be found by using the search engine on the home page. There is a separate collection, Prince William in Australia.   To view this, just click on the icon on the frontpage, or click here.


  • Diamond Jubilee 2012  ( 105 items )

    Diamond Jubilee 2012

    The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is the forthcoming international celebration in 2012 marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of The Queen.

    The British and Canadian governments have announced details of celebrations in those countries. ACM is asking that similar celebrations take place in Australia.

    A petition to our governments and parliaments to honour The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 may be signed here

    A Loyal Address to Her Majesty can be signed here.

    Details of the London celebrations can be accessed here. 

    For details of the Thames River pageant, click here  and of broadcasts to Australia, click here.


  • Plebiscites  ( 11 items )

    ...Republicans believe they would lose another referendum so they propose a plebiscite or plebiscites...

    The Founding Fathers of Australia were well aware of the fact that starting out as a republican, Napoleon Bonaparte skilfully used seven constitutional plebiscites – just questions without details - to take and to increase his hold on power. As a result, Europe suffered over two decades of war resisting his attempts to subjugate the continent.  They were also well aware of the fact that his nephew, Napoleon III followed this practice of using plebiscites to seize and consolidate his power. So our Founding Fathers would not have a bar of the French style “blank cheque” constitutional plebiscite. Instead chose the Swiss style referendum which is on the table before and not after the vote.

    The Founding Fathers did not want to make it impossible to change the constitution. But as Founding Fathers Sir John Quick and Sir Robert Garran argued, there should be proper debate unti the people agreed nationally and in a majority of States that the proposed change is “ desirable, irresistible and inevitable.”

    Some people say the record of changes approved indicates it is too difficult to change the Constitution.

    Plebiscites are misused today by politicians in other countries . They will draft the question to confuse the voters, and they won’t reveal the details of their proposal.

    You may be interested to know what happens when politicians put the same question again. One European politician in recent times was so annoyed when the voters rejected a European Union referendum, he famulsy said the people will “ have to keep on voting unit they get it right.”  

    There is also a warning about the temptation which a successful plebiscite might give some politicians. They could design a trick question to which a majority may say Yes.  Then there is the outside possibility that they could try to bring in a republic through the back door without a referendum.

    Not all politicians support the use of plebiscites in relations to constitutional change.

    ...plebiscites back on the agenda - for one reason...

    As a result of the 2020 Summit, where republicanism became the principal issue, the plebiscite, (or indeed a cascading series of plebiscites) is well and truly back on the agenda. One thing is absolutely clear. The only reason for this is that republicans believe they would lose another referendum.
    So they have devised a devious scheme to circumvent the constitution. It has been complicated by the fact that republicans cannot agree among themselves on what sort of republic they want Australians to accept.

    ...changing the rules when you can’t win honestly...

    Just imagine if, during a football match, one side tried to have the rules changed to give them a free kick whenever they were losing. That is the rort which the republicans are trying to foist on the nation. And to add insult to injury, the republicans expect the taxpayers to pay for all of this, including trying to do their impossible – to settle their endless squabbles. Australians should recall that the Prime Minister, Mr Rudd  solemnly assured voters, just before the 2007 election, that he would not proceed on a republic in his first term, “if at all.”

    ...Australians must “keep on voting until they get it right....”

    And yet, it seems that Australians could be called to the urns on at least two or three occasions to vote yet again on republicanism. Three things will block this. First, republicans are certain they would lose a referendum. Second, polling indicates that not only would they lose a referendum; they would lose one on the supposedly most popular model, the direct elect model.

    And we haven’t yet pointed out that this will involve expensive and frequent elections for the president, vice president, governors, lieutenant governors, administrators etc with even more politicians. The third matter which will block a move on a plebiscite is that polling indicates that this too would go down. And again, the people haven’t yet heard why these constitutional plebiscites used this way are a devious, deceitful and expensive attempt to circumvent the constitution.

    In all of these, except at the final referendum, what is being planned to replace our remarkably successful constitution will be kept from the people.
    And if this process is followed in the states and territories, and if the Flag is to be changed too, we are talking about requiring up to the equivalent of 28 elections.  As one leading European politician said when the EU Constitution was rejected in votes France and the Netherlands, the people must keep on voting until they get it right. A similar view prevails among republicans in Australia. As one leading republicans intimated, only stupid people would vote No.

    ...the real reason for this rort...

    To repeat, Australians should be clear on one thing. The only reason for a plebiscite or plebiscites is the republicans know they will lose another referendum. The first plebiscite will be written by spin doctors and designed to obtain the maximum vote. The second plebiscite was specifically designed to stop Australians from expressing a preference for the existing constitution. Instead they would be forced to choose between different republican models.

    Any more than two models will be there for cosmetic purposes. One will be a repeat of the failed 1999 “politicians republic.” The other will be a republic with “even more politicians, at least sixteen more jobs for the Administrators etc will all be elected. No doubt the taxpayer will fund their political campaigns too.

    The one choice Australians won’t have in this second vote is to express a preference for the existing constitution. This is because republicans fear that the existing constitution would win. With Australians forbidden to vote for the existing constitution, most experts think the direct election model would prevail.

    Read more

  • Head of State  ( 45 items )

    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

    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.



  • Afghan Court Martial  ( 12 items )

    ImageA 2010 decision of the Director of Military Prosecutions Brigadier Lyn McDade to charge three Australian special force soldiers over an operation in Afghanistan has been received with surprise, incredulity and outrage.

    The decision raises important constitutional and legal questions.

    An enemy does not always play according to the Marquess of Queensberry rules. The terrible experience of our armed forces in saving this country from invasion in the Second World War demonstrates that.

    The Taliban do not of course observe international conventions.

    They do not have rules of engagement which seek to honour their non-existent international obligations. They are well known for using innocent civilians, women and children, their own people, as shields. What is clear in this case is that the soldiers being prosecuted in no way intended to kill those unfortunate civilians.

    It was an unfortunate accident, possibly compounded deliberately by the Taliban willingness to trade on our soldiers’ decency.

    The decision to prosecute must affect morale and therefore the ability of our loyal armed forces to perform their role. Indeed they may well risk their own lives and those of their comrades in the unnecessary hesitation which her decision must cause.

    This affair flows from Parliament's attempt to deal with specific complaints relating to military discipline. In legislating to centralise military prosecutions, the Parliament created a far more serious problem and seems unable to reverse it.

  • Constitutional Monarchies and Republics Compared  ( 47 items )
    Constitutional Monarchies Compared

    Invited to a 1999 debate on the republic referendum at an inner city branch of the Liberal Party of Australia, my assertion that constitutional monarchies or crowned republics  were among the world’s most advanced countries was greeted with derision and ridicule.

    It was difficult to believe this was a branch of the party founded by Sir Robert Menzies. Saying " Well may you laugh," I then recited a list of countries with admirable records, all constitutional monarchies.  this was greeted in resentful silence.

    The fact is that of the seven oldest continuing democracies, five are constitutional monarchies. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II reigns over four.

      The Westminster system has been exported to many countries and has had an unrivalled success, unlike the constitutional  models of the to two oldest ( politicians') republics, the USA and Switzerland.

    For many years now, ACM has been posting evidence on this site supporting our argument that constitutional monarchy (or as many say  a "
    Crowned Republic") offers the world’s most consistently successful form of government.

    This is principally in the United Nations’ annual Human Development Index and in  certain other indices. By ranking countries in a way which is more consistent with this thinking, the HDR report has helped shift the debate away from gross domestic product (GDP) per capita as the only measure of development.

    Instead, the HDI has provided a summary of each country’s achievement in attaining for its people: 

    ·          A long and healthy life,

    ·          access to knowledge, and 

    ·          a decent standard of living.

    A common theme emerges in all of these indices. While constitutional monarchies make up only about 15% of the nations of the world, they are very much over represented among the best performing countrie sin the world. Recent academic research indicates the most important factors in a nation becoming and remaining democratic, prosperous and well educated is its institutions. This surely means that the institutions in a constitutional democracy seem to be particularly appropriate for a nation to become democratic, prosperous, well educated. It is more than a coincidence.

  • Royal Finances  ( 34 items )
    Royal Finances


    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. 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?    


  • Nile Inquiry  ( 7 items )

    The Rev Fred Nile MP MP chaired the NSW Legislative Council's Inquiry into the Gentrader (Electricity Power Stations) Transactions in 2010-2011.

    The Final Report was tabled on 23 February.


    The Inquiry almost did not proceed after the Premier, the Hon Kristina Keneally MP, advised the Governor to prorogue the Parliament on 22 December 2010, although elections were not due until 26 March 2011.

    This was widely believed to be an attempt to prevent this Inquiry from going ahead.

  • Opinion Polling  ( 105 items )

    An opinion poll is a survey of public opinion from a particular sample.

    The sample and questions are designed to indicate the opinion of a larger group, for example the nation.
     Some general comments on opinion polling and opinion polling in relation to constitutional change follow these initial comments.  

    In a nation obsessed at the political and media level in polling, it is worth at this point introducing some cynicism about polling.

    The nation’s eminent psephologist, Malcolm Mackerras, once read out a definition handed to him by an ACM supporter.

    It went something like this: “An opinion poll consists of the answers of those willing to respond to uninvited questions put without notice on matters on which the respondents have not had the time to consider.”

    ...from intial polling to the actual vote...

    Before we come to our conclusions on polling on a politicians' republic, we should bear in mind that polls taken before a debate on a referendum proposal will normally record  significantly support than during the referndum.

    The trend line indicates that support for a vague undefined republic  is at the time of writing,  as a percentage, only in the low forties.

    Because the people will have the opportunity to hear both sides, it is likely to fall even further at the actual vote.

    This happened in 1999 even with a highly biassed mainline media and a wealthy Yes campign supported by twothirds of the politicians.

    This will be exacerbated by the precise question which must introduce a model. Many hitherto Yes voters opposing the model chosen will then prefer the constiutional monarchy.  

    This is the reason why republicans prefer an intial plebiscite or plebiscites. They are even divided on the number of plebiscites.

    ...15 Conclusions...

    At the present time polling and other evidence suggests fifteen  conclusions:

    1.  Since the 1999 republic referendum, there has been a long term decline in support for a vague undefined ( politicians’) republic. Polling from just before the federal election in 2013 indicates that overall support for such a republic ranges between 33%  to  40%   

    2.  From before the referendum, polling has indicated that the middle aged are the most supportive of a vague undefined republic, with lower support among the young and until recently even lower support  among the aged. This can be represented by a slightly lopsided bell curve.

    3. From 2013, the young have turned more against a vague undefined republic and in most polls are less supportive than even the elderly.

    4. Support for a vague undefined republic is strongest among inner city voters, especially middle aged males and supporters of the Greens.

    5. Once a republican  model is announced as the preferred republic, the Condorcet principle espoused by psephologist  Malcolm Mackerras applies and  support for a republic will fall. In other words, a significant number of republicans will always prefer the constitutional monarchy over the opposing model. Accordingly the ARM  has since 1999 been in the paradoxical situation of refusing to reveal what sort of republic it is actually campaigning for.

    6. Interest in republican change is generally weak and declining.  According to the July 2014 Newspoll, strong supporters of change fell from 25% in 2011 to 22%. Among the young, strong supporters were down from 20% to 17%. The contrasting experiences of ACM and the ARM in calling  public demonstrations leads us to conclude that many more monarchists are strong supporters of their cause than are republicans.

    6. The latest poll on the republican model which provides that  the people rather than the politicians elect the president - the ''direct elect model''- indicates no greater support than for the 1999 alternative. But when  asked how the president should be chosen if Australia were to become a republic,  respondents indicate a very strong preference for direct election. In the 2014 Newspoll, the young were, at 87%, the most supportive of direct election. At the same time they were least supportive of change to any republic. Australians seem to be saying: ''We don't want a republic, but if one is forced on us, we- and not the politicians - will choose the president''.

    7.  As with any other polling, a "rogue" poll will from sometimes go against the trend. But the trend lines across the polls and over time indicate declining support for a vague undefined ( politicians’) republic.

    8.  From this data we conclude that another referendum on the 1999 model would be overwhelmingly defeated and that a referendum on a model involving the direct election of a President would also be defeated ( republican Professor Craven says the defeat of the latter would be greater than in 1999);

    9. A referendum delaying change until the end the reign has been proposed by former prime minister Bob Hawke. No significant group has adopted this.  

    10.  ACM has always been opposed to what it calls the ''blank cheque plebiscite''. We  believe that if a plebiscite were to be held, the question would be manipulated by taxpayer funded ''spin doctors''. We warn there is likely to be substantial taxpayer funding  for “education” and “information”, probably little or no public funding for the No case,  possibly no Yes/No booklet, and with strong support from about two thirds of the politicians and  from the mainstream media. 

    11. Experience indicates that in a referendum campaign, support for the affirmative case falls significantly  between the announcement of a proposal and the actual vote. This is because the voters have then had some opportunity of hearing both sides of the debate and reading the Yes/No booklet.

    12. In a referendum campaign, those who in opinion polls say they are undecided  tend to move to the No case or  have not revealed their intention to vote No. In a republican referendum, this  could be  because the republican camp including media outlets has suggested the monarchist case is old fashioned, dated, etc or respondents fear that there may be consequences for those who are known to have voted No.

    13. Polls taken now indicating opinions at some future date, say, the end of the reign, are clearly unreliable.

    14. Much has been made by republicans about the role of the then prime minister John Howard in 1999. It is untrue that he fixed the convention or the question. His opposition -which was unusual- no doubt encouraged his supporters, but they were unlikely to be republicans.  On the other hand it may be that the support of an unpopular Prime Minister and/or government  may harm the Yes case. This was said to be one of the reasons why Paul Keating chose not to put a referendum on a republic.  Even if the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition were to support the Yes case in a referendum, this will not ensure success, as was demonstrated inone of the referendums in  1967. But if  the Parliament  unanimously supported the referendum, there would be no official No case, which would disadvantage opponents.

    15. The theme of any referendum on a republic will probably be around the proposition that only a politicians’ republic can deliver an Australian Head of State. This was mentioned nine times in the official No case in 1999. To counter this, constitutional monarchists will need to be as well informed on the relevant law and practice and as organised and as disciplined as they were in 1999.

    ...general comments on polling...


    Opinion polls do not claim absolute accuracy and will usually indicate a margin of error. They are not predictions as to the future but an attempt to measure opinion at the time of the poll. This applies to views about what may or may not happen at the end of the reign. These are views held now, not one swhich will emerge at the end of the reign.

    There can be errors or a bias in taking the sample. For example a telephone survey excludes those who do not have landlines. Some people will be reluctant to answer, or may give an answer they think the questioner wants.

    By looking at trends from different polls taken over time, differences can be neutralised.

    ...the right question?..

    Opinion polls can be biased in formulating questions. This
    can be unintentional.

    The question may vary considerably from the referendum question. A referendum necessarily involves agreeing to a specific republican model. But some  polls purporting to measure voting attitudes in the 1999 referendum ignored this and tested support for some vague undefined republic.

    But in questions concerning constitutional change certain words can mislead.

    For example, there is a debate between republicans and constitutional monarchists over the meaning of Head of State, and the question to be answered in the referendum may not even use that word.

     “ Do you think an Australian should be Head of State instead of The Queen ?” assumes we do not already have an Australian Head of State, which is a principal point in issue in the debate.

    This is important. In the 1999 referendum, the Yes case used the argument that only in a republic could we have an Australian as Head of State nine times, more than any other.

    Even asking whether Australia should become a republic assumes we are not already a republic, albeit a crowned republic

    ...have they heard both sides? ...

    When referendums are announced, it is common to find polling indicates strong public support. But this can change after the public has heard both sides.This was exacerbated in the nineties because the mainstream media supported the republican movement. At the same time the media thrives on conflict and even a biassed media is forced to allow the other side to be heard at least partially.

    In the early stages of the campaign in the nineties the public had not really heard both sides of the debate.  They had heard more by the time of the referendum. 

    ...polling trends...

    Isolated polls should be treated with caution. The trend in polling from different pollsters over time is a better indicator. It is particularly unwise to rely on one poll which goes against the trend. 

    In 2009 the republicans released a poll to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the referendum. This indicated that 59% support for “a republic.”  This went against all the trends and was what may best be called a “rogue poll”, which, we hasten to add,  suggests no impropriety.


    In Australia the best known pollsters are:

    • Newspoll - published in News Limited's The Australian newspaper
    • Roy Morgan Research - published in the Crikey email reporting service
    • Galaxy Polling - published in News Limited's tabloid papers
    • AC Nielsen Polling - published in Fairfax newspapers

    Although less well known,  UMR has also conducted polls on this issue. Its polls have always found substantially more republican support than any of the others.

    Essential media is a new pollster more associated with the unions, without this resulting in any bias.Its political polling produces results broadly in line with the other polllsters. 

  • Prince William in Australia &amp; New Zealand  ( 116 items )








    This is one of our three sections on the ACM site on Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge  and now also Prince George.

    Prince William and Prince George are second and third in the line of succession to the Australian throne.

    This section is about  their visits to Australia and New Zealand, as well as any news particularly relating them to Australia and New Zealand.

    The reports here are in chronological order and go back to 2007.

    You can find the latest details of the 2014 Royal Visit below the first image.

     We have adopted the hash tag #RoyalVisitAus   -   do  use this in the social media.


     Photo: For the  #RoyalVisitAus  here is a close-up of the photo below of Prince William and Catherine - the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - with their baby son Prince George as well as cocker spaniel Lupo.

    The latest  official schedule for the Royal Visit of Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and baby Prince George follows:-

    As with previous Royal Visits, ACM will be offering regular news and commentary. We have adopted the hash tag #RoyalVisitAus  and we encourage you to use this in the social media.  


    •April 16 - Sydney: Arrive and attend reception at the Sydney Opera House.

    •April 17 - Sydney: Fire-ravaged street in Blue Mountains.

    •April 18 - Sydney: Attend the Royal Easter Show, visit a children’s hospice before watching a demonstration by surf life-saving volunteers.

    •April 19 - Brisbane: RAAF base visit then reception for Queensland’s young people.

    •April 20 - Sydney: Cathedral service then visit Taronga Zoo where the bilby enclosure is being named after Prince George.

    •April 21 - Rest.

    •April 22 - Uluru (Ayers Rock) (Second night away from George): Visit the National Indigenous Training Academy, view Aboriginal art display then walk round part of the rock.

    •April 23 - Adelaide: View young people’s music workshop and watch skateboarding display.

    •April 24 - Canberra: Visit the National Portrait Gallery, attend a reception at Parliament House, plant a tree at the National Arboretum.

    •April 25 - Canberra: Attend ANZAC Day March, lay a wreath and plant a ‘Lone Pine’ tree in the Memorial Garden; depart for London.








    Photo: Here's the official schedule for the Royal Visit of Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and baby Prince George:               •April 16 - Sydney: Arrive and attend reception at the Sydney Opera House. •April 17 - Sydney: Fire-ravaged street in Blue Mountains. •April 18 - Sydney: Attend the Royal Easter Show, visit a children’s hospice before watching a demonstration by surf life-saving volunteers. •April 19 - Brisbane: RAF base visit then reception for Queensland’s young people. •April 20 - Sydney: Cathedral service then visit Taronga Zoo where the bilby enclosure is being named after Prince George. •April 21 - Rest. •April 22 - Uluru (Ayers Rock) (Second night away from George): Visit the National Indigenous Training Academy, view Aboriginal art display then walk round part of the rock. •April 23 - Adelaide: View young people’s music workshop and watch skateboarding display. •April 24 - Canberra: Visit the National Portrait Gallery, attend a reception at Parliament House, plant a tree at the National Arboretum. •April 25 - Canberra: Attend ANZAC Day March, lay a wreath and plant a ‘Lone Pine’ tree in the Memorial Garden. •Depart for home.  This sector will be preceded by a visit to New Zealand details of which are:  •April 7 - Wellington: Arrive to ceremonial welcome. •April 8 - Rest. •April 9 - Wellington: Meet parents and their babies at Government House, hopefully with George. •April 10 - Blenheim: Events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. •Wellington: State Reception where William will unveil a portrait of the Queen. •April 11 - Auckland: Meet serving air force personnel and their families. Race each other across Auckland Harbour in Team New Zealand Americas Cup yachts. Ride on a Sealegs craft - boat that can be driven into and out of water. •April 12 - Waikato: William views an aircraft factory while Kate goes to a children’s hospice. Both travel through Hamilton town centre and meet Olympic athletes and open the new velodrome. •April 13 - Dunedin (Travel away from George for one night): Maori tribal welcome, visit cathedral then watch and participate in a Rippa Rugby tournament - non contact rugby. •Queenstown: Wine tasting, travel on the Shotover Jet - 50mph white water ride. •April 14 - Christchurch: Ceremony for those who died in 2011 earthquake. Watch a 2015 Cricket World Cup event, later visit air force museum and memorial wall. •April 15 - Rest. •April 16 - Wellington: Visit a police training college, sign the city’s visitor book then depart.





  • Prince William &amp; Catherine  ( 171 items )

    Prince William of Wales KG FRS, William Arthur Philip Louis was born on 21 June 1982. He is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

     He is second in the line of succession, behind his father, to the thrones of Australia, Canada New Zealand, the United Kingdom and 12 other  independent states.

    After graduating with a Master of Arts degree from the University of St Andrews, and spending parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and countries in Africa, he volunteered for service in the armed forces.

    ...military service...


    He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry,  serving with his brother Prince Harry.
     He then earned his wings by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, transferring to the Royal Air Force in 2009.

    Prince William was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and underwent helicopter flying training and completed  generic and special-to-type helicopter training. 
    He is now at RAF Valley on No. 22 Squadron performing co-pilot duties on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter.


    On 16 November 2010 it was announced that Prince William and Catherine Middleton were to marry on 29 April 2011. It was later announced that this would be at 11.00 am in Westminster Abbey, London.

    This collection is restricted to comments and videos relating to the wedding and their life therafter . Other videos and comments relating to Prince William may be found by using the search engine on the home page. There is a separate collection, Prince William in Australia. To view this, just click on the icon on the frontpage.

  • Videos  ( 333 items )
  • ACM News  ( 16 items )
    This category covers news from Australians for Constitutional Monarchy often related to the organisation itself.
  • From the National Convenor  ( 2299 items )
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  • Media Releases  ( 50 items )


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