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ACM Home arrow The Succession arrow Labour PM upsets republicans: special briefing

Labour PM upsets republicans: special briefing Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
   
  
 

 

Gordon Brown, the British Labour Prime Minister, is a committed constitutional monarchist - as have been all the leaders of the UK Labour Party. Australian republicans will soon be cursing him as he takes away one of their arguments.

He will be seeking approval in principle from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the prime ministers of all the other Commonwealth Realms in November to remove aspects of the law relating to the succession which discriminate against Catholics and women. This issue will become newsworthy as the November Commonwealth Heads of government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago approaches.

Provided the proper process is observed, ACM takes no position on this change.  We are holding an important briefing on this by the leading authority, Dr. Anne Twomey in Sydney on 25 September. Dr Twomey is the author of the outstanding book   The Chameleon Crown; The Queen and her Australian Governors.



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...duplicitous arguments...




If Gordon Brown were a republican he would probably follow the well established precedent of Australian republican politicians. This is to do absolutely nothing about the succession law when they can, but to use it when promoting their campaign to extend the power of the political class in some sort of politicians’ republic.

This reached its height in the 1999 campaign for their politicians’ republic.  Republican politicians - even a former prime minister and a premier - complained constantly all over the country and in the media about the sexism and religious discrimination surrounding the Australian Crown.

But these politicians had plenty of opportunities to do what Gordon Brown is now doing. There is nothing on the public record of their ever doing anything about this. If they did we would be pleased to hear about it.

 

In the meantime The Queen has made it clear that she has no objection to the proposed changes.



...the history...



It is worth recalling that in previous centuries Britain was actually in advance of most countries in allowing women to succeed to the Throne.

If the German Salic law had applied in England and later Britain, neither Queen Elizabeth I nor Queen Victoria would have reigned. (Victoria was not allowed to succeed to the Electorate of Hanover for that very reason)

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[ Elizabeth II and Victoria ]

 

Under the law as it now stands, if Victoria had had a younger brother living at the time of the death of her uncle King William IV, she would not have become Queen.  And had Prince Albert been a Catholic, and had they still married, Victoria would have lost the throne.

The rule against Catholics resulted from the failed reign of King James II who was held to have abdicated by fleeing the Realm, destroying important State papers, and throwing the Great Seal into the Thames. He placed himself and his son under the protection of the French King who had applied a religious policy more discriminatory than that of England’s.

The succeeding King, William III, was a Calvinist who thought the Anglican Coronation Service “popish” but did not discriminate against other religions. Catholic soldiers served in his army under the Papal banner.

But Parliament was fearful of the succession if he and Queen Mary II were to die childless. They imposed the rule against Catholics to remove James’ son and his branch of the Stuarts from the succession.

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[ Joint Sovereigns: King William III and Queen Mary II ]




...special briefing...



 


One of the leading authorities on the Australian Crown, Dr Anne Twomey, says these proposed changes are “relatively minor and overdue”.  She warns however that this may have the unintended effect in Australia of “stripping back the paper that has covered over the cracks in our constitutional settlement and exposing the fundamental disagreements about the nature of the Crown in Australia.” 

She will give an important briefing on the proposals for changeon 25 September in Sydney. This is essential for anyone wishing to understand the issues

SECURE A PLACE FOR YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS NOW

Dr Anne Twomey’s recent book on the Australia Acts 1986, The Chameleon Crown, The Queen and Her Australian Governors (available through ACM ) was been very well received, as were her very well attended addresses on this in Sydney and Melbourne. ( See the review by Sir David Smith), another great authority on the Australian Crown) 

 
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