|Succession law for Perth|
|Written by ACM|
|Thursday, 13 October 2011|
This is the latest in ACM's series of reports on the succession.
The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has written to the leaders of the other Commonwealth Realms about allowing first-born daughters and heirs who are or who marry Catholics to inherit the throne.
According to Australian Associated Press, the issue has taken on fresh urgency since the marriage of Prince William, the second in line to the throne, to the former Kate Middleton in May. Should their first child be female, she would rank behind any subsequently born male child.
"Notwithstanding republican reliance on the old succession rules to argue for change to some politicians' republic, no Australian republican Prime Minister has ever bothered to exercise his prerogative to initiate negotiations on changing the law," says ACM Convenor Professor David Flint.
A step in the direction of abolishing male primogeniture has been made in the recent Sovereign Grants Act, 2011 under which the first-born child, whether male or female of Prince William and his wife Catherine will inherit the Duchy of Cornwall.
The income of the Duchy maintains the mainly charitable activities of the Prince of Wales.
"I have written to the heads of state, the prime ministers of the other realms concerned. We will be having a meeting about this at the Commonwealth heads of government conference," Mr Cameron said.“It isn't an easy issue to sort - for many of them there may be issues and worries about starting a parliamentary or other legal process.
"But I'm very clear it's an issue that we ought to get sorted and I'd be delighted to play a part in doing that."
Labour MP Keith Vaz urged the prime minister to act quickly, saying: "Does he not agree that it's better that we resolve this matter before rather than after any future royal children are born?"
A government spokesman repeated the warning that it was a "complex and difficult issue - it needs careful thought and consideration".
The Queen has indicated that she has no objection (nihil obstat) to the changes proposed. A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: "This is a matter for government, in consultation with Commonwealth.”
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