Why We Should Keep The Crown
Written by Lloyd Waddy RFD QC   
Sunday, 21 August 2005
Hysteria for an Australian republic is leading people to ask the wrong questions and hence get the wrong Constitutional answers.

The fundamental question is: "what is the best system of government for Australia?"

Australian federalism is our own local adaptation of the Westminster system of government in our unique Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia.

In 1901, Australians voluntarily asked for a Federation under the Crown. It was what they all had in common, the Westminster system worked well then and it has worked very well ever since both federally and in the States. In 1901 no one dreamt that Queen Victoria would ever visit Australia or exercise any personal power: it was the system that was adopted and it is the system that continues to work so well.

In our society, all are "servants" of the Crown: judges, ministers and bureaucrats. We are all equal under the Crown, whilst the Crown is sworn to serve the people under the guidance of God. Listen carefully to the list of people proposed for "President" - you judge them yourself if they sound like servants of the people.

In any republic, the President must be elected by a majority of the people, either voting personally or through their representative: the proposal that a President should have a two thirds majority of the members of parliament would give such a person a huge mandate.

Our Governor-General has the power over the armed services, to call parliament, to dismiss parliament and to appoint anybody he likes, (who may not even be in parliament), as Prime Minister. The checks and balances on the Governor-General are that he or she is subject to instant call by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. To give such powers to an elected President not subject to peremptory recall, would be inherently dangerous.

Calls for a President are a sad reflection on the dearth of statesmanship and true leadership which our Prime Ministers should be giving this country. In the Westminster system the role of the Crown is to provide final check that ministries who form the government of the day behave legally (if not they are dismissed like Mr Lang) or only governed with the money supplied by parliament. (Failure to gain supply cost Mr Whitlam the Prime Ministership).

Before there is any change every Australian will get a vote and Australians for Constitutional Monarchy will labour tirelessly to endeavour to see that each Australian knows the full facts and the great dangers of change for no sustainable benefit.

Arguments that we need to change from a system of constitutional monarchy to gain more money from trade with Asia are ludicrous; there are five monarchies in Asia.

Monarchy is a modern form of government refined over centuries, adopted popularly by the people of Australia at the time of Federation and particularly suited in a federation keeping the politicians in check. Much more than anti-British hype will be needed before voters will give more power to the politicians or create the ultimate Job for the Boys.

Mr Court of Western Australia sounds a grim warning that in his belief a referendum on succession in Western Australia at this time would carry the support of the people of Western Australia. To strike at the fundamental basis of the constitutional contract of 1901, which was union under the Crown, may well release political forces in this country which will be very much to its detriment. The oath "to Australia" espoused by the republicans will sound very hollow if one has to ask - "which part: east or west?"

Change is far from inevitable!