…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 , 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.
This would reflect modern views on these matters.
This would require legislation by all of the Realms.
Such legislation 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.
I 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.
… The Queen's ministers interfere at their peril…
Changing the law about the succession to the throne comes up from time to time in the UK Parliament.
"Concerned" republican politicians in Australia only raise it to hide behind it.
A private members bill was introduced into the House of Lords some time ago, but the British government decided not to support it.
This was not because they were opposed; the reason given was the lack of urgency and lack of parliamentary time.
The government lawyers were of course well aware of the need for identical legislation in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other Realms, but this was not seen as raising any difficulties.
Some commentators suggested that the real reason was that the bill would open up a Pandora’s Box.
In April 2008 the UK Solicitor –General, Mrs. Vera Baird made headlines when she said that "what we have to do with the Royal Family is to integrate them as far as possible into the human race."
Her wanted to achieve do this by repealing the primogeniture sections of the 1701 Act of Settlement, which she called "unfair" and "a load of rubbish".
She planned to include the Royal Family in the provisions of her new Single Equality Bill, which would “coalesce all existing legislation regarding discrimination by sex, age, race, sexual orientation, disability and religion.”
But as Andrew Roberts noted in the Daily Telegraph of 29 April, 2008, The Queen cannot be equal with anybody, Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, did not agree with Ms. Baird “and has slapped her down.”
“She has ruled that there will be no reform to the monarchy in the equality legislation.”
As Mr Roberts says, The Queen's ministers interfere with the constitutional monarchy at their peril, as the Solicitor General, Vera Baird, has discovered to her cost.
He says that if Mrs Baird's system had been in place in 1901, at the time of the death of Queen Victoria, “one of the few truly deranged psychopathic monarchs of modern Europe – Kaiser Wilhelm II – would have become King of England on the death of his mother, Victoria's eldest daughter the Empress Vicky of Germany.
“A man partly responsible for the outbreak of the Great War, who long before the Nazis advocated the gassing of Jews "like mosquitoes", would have sat on our Throne. That, Mrs Baird, would have been worse than "a load of rubbish".
“It is also worth contemplating Mrs Baird's typical New Labour arrogance in dismissing the Royal Family for not already being part of "the human race".
“She obviously considers herself to be a functioning member of it, despite having been a lawyer for 33 years and a Labour MP for seven, two professions that the public regards as about as cut off from reality as it is possible to be in modern Britain.
“I would be prepared to wager that every single member of the Royal Family in receipt of the Civil List – even those in their eighties – has in the past year visited more hospitals, met more ordinary people, travelled the country more and generally proved their membership of the human race far better than Mrs Vera Baird QC, MP.”
…the British Solicitor General’s zeal …
Charles Moore, writing in The Spectator, 3 May, 2008 says that Mrs Baird, “ has great zeal in another well-known aspect of the legal profession — its fees,” says Mr. Moore.
“In 1998, she claimed £20,000 from public funds for her junior part in an appeal in the House of Lords.
“This was reduced on ‘taxation’ (the system of questioning fees) to £6,000, an almost unheard-of drop.”
“ The Law Lords … said that it could be ‘unprofessional conduct’ to claim an excessive fee.
“‘A number of the fees claimed in the present case would appear to be excessive,’ they said, which, by the standards of lawyers judging lawyers, is fierce indeed.
“Nowadays the poor thing has to get by on the salary paid to a minister of the Crown, which may partly explain her anti-monarchical resentment.
…the witty Princess…
Among the many comments posted on the Telegraph site about Mr Roberts’ piece, the following by a “True Royalist” posted on 29 April,2008 caught my eye:
When I lived in Rhodesia in the early 1970s – I attended a 'Ladies' Dining-in Night' at Morris Police Depot in Salisbury
The 'Guest of Honour' was a retiring Assistant Commissioner of the British South Africa Police (BSAP)
During his 'After – Dinner speech' he recalled when he was a very Junior Officer in 1948, when the Royal Family toured the Commonwealth after the War
He said, that when the Royal Family came up to Southern Rhodesia, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret would accompany the Duty Officer on his Morning Rounds, on horse, through the streets of Salisbury – much to the delight of the people
He was Duty Officer that particular morning, and the horse that Princess Elizabeth was riding was extremely flatulent
He rode up to the Princess and apologised – Princess Elizabeth replied, "No need Sir! – I thought it was the horse!"
The Mess was in absolute uproar!
In the Ballroom of the Police Mess, there are STILL pictures on the walls of the Royal Family, when they honoured the Mess by attending the Ball given in Their Honour
Historians state that the period Queen Elizabeth the First ruled was a 'Golden Period' in Britain's History – but I strongly believe that Historians will state that the period Queen Elizabeth the Second ruled will be known as 'The Second Golden Period' in Britain's History.