It was to be expected that some – perhaps many – republicans would be unhappy with the changes in the law relating to the succession.
One republican commentator is even proposing that the process be sabotaged by splintering it. (I checked the date to ensure it wasn’t 1 April.) It won’t happen.
Republicans have long complained about the present succession law which they say the sexist and discriminatory. The point we have often made here is that none of the republican politicians tried to do anything about it when they were in office. So how genuine were they?
A commentator with the Fairfax press, and former ABC Media Watch presenter, Richard Ackland, complains that the support for the changes shown by constitutional monarchists is “suspicious.”
“With these changes,” he concedes “ it will be harder to make accusations the Crown is sexist or intolerant or old-fashioned.”
He actually proposes that republican politicians should sabotage the process which will involve not only the national parliaments of the 16 realms, but in Australia, a cooperative process including the states.
“Think,” he says, ‘what would happen if not every relevant parliament passed the amending legislation. It would mean there would be different lines of succession throughout the Commonwealth itself and throughout Australia.”
…1936 succession diverged…
A slight divergence in the succession actually occurred in the confusion surrounding the abdication of King Edward VIII and the succession of his brother King George VI in 1936. The reigns of the two Kings overlapped over three days.
The succsession was effected on 11 December in most of the Commonwealth, including Australia, Canada, the Indian Empire, Newfoundland, New Zealand, the UK and in the colonies.
But it occurred on 10 December in South Africa and on 12 December in the Irish Free State.
The reasons were related to which Dominions had adopted the Statute of Westminster – we and the new Zealanders had not – and the drafting of the specific legislation in South Africa and the Irish Free State.
The succession changed in the Australian States with the UK because they had not been included in the Statute of Westminster – at their request.
Ackland is now inviting state politicians to deliberately sabotage the process so that some States –he suggests Queensland and Western Australia. keep the existing law and the other states adopt the new law.
“Effectively, once succession is splintered into different lines, our notion of monarchy is over,” he says. “It's something republican members of parliaments should think about.”
“There are great and exciting possibilities if amendments to the Act of Settlement meet different fates in different jurisdictions.”
..it won’t work…
Even if the state politicians withdraw the support they have apparently given the Prime Minister, it won’t work. The Prime Minister would probably have to tell the other fifteen Realms that Australia could not deliver.
This would delay the process until the republican politicians were persuaded to see reason.
As declared republicans how many of them would wish to gain international notoriety as defenders of the “ sexist and discriminatory “ law they had so often denounced?
And of course the new law will have no practical effect unless Catherine Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a girl in advance of a boy, or one of the children marries a Catholic.
That may not occur for many years.