The Queen of Australia has received the Victorian Premier John Brumby at Balmoral to discuss the impact of the February bushfires. As we have noted here, it is a feature of the Australian constitutional system, that alone among the sixteen Realms in the Commonwealth, each of the six State Premiers, as well as the Federal Prime Minister, have the right and duty to advise The Queen on constitutional and other legal matters.
Beyond that, Her Majesty may request briefings on matters of concern, and no doubt the Premiers and the Prime Minister may request her counsel.
In the meantime several members of our Royal Family have expressed their concern and sorrow over the bushfire tragedy in Victoria last summer.According to the ABC, a total of 173 people were killed in the fires, which devastated 78 communities, destroyed more that 2,000 homes and 400,000 hectares of land.Mr Brumby told the ABC Radio after his meeting that The Queen had shown a great interest in the bushfires and the aftermath.
Speaking to Jon Faine, Mr Brumby said the Queen was given daily updates on the bushfires through the Victorian Government business office in London."She made a very generous private donation to the bushfire fund," he said.
"Today I presented her to a pictorial diary of the February 7th fires and the recovery that's occurred since."
"I was also able to bring her up to date on many of the great stories that she was interested in. The stories of communities recovering, particularly the Kinglake Football team, the Lakers," he said.
"She was quite taken by the extraordinary courage and determination that they showed.
"Mr Brumby said the Queen was also very interested in the fact that next year will mark the 125th anniversary of the Melbourne Cup.
"She was quite interested in that. She's had some of her own horses appear in recent events," he said.But he said it was unlikely the Queen's schedule would allow her to attend the event.