Feb 8

Our Head of State Intervenes in Laws of Own Country

 The UK media reveals that our Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II, has the power to intervene in draft bills before they are tabled in the UK Parliament. This is known as "Queen's Consent".  She is able to suggest drafting changes to bills affecting Crown property or any other matters that affect her. The same powers are held by the Prince of Wales. A couple of days later, it was revealed in the UK Guardian that the Queen has declined giving her consent to over 1,000 bills including one in 1973 ensuring that her private wealth was not disclosed. This also applies to laws due to be tabled in the Canadian Parliament but not in Australia or New Zealand. However, her Australian representative, the Governor-General, can withhold royal assent and refer laws approved by the Australian Parliament to the Queen if she or he wishes. The Queen has the power to disallow Australian laws within one year under s.59 of our Constitution (has not been used to date) but this section has not been repealed. s.58 allows the Governor-General to reserve a law "for the Queen's pleasure" that cannot become law unless it receives assent from the Queen within two years.

An up-to-date entry in Wikipedia  on "Queen's Consent" is linked below. It explains the difference between royal consent and royal assent. This power gives the Queen rights - also described as a "hobbyists' dream" - that no other citizen has and dispels the myth that she does not intervene in matters of government, be they British, Canadian or Australian. There is also an article described as a "guest submission" that appears on the royal.co.uk website written from the perspective that the Queen doesn't initiate and only deals with what is referred to her by the Government, acts only on its advice etc; worth a look but muddies the waters as to who is advising who on what and begs the question why the UK Government makes the referral in the first place.

Quick Info

For a brief but useful guide to republicanism in Australia, see the entry in Wikipedia

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Woman for an Australian Republic, Adelaide Ironside, republican poet and artist, 1831-1867

Self portrait 1855, Newcastle Region Art Gallery NSW

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Senate Inquiry

Report of Senate Inquiry into the Republic Plebiscite Bill released 15 June 2009

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