|Independent Crown of Australia Network|
a network of Australian monarchists dedicated to Australian independence
through the patriation of the Australian crown
These Policy Themes and notes have been prepared by the ICAN Website Group.
The purpose of the Policy Themes and notes is to further explore the themes outlined in Our Charter, and stimulate further discussion by Local Meetings and interested people.
1. Constitutional change
Minimal change to the constitution is proposed - essentially the amendment of Covering Clause 2 of the Constitution Act 1900 by replacing the words ...of the United Kingdom... with the words ...of the Commonwealth of Australia.
2. Initial selection
Upon the death of our present sovereign Queen Elizabeth II, she will be automatically succeeded by Prince Charles as King in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. In Australia, the Succession Act (see policy theme 3, below) will provide for the Governor General of the day to automatically become regent in the sovereignty of Australia upon the death of the sovereign - this is assumed (for the purpose of this paper) to be Queen Elizabeth II, but the same approach is proposed regardless of the identity of the sovereign at that time.
During the period of regency, the Regent will appoint a Royal Electoral College consisting of the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Governor of each State and an equal number of Australian citizens nominated by the Aboriginal and Toress Strait Islander peoples.
The college will then nominate a person to succeed the deceased sovereign in the sovereignty of Australia. Persons eligible for nomination will be defined in the Succession Act.
The Commonwealth Parliament will make a Succession Act during the life of Queen Elizabeth II (rather than following the death of a sovereign). The Succession Act will provide for a method of succession which will incorporate the following principles:
In the case of the initial succession to Queen Elizabeth II, the person is
The names of all the suitable nominees will be submitted to the Australian people in a referendum for the selection of one of the nominess as sovereign.
The method of determining the result of such referenda will be set out in the Succession Act.
The Succession Act will provide a method for removing a sovereign, or for temporarily appointing a regent with the powers of the sovereign, in the event of the serious incapacity or absence of the sovereign which prevents the sovereign from being able to undertake the ceremonial and/or constitutional functions of the crown.
The Succession Act will contain 'entrenched clauses' requiring a two-thirds majority of a joint sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament to amend the principle sections of the Act.
The present system of Australian honours will continue and evolve as circumstances permit or require. The only change will be the explicit replacement of the United Kingdom sovereign with the Australian sovereign as the 'fount of all honour' in all systems of honours.
5. Symbols and titles
The title of the sovereign will be "King" if male, and "Queen" if female, and the title of their spouse will be "Queen consort" and "King consort" respectively.
Children of the sovereign will bear the title "Prince" and "Princess", and will retain that title for life (except for the person appointed sovereign). No other persons will be entitled to the use of these titles.
The regalia of the Australian sovereign will develop over time as circumstances require. In the first instance, a crown will be made in time for the coronation, with its design and manufacture to be undertaken within Australia. The crown will take the form known as an 'open crown'.
Coronations, including the initial coronation of first elected sovereign, will generally be held in the Great Hall of the Commonwealth Parliament House in Canberra.
The sovereign will officially reside at "Yarralumla" in Canberra, and maintain a second residence at Admiralty House in Sydney (these are the existing official residences of the Governor General).
The Australian sovereignty will be secular, and will not be connected in any way to any religion.
The coronation of an Australian sovereign will be presided over by the Chief Justice of Australia and a person nominated by the Aboriginal community responsible for the land upon which the coronation takes place.
Policy Notes to each Theme
1. Constitutional change
Covering Clause 2 of the Constitution Act 1900 reads: "The provisions of this Act referring to the Queen shall extend to Her Majesty's heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom."
The proposed amendment to replace the words United Kingdom with the words Commonwealth of Australia will, in effect, allow for the Australian sovereign to be a different person to the person occupying the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The succession to the United Kingdom sovereignty will no longer automatically involve succession to the Australian sovereignty.
The proposed amendment will be submitted to the Australian people through a referendum in accordance with section 128 of the Constitution.
Further amendments to the constitution to reflect the actual patriation of the Australian crown and to revise obsolete references, such as those to the Governor-General, may be considered by a constitutional convention at a future date (after a period of, say, ten years) and submitted to the Australian people by referendum, but this is not critical the implementation of the amendment to Covering Clause 2, nor to interpreting the present wording of the constitution to enable it to continue functioning between amending Covering Clause 2 and any future amendments arising from a constitutional convention. Some of the functions and roles of the sovereign are clearly set out in the constitution, which essentially provides for a representative to exercise those functions when the sovereign is not present. The only practical change (at least until a convention is held) is that the sovereign, rather than a representative, will be undertaking these roles and functions.
2. Initial selection
This policy theme has been written during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, but it can be equally implemented during the reign of any of her successors, such as King Charles III and King William V. The point is to focus on the patriation and evolution of the crown as an institution rather than the personalities of particular sovereigns.
Descent from Queen Elizabeth II (or a future sovereign) will be symbolically significant as there will be a clear line of descent or relationship with the current sovereign. However, for various reasons it may be necessary to broaden the pool of potential nominees to descendants or relatives of Queen Victoria. This would have a symbolic function in that Queen Victoria signed the original Constitution Act 1900 and her descendants, in their Australian sovereignty, have since been governed by it, thus providing a sense of historical continuity. In a more pragmatic sense, this will provide a large, but not interminable, group of persons to select a sovereign from. Clearly, this is an issue that will need to be further debated before reaching a final position.
Persons within this group who would wish to be considered for nomination (and, in effect, establish a new Australian dynasty) will know the requirements for doing so as a Succession Act will already been in place once the amendment to Covering Clause 2 of the Constitution Act 1900 has been duly made.
Dynasticism is a traditional role of monarchies, and it is proposed to utilise this by encouraging the marriage of members of the Australian royal house with the royal houses of the Asia Pacific region. This includes reigning royal houses such as Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia and Tonga, as well as non-national royal houses such as in various New Zealand, Indonesian and Indian regions, and non-reigning royal houses such as Hawaii, Vietnam and Laos. More geographically distant Royal Houses (reigning and non-reigning) such as those of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Brazil and princely and chiefly houses in various parts of Polynesia may also be considered. This encouragement should be social and cultural in form, rather than being written into the Succession Act or other legislation.
The first sovereign, as well as future generations of the Australian royal family, can also be expected to marry into local families within Australia, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. The key point here is that the dynastic function of a royal house can be harnessed and utilsed to advance Australia's interests in the region; to embody, illustrate and demonstrate the continuing evolution of the multi-origined, multi-heritaged Australian people; and to genealogically integrate the Australian royal family and people. Any prospective nominee for the initial succession as the first Australian-resident sovereign must be fully aware, and supportive, of these expectations and requirements.
The Succession Act will be an important piece of legislation. It is not necessary to include references to succession in the constitution (other than as proposed for Covering Clause 2 of the Constitution Act 1900). This is to allow for processes of succession to evolve over time in response to Australian needs and conditions. It will be underpinned by the following concepts:
All eligible nominess will know from early in their life that they are a potential heir and sovereign, and will be able to take this into account when living and planning their life.
An eligible nominee may remove themself from the field of succesion by declaration to the Chief Justice at any time. The Succession Act may provide that such removal will have the effect of also removing any descendants of the nominee from future eligibility for succession.
Potential nominees suffering certain medical conditions which make it impossible for their views to be known may also be removed from the field of succession by processes to be set out in the Succession Act.
Coronations will generally be held in the Great Hall of the Commonwealth Parliament House in Canberra. However there may be circumstances in which another culturally significant location, such as Uluru, is suitable, either as an alternative to the Great Hall or in conjunction with the Great Hall. This should be determined in the future by the evolving customs and practices of the Australian crown rather than any legislation.
The sovereign's official residences will be "Yarralumla" in Canberra, and Admiralty House in Sydney (these are the existing official residences of the Governor General). The sovereign will also have a 'right to reside' at the Government House in each state and territory capital city. The royal family may own and maintain other places of residence in their private capacity.