Independent Crown of Australia Network
Independent Crown of Australia Network
a network of Australian monarchists dedicated to Australian independence
through the patriation of the Australian crown
Policy Themes

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.

Policy Themes

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.

3. Succession

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
  • to be a descendant of or related to Queen Elizabeth II (this could be broadened to descendants and relatives of Queen Victoria if a wider pool of nominees is considered necessary),
  • to be resident in Australia,
  • to have attained the age of 18 years, and
  • to have demonstrated a commitment to the the principles set out in this paper.
In the case of subsequent successions, the person is:
  • to be resident in Australia,
  • to be a child of the reigning sovereign, or if there are no surviving children, to be a sibling of the reigning sovereign, or if there are no surviving siblings, to be a descendant of a previous sovereign, and
  • to have attained the age of 18 years.
The Succession Act will provide for a Royal Electoral College to meet and identify all eligible nominees, invite nominations, and select a set of suitable nominees for submission to the Australian people.

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.

4. Honours

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).

6. Secularism

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.

3. Succession

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 children of a sovereign will be eligible for succession, regardless of gender, order of birth, or any of the other grounds usually covered by anti-discrimination laws,
  • all eligible nominees will submit to a referendum to determine the next sovereign, even if there is only one nominee. This will invoke a greater commitment by both people and sovereign to each other. The sovereign will clearly embody the collective sovereignty of the people, who in turn will have indivually and freely given their allegiance to the sovereign.
A popular vote to select a sovereign from the eligible members of the royal house at each succession will be a clear departure from the evolution of the role of the crown in the Australian polity to date, although it will be reverting to older practises and traditions in determining royal successions across Europe and Asia.

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.

A referendum to determine the successor to a sovereign may be held at any time provided that all eligible nominees have attained the age of 18 years, and (unless a referendum has already been held during the reign of a sovereign) provided that it is held within one year of the death or abdication of a sovereign, whichever comes first. The Succession Act may provide some sort of trigger, such as holding a succession referendum within five years of the youngest royal child attaining the age of 18, if a referendum has not already taken place.

Should the crown become vacant (through death or other causes) before a sovereign's children have all attained the age of 18 years, the Succession Act will provide for a period of regency until the appropriate referendum can be held and an heir determined.

The age of 18 years is accepted across Australia as the age at which a person attains adulthood for all legal purposes. This will be reflected in the Succession Act.

The proposed 'entrenched clauses' of the Succession Act are intended to give it a quasi-constitutional status in a similar manner to the Act of Settlement 1701 that governs the succession within the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

All children of the sovereign will be expected to be available for appointments as state governors and administrators of self-governing territories, and for engagements with Australian missions abroad, especially in the Asia Pacific region, Australia's defence forces, and other forms of high public service as a form of training for the position of sovereign and in support of Australia's national interests.

A sovereign will reign until death unless the sovereign abdicates. Grounds for removal of a sovereign from office will be set out in the Succession Act, and will include a desire or need by the sovereign to retire. The Act will provide for the appointment of a regent upon an abdication, and the terms of that regency, if a successor to the sovereign has not already been determined.

The reign of a sovereign will be considered to have commenced upon the death or abdication of the previous sovereign, in order to maintain the convention that 'the king never dies', regardless of when the nomination process and formal coronation actually occurs.

4. Honours

The objectives of the ICAN relate solely to the patriation of the Australian crown. Issues of honours systems do not fall within the ICAN charter.

New orders of merit or other systems of honour may be established by the sovereign's prerogative or by ordinary legislation, as is the current situation.

The awarding by the sovereign, as the embodiment of the people, of all honours is an important symbolic and ritual role of the sovereign, and this should remain so and not be delegated to politicians or bureaucrats.

5. Symbols and titles

The titles King, Queen, Prince, Princess and the qualifying title Consort have evolved over a long period within the English-speaking world, and it is proposed to maintain these naming traditions. The specific restriction of these titles to the sovereign and the sovereign's children will emphasise the connections between the royal family.

The design and materials of the first crown and other regalia will reflect the origins of the royal family in the British royal house and an Asia Pacific royal house, as well as its future and evolution in Australia. Subsequent regalia will not need to be bound by these parameters.

The crown shall take the form of an 'open crown' appropriate to a royal sovereign, rather than the 'closed crown' of an imperial sovereign, to symbollicly indicate that the sovereign is subject to a higher force (the will of the people expressed through election), rather than being the highest force.

Royal styles and titles will initially follow British forms, but are expected to evolve in response to Australian and Asia Pacific influences.

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.

6. Secularism

The Australian sovereignty will be secular, and will not be connected in any way to any religion. This reflects the absence of religion in the constitution, and the evolution of a secular state and the separation of church and state in Australian history.

A secular monarchy will prevent any linking of the monarchy to one particular religion at the expense of another religion, and prevent the sovereign from being depicted as being aligned with or representing the interests of any particular religious community above any other such community. This does not prevent the sovereign or other members of the royal family from practising a religion in their private capacity.

The coronation of an Australian sovereign will not have any religious form or ritual, and will be an entirely civil and secular event, although it is acknowledged that civil ceremonies may have stylistic origins in older religious rituals.

The place(s) of interment of the sovereign and royal family will be owned by the Commonwealth and be free of any religious associaton. The public interment ceremonies will be free of religious content.

Religious rituals may be performed for the marriage, for the birth, coming of age and marriage of a sovereign's children, and for the funerals of a deceased sovereign or royal family members, but only in a private capacity. Such ceremonies shall have no official status, even though they may be highly visible and participated in by the people.