Principality of Hutt River
|Principality of Hutt River
|Motto: Dum Spiro Spero
While I Breathe, I Hope
|Anthem: It's a Hard Land by Keith Kerwin|
|Ethnic groups||Caucasian, Australian Aborigines (Nunda Tribe)|
|Demonym||Hutt River citizens|
|-||Prince||Leonard I of Hutt (born 28 August 1925)|
|-||Declared||21 April 1970|
29 sq mi
|Purported Currency||Hutt River Dollar, tied 1:1 with Australian Dollar|
The Principality of Hutt River, previously known as the Hutt River Province, is the oldest micronation in Australia. The principality claims to be an independent sovereign state having achieved legal status on 21 April 1972, although it remains unrecognised by Australia or other nations.
The principality is located 517 km (354 mi) north of Perth, near the town of Northampton in the state of Western Australia. If considered independent, it is an enclave of Australia. The principality was founded on 21 April 1970 by Leonard George Casley, who styles himself as "Prince Leonard", when he and his associates proclaimed their secession from Western Australia. The principality is a major regional tourist attraction.
Leonard Casley is considered to be the founding father of the micro-secession movement with dozens of micronations around the world established after being inspired by his success. Australia is home to almost half of the world's micronations. The matriarch of the principality, "Princess" Shirley Casley, died on July 7, 2013.
- 1 History
- 2 Statistics
- 3 Casley family
- 4 Currency
- 5 Status and criticism
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Sources
- 9 External links
||This section describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (September 2013)|
The Principality of Hutt River was declared an independent province in 1970 by Leonard Casley, in response to a dispute with the government of Western Australia over what the Casley family considered draconian wheat production quotas. The Casley farm had around 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of wheat ready to harvest when the quotas were issued, which allowed Casley to sell only 1,647 bushels or approximately 40 hectares (99 acres). Initially, the five families who owned farms at Hutt River banded together to fight the quota, and Casley lodged a protest with the Governor of Western Australia, Sir Douglas Kendrew. The Governor replied "no rectification of our Quota would be allowed". Casley reasoned that as the Governor acts as the Queen's representative, this made Her Majesty liable, in tort, for applying an unlawful imposition as the quota had not yet been passed into law. Casley lodged a claim under the Law of Tort for A$52 million in the belief the claim would force a revision of the quota. Casley also resorted to the law of unjust enrichment and successfully seized government land surrounding his farm which he hoped would increase his quota. Two weeks later, the government introduced a bill into Parliament to "resume" their lands under compulsory acquisition. After approaches to the government to reconsider the acquisition bill failed, Casley and his associates resorted to International Law, which they felt allowed them to secede and declare their independence from the Commonwealth of Australia. Casley has claimed he nonetheless remains loyal to Queen Elizabeth II.
The government of Western Australia determined it could do nothing without the intervention of the Commonwealth. The Governor-General of Australia, Sir Paul Hasluck, later stated that it was unconstitutional for the Commonwealth to intervene in the secession. In correspondence with the Governor-General's office, Prince Leonard was inadvertently addressed as the "Administrator of the Hutt River Province" which was claimed (via Royal Prerogative as the Queen's representative) to be a legally binding recognition. After Prime Minister William McMahon threatened him with prosecution, Casley styled himself "His Majesty Prince Leonard I of Hutt" to take advantage of the British Treason Act 1495 in which a self-proclaimed monarch could not be guilty of any offence against the rightful ruler and that anyone who interfered with that monarch's duties could be charged with treason. Although the law in this matter has since changed, the Australian Constitution prevented its retrospectivity and the Australian government has not taken any action against Hutt River since the declaration. Under Australian law, the federal government had two years to respond to Casley's declaration; the failure to respond gave the province de facto autonomy on 21 April 1972. The Western Australian state government can still dispute the secession.
In 1976, Australia Post refused to handle Hutt River mail, forcing mail to be redirected via Canada. Following repeated demands by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for the payment of taxes, on 2 December 1977 the province officially declared war on Australia. Leonard Casely notified authorities of the cessation of hostilities several days later. The mail service was restored after a court case deemed that Hutt River stamps and coins were legal within the principality and the tax requests also ceased. Hutt River residents are still required to lodge income tax forms but are classed by the ATO as non-residents of Australia for income tax purposes; thus income earned within the province is exempt from Australian taxation. The province displays documents supporting that no tax is paid but the ATO cannot verify the provinces tax status as they cannot by law comment on the affairs of individuals. The province levies its own income tax of 0.5% on financial transactions by foreign companies registered in the province and personal accounts. While the principality does not pay taxes, the Australian government's current official position is that it is nothing more than a private enterprise operating under a business name.
In the early 1980s, the Hutt River Province declared itself to be a kingdom, but soon after reverted to its original status of a principality. The principality proceeded to release a number of its own stamps and coins. In September 2006, Leonard Casely decided to change the name to "Principality of Hutt River" and dropped the word "Province".
The Principality of Hutt River is situated 517 km (354 mi) north of Perth, along the Hutt River. It is about 75 square kilometres (29 sq mi; 19,000 acres) in size. Exports include wildflowers, stamps and coins and agricultural produce which is also exported overseas. Tourism is also important to the economy, with 40,000 tourists visiting the principality every year.
While the principality has only 23 actual residents, it claims a worldwide citizenry of 14,000. The principality has no standing army, but a number of its citizens have been awarded military commissions. Honorary guardsmen attend the prince on formal occasions and, despite being completely landlocked, naval commissions have been conferred on supporters of the principality.
Since 2 September 2004, Hutt River Province/Principality has accepted company registrations. At least one company experienced in the registration of entities in traditional offshore jurisdictions (British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands etc.) as tax havens has been authorised to act as a registered agent for PHR incorporations. On 29 March 2005 the Hutt River Province International Business Company announced that it would accept registrations of company trusts which have since been promoted worldwide by registered financial agents. Concerned that Hutt River registrations "may be sold as part of a tax avoidance or evasion arrangement", in April 2012 the Australian Taxation Office warned potential purchasers that the registrations have no legal basis and "could be illegal". A variety of licenses are also available. Hutt River also allows car registrations, including issuing license plates to overseas vehicles. The principality's capital, Nain, is named after Nain in Galilee.
When the Principality of Hutt River seceded, a bill of rights, a brief document outlining the rights of "Hutt River" citizens, was drafted. It also provided for an administration board to govern the principality until a permanent form of government could be established. When Casley declared himself "Prince", the administration board clause lost effect and the Hutt River Principality became a benevolent absolute monarchy, with a legislation committee to draft new legislation.
In 1997, the legislation committee presented a proposal for a constitution to the prince and his cabinet. Although the prince and cabinet are yet to officially adopt and promulgate the proposal, there is a decree stating that any constitution will be in effect while under consideration, except for any clauses that conflict with the bill of rights, so the proposal has essentially become a provisional constitution.
|His Royal Highness The Prince of Hutt|
HRH Prince Leonard I of Hutt
|Heir apparent:||HRH Crown Prince Ian|
|First monarch:||Prince Leonard I of Hutt|
|Formation:||21 April 1970|
"His Royal Highness Prince Leonard I of Hutt" is the style which has been used by Leonard George Casley since his creation of the Hutt River Principality. Leonard Casely was married to Shirley (née Shirley Butler) until her death on 7 July 2013. Hutt River went into a period of mourning, closing some of its services. She was styled as "Her Royal Highness Princess Shirley of Hutt, Dame of the Rose of Sharon". They have seven adult offspring, among them Ian Casley ("Crown Prince Ian", born 1947) who is styled as the Prime Minister of the principality and has been designated as his father's eventual successor as "heir presumptive". Leonard Casley states that the use of titles is purely practical as they are required for legal purposes.
Ian Casley is involved heavily in wildflower production, with the product not only being exported to Perth, Western Australia but to many cities internationally. Shirley Casley played host to dignitaries and diplomatic representatives visiting the principality each year as well as receiving television crews and magazine journalists. She was the royal patron and chairman of the board of directors of the Red Cross of Hutt, a parallel organisation to the International Red Cross.
Prince Leonard pursued a number of occupations before purchasing a large wheat farm near the towns of Northampton and Geraldton, Western Australia in the 1960s. A former mathematician and physicist who wrote articles for NASA, he had a star named in his honour. He is an adherent of hermeticism, a subject on which he has privately published a number of research papers and books.
A set of low denomination banknotes was introduced in 1974. The first Hutt River coins were not issued until 1976. The currency of the Hutt River Province Principality is the Hutt River Dollar, which is divided into 100 cents. The Hutt River Dollar is tied at a one-to-one ratio with the Australian dollar.[clarification needed]
First series: 1976-78
There were four denominations: 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c. These were issued between 1976 and 1978, but the 1978 issue was a proof only issue. There was also a silver $30 coin and a gold $100 coin, struck only in proof.
|Value||Technical parameters||Description||Date of first minting|
|5c||16.5 mm||Aluminium||Plain||Leonard Casely||Coat of arms||1976|
|$30||38.1 mm||999‰ silver||Reeded|
|$100||25 mm||24 carat gold||Plain|
|For table standards, see the coin specification table.|
Silver Jubilee $1 coin
In 1977, $1 coins were struck to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II. These coins are known as "holey dollars", a nickname which is applied to the extremely rare New South Wales 5/- coin and the Prince Edward Island 5/- coin, which were cut and counterstamped from Spanish-American Pieces of Eight (8 Reales). Coins of the same design were struck again in 1978, without the inscription "Queens's Jubilee".
Most of the coins of later series have specific commemorative topics and are usually made of precious metal. In 1989 a $100 denomination proof commemorative coin was issued containing 1 troy ounce of pure palladium. Sold for $299 in 1989, the 2012 value of the palladium content is $630. The issuance of coins went on until 2000, and resumed with new issues beginning in 2007 to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of Leonard and Shirley Casley.
Status and criticism
||This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (September 2013)|
The Australian Government on its official website has stated that it does not recognise the secession of Hutt River Province.
The Australian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Jeremy Bruer, upon hearing that an office purporting to represent the "Hutt River Province" was operating in Dubai, allegedly selling travel documents, stated that the Australian Government did not recognise the "Hutt River Province", legally or in any other way. An Iranian man who claimed to be an ambassador representing Hutt River Province, a Pakistani and a French woman were subsequently charged over the issuing of false passports and attempts to sell land to UAE residents under false pretences. Casley stated that the Iranian man had no diplomatic standing in the principality and had only made a single visit to the province.
Bruer further stated: "The area of land which is described as the 'Hutt River Province' is a privately owned wheat-growing property on the Hutt River, north of Geraldton in the State of Western Australia. It has no special status. It has no separate sovereignty and remains subject to the Australian Constitution and the laws of Australia." Regarding the use of titles, the ambassador said that: "The Australian Government does not recognise the 'royal titles' nor titles of office, such as 'Head of State', 'State minister' and 'Minister for Foreign Affairs' assumed by the family owning the property nor the use of terms such as 'consulates' and 'principality' in relation to the 'Hutt River Province'".
However, the Hutt River Province argues that it is an independent entity within the Australian legal system and the Commonwealth has no right to dispute the claimed de facto legality that it was given in error by the Governor-General's office, and its own failure to respond to the claim. According to Casley, to overturn this de facto recognition, the West Australian Governor's office would have to submit the secession to arbitration, something which the Hutt River Province claims is not done due to legal uncertainty over the result, related to the fact that Western Australia in its entirety was never officially proclaimed as British Territory. Passports issued by the "Hutt River Province" are not legally recognised by the Australian Government, but have been accepted on a case-by-case basis for overseas travel.
In 2010, Brendon Grylls, the Western Australian Minister for Regional Development and Lands, was asked if his state had a position on the province. He replied "Only that Prince Leonard is an enigma ... There is nothing currently on my agenda as Minister ...that relates to that."
Treatment by Australian government departments
On the whole, Australian Government departments do not interfere with the Principality of Hutt River. While the Australian Taxation Office has issued a warning on its website for overseas investors not to purchase companies from the PHR, it has not otherwise acted against the principality. The National Museum of Australia contains an exhibition on the theme of 'Separation' within Australia which includes a Hutt River Province display which states that Casley had "successfully seceded from Australia". According to Judy Lattas, a sociologist at Macquarie University; "many officials in Western Australia, some quite high up, and even nationally in Australia are happy to play out the myth of Hutt River’s sovereignty [by] attending [Hutt River] functions, returning correspondence [and] abandoning the claim for tax."
The principality registers universities in its territory, which is illegal within Australia. However, the government authorities have not acted against PHR and several online universities operate and are registered in the principality. While some of these online universities have been exposed as "accreditation mills", St. Linus University, a government accredited online university based in the Philippines is also registered in the PHR. Similarly, the PHR does not pay taxes to the ATO. The ATO has also stated that Leonard Casely is "a non-resident of Australia for income tax purposes" 
Government Social Security was withdrawn from all citizens of Hutt River at the time of secession, including benefits normally paid to war veterans.
Treatment by European government departments
In 2008, the Council of the European Union issued a memorandum identifying Hutt River passports among known "fantasy passports ... issued by private organisations and individuals" to which a visa should not be affixed. The memorandum makes no recommendation for handling of a Diplomatic passport issued by the Principality of Hutt River.
Treatment by Asian countries
Hong Kong, while not recognising Hutt River as a country, recognises it as a place in which a company can be incorporated, though no companies were incorporated in Hutt River on the Hong Kong registry. The Hong Kong Registry, however, were looking at reviewing their list of accredited places for company incorporation after the issue was raised in an adverse manner by Australian media.
- "A man's Hutt is his castle", The Age, 24 April 2010.
- Micronation Master: Prince Leonard of Hutt River Bloomberg Businessweek 17 May 2012
- "Secession Success". The Advertiser. 8 June 2008.
- Hutt River Province ninemsn Getaway 14 October 2004
- Flying the flag for the Waterfront Northern Territory News 18 March 2012
- Ryan, John (2006). Micronations. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74104-730-7.
- The Royal Showman ABC News May 05, 2010
- "Offshore Financial And Legal Consultant". The Offshore Yellow Pages. A directory of Tax Havens. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- Micronation renaming
- Brendan Hutchens (16 April 2003). "Prince Leonard". George Negus Tonight: people. Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 28 July 2007. "took the title 'Prince', his wife became Princess Shirley, and together they turned their principality into a tourist destination."
- "The Mouse that Roared", ABC News, 18 April 2010
- "The unknown country within Australia", Off the Path, 17 June 2011.
- Development of Asset Protection Structures "Mondaq Business Briefing" Mondaq Ltd. 29 March 2005 HighBeam Research accessed 14 June 2012
- Aggressive Tax Planning: 'Hutt River Province' and international business companies Australian Taxation Office
- "Hutt River's 'princess' Shirley Casley dies aged 85". theaustralian.com.au. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- Rewards for Rebellion: Tiny Nation and Crown for Life The New York Times 1 February 2011
- HRH Princess Shirley Principality of Hutt River.com
- "Exhibitions: Eternity - Separation". NMA Homepage. National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 13 May 2007. "In a further application of bush law he changed the province to a principality and declared himself Prince Leonard and his wife Princess Shirley. He had successfully seceded from Australia."
- Ed Rochette One-man nation strikes again Chicago Sun-Times 19 November 1989 HighBeam Research accessed 14 June 2012
- Palladium prices Live Palladium prices in AUD per ounce.
- "Australian Government Does Not Recognise The Hutt River Province". Australian Embassy, United Arab Emirates. Retrieved 22 May 2009.
- Eternity: Separation National Museum of Australia
- "Would you want a degree from this man?" by Andrea Mayes, 25 May 2008, Sunday Times, p. 19.
- New Trends in Credential Abuse (fake universities) Accredibase 2011 Report, p. 32
- St. Linus University University website.
- "Now Leonard wants a uni.", by Karen Valenti, 17 February 2003, Gold Coast Bulletin, p. 15
- http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-17/micronation-master-prince-leonard-of-hutt-river#p2 Bloomberg Business Week "Micronation Master:Prince Leonard of Hutt River"
- Heaton, Andrew "Prince-of-the-outback" http://reason.com/archives/2013/05/14/prince-of-the-outback/1 June 2013
- Information concerning known fantasy and camouflage passports
- Mercer, Daniel "Hong Kong gives nod to Hutt River", The West Australian, 28 January 2012, p. 23.
- Wood, Leonie (26 January 2012). "Some like it hutt but others beg to differ". The Age.
- "Mini-states Down Under are sure they can secede" by Nick Squires, The Daily Telegraph, 24 February 2005
- "If at first you don't secede…" by Mark Dapin, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 February 2005, pp. 47–50
- "Unusual World Coins", by Colin R. Bruce, Krause Publications, 2005, ISBN 0-87349-793-7, p. 240
- Principality of Hutt River (PHR) The ONLY WEBSITE of the Principality of Hutt River
- Passing of HRH Princess Shirley July 07 2013
- PHR Royal College of Heraldry Honours and Awards
- HRH Prince Leonard's 87th Birthday honours
- "Celebration of Life" Commemorative stamp release Aug 27 2013
- Time Magazine article/1975
- ABC TV transcript/2003
- Interview with Prince Leonard
- Cabinet Magazine Edition article on Hutt River Principality,
- Hutt River profile at Google Books