Talk:Monarchy of Australia

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Had to comment that I'm utterly disgusted to find an article on Australia being lumped with Canadian ideas of the roles and functions of the AUSTRALIAN Government and Constitutional interpretation. I am fully aware that Wikipedia is an international collaborative project and many can access sources on this and other Australian topics. But when I come to a talk page and see continuous arguments from Canadian editors attempting to develop a consensus of how the AUSTRALIAN system works with Canadian references and comparisons that don't apply, I worry that Wikipedia is failing as a knowledge base. As bad as it is to say, maybe Australian editors know more about this topic than others and we should defer to their knowledge. The Australian system is unique, I think many have failed to note this. Just my 2cents but I have been thoroughly disappointed by many "facts" I've read on Australian articles lately. (talk) 19:11, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Kindly point out specific errors. Wikiain (talk)
Yes, one important point some have failed to appreciate is that the Australian Constitution is very different from that any of the other Commonwealth countries.Gazzster (talk) 05:21, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Divisible crown[edit]

The article states as a fact that the monarchy of the various realms are "independent and legally distinct". That is a debated and contentious argument, and certainly should not be recorded as a fact. There are practical and legal reasons for arguing against the idea of a separate monarchy, not the least of which is that British laws pertaining to the Crown have effect on the "Queen of Australia".Royalcourtier (talk) 00:46, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Actually they don't. Laws pertaining to the succession have to be agreed to by all the Commonwealth nations. As to the definition of the royal powers and the manner in which they may be exercised, they are he concern of the separate national constitutions. But the divisibility of the Crown is referenced often and solidly enough in this and other articles.Gazzster (talk) 05:28, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think this has ever been tested. Certainly before the abdication of Edward VIII and recently before the birth of Prince George, the Commonwealth realms did agree. Secondly, s 2 of the Preamble of the Constitution says that: "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." None of the acts passed by Australian parliaments can override the Constitution. What would happen if Australia did not agree to an abdication, or if Britain became a republic???--Jack Upland (talk) 11:39, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
We'd be in a very tricky situation, far worse than the one Canada is currently exploring. But it's not really something we need lose sleep over - before we got to that situation, any number of clever dicks would nut out a solution. Worst case, I guess, is that Australia would end up with a monarch who wasn't the British monarch, and while that might be kind of awkward, it wouldn't have much effect on Australia. How could it? --Pete (talk) 12:02, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
What??? Nobody would know who the monarch was.--Jack Upland (talk) 12:07, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry? If - to take your example - the UK became a republic without a monarch, and Tony Abbott decided we would remain a monarchical state, then we'd retain the monarch. This would be a bizarre and awkward situation, especially if they didn't want to be King or Queen of Australia, but the practical effect would be negligible, at least until the Governor-General's term expired. But these sort of things usually don't happen overnight, and we'd most likely work something out ahead of time. --Pete (talk) 12:15, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
Well, for a start, it's not up to Abbott to decide.--Jack Upland (talk) 12:23, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
However it may seem to a citizen of the world, Pete has a better grip on the practcal, specuation free, reality. Obviously, Abbott or his successor, not to mention legal experts and whatever influence popular opinion may have in Australia at the time if it ever comes, and the willingness of any person to become king/queen of Australia in the circumstances. Qexigator (talk) 13:40, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
You didn't finish the sentence. The point is, however, that the divisibility of the Crown is uncertain. My source is Blackshield and Williams Constitutional Law and Theory (6th Edition). It quotes Anne Twomey as saying "The root of the difficulty in analysing the divisibility of the Crown in the different meanings of the term 'the Crown'. The use of the term 'Crown' has been described as 'slippery', bording on the incoherent, deeply ambiguous and deeply troubling, and giving rise to a mass of fiction and subterfuge" (p 354). And Chief Justice Latham: "The principle that the Crown is one and indivisible is very important and significant from a political point of view. But, when stated as a legal principle, it tends to dissolve into verbally impressive mysticism" (p 355).--Jack Upland (talk) 14:17, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

To return to my earlier point, Malcolm Turnbull in The Reluctant Republic said: "If Britain became a republic, the British President would become the Australian Head of State - and until we had amended our Constitution there would be nothing Australians could do about it." (p 214).--Jack Upland (talk) 09:32, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

I've restarted this, Jack, to follow and then agree, that Turnbull is correct. Irrespective of the interminable speculations (since at least the 1930s—on which please kindly nobody continue here about divisibility of the Crown until having read Anne Twomey's book The Chameleon Crown, 2006), covering clause 2 in the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Imp) states:
Act to extend to the Queen's successors.
2. 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.
For that reason, when Charles Windsor visits Australia in a moment he will do so as next in line to be King of Australia—and so on. Wikiain (talk) 13:10, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't think there's any question that Charles would become King of Australia should his mother suffer an untimely demise, through thrillsports or being devoured by canines, perhaps. I suspect that he might not hold this title for long, given the inevitable resumption of the republican debate, but that's neither here nor there.
Whether a future British President would assume the role of "The Queen" in Australian government is another matter entirely. Turnbull might be correct if it were to happen overnight, a prospect which seems unlikely, but in any case it would be up to the High Court to make its own interpretation, and I think that they would consider the intent of the founding fathers who wrote the Constitution, and the developments which would naturally occur in other Realms.
However, this is speculation. In practical terms, if the British were to move to a republican model of government, then it would happen through consultation, it would presumably be the result of some popular decision, whether through the election of a profoundly pro-republican government or some referendum similar to last year's vote on Scottish independence, and there would be some further lengthy period before the new order was proclaimed. It wouldn't be a surprise in the morning and there would be ample opportunity for the other Realms to consider their options. I doubt that Australian (or New Zealand or Bermudan etc.) people would relish a British President's feet occupying the Queen's constitutional shoes. What those crazy Canucks would do is another question. They might like it.
As to the divisibility of the Crown, that's the current state of affairs. "The Crown" is, as Twomey notes, an uncertain term, but it certainly extends to the machinery of sovereignty in the various Realms, each distinct from the other, and all extending uninterrupted over any past or future changes of monarch. --Pete (talk) 14:35, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it wouldn't happen overnight. The future of the UK monarchy was presumably being canvassed by the Commons’ select committee on Political and Constitutional Reform, within its general project of a written constitution for the UK. Though its successor after the 2015 election, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, doesn't have that on its listed agenda—it is urgently dealing with the problem of EVEL. Either a UK constitution or a separate measure dealing with the monarchy would surely go to a referendum. The rest, as you say, is speculation. The Australian High Court's perspective on constitutional interpretation is currently murky, though in 2013 it went out of its way to find that "marriage" in the constitution can include same-sex. However, I'm sure that the prospect of a British president as the Australian head of state would be totally unacceptable. As to Canada, who can tell—until President Beckham attempts to speak French? Wikiain (talk) 20:12, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
On 11 November 2015 Turnbull said that Charles would become the Australian head of state, and as prime minister met Charles and Camilla; and a poll for the Australian Republican Movement (Turnbull a founder member and major financial backer) found that even Coalition voters would prefer a republic to Charles as the Australian head of state. A frabjous day for Mal. Wikiain (talk) 04:42, 11 November 2015 (UTC)


I have removed the statement that the Crown is a corporation. This refers to a report of a Canadian court case. We need something more substantial than that.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:51, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps we need more than your say-so to dismiss that particular source. Please discuss. Better yet, can we call on Mies to comment? --Pete (talk) 11:54, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
Does this suffice to carry the point, at least for the purpose of the article? "...In England we now (1901) say that the Crown is a corporation: it was certainly not so when the king's peace died with him, and 'every man that could forthwith robbed another'...If the corporation sole had never trespassed beyond the ecclesiastical province in which it was native, it would nowadays be very unimportant. Clearly it would have no future before it, and the honour of writing its epitaph would hardly be worth the trouble. Unfortunately, however, the thought occurred to Coke --or perhaps in the first instance to some other lawyer of Coke's day -- that the King of England ought to be brought into one class with the parson: both were to be artificial persons and both were to be corporations sole."-The Crown as Corporation, Maitland, Law Quarterly Review[1] Qexigator (talk) 14:08, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't think so. Maitland goes on to say:
The way out of this mess, for mess it is, lies in a perception of the fact, for fact it is, that our sovereign lord is not a "corporation sole", but is the head of a complex and highly organized "corporation aggregate of many" -- of very many. I see no great harm in calling this corporation a Crown. But a better word has lately returned to the statute book. That word is Commonwealth.
Maitland does not say that the Crown is a corporation. Blackshield and Williams Australian Constitutional Law and Theory (6th ed.) quotes Anne Twomey as saying, following on from the quotation given above: "Accordingly, in the United Kingdom one finds an ongoing dispute as to whether the Crown has legal personality, is a corporation sole or a corporation aggregate, means the 'Government' or the 'Queen', and whether it includes Ministers and public servants or not" (p 354). As discussed above, the identity of the Crown is disputed.--Jack Upland (talk) 14:36, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes, Maitland says a lot more as one can see reading to the end. I daresay the various ways in which words such as "crown" are habitually or innovatively used in certain contexts is fairly well known, and, like the Maitland article, the quote from Twomey is a good way of pointing out that it makes little sense for editors here to pretend to resolve issues which are often left deliberately open in political contexts. Academic and legal discussion tends to proceed by arguing points making fine distinctions, often comparing one uncertain precedent with another, with little consequence unless legal rights are affected (given or taken away, confirmed or annulled) as a result of judicial ruling. That strays too far from the topic of this article. Perhaps it could be taken up for discussion on an appropriate specialist page. Qexigator (talk) 14:59, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
Which is why I removed the contentious statement, taken from a Canadian court case, from this article.--Jack Upland (talk) 15:42, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
Well, I agree that the statement contributes practically no useful information to the article, and an expert eye may see the source as not fully supporting it anyway. If retained it could be tweaked to read: "The Crown is regarded sometimes described as a corporation." Qexigator (talk) 16:28, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it belongs here. If anywhere, it belongs in the article on the Crown. The issue is amply covered here by the "Personfication of the state" section. Based on Blackshield and Williams, it doesn't appear that the Crown is usually viewed as a corporation in Australia. The quote from Twomey suggests that this is a UK debate.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:01, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps it's a matter of personal perception. In law courts, "The Crown" is certainly not seen as the Queen. "Crown Lands" are not lands belonging to the monarch, but lands held by the public. "Ministers of the Crown" are not the Queen's personal advisors, but the Government itself. It is an uninformed common or garden view to equate "The Crown" with the wearer. There may be some leeway under WP:COMMONNAME, but finding good sources would be the difficulty. --Pete (talk) 03:37, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
I've provided sources.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:52, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
"Sources equating "The Cown" with "The Queen"? --Pete (talk) 03:57, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
The Acts Interpreation Act, S.16: "In any Act references to the Sovereign reigning at the time of the passing of such Act, or to the Crown, shall be construed as references to the Sovereign for the time being." --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 04:09, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Blackshield and Williams: "When executive power is said to be exercised in the name of 'the Crown', the ceremonial jewelled headpiece is used as a depersonalised symbol of the monarch, who in turn is treated as a personalised symbol of what in other constitutional systems is usually referred to as 'the State'" (p 352). Twomey's statement quoted above indicates that there is debate about what 'the Crown' means, with a corporation and the Queen being some of the alternatives she lists. But I wasn't saying the article should say that the Crown is the Queen. I was objecting to the bald statement that the Crown is a corporation. This is just one interpretation, and apparently not one favoured in Australia.--Jack Upland (talk) 05:18, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
':Thanks. I don't think that "The Crown" equating to a corporation is a view widely held here. Twomey's roundabout way of saying "The Crown" is "The State" resonates with me. Not the government so much as an Englished term for the concept of Australian sovereignty. --Pete (talk) 07:26, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
That quote ("depersonalised...personalised") is actually Williams, Brennan, and Lynch. It's complicated because their text quotes Twomey at length, but here they are speaking for themselves. I think the problem in Australia with the Crown being a corporation is that in practice you want to specify the state or federal government, whereas in Britain that's not really an issue. In any case, I suggest putting the Maitland quote on the Crown page where it is in context.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:30, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
"'The Crown' is 'the state'" and "the Crown is a corporation sole (with the monarch being the centre of a construct in which the power of the whole is shared by multiple institutions of government—the executive, legislative, and judicial—acting under the sovereign's authority)" are not mutually exclusive statements. The latter really just expands on the former. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 02:02, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Nick Seddon, "The Crown", Federal Law Review, Vol 28 No 2, 2000 [2]: "The identification of the ten legal entities in Australia [the Commonwealth, the six states, the two territories, and Norfolk Island] is clear and without complication. It has not been necessary, as it has in the United Kingdom, to theorise about whether the Crown in Australia is a body corporate and whether that body is a corporation sole or aggregate."--Jack Upland (talk) 04:54, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
That's one person's opinion that doesn't prove or disprove my statement. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 04:58, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
To sum up: (1) Both Seddon and Twomey say it's a UK debate. (2) Maitland discusses the debate and says it's a "mess", while tending to support corporation aggregate rather than sole. (3) Cox describes the UK debate and indicates that corporation aggregate is dominant. (4) The corporation sole article says, "Some lawyers consider The Crown in right of each Commonwealth realm to be a corporation sole". Conclusion: The status of the Crown as a corporation is debatable and the issue is not prominent in Australian law. Your opinion might be right, but it is not universally held.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:09, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

Not corporation[edit]

A part of the text, stemming from Revision of 21:49, 26 July 2007 by G2bambino (expand, reorganize to parallel Monarchy in Canada & British monarchy) [3] is discussed above. In view of the discussion, given that

  • we may suppose an author of a reliable source commenting on the legal fiction of the monarch or the Crown as a corporation, sole or aggregate, in connection specifically with the law of all or any of the countries which were formerly Dominions of the British Empire, and more particularly in connection today with the Commonwealth of Australia, or any of its states, would know of
    • Maitland's article and
    • the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, s. 16[4],
  • and that we may further suppose that such an author would be aware of any judicial ruling connecting s.16 with the monarch or the Crown of Australia as a "corporation",

have we not reached the point (unless there is any such judicial ruling available for citation) to let the sentence in the article The Crown is regarded as a corporation, in which several parts share the authority of the whole, with the Queen as the person at the centre of the constitutional construct be removed (see reasoning given in comments above) or be revised to read thus:

Both the monarch and the Crown are sometimes described as a "corporation sole" (not to be confused with incorporated entities known as corporations, such as News Corporation or Australian Postal Corporation).

Qexigator (talk) 09:59, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

I don't see why it's so legalistic. The issue of the Crown can be dealt with at its page. And Maitland emphatically rejects the suggestion the Crown is a corporation sole.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:11, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
The proposed revision is not "legalistic", it clarifies that in relation to the monarch or Crown, mention of "corporation" here or anywhere else (such as Canada), is quite different from what most readers may think of. If you wish to revise any other article with similar clarificarion, please go ahead. Qexigator (talk) 10:19, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
+The need for clarification is demonstrated by Maitland's highly specialist but informative discussion of the topic, relating the concept to the parson's freehold, but with the comment "Abortive as I think the attempt to bring the parson into line with corporations aggregate -- abortive, for the freehold of the glebe persists in falling into abeyance whenever a parson dies --the attempt to play the same trick with the king seems to me still more abortive and infinitely more mischievous." He also comments "The suggestion that 'the Crown' is very often a suppressed or partially recognized corporation aggregate is forced upon us so soon as we begin to attend with care to the language which is used by judges when they are freely reasoning about modern matters and are not feeling the pressure of old theories. ...However, the main point is that the American State is, to say the least, very like a corporation." etc. Qexigator (talk) 10:39, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
+We may also notice that Maitland, writing in 1901, opined: "I would not, if I could, stop the process which is making 'the Crown' one of the names of a certain organized community; but in the meantime that term is being used in three or four different, though closely related, senses. 'We all know that the Crown is an abstraction', said Lord Penzance. I do not feel quite sure of knowing even this." Qexigator (talk) 11:19, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
+Disambig: The "Murdoch" of Murdoch University which hosts the linked source is Walter Murdoch, not the Murdoch of Newscorp. The author cited is Noel Cox[5]. Qexigator (talk) 17:38, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
+I see nothing in the CA ruling in Black v Chrétien[6] about the position of the Crown as a corporation, but have added a link to Cox's other article which he cites in his article about the Canadian case. Qexigator (talk) 17:38, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
I meant that the process of editing this page is legalistic.--Jack Upland (talk) 00:57, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
Just as an aside, G2bambino changed his user name some years back and still pops in from time to time. He (or possibly she, who knows?) is monitoring this discussion. Editing Wikipedia can often seem quasi-legalistic, but that's the way that has evolved and been demonstrated to work. Otherwise we get editors at each other's throats over trivia. Qexigator, I find your approach most helpful. --Pete (talk) 04:19, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
That may help to explain some of the edits here. In passing, and noting that often "less is more" in respect of npov, we may note that G2bambino[7] chose to make known that s/he was, among other things, a proud Canadian from Ontario, an advocate of democracy who supported the Crown, a Canuck, had seen 31 countries and travelled over 312,000 km (or, about 8 times around the Earth), had been to more McDonalds than World Heritage Sites, lived 1 year in Australia (2001), was in UK a number of times (1981-2005), thought The Simpson's simply excellent, linked to Nudity page, was a former member of Scouts[8], used to go by the name Gbambino, and had at least 4 barnstars[9] Qexigator (talk) 09:14, 12 September 2015 (UTC)


If anyone here has sent me a message please note that a change in the Wikipedia system seems to have disabled my access, click as I might. Do others have this problem? Qexigator (talk) 09:08, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

I've no problems, but the change is annoying. GoodDay (talk) 14:30, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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