‘Palace letters’ reveal the palace’s fingerprints on the dismissal of the Whitlam government

Independent Australia Chris Wallace, University of Canberra The “palace letters” show the Australian Constitution’s susceptibility to self-interested behaviour by individual vice-regal representatives. They also reveal the vulnerability of Australian governments to secret destabilisation by proxy by the Crown. They reveal a governor-general, fearing his own dismissal, succumbing to moral hazard, and the British monarch’s private secretary encouraging him in the idea that a double dissolution was legitimate in the event a government could not get its budget bills passed. The … Continue Reading

‘Volcanic’: Evidence of Queen’s involvement in the 1975 dismissal uncovered

Representatives of the British government flew to Australia in the lead-up to the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government to meet with the then governor-general, casting further doubt on the accepted narrative that London officials did not play an active role in Australia’s most significant constitutional crisis. Historian Jenny Hocking discovered files in the British archives showing Sir Michael Palliser, the newly appointed permanent under-secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, arrived in Canberra a month before the dismissal and … Continue Reading

An Australian republic ‘could benefit Aborigines’

A leading Australian academic and Aboriginal activist has supported a renewed campaign for Australia to become a republic if it recognises the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens and gives them more political representation. Professor Jakelin Troy, the director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at the University of Sydney, said she “absolutely” supported the notion of Australia becoming a republic but that any new system of governance should correctly recognise that Aboriginal Australians initially owned the … Continue Reading

‘We want a republic’: Australia’s states and territory leaders are united

State and territory leaders unanimously back Australia becoming a republic, meaning there is total support across the top two tiers of government for an Australian head of state. However, division remains over when the switch should be made, even as the push grows for the process to start in 2020. As part of a campaign by the Australian Republican Movement, seven of the eight leaders signed a declaration supporting the end of the constitutional monarchy. The declaration posed the simple … Continue Reading

Bill Shorten says the republic debate can’t wait for the Queen

Labor leader Bill Shorten has urged the Prime Minister to break the shackles of monarchists in his government and lead the push for Australia to become a republic. The call comes after all of the state and territory leaders expressed support for a republic amid a push for a plebiscite for an Australian head of state by 2020.   Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to work together with him on an Australian republic. Mr Shorten … Continue Reading

Long live King Charles? An Australian republic is in Turnbull’s hands for now

The first time a British royal came to visit Australia he was shot. Prince Alfred survived the assassination attempt in 1868 and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital was named in his honour. It was an inauspicious beginning to royal tours of Australia but a century and a half later the nation is still constitutionally wedded to the British monarchy. Prince Charles – the future King of Australia – finished, on Sunday, his 15th visit to the country. While there have been … Continue Reading

A royal reminder of The Dismissal’s impact

The timing of Prince Charles and Camilla’s visit to Australia was perhaps unfortunate. Just as some were applauding the royalty, others were remembering the vice-regal sacking of our PM 40 years earlier, writes Mungo MacCallum. Charles and Camilla wafted into Australia last week, to be greeted by rapturous applause by the usual suspects. As the ageing heir and his second wife preened and postured for the well-drilled spectators the royalists gushed, led by their self-appointed leader David Flint – a … Continue Reading

A Message from the Chair of the ARM – Peter FitzSimons

From Peter FitzSimons – Chair Australian Republican Movement As you may know as a progressive Australian, I have taken over as Chair of the Australian Republican Movement. I recently did a speech on the Republic to the National Press Club, which sets out our position: http://goo.gl/YBk4oF If you don’t have time to watch it, here is a transcript of that speech: http://goo.gl/Vfs5vq While we have received a lot of good will since, we need more than that. We need membership. … Continue Reading

What might The Dismissal’s legacy mean for an Australian republic push?

On November 11, 1975, the governor-general, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Labor government of Gough Whitlam. The government had been unable to get its budget through the Senate, in which it lacked a majority. New revelations surrounding the lead-up to the Whitlam government’s dismissal in 1975 emphasise the ongoing significance of the events of four decades ago to politics today. But is The Dismissal a moment that will become even more significant if the push for Australia to become a … Continue Reading

Australia PM scraps knighthood honours, shows republican colours

Australia’s pro-republic Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday scrapped knights and dames from the nation’s honours system, less than a year after a furore sparked by the award of a knighthood to Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch monarchist, reintroduced the antiquated honours in 2014, provoking criticism that he was out of touch with public sentiment. Abbott was ousted by Turnbull in a party coup in September. The politically disastrous decision to give Prince … Continue Reading

Royal succession laws changed as republic debate hits parliament again

THE republic debate returned to parliament today when Labor snuck in a plea for an Australian president while backing legislation giving women rights to royal succession. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten used discussion of anachronistic laws dictating who can become monarch to call for constitutional change — and to niggle Liberals on their own succession moves. Australia is one of 16 “reals” in the Commonwealth whose governments have to agree to changing the succession laws so an older sister can take … Continue Reading

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, QSO, PC, ADC, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland,  preparations for an activist monarchy prompted a backlash last night, as a new book, Charles: Heart of a King, revealed a dysfunctional and rivalrous court around him, compared by one former courtier to Wolf Hall. Someone … Continue Reading

Is it April Fool’s Day?

 Social media reacts to Prince Philip’s knighthood Is it Australia Day – or April Fool’s Day? That was a question being posed on social media after an early morning statement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott revealed the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, (or as he officially known: His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order … Continue Reading

As Scotland votes in independence referendum, it’s time to ask: should Australia become a republic?

An article at News .com .au asks the above question and has a poll – Should Australia Become a republic? SCOTS go to the polls today to vote on one simple question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Opinion polls suggest the referendum’s outcome will be tight. If the “yes” case succeeds, it will be the first time Scotland has claimed its independence in more than 300 years. Whatever the outcome, the push for Scottish independence has prompted many to … Continue Reading

Scottish referendum: Yes vote could leave Australia without head of state

 If the Scottish independence vote is successful the political and legal ramifications could flow to Australia, leaving it without a head of state, a constitutional expert has warned. Associate Professor Iain Stewart from Macquarie University said a ‘Yes’ vote in Scotland could “set adrift” the Queen’s representatives in Australia. “It could remove our head of state, the monarch, and thus, at least legally, make government in Australia impossible,” he said. “We need to think ahead. We may need to move to a republic and soon.” Scots … Continue Reading

Knights and dames a boost for republican movement

The Australian Republican Movement has welcomed Tony Abbott’s reintroduction of knighthoods and damehoods, declaring it has re-invigorated the republic cause and prompted a boost in members. The bizarre outcome was among the unintended consequences of Tuesday afternoon’s surprise announcement, which sparked a tide of ridicule in Parliament, newspapers, radio and social media. Speaking at the National Press Club, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten asked if the country was in a time warp, noting that not even John Howard had revived the … Continue Reading

PM Tony Abbott rules out reinstating Knights and Dames in Oz

He restored an oath of allegiance to the Queen when he was sworn in as Prime Minister, but Tony Abbott has ruled out bringing back Knights and Dames in Australia. Monarchists including David Flint and Alexander Downer have mused that the PM is such a traditionalist that he may follow New Zealand’s lead and bring back knighthoods. But critics within the Liberal Party have savaged the idea of as an attempt to introduce a “bunyip aristocracy”. In an interview with … Continue Reading

Governor-General Quentin Bryce backs Australia becoming a republic

Governor-General Quentin Bryce has publicly backed both Australia becoming a republic and gay marriage in a landmark speech in Sydney. Ms Bryce, delivering the final Boyer Lecture of the year on Friday night, said she hoped Australia might become a nation where “people are free to love and marry whom they choose”. “And where perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation’s first head of state,” she said. Read the … Continue Reading

Australia’s PM Julia Gillard Backs Republic After Queen’s Death

Australia should become a republic when Queen Elizabeth II dies, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said just days ahead of a general election. Welsh-born Ms Gillard said the Queen’s death would be an “appropriate point” for Australia to move away from having a British monarch as head of state. The appropriate time for Australia to move towards a republic was when there was a change in monarch, even if that didn’t happen for another decade or more. … read … Continue Reading

Prince William meets bushfire survivors

Admin note:  Australia is obviously a convenient stop off on Prince William’s trip home after his official visit to New Zealand.  While it’s wonderful that the Prince William who is 2nd in line and touted to be the next King of England has finally stopped by almost one year after the disasterous fires…  why wait a year? And again, where is the next in line for the throne, Prince Charles, the man who went to school in Victoria? To her credit, Princess Anne, 10th in line for … Continue Reading

Prince Charles’ Amazing Gaffe

Prince Charles has claimed that the Royal Family is past its sell-by date and Australia should be made a republic. The heir to the throne is alleged to have made the extraordinary comments about the monarchy during a tour Down Under where he is reported to have told told dinner guests that he couldn’t understand “why Australia bothered with us – we are really yesterday’s news”. Read More…

Where is Our Head of State?

The deadly Victorian bushfires in February 2009, were a horrific reminder of just how natural disasters can occur. It is wonderful to have Princess Anne as the Queen’s representative and daughter visit the fire ravaged areas. Princess Anne told the remembrance ceremony:  “Individuals and towns have responded with resilience, ingenuity, courage and selflessness to situations that were changing at terrifying speed. “People from around Australia and across the world watched in horror but with admiration at their response. “ We do indeed … Continue Reading

The Republic of Australia

On January 1st, 1901, without war or revolution, the self-governing colonies of Great Britain became the federated states within the Commonwealth of Australia. From the day when Captain Arthur Phillip finally landed at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788, with the First Fleet, it was inevitable that His Majesty King George III’s  penal colony of New South Wales would one day become a nation. It is just as inevitable that one day the nation of Australia will become a Republic, with an Australian replacing … Continue Reading