The Telegraph reports today that the Australian state of Victoria is to dump the Queen from legal proceedings.
From the 1st January 2010 all criminal court cases in the State of Victoria will be brought in the name of the Director of Public Prosecutions instead of in the name of Elizabeth II as has hitherto been the case.
The State’s Attorney General and Acting Premier, Rob Hulls, said: “Having cases presented in the name of the Queen of England is an outdated colonial tradition that has really passed its use-by date”. He went on to say that "substituting the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Queen, or Regina, reflects the legal and political independence from the United Kingdom and its monarch that has been achieved by Australia".
Mr Hulls of the Australian Labour Party, who is an avowed republican, said: "This is all about making our laws and legal procedures relevant. It's no more or less than that".
The move follows two previous controversial changes to Victoria's legal system, scrapping the title Queen's Counsel and ending a requirement for new lawyers to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen.
Professor David Flint, the Convener of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, said: "It's yet another example of creeping republicanism. The people in 1999 took a decision in which they affirmed that we should remain a federal commonwealth under the crown. It's completely wrong for governments to remove all reference to the crown as a gradual sort of thing."
The controversy is due to overshadow a three day visit by Prince William which will include a keynote speech at a reception in Melbourne to mark Australia Day. This has incensed Australian republicans. David Donovan, of the Australian Republican Movement, said: "We would find it unbelievable that Prince William, who hasn't been to Australia since he was in nappies - and who as President of the England Football Association has strongly promoted its bid for the 2018 World Cup, in direct opposition to Australia's bid - would be able to speak to Australians on our own national day. You would think that just showing a little bit of subtlety with regards to this very important day in Australia's calendar would be the way to go."
Philip Benwell, chairman of the Australian Monarchist League, defended the invitation to the Prince saying: “Prince William will be King of Australia in the future and it's therefore appropriate that he's invited to speak".
Mr Hulls, however, denied that the legal change was a snub to Prince William, who arrives in Victoria on January 21 during a visit that has been described as “an opportunity to better acquaint himself with Australia”.
Good for Mr Hulls and the State of Victoria. So refreshing to see a Labour Party that has not gone soft in the head and weak at the knee where royalty is concerned. Such a huge pity that our own has sold its working class principles down the river for a few extra years in number 10 Downing Street, a few seats on the august red benches and a few of the tarnished baubles left over from the British Empire. The fact is that monarchy has had its day and monarchy by proxy like they have in Australia, Canada and New Zealand must have had it doubly so.