Thursday 17 December 2009

Australian State ditches Queen

Rob Hulls, Acting State Premier of Victoria

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Attorney General and Acting Premier, Rob Hulls, said: “Having cases presented in the name of the Queen of England is an outdated colonial tradition that has really passed its use-by date”.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.


  1. Monarchy by proxy right enough Munguin. I can cope with the Queen but once she 'retires' then we really do need to become a republic.

  2. I've always thought that it was stupid to involve the Queen in law. It is not her who brings a case; she's never heard of it, whether in England or Scotland or Australia. I think that Mr Hulls and the Victoria government are right.

    The Prince William speech on Australia day again illustrates the problems of the same family being "rulers" of multiple countries, sometimes in competition for money making or prestigious enterprises.

    Clearly, the same problem must occur when Prince Andrew represents the UK on matters of business. There must be times when he is obliged to root from Britain against Australia, Canada, Jamaica, or other countries of which his mum is Queen.

    The system is simply not fit for the 21st century. Even royalists must see that?

  3. Right enough S/R I’m suspecting that the writing is on the wall for the royals here and in OZ. I just do not see them (or indeed us) stomaching Prince Charles as King. I see that even the quoted Australian monarchist makes no mention of Charley ever being their King, there is the small obstacle of the succession of Charles III before we go on to having King William V. I think it is ridiculous that we have the Queen and her family here, never mind how utterly preposterous that places like Australia and Canada do as well.

  4. Tris: yes it clearly makes no sense for criminal cases in the Australian state of Victoria to be brought in the Queen’s name, you is going to be even more out of touch with their reality than she is with that here at home.

    I agree that the law should be separate from the monarchy after all are they above it in a 21st Century nation like we profess to be?

    It is totally inappropriate for Prince William to be sticking his oar in on their national day after all what exactly does he actually know about Australia and what their national day is about. The same of course goes true for him in an English/Scottish perspective, just how many hats can he actually wear all at once?

    Don’t get me started on Prince Andrew. I am trying hard not to invoke the usually colourful colloquialisms that you all know I like to employ when talking about these people. I can feel comments about helicopters, playboys and golf flowing to the fore.

    Good luck in getting any royalists to accept any argument that you may put forward for getting rid of these people, the minute you burst one royalist bubble they move on to the next old chestnut and then the next and so on back to the beginning.

  5. Tris, I mean to say that she will be more out of touch with things in Oz than she is with things in Scotland or indeed in England.

  6. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksDecember 20, 2009 2:42 pm

    Excuse my ignorance, but bringing cases in the name of the Queen seems to suggest that she IS the law, and by inference, ABOVE the law. This begs the question of what would happen in Britain if, for example, the Queen should go off her nut and dispatch Philip with a sharp kitchen implement. Not likely to happen I grant you, but it really does seem to matter that the monarch might actually and literally be above the law.

  7. Danny:

    That is how it is. Although all other members of the Royal Family are subject to the law, and Anne has actually been charged for exceeding the speed limit. I think that Charles is going to be called as a witness in some case in teh near future.

    But the Queen is the law and although not above it, cannot be charged as I understand the situation. The Crown v The... erm Crown.

    In short, she could just let her self off with a warning.

    Mind I doubt anyone would much care if she dispatched Phil. Most of the rest of us would have done it years ago