The queen of what?

December 4, 2009

+A-Prospects of an early election in Australia

Some conservative opponents have legal advice saying the carbon bills might not qualify as a double dissolution trigger. But Rudd only needs to convince the Governor-General, who represents Australia’s head-of-state Queen Elizabeth of Britain, to approve an election

Queen Elizabeth of Britain is not the Head of State of Australia but Queen Elizabeth OF AUSTRALIA is our head of state. That is two different things. The Queen’s relationship to Australia is unique. In all her duties, she speaks and acts as Queen of Australia, and not as Queen of the United Kingdom/Britain.

Exactly who is Australia’s head of state and under what circumstances is debated by some people,┬ábut Elizabeth does indeed also hold the title Queen of Australia, and we should be careful how we refer to her.

Having said that, a reference to Queen Elizabeth of Australia, without mentioning Britain, would be fairly confusing to readers: GBU Editor

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth arrives for a dinner at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Port of Spain in Trinidad, November 27, 2009. REUTERS/Andrea De Silva

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Um. It’s most definitely not a matter of debate. She is the head of state, represented by the governor-general, who in turn has to sign off on legislation and approve elections on her behalf.
That’s the constitution — stitution/index.htm — which, BTW is itself nothing more than an Act of the British Parliament.
What is a matter of debate is how many Australians want this situation to change or stay the same.
A sitting government does not, by the way, simply have to convince the GG. The requirements for a double dissolution are clearly set out and the Governor-General also relies on legal advice in choosing what action to take.

Posted by Kabuli | Report as abusive

Elizabeth is the Queen of England. In a separate legal capacity, she is also the Queen of Australia.

The Queen of England has no authority to be represented in Australian government. Otherwise, the Queen of England could pass laws in the English parliament which would bind Australia. And the Queen of England does not have the power to do this.

The Queen of Australia does have the power to be represented in Australian government. This is why her proxy, the Governor General, must sign Australian legislation before it binds Australian people. But the Queen of Australia cannot pass laws in Australian parliament which would bind England.

It is true that the titles of ‘Queen of Australia’ and ‘Queen of England’ are vested in the same individual. But in a legal capacity, the two titles represent very separate sources of sovereign authority.

If that confuses readers, then it is only natural. After all constitutional law is a confusing subject.

Posted by Anon86 | Report as abusive