Government concerned by Newman's Royal Succession plans

Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus QC, today expressed concern that Queensland Premier Campbell Newman appears to lack a basic understanding of constitutional and royal succession law.

Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus QC, today expressed concern that Queensland Premier Campbell Newman appears to lack a basic understanding of constitutional and royal succession law.

"These royal succession reforms, to remove out-dated notions of gender and the religious affiliation of a spouse, are long overdue," said Mr Dreyfus.

"It is baffling that Premier Newman wants to delay the changes further in an ill-advised legislative frolic of his own.

"We will be the laughing stock of the Commonwealth nations if every Australian State tries to pass its own substantive succession laws - the last time I checked, we hadn't reverted to a collection of colonies."

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth in October 2011, the Prime Ministers of Commonwealth nations agreed to the proposal by British Prime Minister David Cameron that the rules for the Royal Succession be reformed to allow for succession regardless of gender, and to remove the bar on succession for an heir and successor of the Sovereign who marries a Roman Catholic.

In December at the Council of Australian Governments meeting the Prime Minister and all Premiers and Chief Ministers, apart from Premier Newman, agreed to effect these changes under section 51(xxxviii) of the Commonwealth Constitution, in which the States can pass legislation requesting the Commonwealth to make changes to the law.

"I'm not sure what advice Premier Newman is acting on, but when all the other States tell you you're wrong and even your own Parliamentary Committee strongly suggests you take another look - it's time to start taking their advice," said Mr Dreyfus.