Queensland stuck in the 19th century on Royal succession reforms

The Newman Government needs to embrace the 21st century and allow modernisation of the UK’s royal succession laws, which would do away with the preference for a male heir and exclusion of Catholics, among other restrictions.

18 April 2013

The Newman Government needs to embrace the 21st century and allow modernisation of the UK’s royal succession laws, which would do away with the preference for a male heir and exclusion of Catholics, among other restrictions.

“These royal succession reforms remove out-dated notions of gender and the religious affiliation of a spouse. They are long overdue,” said Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

“Premier Campbell Newman’s basic lack of understanding of constitutional and royal succession law could delay and even derail Australia’s implementation of the UK Government’s reforms.

The laws will be discussed at tomorrow’s COAG meeting with other states expected to support a uniform approach.

“National legislation by all Commonwealth countries is necessary to give effect to any changes to the UK law. The overwhelming advice is that the quickest and constitutionally simplest way to achieve this in Australia is for the states to uniformly legislate to allow the Commonwealth to support the change.

“This advice has been reinforced by Mr Newman’s own LNP-dominated parliamentary committee, but ignored.

“We would be the laughing stock of the Commonwealth nations if every Australian state copied Queensland and tried to pass its own succession laws.

“It has been more than 100 years since Australia was a gaggle of colonies. It’s time for Mr Newman to leave the 19th century behind and get into step with contemporary attitudes.

“His refusal to work with the Commonwealth has shades of Joh Bjelke Peterson’s hare-brained scheme to create a separate Queensland sovereignty, emphatically ruled out by the High Court in 1974.

Background:

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.


connect