1. God Is Most High
We have two Kings! Yes, it’s 100% true. Just read the official style of our new Sovereign:
“King Charles the Third, by the Grace of God, King of Australia, and his other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.”
God endows His free and unmerited favour on our Sovereign, self-evidently a man and therefore a sinner like all of us. God bestows His blessing on our Sovereign. Our constitutional Monarch is imbued with God’s presence.
God comes first.
As a system of government, this is not trivial.
The Sovereign is checked and guided by our Creator, the King of Kings.
2. 1,000 Years of Fine-Tuning and Perfecting
Monarchies are not all the same.
Some were tribal and unsophisticated. Others, in a time long ago, were absolute and brutal, the monarch having the power of a dictator.
Well, those days have long gone.
One-thousand years of common law, a fancy way of saying ‘rules created in response to practical situations’, has given us the world’s best system from the English.
Finetuned since 1,066 A.D. Evolved through King John and the Magna Carta. Perfected into modernity.
3. Democracy Is Central
A huge feature of the constitutional monarchy is that the Sovereign does not propose or unilaterally enact legislation. Also, the King has zero executive power. These powers are exercised by democratically-elected representatives.
4. The King of Australia
The Sovereign is King of Australia.
You can forgive an American onlooker for the faux pas, King of England. They can’t be expected to know.
But there is no excuse for an Australian.
Our monarch is the King of Australia. And, as an aside, there is no such thing as a King of England, except in the history books. The Poms have a King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It’s been that way since Queen Anne.
5. Sovereign as Referee Over Politicians
And, never to be outdone by the Poms, Australia has improved on 1,000 years of history’s lessons and the democracy we’ve inherited.
Here’s what we cheekily and cleverly did.
First, we took the Westminster System as a base. Then we looked to Canada and the United States for improvements. Then we down-scaled the role of the Sovereign and his representative in Australia, the Governor-General, to something which looks more like a referee if the politicians muck things up. (To discover the biggest political bungle of all, read on … )
Now wasn’t this smart? The result is a constitution-defined monarchy, ‘constitutional monarchy’ for short, which is modern and customised for Australia.
6. Political Neutrality
Another down-scaled feature of Australia’s constitutional monarchy is that the Sovereign must be politically neutral.
Several centre-right commentators I’m reading are making the error that “political neutrality” means the Sovereign never expresses a political view.
In fact, our system requires the Sovereign to express political views, the political views of the Government of the day. The Sovereign must at all times reflect the view of the democratically-elected Government. You see this in the opening of parliament speeches in the UK.
To do otherwise is an unconstitutional and therefore dangerous indulgence. We don’t want Sovereigns saying things divergent from the Government.
Now, if you don’t like the Government’s policies as reflected by the Sovereign or Governor-General, change the Government. Don’t start harping on about King Charles or David Hurley. They are vessels.
To reiterate, “political neutrality” simply means that the Sovereign must not express his personal views.
7. Political Deadlocks Solved
Here’s a big advantage of Australia’s constitutional monarchy. If politicians make a mess of things, if there’s a political deadlock, the Sovereign’s representative – the Governor-General – can act as a release valve.
Now I told you politicians made one almighty bungle. Well, here it is. The Left call it “The 1975 Constitutional Crisis.” They imply that there was something amiss with our Constitution but they are wrong. I call it “The 1975 Political Crisis” because the politicians were at loggerheads. What the politicians couldn’t solve among themselves, the Constitutional Monarchy could in the way the constitutional drafters intended.
The very short version of events is that the Government couldn’t guarantee money supply and wouldn’t call an election. The Governor-General, therefore, appointed a new Prime Minister who could guarantee supply and then the entire Parliament was dissolved pending an election just weeks later.
That election resulted in the largest landslide in Australia’s history, confirming that the constitutional monarchy operated superbly as a circuit-breaker to facilitate a democratic clearinghouse vote.
8. Instant Succession
Under the constitutional monarchy, succession is instant. When the Queen dies, the King automatically takes the throne. No power struggles. No resistance to the new order. Clean handover of constitutional power.
Contrast this with Democrat #NotMyPresident protests when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the United States. Contrast this with the Republican 6th January protests when Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden.
We don’t have that nonsense. Instead, what Australia has is an apprenticeship of 70 years duration and instant succession when the time came.
9. Advantageous Defence Alliance
Australia is a continental land mass with a population the size of New York’s tri-state commuter belt. We have neither the population nor the funds necessary to independently defend ourselves.
Australia, therefore, needs alliances, from as many partners as possible.
We have the American alliance.
Maintaining our historic link to the United Kingdom, sharing the Monarch, and building our new AUKUS defence alliance in this context is a very good way to keep a powerful ally close.
10. Advantageous Diplomatic Relationships
Australia is pre-eminent in the group of fifteen Commonwealth Realms, along with the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand. By retaining our status as a Commonwealth Realm inside the fifty-six member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations with its 2.5 billion people and 32% of the global population, we more easily gain access to diplomatic relationships important to our national interest.
11. In-Touch With Community. Grassroots Engagement
Part and parcel of the Australian constitutional monarchy is the idea that the Sovereign and his representatives are engaged with the very grassroots of the Nation. This comes in the form of recognising worthy citizens through the Order of Australia Honours System on Australia Day and, previously, the Queen’s Birthday. These are citizen-nominated awards granted ultimately by the Sovereign on advice from the Order of Australia Council. It’s pure genius. The United States has nothing like this.
If that weren’t amazing enough, the constitutional monarchy extends its grassroots, community engagement through Royal Patronages of worthy charities.
Queen Elizabeth II was Patron of more than 600 charities. That’s two charity visits a week just to cover them all once a year. Here were the Australian ones:
- Australian Medical Association
- Australian Physiotherapy Association
- Australian Racing Museum
- Australian Red Cross Society
- Commercial Representatives’ and Agents’ Association of Australia Limited
- Mothers’ Union in Australia
- Naval Association of Australia
- Royal Australian Air Force Reserve
- Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps
- Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps
- Royal Australian Engineers
- Royal Australian Infantry Corps
- Royal Australian Institute of Architects
- Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
- The Institution of Engineers, Australia
- The Returned & Services League of Australia Limited
- The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
- The Royal Melbourne Hospital
- The Royal Society of Western Australia
- The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne
- The Scout Association of Australia
- Young Men’s Christian Association of Australia
- Young Women’s Christian Association of Australia
This is an ancient tradition not restricted to the former Sovereign.
Our Governor-General and Mrs Hurley are Patrons of the following 239 worthy causes. I list them to really drive home how inextricably linked our constitutional monarchy is to real people doing invaluable work for this country:
- ACT Veterans Rugby Union
- Antarctic Science Foundation
- ANZAC Health and Medical Research Foundation
- Arthritis Australia
- Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI)
- Assistance Dogs Australia
- Association of Consulting Surveyors National
- Aurora Education Foundation
- Australasian College of Road Safety
- Australia and New Zealand Police Games Federation
- Australia Britain Society Foundation
- Australia India Youth Dialogue
- Australia-Indonesia Muslim Exchange Program
- Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program
- Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens
- Australian Association of Gerontology
- Australian Bravery Association
- Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
- Australian Council for Human Rights Education
- Australian Council of Stoma Associations
- Australian Federation of Friends of Museums
- Australian Indigenous Education Foundation
- Australian Institute of Health & Safety
- Australian Institute of International Affairs
- Australian Institute of Navigation
- Australian Institute of Project Management
- Australian Men’s Shed Association
- Australian Music Foundation (AMF)
- Australian Olympic Committee
- Australian Philatelic Federation
- Australian Red Cross
- Australian Rotary Health
- Australian Rural Leadership Foundation
- Australian Veteran’s Children Assistance Trust
- Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association
- Australian Wildlife Society
- Australian World Orchestra
- Battle for Australia Commemoration National Council
- Beyond Blue
- Bravery Trust
- Brumbies Rugby
- Cam’s Cause
- Canberra Police Community Youth Club
- Canberra Symphony Orchestra
- Carers Australia
- Children’s Medical Research Institute
- Children’s Week Council of Australia
- Clontarf Foundation
- Commonwealth Games Australia
- Company of Master Mariners Australia
- Confederation of Australian Sport
- Constitution Education Fund
- Council of Ambulance Authorities
- Cure Cancer Australia Foundation
- Defence Force Welfare Association
- Dementia Australia
- Diabetes Australia
- Down Syndrome Australia
- Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Australia
- Duntroon Guides
- Early Childhood Australia
- Engineering Aid Australia
- Engineers Australia
- Everyman’s Welfare Service
- Ex-Prisoners of War Association of Australia
- Families and Friends of the First AIF
- First Voice
- Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife
- Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
- General Sir John Monash Foundation
- Glaucoma Australia
- Global Voices
- GWS GIANTS Football Club
- Hello Sunday Morning
- Hunter Anzac Memorial
- Indigenous Marathon Foundation
- John James Foundation
- Kidney Health Australia
- Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway
- LBW Trust
- Legacy Australia
- Legacy Club of Canberra
- Life Education Australia
- Lung Foundation Australia
- Mental Illness Fellowship
- Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services Australia
- Mission Australia
- MS Australia
- National Apprentice Employment Network
- National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
- National Federation of Australia-Japan Societies (Patron-in-Chief)
- National Gallery of Australia Foundation
- National Rifle Association of Australia
- Naval Association of Australia
- New Colombo Plan
- Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships
- Our Watch
- Paralympics Australia
- Parkinson’s Australia
- People with Disabilities ACT
- Police Legacy
- Polocrosse Association of Australia
- Project Independence
- Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia
- Returned and Services League of Australia
- Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia
- Royal Australian Regiment Association
- Royal Australian Regiment Foundation
- Royal Life Saving Australia
- Royal Motor Yacht Club of NSW
- Royal Over-Seas League
- Royal Societies of Australia
- RSL LifeCare
- Rugby Australia
- Ryder-Cheshire Australia
- Sailing for Everyone Foundation
- Scouts Australia
- Shake It Up Australia Foundation
- Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Foundation
- Sisters of Charity Foundation
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
- St Matthews Music Association for Country Kids
- Stay Kind
- Stroke Foundation
- Suicide Prevention Australia
- Surf Life Saving Australia
- Sydney International Piano Competition
- Taverners Australia
- The Association of Veteran Car Clubs in Australia
- The Australian Ballet
- The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
- The Australian Golf Club
- The Boys’ Brigade Australia
- The Global Foundation
- The Order of Australia Association
- The Order of Australia Association Foundation
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
- The Royal Commonwealth Society of the ACT
- The Royal Humane Society of Australasia
- The Smith Family
- The Society of Australian Genealogists
- The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
- Tinalley String Quartet
- Toc H Australia
- TPI Federation Australia
- Volunteering Australia
- Weary Dunlop Foundation
- Wheen Bee Foundation
- WWF Australia
- YHA Australia
- Young Australians in International Affairs
- Young Endeavour Youth Scheme
- Youth Insearch Foundation
- Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia)
- Allambee Club
- Allowah Presbyterian Children’s Hospital
- Canberra Hospital Foundation
- Canberra International Music Festival
- Cancer Council ACT
- Children’s Medical Research Institute, Canberra Committee
- Conservation and Restoration Foundation of the Church of St. Andrew
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Defence Widows Group
- Friends of the ANU School of Music
- Girls’ Brigade Australia
- Good Life Chorus
- Hartley Lifecare
- Invasive Species Solutions Trust
- Karinya House
- Klavier Music Association
- L’Arche Genesaret
- Lysicrates Foundation
- Moorambilla Voices
- Music Engagement Program (MEP)
- National Archives of Australia Members Program
- National Council of Women Australia
- National Rose Society of Australia
- Noteable Theatre Company
- One Door Mental Health
- Paint the Town REaD
- Plastic Free Schools Programme
- Scouts Australia ACT Branch
- Sisters of the Good Samaritan Foundation
- St Andrews Village
- Sydney Opera House Ladies’ Committee
- The Infants’ Home Child and Family Services
- The Order of Australia Association (ACT Branch)
- The OZY Youth Choir Honouring Defence Service
- VIEW Clubs of Australia
- War Widows’ Guild of Australia (ACT)
- ANARE Club
- Australian Cancer Research Foundation
- Australian National Veterans Arts Museum
- Australian War Widows
- BackTrack Youth Works
- Bible Society Australia
- Black Dog Institute
- Bus Stop Films
- CHARGE Syndrome Association of Australasia
- Children’s Cancer Institute
- Community Resources
- Fromelles Association of Australia
- Gidget Foundation Australia
- Girl Guides Australia
- Integra Service Dogs Australia
- Keep Australia Beautiful
- Lions Australia, Multiple District 201 of Lions Clubs International
- Meals on Wheels Australia
- National Heart Foundation of Australia
- National Opera
- National Youth Science Forum
- Palliative Care Australia
- Pathways Foundation
- Peer Support Foundation
- Pinchgut Opera
- Playgroup Australia
- Property Industry Foundation
- Rotary Districts and Clubs of Australia Emergency Services Community Awards – Ausresca
- Rowing ACT
- Royal Far West
- NextSense (Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children)
- Soldier On
- Special Olympics Australia
- TLC for Kids
- The Children’s Book Council of Australia
- The Kids’ Cancer Project
- The Opera Foundation for young Australians
- The Shepherd Centre
- UN Women National Committee Australia
- United Nations Association of Australia
- Veterans Centre Australia
- Veterans Film Festival Committee
- Australian Outward Bound Foundation
- UTS Indigenous Residential College
- Where There’s a Will (Willo)
Attending functions of all these groups, meeting their leaderships and memberships, listening to their progress or needs, sews the social fabric of our Nation. Far from being some kind of aloof aristocratic institution, Australia’s constitutional monarchy gives much needed moral-support and legitimacy to the work of civic-minded organisations.
And this list does not include similar efforts by the Governors and Lieutenant Governors of each State.
Attack the constitutional monarchy, as those with ulterior and sinister motives do when a Sovereign dies, and what they are in fact undermining is the fabulous work of the Bible Society, our paralympians, Beyond Blue in helping people with depression, Legacy and the RSLs, plus those helping children with cancer.
The budget allocated by the Commonwealth Government for the office of the Governor-General in 2019-20 was A$24 million. The state budgets for Governors need to be added to this but combined with the Governor-General’s office come to A$55 million.
By comparison, the UK Government allocated A$175.4 million for the Royal Family in 2021-22. Further, the US Government allocates A$2.075 billion for the office of the President.
Weighing it all and comparing, Australia runs a very cost-effective constitutional monarchy. Part of the reason for this is that we culturally borrow a great deal from the United Kingdom. We also don’t do pomp very much.
Regardless of the reasons, changing our system of government will only add costs unnecessarily.
The constitutional monarch in Australia is here to stay.
It just makes so much sense.