Saturday, January 08, 2005

Feel free to copy, there is no copyright on an Anoneumouse montage. (click on image to enlarge)

Australia attempts to save British Constitution

On the 14th January 2005 the House of Lords will debate the Second Reading of a Bill to amend the Act of Settlement and to repeal the Royal Marriage Act. Read the Bill here

The proposer of the Bill is Lord Dubs, a working Labour Peer and a member of the Executive of the Fabian Society.

Is it not the height of arrogance for the British Parliament to debate these matters without any regard for the consequences to the other fifteen Commonwealth Realms?

Despite the horrific cost, the National Chairman of the Australian Monarchist League, Philip Benwell MBE has written individually to Members of the House of Lords to remind their Lordships that the Statute of Westminster of 1931 requires: "that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent AS WELL OF THE PARLIAMENTS OF ALL THE DOMINIONS as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom."

Mr Benwell's letter is given below. He will be addressing a few meetings in the United Kingdom during a short stay from the 19th to the end of April 2005.


4th January 2005

The Australian Monarchist League, a totally voluntary organisation, has fought long and hard to maintain our Constitutional Monarchy under which we believe our freedom and democracy is best protected. A belief which was overwhelmingly endorsed by the People of Australia in the 1999 Referendum. I am therefore taking this opportunity to write to you with regard to the 'Succession to the Crown Bill (HL)', the Second Reading of which is scheduled for the 14th January 2005, as this Bill has direct consequences for the Monarchy in Australia and that of our fellow Commonwealth Realms.

The Bill proposes to amend the Act of Settlement and the Bill of Rights for the purpose of reforming the Succession to The Crown and removing the prohibition on marriage to a Roman Catholic. The Bill also seeks to repeal the Royal Marriage Act of 1772.

Whilst the remainder of the original Dominions - (now termed Commonwealth Realms) - of Australia, Canada and New Zealand are today sovereign democracies each with their own unique constitutions, precedents and conventions developed to suit our individual environments and peoples, our constitutions nevertheless continue to be inextricably linked to The Crown of the United Kingdom. Under the Australian Constitution this is quite clearly expressed in Clause 2 of The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act of 1900, which states: "The provisions of this Act referring to the Queen shall extend to Her Majesty's heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom".

It was because of this state of affairs, which continues to this day, that the Statute of Westminster of 1931 was enacted to protect the special relationship that each Dominion has directly with The Crown from actions of the British Government and the British Parliament without the approval of the Realms as is explained by the wording of the Statute: "And whereas it is meet and proper to set out by way of preamble to this Act that, inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom."

Whilst paragraph 6 (2) of the proposed Succession to the Crown Bill (HL states: "This Act extends to the United Kingdom only" I respectfully submit that anything to do with the Succession will, regardless of this clause, affect the other fifteen Commonwealth Realms and that the proposed Bill as it stands is contrary to the terms of the Statute of Westminster and should not, as such, be entertained by the House.

Philip Benwell MBE
National Chairman
Australian Monarchist League


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that these appeals to the British Constitution will fall on deaf ears, because to accept that there is a British Constitution that Parliament cannot change, will pose too many questions re; the EU.

1:26 pm  

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