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The Essential Aspects of The Australian Crown 

The Australian Crown, the King or the Queen’s political body, is, as it were, a Leviathan at the very centre of the Australian constitutional system. Yet not only do republicans almost fail to see it, the Australian Crown is treated superficially in the academy. This seems to be true even in those subjects offered in the nation’s schools and universities which are relevant, such as civics, history, political science and constitutional law.

Even when the Crown  is recognized, it is  more often than not as an anachronistic  historical curiosity, a jumble of separate and  unrelated offices, each of which it is assumed could easily be converted into  a republican sinecure having no relationship one with the other.

This approach is more erroneous than, and just as dangerous, as seeing an iceberg as only its visible tip. This approach is analogous to dividing the tip of that iceberg into seven pieces and then saying each is unrelated not only to the others, but also to the vast part of the iceberg under the waves which is being ignored.  Whether we like it or not, the Crown  remains  the nation’s oldest institution, above politics, central to its constitutional system, and with the High Court, the only institution which straddles the component parts of the Commonwealth,  State and the Federal, and looking outwards through the personal union of the sixteen Crowns and across the Commonwealth of Nations. It was under the Crown that the nation was founded, it was under the Crown that responsible government was granted , it was under the Crown that the nation federated and it was under the Crown that Australia attained its full and complete independence.

(See: Leslie Zines, in the Commentary to H.V.Evatt, The Royal Prerogative, 1987, Law Book Company, Sydney, pp C1-C2. )

So before we talk about its removal, we have to understand what it is.

Why is it that the Leviathan is not so much understood, but not even seen? Is it just ignorance, or is it something more sinister? Rather than attempting an answer to the latter question, let us look at certain important aspects of the Crown.

These are discussed in the following topics:

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