The Australian Crown is separate and independent from the Crowns of the other sixteen Commonwealth Realms. The relationship is a personal union, well known in international law, and in the history of the British Empire. From the reign of George I to George IV, a personal union existed between the Crowns of Great Britain and Hanover. Today, the personal union in our Crowns is one aspect of our very close relations with countries such as the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Papua New Guinea.
In the eighties and nineties it was fashionable to downplay the links with the UK, a former prime minister even gratuitously insulting her in the federal parliament. As one of the world’s leading economies, as one of the most powerful military powers, as a permanent member of the Security Council, as a major European Union power, and also being favourably disposed to Australia, it was difficult to understand this action. The personal union keeps us close to the countries closest to us. This is not something we should lightly abandon.