Australia has a superb constitutional system. At the centre of our federal parliamentary democracy, we have an instiution above politics which actsas acheck and balance on the political branches: the Australian Crown.
According to the High Court, The Queen is the Sovereign, the Governor-General is the constitutional head of the Commonwealth and the Governors the constitutional heads of state.
The Sovereign ( The Queen or The King) is at the very centre of our constitutional system. In Queen Elizabeth II we have been blessed with a Sovereign whose performance has been impeccable. Even those who wish to remove the Australian Crown from our constitutional system respect her greatly. So much so, many republicans say they now have to wait until this reign ends. They did not think this at the referendum in 1999.
The role of the Sovereign is not however dependent on the qualities of the present incumbent, Queen Elizabeth II. The Sovereign is at one and the same time, the person wearing the Crown and the office itself. This is illustrated by the traditional announcemnt on the passing of the Sovereign, “ The King is Dead. Long Live The King!”
The concept that the Sovereign is both a person and an office has long been referred to as “The King’s Two Bodies,” a concept discussed below’
The question who is the Sovereign is determined according to Australian law relating to the succession. This law is identical thoughout the sixteen Realms in the Commonwealth of Nations Under section 61 of the Australian Constitution, the executive powers of the Commonwealth are vested in the Australian Crown and are exercisable by the Governor-General.
The Queen appoints and may remove the Governor-General and the State Governors on ministerial advice, and on special occasions, undertake activities outside of the country as requested. When Her Majesty is in Australia, she may undertake such roles normally performed by the Governor-General and the Governors as advised.
Over the years, the Crown has been Australianised. The Australian Crown is not just an appendage; it is at the core of our heritage. Some people ask then why we could not dispense with The Queen? They ask couldn’t we have Governors-General and Governors without a Sovereign? Before the removal of the Crown is even proposed, proponents should understand the Crown, which has ten essential aspects.
The following pages deal with these topics:
Queen Elizabeth II
The King’s Two Bodies
Australianising the crown
Governors –General and Governors without a Sovereign?