The republican movement’s argument that Camilla Parker-Bowles would become Queen of Australia on Prince Charles’ accession, and that together they would be our Head of State, is misleading. Mrs Parker-Bowles can never be Queen of Australia, just as Prince Philip is not King of Australia.

Under the Royal Style and Titles Act, 1954-1973, the only Australian Royal Title is the one conferred on the reigning Sovereign, the Queen or King of Australia. (This is incidentally the one position in our nation which attracts neither salary nor superannuation).

The wife or husband of the Sovereign has no constitutional position, title, power or authority in Australia. While the parliaments of Australia, the UK, Canada, NZ and all the other realms must all agree on any changes to the succession, the requirement for uniformity no longer applies to royal titles. This is consistent with the emergence of a separate Australian Crown, recognised by the High Court.

It is also clear that the British courtesy title, Queen Consort, will also not be used, just as the governor of NSW does not use hers. In addition, it is worth pointing out that the title Head of State has never been conferred on The Queen. Instead, whenever the Governor-General travels overseas, he is held out by the Australian government, and he is received by foreign governments and international organisations, including the UN, as the Australian Head of State.

Republicans unsuccessfully used the prospect of this marriage in the referendum campaign, and repeating this now suggests they have learned little. And the fact that your “royal watcher” has to resort to insulting and belittling terms only reflects the lack of substance in his argument. Rather than this storm in a teacup, the republican movement should be explaining why many more millions of taxpayers funds should be diverted from schools, hospitals and transport to be used on their convoluted and extremely costly plan. This will actually involve three separate votes – and that at the federal level only!

Senator Marise Payne, who holds high office in the ARM, now realises this plan will result in a republican model being put to the people which Malcolm Turnbull says is so flawed the people will reject it by a majority greater than in 1999.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey