According to an AAP report
this morning, Queen Elizabeth is unable to intervene in the case of
Tuong Van Nguyen, the young Australian facing execution in Singapore,
without advice from her British ministers. “A Buckingham Palace
spokesperson said overnight that a reply [to Nguyen’s mother] would be
sent but the Queen would not act without approval from the British

This is deeply strange. We don’t know exactly how the letter was
addressed, but presumably no action was being sought in the Queen’s
capacity of Queen of the United Kingdom. Why would it? Her role of
Queen of Australia, as monarchists keep pointing out, is legally quite
separate, and has nothing to do with her role in the UK. As Queen of
Australia, she is bound to act on the advice of her Australian

Once upon a time she was also Queen of Singapore, but since becoming
independent in 1965 it has been a republic. It is, however, still a
member of the Commonwealth, and this was probably part of the rationale
for seeking the Queen’s intervention. But the Commonwealth is an
association of equals; Britain has no special status (that’s why it is
no longer called the “British Commonwealth”), so again there seems no
reason for British ministers to be involved.

It would make sense for the Queen to refer Nguyen’s case to the
governor-general, as her representative in Australia – especially if
she believed the monarchist argument that the governor-general is
“really” Australia’s head of state. But referring it to the British
government sounds like a throwback to colonialism.