Royally strange move for Queensland to go it alone: report
Queensland is going it alone in changing the royal succession rules.
A Liberal National Party dominated parliamentary committee has questioned why Queensland is going it alone in changing the royal succession rules.
Premier Campbell Newman raised eyebrows at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in December last year, when he insisted that each state should pass its own legislation to change the rules surrounding the succession to the British throne, which currently puts males ahead of females.
Mr Newman was alone in his stance with all other states agreeing with the federal government’s request to refer their powers to the commonwealth.
At the time, Mr Newman said it was a matter maintaining Queensland’s position as “a separate sovereign state”.
Mr Bleijie introduced the Queensland Succession to the Crown Bill to Parliament on February 13. The Bill was referred to the legal committee, which was given until February 27 to return its report.
The committee, chaired by Ipswich MP Ian Berry, has recommended the Queensland Parliament pass the Succession to the Crown Bill 2013, but recommended Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie investigate whether the bill is constitutionally valid.
The committee, consisting of five LNP members, an independent and a Labor MP, reported the bill’s explanatory notes state;
“The weight of legal and academic opinion is that a referral under section 51 of the Australian Constitution is the most constitutionally sound approach."
“The Queensland government has decided that Queensland is to give effect to the proposed changes to the rules of royal succession in line with an approach involving separate, substantially uniform and coordinated state legislation and complementary commonwealth legislation, by introducing a separate Queensland bill.”
But the committee said no further information on why the government had “determined to take an approach that is not consistent with the weight of legal and academic opinion’’ had been provided.
The committee's report also pointed out that there had been no consultation with “other jurisdictions regarding Queensland’s bill and Queensland did not receive the endorsement of the other Australian jurisdictions for this approach prior to the introduction of the bill”.
“The committee notes there has been a loss of cooperation with the other Australian jurisdictions and the other realms by taking this approach and considers it is disappointing that agreement could not be reached with the other Australian jurisdictions on a preferred approach,” the report’s authors write.
“The committee considers it is difficult to reconcile the approach taken by the government as involving ‘separate, substantially uniform and coordinated state legislation’ when there has been no consultation with other Australian jurisdictions on the bill.”
New Zealand had been placed in charge of coordinating the necessary changes with the Commonwealth realms to ensure they all take place together.
The committee questioned whether Queensland’s solo stance might prevent New Zealand fulfilling its duties.
The committee concluded it has not had enough time to consider the validity of the Queensland government’s approach, and recommended the government seek further advice about whether the Bill is constitutionally valid.