Saturday, June 07, 2003

It won't happen

Every now and then, someone in England suggests appointing a member of the royal familty to the position of Governor-General of Australia. It happened with Prince Charles 25 years ago, and it seems to be happening again with Prince William. (Link via Steven Den Beste). Well, it simply isn't going to happen. This was all actually resolved in 1931, when Sir Isaac Isaacs was appointed as the first Australian born Governor General. Prior to that, the G-G had always been British and had primary loyalty to the British government, although this declined over time. When Isaacs was nominated, the King and the British government initially didn't like the idea, but the Australian government prevailed, and at that point, it became clear that it was entirely an Australian appointment. Subsequent to that, the G-G was always an Australian, his duties were purely to Australia and the Australian government, and the British had no role in his appointment, other than the Queen ratifying the appointment. A non-Australian in the role, even a member of the royal family, is unthinkable, in much the same way and for much the same reasons that an Australian is unthinkable as President of Germany. When this sort of suggesting is made in Britain, it merely illustrates that the person making it does not understand the Australian constitutional position.

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