Australian Crown Generation II

The Crown in Australia is no longer an Imperial Crown of Britain.

The Australian Crown is a descendant of the Imperial British Crown of old.

But this is a young and new democratic Crown for Australia, imbued with a democratic ethos.

It’s formal date of birth is the 3rd of September 1939.

The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 serves as its birth certificate.

The Commonwealth took the lead, and the Australian States followed through on the 3rd of March 1986 with the Australia Acts 1986. The Prime Minister at that time was Bob Hawke, who is best remembered for his comment after Australia II won the America’s Cup in 1983.

On the day of the birth of the Crown of Australia, Australia declared war against Nazi Germany. The Prime Minister of the day, Robert Menzies, informed Australians through a live radio broadcast that Australia was in a state of war against fascism.

Prime Minister Robert Menzies – Melancholic Duty Radio Broadcast – 3rd September 1939

The second generation Crown of Australia was born through a declaration of freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and democracy. In the Second World War Australians fought with the other major democratic nations to protect the world from fascism, racism and some of the worst forms of genocide.

Following the Second World War, Australia was a founding member of the United Nations and one of the eight nations involved with drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The aim is to preserve an international order based on the human rights and the rule of law.

Today, the Crown in Australia remains poorly understood. The High Court outlined some of the meanings of the Crown in Australia in the Sue vs Hill 1999 case.

In a paper about this case and the meaning of the Crown in Australia, Professor Anne Twomey summarised five meanings of the Crown:

  1. 1. the Sovereign’s regalia;
  2. 2. the body politic;
  3. 3. the international personality of a body politic;
  4. 4. the ‘government’ or ‘executive’; and
  5. 5. the office of the Sovereign and the capacity in which the Sovereign acts.
Twomey, Anne, Responsible Government and the Divisibility of the Crown. Public Law, pp. 742-767, Winter 2008, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/137, Available at SSRN:

The second generation Crown in Australia is the body politic (at least for the Commonwealth and states). It refers to the international personality of the Australian body politic. The divisible Crowns in Australia are synonymous with the ‘government’ or ‘executive’ of the Commonwealth and each of the six states, independent of each other.

Each of the six Australian states has a current Act of Parliament that defines the Crown in right of their respective state. The definitions vary slightly, but they generally affirm the Crown in right of their state as being the government of the state.

For example, in New South Wales the Crown Proceedings Act 1988 No 70 states:

  1. Crown means the Crown in right of New South Wales, and includes:
    (a) the Government of New South Wales, and
    (b) a Minister of the Crown in right of New South Wales, and
    (c) a statutory corporation, or other body, representing the Crown in right of New South Wales.

The body politics in Australia are democratic. We elect parliamentarians to serve our communities. We have a Westminster system where the party with the majority in the lower house form government and is responsible to the people through Parliament. The Crown in Australia is a democratic institution that enables our federal system of government with three tiers (federal, state and local).

Yet, we still have the legacy from the old British Crown of a monarch and hereditary rules of succession for our head of state.

One option for an Australian republic is to replace the monarch with an elected Australian to serve a fixed term in office as our head of state. We could leave everything else as it is in the constitutional monarchy. We could even keep the Crowns of Australia, and turn them into democratic modern second generation Crowns.

Australian Crown – Gen II

Crown in right of the Commonwealth – remember WW II

Crown in right of the states – remember Australia II

We have one more step to complete and that is to recognise the Crown of Australia as a second generation Crown born in an age of democracy.


This is an anthropomorphic take on the Crown, which is a common narrative technique used to attribute human characteristics or behaviour to an object.

In this case it is attributing the start or establishment of the divisible Crown of Australia as an initial stage in a lifecycle – commonly referred to as a ‘birth’.

It is also seeing the change from the old British Crown to the new divisible Crown in Australia as a generational change.

If the old British Crown is nearly 1000 years old, starting with the Norman invasion of England, the second generation Crown in Australia is a mere infant. It is in the stage of life before even being baptised (in a Christian sense), before it has been given a name and prior to being introduced to the community and world. It has the potential to protect our rights and freedoms. But it cannot speak yet, it is vulnerable, and it needs to be protected and nurtured. In today’s world, we need to protect our democratic institutions.

Replacing the monarch with an elected Australian to serve as head of state for a fixed term under the Crown of Australia – would be the introduction of “Australia II” to the world.
A target date for the first elected Australian to replace the monarch under the Crown of Australia is the 3rd of September 2032.