Why is Australia a Constitutional Monarchy

Many people wonder why Australia is a constitutional monarchy in this age of democracy and a world where most of the countries are Republics. Australia is a very advanced and well developed country of the world. Though the country functions as a parliamentary democracy, it remains a constitutional monarchy. This means that Queen Elizabeth is the ceremonial head of the government of Australia. The Queen does not live in Australia but is represented by the Governor General in Australia. This article takes a look at this system of governance and reasons why Australians still prefer it over true democracy.

Why is Australia a Constitutional Monarchy – Facts

Commonwealth of Australia is the formal name of the country

Australia is formally known as the Commonwealth of Australia. It was in 1901 that the six states of Australia agreed to become a federation. These six states were erstwhile British colonies. A new constitution was written that enshrined that the nation would be a constitutional monarchy with the monarch of England as the supreme head of the government. It is constitutional because the government functions according to the provisions of the constitution. It is a monarchy because Queen Elizabeth II is at present the head of the state of Australia.

Why is Australia a Constitutional Monarchy

Queen has no real powers and remains a ceremonial head

The Queen is a ceremonial head of Australia, who does not have any real political and administrative powers. These powers reside in the government of the day that functions according to a written constitution. Queen has to act on the advice of the government in power. There is a debate among some sections of the society whether Australia should remain a constitutional monarchy or it should become a Republic like many other nations of the world. This debate arises mainly because of the role a monarch has to play in the day to day operations of government.

She is the Queen of Australia when she is in Australia

The relationship that Queen Elizabeth enjoys with Australia is unique. She is the Queen of Australia when she visits the country. She does not have a role to play in politics and administration, but she continues to play a crucial ceremonial and symbolic role. She acts entirely upon the advice of the government in power. She appoints even the Governor General who represents the Queen in Australia on the advice of the council of ministers.

People support the system of constitutional monarchy on emotional grounds

Millions of people believe that being a constitutional monarchy serves the interests of Australia in a far better manner than a Republic could do. The main reason Australia remains a constitutional monarchy is because the vast majority of people want it to continue like this. Australians vote now and then whether they should have this status or become a Republic. There is an emotional appeal in being a constitutional monarchy. Australia, as it stands today, is a country that was formed by Great Britain as it was earlier a group of independent British colonies.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Australian Acts 1986 by SimonEast (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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