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Australia has a monarch?

Roxie Faye

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[color=#9933ff]Through a series of clicks and links on Wikipedia, I found out that Australia has a [i]monarch[/i] who is none other than Queen Elizabeth II herself. ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarchy_in_Australia[/url])

I don't really get this one, even after skimming the page on it. I always thought that Australia was a completely separate and independent nation from Britain, kinda like the USA, so um... why does it share a queen with Britain?

(Why the hell do you also have a "Governor-General of Australia" ?)

I'm posting in hopes that one of the few Aussie members on here can explain this one to me. =/[/color]
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[color=crimson]They are part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Canada also has a monarch, as do most former possessions of the British Empire.

I am sure that a Canadian or an Aussie around here could describe it better, but essentially the Monarchy is a ceremonial and ritualistic sort of position with little effect on the inner workings of the country. The Commonwealth is kind of a loose association, and I believe it has grown looser over the years.

It is amazing how much territory Britain acquired when you look at the members of the Commonwealth.[/color]
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[SIZE="1"]It's due to the fact Australia is still a member of the Commonwealth, though I've no idea of the actual extent of her power in Australia, I always assumed she was just a figurehead monarch, though from the article it seems to be otherwise.

We should probably just wait for James to post, thus enlightening the rest of us. :animesmil[/SIZE]
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[color=#9933ff]And while waiting for James or someone else to reply, please also explain to me what the hell the "commonwealth of nations" is, because that [i]really[/i] makes li ttle sense to me. >>

P.S.: I can't believe you're up at 3 in the morning Ken! I have an essay - what's your excuse? =P[/color]
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[color=crimson]The short version is that, as the British Empire fell apart, the nations remained associated with one another in the form of the Commonwealth. It was and is an International Bloc of territories who have a common history of being associated with Britain, and most of that is due to her imperialism.

Not all formerly-administered British territories are part of the commonwealth. Vast areas of the Mid-East are not interested in membership, and other nations had been kicked out due to various political reasons. There are still nations applying for admission into the Commonwealth.

Also, not all of them have their Head of State as the Queen. Many of those countries are now Republics and, well, Republics do not have Queens.

P.S. Finals week. I have no Finals until Th/Fri. lol. [/color]
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[font=franklin gothic medium]Yes, Australia has a monarch. Haha

The Commonwealth of Nations as a group is quite different to what it once was. There are several countries who were admitted to the Commonwealth that were never British colonies.

These days it's really a kind of mini-UN, I guess. It's a place for countries to trade and discuss diplomatic issues.

Every year (I think it's every year anyway) there's a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which the Queen chairs. All of the Presidents and Prime Ministers of member nations come together for this.

If you want to find out more about Australia's monarchy I would recommend looking up "Australian Federation" on Wikipedia. This basically explains how Australia became a nation, when it was originally a series of British colonies.

Contrary to popular belief, too, Australia was largely settled by immigrants rather than convicts. Although the First Fleet was primarily made up of convicts, the population only grew throughout the 19th century due to mass immigration (from Europe and China mostly).

In terms of the whole monarchy thing...I'll try to summarise it for you.

Our Head of State (i.e. our highest national leader) is Queen Elizabeth II.

In this role, the Queen does have several powers afforded to her by the constitution. For example, she runs the Federal Council (another thing to look up on Wikipedia) and she has various other constitutional powers.

[i]However[/i], she doesn't really use any of them. Instead, her role is largely ceremonial. And since she can't directly govern from England, she appoints a Governor-General.

The Governor-General is basically the Queen's representative in Australia.

Governors-General are appointed by the Queen, upon recommendation from the Prime Minister. The Queen never rejects a PM's recommendation.

Also, all legislation passed by both houses of Parliament must be given Royal Assent. In other words, bills do not become law until the Queen has signed off on them.

Although I believe that the Governor-General can do this as her representative.

And although the Governor-General never really exercises his constitutional powers (other than in the most basic sense), he does have significant power. And his role is largely to supervise and guide the government of the day.

On one occasion the Governor-General dismissed an entire government. This was controversial, but there were reasons for it (search Gough Whitlam on Wikipedia).

Since then (and prior to that), I don't believe the Governor-General or the Queen have ever exercised their power to a major extent.

Also our constitution has removed several key links to Britain (such as use of the Privy Council - another thing to search on Wikipedia).

Having said all of the above, our equivalent to your President is definitely the Prime Minister. He is the head of the executive branch of government and so you would consider him to be our true national political leader.

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer them, but I would definitely visit some of those Wikipedia articles for more detailed information. :catgirl:[/font]
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