Queensland rejects UK succession law changes

The Australian state of Queensland wants to draft its own legislation on royal succession.

Updated: Apr 18, 2013, 19:13 PM IST

London: The Australian state of Queensland wants to draft its own legislation on royal succession, which could result in the Commonwealth nation ending up with a different head of state than Britain.

The Australian government is preparing to introduce a national bill to ensure that federal, state and territory laws are consistent with Britain`s plans to allow first-born daughters to succeed to the throne.

The laws would ensure that the first child born to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will become the monarch even if she is a girl.

The bill is before the House of Lords and is expected to be passed next week.

However, according to the `Daily Telegraph`, Queensland has insisted on passing its own succession laws "as a separate sovereign state" and reportedly wants to keep the British head of state if Australia becomes a republic.

It is insisting on creating its own bill in a move described as "hare-brained" by the federal attorney-general, Mark Dreyfus.

While there are few precedents for changes to succession laws, most constitutional experts believe the states need to refer the matter to the federal government.

Queensland, which has a history of resisting federal intervention, said it supports the new succession laws "but it should be up to the States to amend their own legislation".

Experts have warned that the changes proposed by British Prime Minister David Cameron will not immediately apply across the Commonwealth and that many of the realms have little guidance on how to make the necessary changes.

A study by Anne Twomey, from Sydney University, warned that the succession laws have not been changed since the crisis in 1936 over the abdication of Edward VIII and that the changes pose constitutional challenges across the Commonwealth.

"As no change has been made to the law of succession to the throne since 1936, most Realms have no experience of dealing with the issue," Dr Twomey wrote in her study.

"If, for example, Prince William had a first born daughter and a second born son, it is conceivable that if the United Kingdom changed its law of succession and Canada did not, the daughter would become Queen of the United Kingdom and the son would become King of Canada. This may not be acceptable to the royal family, imposing constitutional problems upon the Realms."

The succession changes will also lift a ban on the British monarch being married to a Roman Catholic and will remove a requirement that every descendant of George II must seek the consent of the monarch before marrying.