Wednesday 6 November 2019

The Defeat of the Republic Referendum 20 Years Ago

The 6th November marks the 20th anniversary of the failed republic referendum of 1999. It was the accumulation of around eight years of hard campaigning essentially on a daily basis and was a learning curve for all, even for those lawyers involved.

Nearly all of the campaigners were amateurs. Even the politicians had no expertise in a referendum proposing changes as drastic as this. The last time there were referendums was in 1988 when the Hawke government submitted four proposals to the people. These four were on parliamentary terms, fair elections, local government and rights and freedoms, all of which were rejected by the people and all of which were totally unlike the republic referendum which, in itself, required nearly 70 changes to the Constitution.

Campaigning was essentially based along Liberal for the No case and Labor for the Yes case. Whilst the Yes case also had a number of senior Liberals actively involved, the No case comprised only token Labor identities. This was totally at odds with the eventual vote when, as is estimated, one third of Labor voters voted No to a republic.

The Australian Monarchist League, which did not form a part of the official No case and did not share in any of the government funding, campaigned, using its own resources, predominantly in the outer suburban typically Labor electorates, in the country areas and in the smaller states like Tasmania, which seemed to have been written off, but all of which resulted in an overwhelming No vote as opposed to the city Liberal electorates which voted Yes.

However, it was the vote of traditional Labor that swung the pendulum against a republic. Traditional Labor have always been deeply conservative in the traditional sense. Unlike so many trendy Liberals, they honour the Queen and respect our constitutional system of governance. In the 1990s, we knew this because a significant proportion of our supporters were – and still are - Labor voters.

The nationwide vote in the 1999 referendum was 54.87% No (against the republic) which may not seem much but if a political party received that vote in a general election, it could well result in winning 72% of all electorates. It is rare that a political party receives over 50% of the total primary votes cast in any general election.

Furthermore, all six states voted No as did the Northern Territory. Only the Australian Capital Territory voted Yes, but as a territory it did not qualify as a state.

Since 1999, republicans have continued to mount campaigns and the Australian Monarchist League has continued to oppose them whilst, at the same time, promoting the benefits and security of our system of constitutional monarchy.

To celebrate the anniversary of the defeat of the republic referendum, the Australian Monarchist League is not holding a conference with lengthy speeches bragging about the victory because the defeat of the referendum was not really due to monarchists but more to the wisdom of the people who, resiling against such massive change, opted to place their trust in the Queen.

Instead, we are holding a dinner on a tall ship sailing around Sydney Harbour on Thursday the 14th of November, enjoying the fact that we remain a constitutional monarchy.

Philip Benwell
National Chair
Australian Monarchist League

Wednesday 12 June 2019

The Queen and her Australian representative

Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen of Australia, held an audience with The Governor-General designate of Australia, General the Honourable David Hurley today at Buckingham Palace. The Duke of Cambridge and Mrs Hurley were also present.

The Governor-General designate of Australia , General David John Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE (born 26th August, 1953) is a former senior officer in the Australian Army and was the 38th Governor of New South Wales from 2014 to 2019. Assuming office on 28th June, 2019.

Friday 31 May 2019

Shorten's republic plans brought no victory

The vote in this general election was not so much anti-Labor but rather anti-Shorten. This is because Bill Shorten announced many changes to the status quo.

Any change, however minor is bound to affect some people and, in this election, there were so many proposed changes that it was obvious that a great number would be voting against Labor.

One of the major changes which rarely had a mention was the undertaking by Bill Shorten to hold a plebiscite on a republic. It was only briefly mentioned because the Labor Party knew that a republic would split the vote.

The Australian Monarchist League campaigned extensively against Shorten-Republic-Labor. We produced several videos (links here: ) which were spread far and wide amongst our support base, which numbers many thousands, and we had people on polling booths handing out ‘Put Shorten-Republic Last’ how to vote cards.

Our membership comprises people of varying political allegiances, including traditional Labor. In 1999 it is estimated that one third of Labor voters voted against the republic. These are the people who rejected the Shorten proposals. These are the people, amongst others, responsible for the return of the Morrison government.

Philip Benwell

Australian Monarchist League

Thursday 11 April 2019

The Queen's Birthday stamps 2019

On 21st April 2019, Her Majesty the Queen will celebrate her 93rd birthday.

While 21st April marks the Queen’s actual birthday, King George II established the tradition, in 1748, of the monarch’s birthday being publicly observed on the second Saturday of June. Wanting a public celebration of his birthday, the King, who was born in November, decreed the monarch’s birthday would be celebrated in summer and would coincide with a military parade.

The Queen’s birthday on 21st April is marked by midday gun salutes, but otherwise the occasion usually comprises a more intimate family gathering. This is in contrast to the public celebration each June, the centrepiece of which is the spectacular Trooping of the Colours, a parade involving more than 1,400 guards from the Household Division of the British Army, many of whom are mounted.

The stamps in this year’s annual Queen’s Birthday stamp issue show Her Majesty at two recent public events. The photograph in the $1 design was taken during a visit to Chichester Festival Theatre, West Sussex, in late 2017.

In the $3 design, the photograph shows the Queen as she observes a Royal Air Force flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, during the air force’s centenary events in July 2018.

The Queen's Birthday stamps are here available

 or via:

Freecall in Australia Tel. 1800 331 794
elsewhere +61 3 9887 0033 or +61 3 9887 0236

Friday 22 March 2019

The Official Position of the Royal Stuart Society

H.R.H. Duke Franz of Bavaria (*14th July 1933) and the Crown of the Kingdom of Bavaria)

The Official Position of the Royal Stuart Society as determined by the following Statement of the Council on March 12th, 2019.

“The Royal Stuart Society recognises HRH the Duke of Bavaria as Head of the Royal House of Stuart. Under the terms of the Act of Settlement of 1701 all successive Heads of the Royal House of Stuart have been excluded from the de facto line of succession, which vests in the present House of Windsor.

No Head of the Royal House of Stuart since 1807 has made any claim to the British Throne. The Society makes no claim for the Head of the Royal House of Stuart that he does not make himself. The Council insists on every respect being shown to HM Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.”

Friday 15 March 2019

The Queen of New Zealand expresses her condolences

I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.

I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured.

At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.

Elizabeth R.

Monday 11 March 2019

Happy Commonwealth Day

Today is Labour Day, which has become Victoria’s forgotten public holiday. In Melbourne the Moomba Parade unofficially replaced the Eight Hour Day procession when it commenced in 1955.

But today is also Commonwealth Day and The Queen of Australia sent this message:

Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration, when nations of the Commonwealth agreed to move forward together as free and equal members. The vision and sense of connection that inspired the signatories has stood the test of time, and the Commonwealth continues to grow, adapting to address contemporary needs.

Today, many millions of people around the world are drawn together because of the collective values shared by the Commonwealth. In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and we all witnessed how the Commonwealth vision offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet, and our people.

We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw. With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real.

We experience this as people of all backgrounds continue to find new ways of expressing through action the value of belonging in a connected Commonwealth. I hope and trust that many more will commit to doing so this Commonwealth Day.


Tuesday 5 March 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury's speech for HRH The Prince of Wales's 50th anniversary

Speech by Archbishop Justin Welby at the Buckingham Palace reception on 5th March 2019 marking the 50th Anniversary of the Investiture of Prince Charles as HRH The Prince of Wales. 

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Prime Minister, First Minister, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Ich Dien”, I serve, is in the present tense. It is a present continuous, a duty that goes on. As His Royal Highness says there is always more to do. 

But it is much more, for it is also a statement of character, and the more exalted the role, the more demand there is on the character. 

When you are second in the land, to serve is not automatic, human nature relishes leisure and privilege: serving requires discipline, values, a moral drive that sees service as virtue. 

Never in the history of the role can there have been such dedicated service, such honourable fulfilling of the promise at the Investiture, "I, Charles, Prince of Wales, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship, and faith and truth I bear unto you, to live and die against all manner of folks."

Service was in the oath, and service has marked the 50 years, service often publicly unnoticed, unseen. 

A role has been imagined and developed, different to that of the Sovereign, probing, asking, suggesting and prompting, yet always in the service of Crown and country, under God. 

The character required includes the rare gift of humility, of accepting advice, of knowing limits. It requires perseverance, because service may become wearisome, and the self seeks to push forward.
This Prince of Wales has guarded the sacred duty of service and kept the fire, not only alight but burning more brightly with the passing years. 

Prince Charles' charity organisation is also active in Australia following the Motto:To deliver social impact, by transforming lives and building sustainablecommunities in Australia.
Service requires character, but issues in actions. There is not time, there could not be time to list the actions, they are too numerous. 

From service to young people and those caught in poverty, a prophetic voice on the environment, proved by time and events, concern for all who serve our country from the armed forces to the police, compassion for the suffering and humour with the brave and rejoicing, the list goes on and on. The Investiture was unique. Seldom can a coming-of-age have had such a setting; seldom can the weight of expectation have been so great. 

In years since then, we have seen how the honour of being granted that title has been richly repaid – in The Prince of Wales’s love for the country whose name he bears, and in the deep respect he has always shown for the land, for the language, and most of all, of course, for the people. 

As we look to the future, on behalf of all here and so many across these Islands, the Commonwealth and around the world, I express gratitude for your tireless work, and heartfelt appreciation for all that you, with the wonderful support of The Duchess of Cornwall, have done, are doing, and will do. 

May the grace with which you have fulfilled your present duties to these countries, to the Commonwealth and the international family of nations, help you to bring even greater honour to your future service in the years to come.

Friday 15 February 2019

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Caribbean Commonwealth Realms

17th March – 29th March 2019
  • Their Royal Highnesses will visit six countries and one Overseas Territory, undertaking over fifty engagements across ten islands.
  • This will be the first official visit by a member of The Royal Family to Cuba.
Their Royal Highnesses' visit to St Lucia, Barbados, St Vincent and The Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada will celebrate the Monarchy’s relationship with these Commonwealth Realms. Furthermore, at the request of the British Government, Their Royal Highnesses will fly to Cuba. Their Royal Highnesses will also visit the British Overseas Territory of The Cayman Islands to celebrate its place within the British family.

The tour will begin in St Lucia on 17th March, where The Prince of Wales will be guest of honour at an event to mark the country’s 40th anniversary of Independence, following a welcome to the island by The Governor General and The Prime Minister. The Prince of Wales will later attend a reception for guests from across the island.

On Tuesday 19th Their Royal Highnesses will undertake a number of engagements in Barbados including a parade and wreath laying at The Cenotaph in Bridgetown. His Royal Highness will then have the chance to visit the oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere, which was recently restored with the help of The Barbados National Trust. The Prince will attend a demonstration on the island’s hurricane preparedness mechanisms and meet teams involved in responding to recent natural disasters across the region. His Royal Highness will also learn more about the work that The Prince’s Trust International has been doing locally.

The Duchess, who is President of the Women of the World Festival, will attend an event for Barbadian women of influence. The Women of the World festival (WOW) is a global festival movement to celebrate and encourage women and girls to overcome inequality. Her Royal Highness will also join a Commonwealth Big Lunch, and visit a diabetes clinic, before joining His Royal Highness for a meeting and reception at The Prime Minister’s residence.

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Vincent and the Grenadines on 20th March, where key themes in the programme will include youth opportunity and female empowerment, as well as the preservation of the islands’ natural environment. Her Royal Highness will visit the St Vincent and Grenadines Community College and St Vincent Girls’ High School, where pupils have been busy creating their entries for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.

On Thursday 21st March, The Prince and The Duchess will visit both parts of the dual-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis and will undertake a programme that will demonstrate the country’s commitment to heritage restoration, the environment and local culture.  The Prince of Wales will also have the chance to return to The Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that he last visited in 1973. The Prince will learn more about the history of the fortress, the restoration work that has been undertaken there, and attend a showcase of local culture, dance and music. Their Royal Highnesses will also attend receptions on both islands for members of the community, featuring local music and culture.

The Prince and The Duchess will visit Grenada on the 23rd March where Their Royal Highnesses will learn more about local agriculture and the importance and history of cocoa and spice production on the island. The Prince of Wales will attend a meeting on the importance of the blue economy and meet organisations involved in marine protection and conservation.

Their Royal Highnesses will arrive in Cuba on Sunday 24th where, after an official welcome, they will commence their visit to the country with a wreath laying at the Memorial of Cuba’s national hero – the essayist and poet– José Martí. The Prince and The Duchess’ visit will highlight cultural and academic connections, links between the people of the U.K. and Cuba, and explore key themes, such as the arts, youth entrepreneurship, heritage restoration and sustainable agriculture.

On Monday 25th March, Their Royal Highnesses will undertake a varied programme in Havana including a joint visit to a community and arts centre. His Royal Highness will also be able to meet some of Cuba’s young entrepreneurs at an event in central Havana. That evening, The President of Cuba will officially welcome Their Royal Highnesses before hosting an official dinner.

On their second day of engagements in Havana Their Royal Highnesses will have the chance to meet a group of owners of British classic cars and pay a visit to a Cuban music recording studio. Their Royal Highnesses will also visit one of the country’s leading dance studios and The Prince of Wales will travel out of Havana to learn more about renewable energy and organic farming in Cuba. Their Royal Highnesses will later attend a reception hosted by the British Ambassador.

Their Royal Highnesses’ visit to Cuba will end on Wednesday 27th March. The Prince will visit Cuba’s south coast to learn more about the country’s flora and fauna. His Royal Highness will also attend a roundtable discussion on environmental conservation, whilst Her Royal Highness will visit an equestrian centre helping students from primary school level through to the country’s National team. Her Royal Highness will also attend a roundtable to discuss the work being done to help those affected by domestic violence.

The Prince and The Duchess will arrive in The Cayman Islands later that day, officially opening the new airport upon arrival. Their Royal Highnesses will attend a meeting with The Premier and The Governor.

His Royal Highness will be visiting all three of the Cayman Islands, and will meet members of the local communities from each island and attend a series of engagements focusing on sustainability and marine conservation. The Duchess will visit a crisis centre for young people and their families who have been affected by domestic abuse, as well as a new hospice providing end of life palliative care for those in need. Her Royal Highness will also attend a cultural performance at a local primary school.

The Prince of Wales will have the chance to meet hurricane relief personnel based on the islands.