In Defence of Australia’s Constitutional Monarchy

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Never before, since the Federation of the Australian Colonies in 1901, had the Constitution of Australia come under such intense scrutiny as occurred in the lead-up to the Republican Referendum of 1999. Just as there were differences of opinion amongst republicans on what form an Australian republic should take, there were different perceptions amongst monarchists on what formed the modern day structures of Australia’s Constitutional Monarchy. In this collection of speeches and articles, Philip Benwell has attempted to explain the various interpretations not just of the Constitution itself but also of ‘The Crown of the United Kingdom’ under which the Australian Federation has been formed. It is the only known work of its kind and an invaluable contribution to scholarship not only for its in-depth examination of the meaning of ‘The Crown,’ particularly within Australia’s Constitution, but also as research tool for future occasions.


“Philip Benwell made a remarkable and valuable contribution to the debate which preceded the Constitutional Referendum of 1999. His speeches and articles collected here were made or written, some before and some after, the defeat of the Republicans in that Referendum. Philip Benwell is a courageous and well informed defender of what he, and those who voted against the changes proposed in the Referendum, have regarded as changes for the worse….The impartial reader … and those who bring to it preconceptions which may be adverse or favourable, will find compelling argument and conviction based on principle, study, and the remarkable measure of political and constitutional sensitivity…. Formidably armed and educated, Philip Benwell is a persuasive advocate and provocatively right.” – Leolin Price, CBE QC

“Australia’s last constitutional crisis took place in 1975. The popular conception of the events, in Australia and abroad, is that a domestic Australian political quarrel was ramped up into a full-blown constitutional catastrophe by outside interference by the British monarch 11,000 miles away. Of all the myths this brave and ground-breaking book lays to rest, perhaps this is the most important…..Behind his tightly-argued constitutional theorizing lies a courageous willingness to speak up for the old-fashioned values, particularly a belief in public service, against the 1960s ‘me-first’ culture. He points out how well the Queen has personally embodied those values while the whole nature of the Australian Crown reinforces them. He is not afraid to criticize some of the behaviour of the younger royals and to point to the expectations Australians have the right to expect of Prince Charles and his office….If his historical vision is rich, Benwell’s warning on the future are stark….Above all, he shows how ignorance of our constitutional arrangements puts Britain and Australia at risk from ill thought-out constitutional change ramrodded through by self-serving politicians.” – Julian Brazier, TD MP

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface by The Rt. Hon. The Lord Molyneaux of Killead, KBE
Introduction: “Meanderings”
1. The Role of the Monarch in Modern Society
2. “By Our Union We Are Made Equal to Our Destiny”
3. The Monarchist League and Our Role in the Current Debate
4. “God Guard Thee”
5. After Keating – What Now?
6. Australia’s Constitutional Monarchy
7. A Sense of Identity
8. United We Stand
9. After the Convention – What Then?
10. The Winds of Change – Sweeping Away Our Democracies
11. In Defence of the Australian Crown
12. “I honour my God”
13. Constitutional Concerns over Constitutional Change
14. Australia: A Young Nation but an Old Democracy
15. The ‘Battle of the Boyne’
16. Why You Should Vote No
17. One Heritage. One Crown
18. Our Democratic Traditions
19. A Republic? It’s Not a Simple Change
20. The Trouncing of the Republic
21. The Queen’s Visit
22. ‘Save Our Sovereignty’
23. The British Peoples
24. The Westminster Crown and the Referendum in Australia
25. Our Christian Monarchy and Our Christian Constitution
26. The Act of Settlement
27. Ideologies Behind the Australian Constitution
28. Kitchener – Last of the Great Warriors
29. The Danger Ahead
30. The Monarchist Vote
31. Nineteen Seventy Five
32. We Are One People
33. Matters of Sovereignty
34. Loyal Address for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee

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