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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 1653


Senator GARETH EVANS —Yesterday Senator Martin asked me a question as to why the depiction of the crown had been removed from the front of Australian passports. I now assure Senator Martin that, far from being a demonstration of creeping republicanism, the decision to do so represents a deference to the traditions of the monarchy and heraldry that would make an editor of Debrett's Peerage blush. The situation is as follows: On the recommendation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking conducted by Mr Justice Stewart a passports committee was formed in 1983 to supervise matters relating to the security of Australian passports and visas. As part of its initial examination of the then current passport the Committee noted a number of deficiencies in respect of non- observance of the usages and requirements of protocol and the rules of heraldry. One of the deficiencies was the superimposition of the Royal Crown of St. Edward above the coat of arms of Australia on the cover of the passport. This was an incorrect depiction of these two heraldic symbols. In addition, there was no record that royal approval had ever been obtained for the use of the Royal Crown of St Edward on Australian passports. The Crown was excluded from the new series passports introduced in March 1984 to correct this deficiency, in recognition of the principles involved in the depiction of the coat of arms of Australia.