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Thursday, 10 May 1973
Page: 2018

Mr GRASSBY (Riverina) (Minister for Immigration) - I rise to reply briefly to one rather important matter raised by honourable members because the points they made about the oath of allegiance deserve, I think, to be commented upon. But there is a factor that perhaps the mover of the amendment, the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Sinclair), has not taken into account and I would draw his attention to it because it is very germane and one of the reasons why we made this change. The honourable member has perhaps overlooked this. If the amendment were accepted in its present form it would have to be changed again because notice has been given that the Sovereign has approved a new formulation of style and titles. I want to give to the House the new style and titles that the Sovereign has approved. The new formulation is, as was mentioned in the House of Repre.sentitives on 1st May: 'Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.' These are the new style and titles which at some stage will come in.

Mr Sinclair - If you look at the present Bill you will see that the full style and titles are not used. It is customary in swearing allegiance not to use the full style and titles.

Mr GRASSBY - I take the point. But I just draw the honourable member's attention to the fact that the oath of allegiance and the affirmation of allegiance in this case are in fact in the Schedule of the Bill so they cannot be altered. They are a part of this Bill. It is obligatory on all the people responsible for administering those oaths to follow the formulation which of course in the words of the Opposition's amendment is: 'Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second of Australia. Her heirs and successors. . .'.I must say that it is because of such confusions that we have proposed the change. If this amendment were adopted and a Bill brought in - undoubtedly it would receive the unanimous support of the Parliament - I would have to come back in 2 or 3 months time and bring in another amendment to the Bill and we would be just as confused. Really, as the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) said, it was a small matter. Allegiance does not change. I suggest on this occasion, in view of the fact that we have made the changes, that if after the changes have been made to the Royal style and titles the Opposition feels like moving an amendment it should by all means do so. But, quite frankly, at this stage to accept the amendment would be to add to the confusion and would not help the situation which the honourable member for New England has advanced to me tonight. For those reasons we cannot accept the amendment.

Question put:

That the clause proposed to be omitted (Mr Sinclair's amendment) stand part of the Bill.

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