Has the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia sworn the correct Oath?

Is the Governor Generals Oath to the Monarch consistent with the requirements of the Letter Patent commanding the oath of allegiance to be that of the Schedule within an Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia?

 

4 pages, see section V.

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COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - SCHEDULE

OATH

I, A.B. , do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Her heirs and successors according to law.
SO HELP ME GOD!

AFFIRMATION

I, A.B. , do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Her heirs and successors according to law.

(NOTE:   The name of the King or Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the time being is to be substituted from time to time. )

 

 

 

 

Specific oaths and affirmations

Governor-General

House of Representatives Practice states:

The Letters Patent provide that the appointment of a person as Governor-General shall be by Commission which must be published in the official gazette of the Commonwealth.[32] They also provide that a person appointed to be Governor-General shall take the oath or affirmation of allegiance and the oath or affirmation of office. These acts are to be performed by the Chief Justice or another justice of the High Court. The ceremonial swearing-in of a new Governor-General has traditionally taken place in the Senate Chamber. [33]

In 1901 the first Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Earl of Hopetoun, swore three oaths: an oath of allegiance, an official oath and a judicial oath. These oaths were:

Oath of Allegiance

I, John Adrian Louis, Earl of Hopetoun, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Her Heirs and Successors according to law. So help me, God.

Official Oath

I, John Adrian Louis, Earl of Hopetoun, do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Victoria in the Office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. So help me, God.

Judicial Oath

I, John Adrian Louis, Earl of Hopetoun, do swear that I will well and truly serve Our Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria in the Office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and that I will do right to all manner of people after the Laws and usages of this Commonwealth, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. So help me, God.[34]

By the time the Right Honourable William Humble Ward, Earl of Dudley, was sworn in as Australia’s third Governor-General on 9 September 1908, the Judicial Oath appears to have been dropped.  The Earl of Dudley swore an Oath of Allegiance and an Oath of Office. The latter combined the Official Oath and the Judicial Oath and is very similar to the Oath of Office sworn by the current Governor-General.[35]

To mark the appointment of the current Governor-General a Special Government Gazette published the Queen’s Commission, the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office sworn by the new Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, on 5 September 2008, and her Proclamation announcing that she had ‘assumed office accordingly’.[36]

The oaths sworn by the current Governor-General are:

Oath of Allegiance

I, Quentin Alice Louise Bryce, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law. So Help Me God!

Oath of Office

I, Quentin Alice Louise Bryce, do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law, in the office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Commonwealth of Australia, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So Help Me God!

 

 

[32].      Letters Patent relating to the Office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, 21 August 2008, in Gazette S179 (9 September 2008). These revoked and replaced, with minor amendment and in gender-neutral language, the Letters Patent of 21 August 1984, in Gazette S334 (24.8.1984).

[33].      House of Representative Practice, Department of the House of Representatives, 6th edition, September 2012, p. 2, viewed 15 March 2013, http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/Powers_practice_and_procedure/Practice6

[34].      National Archives of Australia, A6661, 146, Governor-General, Oaths of Office, pp. 40-43. Following the death of Queen Victoria, Hopetoun was re-sworn on 6 April 1901, swearing allegiance to King Edward VII.

[36].      Commonwealth of Australia, Gazette S181, 10 September 2008.

 

 


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