The Hutt River Province Principality
Independent Soveriegn State in West Australia
The Casley families had been farming for some twenty odd years. In
November 1969 they received a Wheat Quota of 1647 bushels for their
18,500 acre property which was jointly owned by five people. Under this new Quota
it would have taken five hundred years to crop the same average amount
of wheat that had been harvested in the previous twenty years.
The gross proceeds would not have even paid the interest on the hire purchase
on two four-wheel drive tractors. This did not not allow
any return for maintenance of their homes and families.
Naturally this was considered an intolerable situation in
which to be placed. The matter of an appeal to remedy this situation
was immediately considered.
It was found that the Western Australian Government had in fact no legislation
to judicially validate their action. However there was a Wheat Quota Bill
before Parliament being discussed.
The bill contained two clauses which were of grave concern: no appeals
would be allowed against the Quotas granted: and no compensation would be
allowed for any losses suffered as a result of Quotas.
These clauses strongly clashed with the law stating that Her Majesty is liable in
Tort as a master to a servant .... and were considered as an attempt to
deny a certain section of the public it's rights in law, making it
imperative to lodge a strong protest against the Wheat Quota
prior to the bill becoming law. Were this to be applied against them
in the letter of the law, no protest would have been allowed.
A protest was therefore lodged with the Wheat Quota Board,
the Premier of Western Australia and the Governor of
Western Australia, Sir Douglas Kendrew. No reply was received from the
Wheat Quota Board or the Premier of Western Australia. However, the
Governor took the matter up, calling for Ministerial advice.
The Governor duly passed down the Ministerial advise that no alteration
whatsoever would be allowed to the Casley's Wheat Quota.
The principal in law of "Unjust Enrichment" was now applicable to this situation. It
states "If something is unjustly taken compensation must be made" and Her Majesty's
law of Tort now fully applied.
How to effect a reversal of the governor's decision was a tough question.
The necessity to do so was imperative. Therefore it was decided to appeal to
Her Majesty for Independence. This would draw attention to the actual
gravity of the situation. Further, a claim under the Unjust Enrichment
would add further weight.
The Wheat Quota ratio was used to calculate the damage. Under this Quota
it would be necessary to purchase an additional 1,800,000 acres
of land to be able to crop wheat to the total acreage that could otherwise
have been done without the Quota. This additional vast acreage, would have cost approximately
As the purpose of the Claim was not to obtain money, it was done as a
"Territorial Compensation Claim" which was in addition to the appeal for
independence. This was duly lodged with the Governor Sir Douglas Kendrew,
who accepted the claim.
The day after the claim was lodged there were Ministerial moves. Two
weeks later a bill was introduced into Parliament whereby the Government
would have the power to resume any rural lands. The exercising of such
power to resume any rural lands by the Western Australian Government upon the Casley families,
should the bill have become law, may well have been an easy answer to the claim on the West
By this time they were not only annoyed and gravely concerned, but were also
frightened. A family meeting was called to consider the gravity of the
At this meeting a law was discussed which states that if the economy has
been taken and a threat to the loss of the lands exists, a
self-preservation Government may be formed. It was decided to exercise
this entitlement and serve a formal secession notice. This would effect a
judicial block against any resumption of their lands under Western
Australian administrative law, as the law states that all administrative
laws existing cease immediately upon secession and must be re-legislated.
So on the twenty-first day of April 1970, formal notice of secession
was duly served on the Premier Sir David Brand, the Governor Sir Douglas
Kendrew, the Acting Prime Minister of Australia Mr John McEwen, and the
Governor General of Australia, Sir Paul Hasluck.
The formal secession document contained two parts: firstly the secession
and secondly the offering of Sovereignty to Her Majesty. The latter
is now by judicial law invested with the Government in occupancy.
The Queen could have accepted under a Royal Prerogative absolute. The Queen
did not have to take Ministerial advise. This is one of the very few such
prerogatives left to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
The Governor of West Australia immediately convened a meeting between
his Secretary and The Administrator of the Hutt River Province. The matter
for discussion was the potential of this small land locked
Sir Paul Hasluck wrote asking to do nothing further until they had
heard from the Commonwealth of Australia Government. To this they
cordially agreed. Subsequently the Acting Prime Minister of Australia
wrote that he could not intervene. A copy of this letter was sent to
Sir Paul Hasluck. In reply he wrote that it was unconstitutional for the
Commonwealth to intervene in this secession.
The Casleys replied that upon this commitment the law of estoppel was now considered
to be in full application. Section
9(1.2.43.) of the Westminster Statute in conjunction with Section 61 of
the Western Australian Constitution were relative, as was the Section
of the Commonwealth Constitution which allowed the Commonwealth to waive
any constitutional powers it may have to allow a problem to be proceeded
with. This authority to proceed had in effect been granted by the referenced
letter if any constitutional powers were to be argued at a latter stage.
Discussions in correspondence with Sir Paul Hasluck, after being
raised by Sir Douglas Kendrew, suggested that the passing of an Imperial Statute
and issuance of a confirmatory document were not necessary for the validity
of the secession; that in this case validity came from the Entitlement
Having seceded from the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Western
Australia required that the people of the Province elect a Government.
A Board of four Administrators with Leonard George Casley as the Administrator
was duly elected to govern the seceded area which the Board named the
HUTT RIVER PROVINCE. Adoption of a Provincial Flag was also a judicial
requirement with which the Board duly complied.
Then the British Diplomatic Laws of recognition of a new foreign Government
were followed. Firstly it is a Royal Prerogative to recognise a
new foreign Government; and secondly in the Principle in Law when it is
under consideration to give such recognition it is specified that validity
is not the question, and that the right of the Government to speak for the
people it represents is to be considered.
The Government of the Hutt River Province was the only Government speaking
for the people of it's Territories and it had emerged as a self-preservation
Government. Two exchanges of correspondence were made with the Governor
General's Department with the data as required. Following the second
exhange Mr.L.Casley was then cordially addressed as the Administrator
of the Hutt River Province. The Royal Prerogative states that once this
recognition is given it is binding on all Courts.
Laws upon Royal Prerogative state that no court may inquire into the why's
and wherefores of any Royal Prerogative exercised. Precedent case listings
also rule that if any recognition is given by the person authorised to do
the business of the day who should otherwise have obtained some other
authority, firstly, having failed to do so does not invalidate his
recognition so given. The Limitations Act also states that once any
recognition is given to a person entitled then the Statute runs from that
Thus the new Government, the Administration Board of the Hutt River
Province was in fact the dejure Government. No futher formalising of the
Act of Secession was essential.
However, the Act of Secession was not in a true sense a unilateral act
for following the submission of the formal secession document an offer
was made to Sir Douglas Kendrew to submit to an arbitrator regarding this
dispute. This offer was not taken up by the Governor or Premier of Western Australia.
Not long after the secession there was a change of Austrlian Prime Minister.
Upon taking office the new Prime Minister let little time
elapse before advising the press that he did not recognise the
secession or the Government of The Hutt River Province.
Faced with this formidable opposition the people of the Province sought
an answer within the framework of
the British sources of protection.
A meeting of Hutt River Province was duly called to discuss the status
of a law which holds that anyone assisting a defacto Prince attain his
office cannot be charged with treason. This law goes on further to say
that anyone hindering a defacto Prince in the discharge of his Princely
duties may be charged with treason. Therefore they adopted the status of a
Principality and bestowed the title of Prince upon The Administrator,
thereby gaining further protection than they otherwise had.
Thus the Administrator of the Hutt River Province became PRINCE LEONARD
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