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Winning Entries to the 2006 Essay Competition

Winning Essays:

2006 Division 1 (16 - 18 years) Winner

Alexandra Mathewson (Centenary Heights SHS Year 12)

"At her coronation Queen Elizabeth II swore to 'serve' her people. Constitutionally, and in practical terms, how has the Queen served her Australian people and those of other Commonwealth countries?"

Queen Elizabeth II has successfully served the people of Australia and other Commonwealth Nations over the past fifty-three years. Her open and approachable persona and the length of her reign have resulted in worldwide trust and recognition. She has been the enduring face of stability in the chaos and confusion of both the twentieth and twenty-first century. Throughout her reign she has ensured stability within the Commonwealth through the democratic and constitutionally sound systems of government utilised by the Commonwealth countries. As head of the Commonwealth she has the responsibility to oversee cooperation between the member nations.

In her coronation oath Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain and head of the Commonwealth of Nations, vowed to serve her people and to maintain the laws of God. Since her ascension to the throne in 1953 she has developed worldwide recognition, trust and respect. This is largely due to her accessibility and personal appearances in cities and rural areas right across the Commonwealth. She has never been a distant royal but rather one that ordinary people can associate with and revere. Her unwavering commitment to the continuation of the Commonwealth, even in adversity, and her steadfastness in the midst of uncertainty has contributed to the esteem with which she is held throughout the world. Her lasting legacy is however, according to Robert Lacey, is that, 'She's never put a foot wrong.' ( The Queen, despite the political differences and beliefs of many, is still held in high regard and is respected by a large proportion of Australians.

To the Australian people the Queen has been recognised as the ultimate figure of the denial of absolute political power. The Queen has no constitutional or political aspirations concerning Australia and has no rights beyond that of appointing the Governor General on the advice of the current Prime Minister. This service to the Australian people is undoubtedly the most important as it ensures that none can gain absolute power and therefore, security within the Australian government will remain. In effect, the Australian people can continue to trust in the current system of government, which has served us so well over the years. Her role ensures that absolute power cannot be attained at the expense of or detriment to the Australian people. The Queen has served her Australian people in ensuring such peace and stability.

Throughout her service to the Commonwealth of Nations the Queen has had the responsibility of maintaining harmony and friendship, within the fifty-four member nations. "The Commonwealth now serves to foster international co-operation and trade links between people all over the world." ( The Queen is the head of the Commonwealth of Nations and therefore, has had the responsibility of maintaining and encouraging peace and cooperation. Through her tours of the Commonwealth Nations and her many overseas engagements, she, "…has become a personal link and human symbol of the Commonwealth as an international Organisation." ( However, her role is far from being purely symbolic and involves enforcing difficult decisions such as suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth of Nations due to humanitarian injustices under the Mugabe regime. Despite the task, the Queen has been integral in the maintenance of this organisation and the successful continuation of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Queen Elizabeth II has served the people of Australia and other Commonwealth Nations in many ways throughout her reign, but primarily in maintaining security and stability within both the Australian Government and in the Commonwealth of Nations. In Australia, her primary service as Queen has been that of preventing absolute power while throughout the Commonwealth her main service has been that of ensuring the continuation of stability and peaceful cooperation between the member nations. She has been the visible symbol of peace and unity in the midst of a challenging and ever-changing world. The Queen has served the people of Australia and the Commonwealth of Nations with diligence in her royal duties and through her role in the preservation of a peaceful and democratic system of government.


Challands S, 2006, "Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 80th birthday" (online) accessed 25/04/06

Corby T, 1996, 'Queen Elizabeth II on Her 70th Birthday' (online) accessed 20/04/06

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth (online) accessed 21/04/06

Elizabeth II (online) accessed 23/04/06

Queen Elizabeth II (online) accessed 23/04/06

Queen Elizabeth II (online) accessed 23/04/06

"Queen Elizabeth meets Commonwealth Games competitors" (online) accessed 25/04/06

Queen Elizabeth service accessed online 18/04/06

Role of Queen Elizabeth (online) accessed 18/04/06

Sullivan K, 2006, "At 80, Elizabeth Is Britain's Unrivaled Queen of Hearts" Washington Post Foreign Service, (online) accessed 23/04/06

"Zimbabwe 'should not be isolated'" (online) accessed 25/04/06

2006 Division 1 (16 - 18 years) Second place

Jessica Eagles (Dalby Christian School Year 11)

"At her coronation Queen Elizabeth II swore to 'serve' her people. Constitutionally, and in practical terms, how has the Queen served her Australian people and those of other Commonwealth countries?"

Many people have the belief that the Queen sits at Buckingham Palace all day drinking tea. The everyday evidence is very contradicting. In the words of Australia's Governor-General when he addressed the Queen in March this year, "In a world increasingly shaped by the cult of celebrity, the 'Queen's' dignity, devotion to duty, constancy of service and unrivalled experience, have provided a focal point of social unity throughout the Commonwealth". The Queen has taken seriously her Coronation Oath.

It has been my pleasure to research how the Queen has constitutionally and practically served her people in Commonwealth countries since her succession to the throne 1952. Even before she was crowned, Princess Elizabeth had already served her people in the military. We shouldn't have been surprised at her success in her service since then until now, because she was the "first and so far only female member of the royal family to actually serve in the military" (

Having been in the public eye for eighty years the Queen can't do everything at 'her own whim'. Technically, she can do whatever she wants to the political leaders in her Commonwealth countries, but if she tried it would incite a constitutional catastrophe. Despite this, she still has power from her "twin roles as head of state – the one who opens and dissolves Parliament, makes visits abroad and hosts dinners for foreign leaders – and head of nation, a focus for British unity and identity, rewarder of excellence, a visible oasis of continuity in an accelerating world." ( Among her other responsibilities she also holds the positions of Head of the Commonwealth, The Lord High Admiral, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Lord of Mann and Duke of Lancaster. In her 16 countries she is head of state of 128 million people.

Our Queen not only deals with constitutional matters, but is very practical as is any woman! Everyone who meets her is so warmed by her presence and her friendliness. She's hardworking and never seen to have airs and graces. I can't imagine the discipline of spending three hours every day reading over papers that have been sent to her from various embassies, departments and government offices, in other words "doing the boxes". To practical matters, on a visit to open a hospital wing in London, a stroke patient, Charles Anderson, said, "The Queen is very warm, very easy to talk to. Helluva job she's got. I wouldn't want it." ( In other words, her people love her for who she is and what she does. 3 million letters have been delivered to the Queen since 1952. She has hosted around 1.1 million guests at her garden parties and made 256 official overseas visits to 129 countries.

One thing the Queen enjoys doing often is visiting her Commonwealth countries. Just recently, due to the Commonwealth games being on, Her Majesty visited Australia for the fifteenth time. The Governor General, in his speech, mentioned a few of the many times she has visited Australia.

Three times during her reign the Queen has dealt with constitutional problems over the formation of the UK government.

The Queen has turned 80 and reports have sometimes surfaced that the Queen had planned to significantly reduce her official duties but in the words of Prince Andrew, "It's slightly complicated for people to grasp the idea of a head of state in human form, but I would put her appeal down to consistency. In their eyes, she's never let them down." ( Long live the Queen, may she be spared to continue her service.


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Resource: Printed: 2023-06-02
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