I came across a tweet saying that there should be an Australian on the five dollar note, rather than Elizabeth II.

Legally speaking, is Elizabeth II Australian? Wikipedia mentions that she's Queen of Australia, but is she also an Australian, either as a citizen, permanent resident or via other legal rights?

  • This was stated the wrong way round: she was not Australian but Australia was hers.
    – Henry
    Nov 16, 2023 at 15:18

3 Answers 3


The Queen doesn't need legal rights, she is the law!

As per Dale M's answer, Her Majesty doesn't meet the requirements to be a citizen of Australia under the Citizenship Act, nor has she ever been granted that status.

Someone else will need to fill in the legal reasons as to whether or not a law like the Migration Act could be enforced against Her Majesty personally. I suspect there is an argument in there about the Crown generally not being bound by statutes. In practice, I can't imagine anybody at the Department of Immigration trying to turn Her Majesty back at the border (although this would be an interesting step towards a republic...).

In any case the Royal Family and members of its entourage have the special status of not needing a visa when they visit Australia: Migration Regulations 1994, reg 2.40.

  • 4
    "The Queen doesn't need legal rights, she is the law!" - that might be the case in Saudi Arabia, but is that the case in constitutional monarchies like Australia?
    – Golden Cuy
    Feb 4, 2016 at 11:10
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    Interesting quote from a comment at your link: "C) no, to be a citizen you would in effect need to be a royal subject. Which rules her out.". So she cannot be a citizen of Australia. She probably can't be a citizen of the UK either :-)
    – gnasher729
    Feb 4, 2016 at 22:38
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    I can see her being turned back - consider the (admittedly unlikely) possibly of armed conflict between Australia and the UK.
    – Dale M
    Nov 16, 2017 at 2:45
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    @DaleM I thought the only two wars fought on Australian soils were against the Japanese during WW2 and before that utter defeat at the hand of Emus... - But then again, the continent of Australia wants to kill all humans anyway.
    – Trish
    Mar 13, 2021 at 10:35
  • @AndrewGrimm: In Commonwealth countries, yes. That informal motto is sharpened in the remark about "the Crown generally not being bound by statutes." The motto alludes to judicial reasoning like this: "Since laws are made by rulers for subjects, a general expression in a statute such as 'any person' descriptive of those upon whom the statute imposes obligations or restraints is not to be read as including the ruler himself" (Kenneth Diplock).
    – Vectornaut
    Nov 15, 2023 at 19:38

Queen Elizabeth II is not a citizen of Australia, she is the Sovereign of it. The preamble of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act also refers to enactment by the Queen, and thus Her Majesty transcends the personal-instutional level.

I would still include her, as Queen of Australia, in the "Australian" category, yes.

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    I would further like to point out, that section two of the same Act extends the references to the Queen to Her Majesty’s heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. Thus, you've got heirs and successors, which both include QE II.
    – L. Batavan
    Feb 3, 2016 at 20:24
  • @LBatavan you can "point it out" in an edit to the answer itself. Comments may be erased at any time. If you want to extend your answer with additional information, it would be best to do it with an edit.
    – grovkin
    Mar 12, 2021 at 23:16

Queen Elizabeth II was born in London to British parents who were not permanent residents of Australia. She does not meet any criteria under the Citizenship Act for being or applying for Australian citizenship.

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    As I see it, this ignores the “other legal rights” part of the question.
    – chirlu
    Feb 3, 2016 at 10:16
  • @chirlu all the legal rights are in the Act, AFAIK she meets none of them.
    – Dale M
    Feb 3, 2016 at 20:10
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    @DaleM does that mean the Queen could be refused entry into Australia?
    – Viktor
    Feb 5, 2016 at 16:17
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    The rights pertaining to the head of state are not in the act, nor would one expect them to be. One can debate whether being the head of state of Australia makes one Australian, but without addressing that, your answer does, I agree, ignore part of the question as noted by @chirlu.
    – phoog
    Nov 14, 2017 at 23:38
  • @phoog the Queen is not the head of the Australian state - the Governor General is. He (as it currently is) is the Queen's representative, however, the power under the constitution rests with the representative- in cannot be exercised by the sovereign.
    – Dale M
    Nov 15, 2017 at 7:34

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