Letters, emails and documents relating to the Royal Family will no longer be disclosed in pedophile investigations, even if they are in the public interest.
The Royal Family has been granted absolute protection and immunity from public scrutiny over their connections to high profile pedophiles.
Prince Charles was the driving force behind the new law.
Lobbying and correspondence from junior staff working for the Royal Household and Prince Charles will now be held back from disclosure. Buckingham Palace confirmed that it had consulted with the Coalition Government over the change in the law.
The decision to push through the changes also raises questions about the sincerity of the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to government transparency.
In opposition, senior Liberal Democrats frequently lined up to champion the Freedom of Information Act after it came into force in 2005.
The heir to the throne has written letters to government departments in an attempt to influence policy. He clearly does not want these to get into the public domain?
Later this month, lawyers for the Cabinet Office, backed by Prince Charles, will go to court to continue to resist Freedom of Information requests of ministers to publish letters written to them by the Prince of Wales.
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said that the change to the law was necessary because the Freedom of Information Act had failed to protect the constitutional position of the monarch and the heir to the throne.
He explained that the sovereign has the right and duty to be consulted, to encourage and warn the government, and by extension, the heir to the throne had the constitutional right and duty to prepare himself for the role of untouchable King.
This constitutional position relies on confidentiality, so that all such correspondence remains confidential.
The essence of constitutional monarchy is that the Queen and other members of the Royal Family remain politically neutral. The Queen meets the Prime Minister once a week, when both are in London, to discuss government “neutral” policy.
The heir to the throne has the right, and perhaps the duty, to question ministers on policy so as to prepare himself for the throne. Such discussions are only possible if they remain confidential. Otherwise the so-called neutrality of the Queen and of the Prince of Wales could be undermined?
When the Queen meets the Prime Minister, no one else is present – not even the Queen’s Private Secretary. For this reason, it is right that the Royal Family should be exempt from FOI.
News Punch / ABC Flash Point News 2019.