His Imperial Majesty Emperor Jonathan I this morning gave Imperial Consent to the Bribery Act 2017, which “makes new provision for the definition and prohibition of bribery”.
The Act of Parliament, which can be read here, gained the required five out of nine votes yesterday afternoon, and was passed by the Speaker on to the Monarch earlier this morning.
Prior to the passing of this Act, the crime of bribery was illegal only under a short subsection of a six year old Imperial Decree of the Emperor’s predecessor, Declan I.
The Bribery Act 2017 sets out a far more detailed definition of the crime, and also makes it a criminal offence to accept or request a bribe; it had previously been illegal only to offer or give one.
The Act was authored by the Emperor himself, who has an A-level qualification in Law. Its passage sees a return to the writing of detailed, comprehensive criminal law by Jonathan I, with the Emperor having authored several lengthy Acts of this type since his ascension to the Throne in 2013.
Fortunately, this new Act may never be needed; in Austenasia’s eight and a half year history, nobody has ever been charged with committing bribery.
Apologies for the delayed publication of this news due to technical difficulties.
Local elections on Thursday 9th February in Wrythe and New Richmond saw HIH Emperor Father Terry and Victoria Hathaway, Countess of Sidney elected as the respective Mayor for each city.
The local elections also saw – as expected – the incumbents Emperor Jonathan I and Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy re-elected as Representatives of Wrythe and of New Richmond respectively.
An Act of Parliament passed last month created city status to be granted to various prominent towns. The Emperor called local elections in the two towns granted city status in order for them to elect a mayor.
Mayors have the power to chair their city council, veto changes to the city arms, and unilaterally implement bye-laws in relation to local governance.
Since his abdication as Emperor in February 2010 up until now, the now Emperor Father Terry has not been involved in politics, but enlisted in the Austenasian Army in August 2011 and served as a consul in 2013.
Victoria Hathaway, Countess of Sidney is a resident of a new area of New Richmond annexed to the city in December 2016, and was appointed one of this year’s two consuls on New Year’s Day.
A new Austenasian Embassy to the United Kingdom was officially claimed this morning, the residence of the newly appointed Ambassador to the UK.
Lee Cant, a retired accountant who volunteers as an anti-corruption activist, was appointed Austenasian Ambassador to the United Kingdom by Emperor Jonathan I on 4 February.
The position had previously been held ex officio by the Chief Ambassador, a remnant of the time when the United Kingdom was the only country bordering the Empire. As of September last year, however, the Chief Ambassador has been Lord Rear Admiral Alastair Cranston of Shineshore; as Shineshore is an exclave of Canada, it was thought time that the offices of Chief Ambassador and Ambassador to the UK were separated, which was done by an Act of Parliament last month.
The university accommodation rented by the Emperor during his time at the University of Roehampton was previously claimed as Austenasia’s Embassy to the UK between September 2015 and June 2016.
The new embassy – officially claimed this morning – consists of Mr Cant’s own residence in Hackney, London.
As Austenasia holds no diplomatic relations with the UK, both ambassador and embassy are primarily ceremonial, with their main function currently being to raise awareness of the Empire rather than to maintain actual diplomatic relations.
An Act of Parliament was passed last night which finally recognised the Federal Republic of St.Charlie to be defunct.
After Prime Minister Alexander Eastwood controversially took supreme power as Chancellor in August 2015, the St.Charlian government effectively ceased to function. After a year and a half of complete inactivity, Eastwood informed Emperor Jonathan I on Saturday 21st earlier this month that he considered the nation “defunct”.
Yesterday’s Foreign Affairs Act 2017, amongst other provisions, cites “the inability of the St.Charlian government to continue to function to the extent necessary to exercise sovereignty” as the reason for the Empire revoking recognition of the Federal Republic.
Although the inactivity of St.Charlie’s government has long been known, Chancellor Eastwood’s admission that he himself considers the nation defunct has been seen as the official death-blow to the country.
Alexander Reinhardt, arguably St.Charlie’s most famous politician, refused suggestions that he should declare himself monarch in an attempt to restore the nation’s sovereignty.
St.Charlie was founded as a Kingdom on Christmas Day 2000 by King Patrizio I, who ruled until overthrown in November 2008 by Reinhardt, who established the Federal Republic. For years afterwards, St.Charlie was known as one of the most politically and culturally advanced small nations in the MicroWiki community, with a population peaking at 150 and land claims around the world.
Austenasia entered into mutual relations with St.Charlie in August 2009, signing an official treaty of mutual friendship with the nation in December later that year, and the now Emperor Jonathan I met with St.Charlian leaders in 2011 and 2012.
A decrease in governmental activity had been noted in St.Charlie by early 2014, which the then President put down to many St.Charlian leaders having to spend more time on other commitments as they grew older. The Presidency was abolished by Prime Minister Eastwood the following year, who declared himself head of both state and government as Chancellor.
There has been reaction to St.Charlie’s ‘official’ demise from members of the MicroWiki community. King Adam I of Uberstadt and Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy both reflected on how they had warned Eastwood that his reforms would damage St.Charlie, whereas Mercian diarch Richard Cunningham called it the “End of an era”.
An Act of Parliament was passed this morning which ceded some areas of New Richmond to the United States of America whilst annexing some to it back from the USA.
North New Richmond and the western half of Saint Josephsburg were ceded to the USA, while two new areas of land were annexed to New Richmond. These two new areas are yet to be named by its town council.
As a result of these changes, New Richmond (and therefore the Empire as a whole) has made a net gain of roughly 23,895 square feet and a net loss of one resident.
New Richmond is set to gain the status of a city on 9 January next year, meaning that they will elect a Mayor in their next local election.
His Imperial Majesty the Emperor earlier this morning granted Imperial Consent to the Cities Act 2016.
The Act of Parliament allows certain towns to be given the status of cities, and designates Wrythe (the capital) and New Richmond (Austenasia’s largest and most populous town) as the Empire’s first two cities.
Wrythe and New Richmond will officially become cities in January.
Cities will not only elect a Representative to elect them in Parliament, but a Mayor to oversee their local government.
The Cities Act specifies that Mayors will be elected alongside Representatives in local elections, but forbids the two offices from being simultaneously held by the same person.
An Act of Parliament, granted Imperial Consent this morning, has downgraded the Environmental Office from a government ministry to a department of the Home Office, renaming it to the Environmental Agency in the process.
The Environmental Office was founded in February 2009, administered by the Minister for the Environment. This office has now been renamed to the Under-Secretary for the Environment, and the holder of the position will be appointed by the Home Secretary.
The Environmental Agency retains all the powers and functions that were held by the Environmental Office. Emperor Jonathan I, who appointed himself Minister for the Environment after the resignation of Lord Charles Clarke in September, has remained as Under-Secretary for the Environment.
Speaking to the Austenasian Times, His Imperial Majesty said that “the care of Austenasia’s natural environment should not be seen as an issue separate from others, but as an intrinsic part of our government’s care for the Empire as a whole. All policy decisions made in regards to the internal affairs of Austenasia must be taken with the natural environment constantly in mind, not as an issue to be dealt with by another ministry, and so we felt it appropriate to merge the Environmental Office into the Home Office at the suggestion of His Imperial Highness the Prime Minister.”