Do we pay the King a salary?
The simple answer is No. Australia does not pay a cent for the maintenance or security of the Sovereign. The exception is only when he visits Australia which can only be at the request of the government at which time expenses incurred from the planned itinerary are paid for by the Australian government This applies equally to any visiting dignitary invited to Australia by the government.
As far as the upkeep of the monarchy in the United Kingdom is concerned, in addition to the monarch’s private income which is in part used for ‘official’ expenditure there are two revenue-producing Royal Duchy Estates and the Crown Estate which between them provide the major funds for the maintenance of the monarchy and the immediate Royal Family.
The one overall exception to the self-funding nature of the monarchy is the cost of security. This, as one might expect, is a government/local responsibility within the UK and the responsibility of each country where the monarch might visit. When the King visits Australia, federal and state governments will take up the costs. At all times, abroad and in the UK, the monarch is accompanied by personal bodyguards who are paid for by the British government, but these are supplemented by other governments when the King is abroad. All governments around the world undertake to protect their respective head of state and visiting heads of state to their shores.
It is quite erroneous on the part of much of the media and certain individuals to keep repeating that the ‘monarchy is now costing the taxpayer £x or $x’. Apart from security it is not directly costing anything. It is entirely self-supporting from monies received from its traditional revenue sources. The monarchy actually hands over huge sums of ‘surplus’ money (roughly 85% of revenue) to the UK government from the Crown Estate.