Dust off your cucumber sandwiches, it’s time for a republic
It wasn’t hard to get into the pageantry and fun of the royal nuptials. We even made cupcakes with crowns for our token wedding celebration. Our westie mates turned up, resplendent in top hats, medals, even a wedding dress.
Food was anything English: Yorkshire pudding, trifle, cucumber sandwiches and a steak and kidney pie.
My husband rejoiced in his English connections, while I quoted our Constitution which grants the monarch certain governing powers, even above other governing levels.
I recalled fondly my teenage viewing of the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles and enjoyed a similar fashion critique this time: Princess Catherine looked beautiful, but conservative, bit like the Australians for Monarchy. But she’s cool and together, like Princess Mary – see, regality is not a British prerogative.
Despite my life-long republicanism, I wanted to enjoy the event and, of course, wish the newlyweds happiness.
But my commemorative mug and tea towel took on a different hue when news broke that ABC TV’s The Chaser - due to provide their brand of satirical humour last Friday - had been axed.
Who are the Brits, let alone Clarence House, to determine what or who we can laugh at? Ex-pat author Kathy Lette was right to query why a nation renowned for its quirky and irreverent humour (such as The Goons, Monty Python, and so on) would even have a problem with The Chaser.
A Chaser member was right when he said he felt sorry for the royals if they didn’t realise that Barry Humphries was a satirist.
A couple confident enough to have their own fun with a JU5T WED numberplate, and other seemingly modern touches, surely would expect some ribald commentary, just as I bet they were not surprised by Royal Wedding sick bags available online either.
There’s no doubt that much of the UK enjoyed the festivities: street parties, a million people outside Buckingham Palace, and that this encompassed different cultures and backgrounds. A healthy, happy antidote to a country still suffering the effects of the global financial crisis and around 2.5 million unemployed.
In Australia, we can enjoy the spectacle of the royals, even respect and acknowledge aspects of their traditions, but to respect ourselves we must assert our independence in a constitutional manner.
The lost referendum campaign of 1999 was a heart-breaker for many of us. Not that we didn’t understand the concerns of the populace.
My preference - a plebiscite - was not permitted by Prime Minister Howard. He insisted Australians decide on a model, and when we did, it was perceived as giving politicians more power (never mind that the selection of the Queen’s representative in Australian, the Governor General, is determined by one person, the Prime Minister, with or without consultation).
My UK friends marvel at Australia’s obsequiousness. Not because they don’t believe we are an independent and free nation, but because we don’t formalise this.
We have talented, extraordinary, visionary and accomplished Australians yet, our Head of State cannot be one of us.
I find this hard to reconcile with the patriotic images and national pride we witness increasingly on Australia Day.
As I cleaned up the crumbs from my jubilee cup cakes, my passion for my country and its independence - both in spirit and in law – still burns.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…