Right royal lie at the centre of monarchists’ claims
The Australian monarchists are divided – David Flint and his tightly controlled Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy (ACM) claim the Governor General is the Australian head of state while Philip Benwell and his Australian Monarch League (AML) are with the Republicans – it’s the foreign non resident unelected British Queen who holds this nation’s top job.
Ten years up the track, the debate is simmering away under the surface and right now Flint is holding the trump cards – he is said to pull in half a million dollars a year towards his cause which is remarkable considering ACM has only two members – Flint and his sidekick former Roman Catholic seminarian Thomas Flynn. The movement’s constitution is clever; its run by the pair with the help of would be members, who are non voting “supporters”
Professor Flint’s latest take on the vexed subject of a republic revolves around the quaint notion that if we change the constitution we’ll have a “politician’s republic”. He fails to mention we are now laboring under a “politician’s monarchy” – a point Tony Blair underscored when he pulled the Queen into line over her unbelievable indifference to the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
Kevin Rudd to a lesser extent drew attention to just who runs the vice-regal show here when he dispatched Quentin Bryce on her highly successful African odyssey to garner support for an Australian seat on the UN Security Council. Although Elizabeth and Quentin are thoroughly professional and independent women they know part of the job is to do what their political masters demand – they know we have a politician’s monarchy and they certainly know which side of the bread the butter is.
Long before Blair and Rudd were born, King George V became the cipher-monarch. In 1926 Britain was brought to standstill by the miners strike caused by mine owners reducing workers wages. George V demanded he be consulted, he warned against it and cautioned the government to be wary. He was given what has become know as the one-finger salute; the strike went ahead. The king was ignored.
But as the years roll on the Buckingham Palace circus becomes less and less relevant to us and its members less and less identifiable. Charles – our next head of state plods along in a state of happiness now he has been able to marry his long-time mistress while his boys – William and Harry are doing well what all young blokes do, whatever their stations in life. The Queen’s other children work hard for Britain ; Andrew spends his life pushing UK trade around the world, daughter Anne makes sure the British Olympic team is well looked after while Edward does whatever he does and we’re not quite sure what that is.
The royal family is one of the world’s most extraordinary collection of people It’s headed by Elizabeth, her country’s 41st monarch – and her descendants and cousins have no jobs in the accepted sense of the word and they as a rule can almost never go to the movies or to a restaurant on the spur of the moment; it’s a family whose influence resides in not being seen to exercise it.
It typifies everything English, not Australian, although its main members have more German blood than English. The late Queen Mother and Princess Diana were the only English mothers of future monarchs for centuries.
Successive monarchs of Great Britain illustrated their indifference to this country by ignoring it. Queen Victoria almost made it by threatening her Prime Minister Lord Palmerstone “that I will pack up my family and move to Australia if you continue to oppose me!”
Her successor Edward V11 was too busy carousing – his mistress was Camilla Parker Bowles’s great grandmother - and gambling to make the journey while his son George V was busy concentrating on his stamp collection and terrorizing his children to make the journey as monarch although he and his wife, Mary, as Duke and Duchess of York did come here for Federation celebrations.
Edward V111 – who put the whole subject of hereditary monarchy into perspective by Abdicating so he could wed his twice divorced American mistress – did visit as Prince of Wales his lasting legacy of that trip seems to be a few illegitimate children.
He was succeeded Elizabeth’s father, George V1 and his wife Elizabeth – another Duke and Duchess of York. They were here in their ducal capacities open Canberra’s Parliament House in 1927 This colony was never important enough to warrant a real royal tour until the present Queen undertook a visit as part of a Commonwealth tour in the 1950’s.
The monarchists would have us believe that the royal family, under our constitution is the Australian royal family. If that is so, some of its rules concerning the Line of Succession to “our” throne laugh at section 116 of the Australian Constitution which states unequivocally “that no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or trust under the Commonwealth”.
As things stands be the Australian head of state – a job out of reach to all Australians there are several requirements – the most insulting being that its occupants MUST be Protestant descendants of the Electress Sophia of Hanover, who incidentally died several hundred years ago. They cannot be divorcees and if they happened to born on the wrong side of the blanket, well tough luck.
This state of affairs in egalitarian Australia is ridiculous – it insults, Jews, Christians of all non Protestant faiths, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, the entire rich mosaic of Australian religious life and culture.
Why this state of affairs isn’t corrected is a national disgrace. Every Australian head of government and their opposition counterparts are Republicans, the Governor General herself sees the inevitability of an Australian republic and her states counterparts are in agreement.
The time is right for Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull to sit down together and prepare a joint statement on the issue with Malcolm desisting from regurgitating his “we must wait until the Queen dies” qualification. The Windsors are known for their longevity – if we wait for her demise we might be landed with William, a nice lad but for God’s sake what does he –or his father for that matter – know about Australia?
And while we are on that subject, what has the hard working scandal free Queen of England ever done for Australia? If the English want an ethnic German royal family, that’s their call. However somewhere out there is an Australian ready to be the first President of the Republic of Australia. He or she needs to be installed without further delay.
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