Sunday, June 28, 2009

How long can this go on?

. Sunday, June 28, 2009

Whilst most people in Australia have put the republic debate behind them, there is an ongoing unhealthy state of affairs with many of our politicians and the Crown.

Even though many Labour voters support the Crown the Labour Party has taken on an ideology that states Australia must be a republic. Once the party takes on something as an ideology it is next to impossible to have them overturn it. Since The Labour party governs nearly all of Australia we have a state of affairs where the elected government is totally against the Crown. My question is – how long can this go on?

Is Australia going to continue as a nation where the government of the day is against the Crown and actively undermines it? One only has to look to New South Wales where the State Labour government threw the Governor out of Government House and has totally downplayed the role of the Crown in that state.

I call upon readers to offer ideas on to how to combat this....


Anonymous said...

we can combat this through the proper means lobbying MPs. running educational campaigns and and generally fighting those who hate the crown everytime they try to get rid of it.

remember we must fight harder. for if republic occurs reverting back to the monarchy will not happene

Kipling said...

The Canadian situation isn't quite the same, the monarchy is enshrined in the constitution in such a way it would be virtually impossible to remove directly - though there is always talk of failing to proclaim the next monarch. Much of the Canadian Establishment has been hostile to the monarchy for at least forty years, but they've never been able to muster much popular support. They would love to be rid of the monarchy, but the political risk is too high. The immediate cry would be an attack on Canadian history and tradition, trying to make us more American.

Neil Welton said...

Stop voting Labour.

'99 Referendum Veteran said...

1. Continue to strip "the republic" of an air of inevitability - it will demoralise republicans.
2. Wait until the boomers pass on.
3. The hardest one - try and work out how to rebuild bridges between the monarchy and Australia's political and social elite. I don't want to endless play a defensive game - I want to regain ground. For instance I think NZ's move to restore knighthoods is inspired. It reaffirms a visible, emotional link between NZ's ornaments of public life, and the monarchy. Why not Sir David Koch and Dame Cathy Freeman? You mightn't like them personally but you get the idea I'm driving at.

'99 Referendum Veteran said...

PS I don't believe it's impossible to change ALP policy (and I am a committed Liberal - to our Canadian friends this is NOT like your Liberals).

For example, 50 years ago "White Australia" was holy writ for the ALP, whereas now Labor is semi-permanently dependent on a large non-Anglo vote as part of its base. Twenty-five or 30 years ago no Labor leader would have dared support privatisation. And no leader before Kevin Rudd would have dared to take the power to select the frontbench team away from the caucus (although it is arguable whether this has really happened).

It is admittedly hard to imagine a Labor leader offering a loyal toast to the Queen in the near future. But it is concievable that the ALP will drop its Keating/Whitlam enthusiasm for a republic in the medium term. I would argue that the passage of time will see that process continue.

'99 Referendum Veteran said...

I haven't answered your question properly David - I think the way to do it is to "relaunch" the Crown via newly elected conservative state governments. We have one in WA (Barnett is a republican but most of his frontbench is not), there will be changes of government in NSW in 2011 and QLD in 2011/2012. SA has a monarchist Labor speaker. The way to do it is to get some post-boomer Libs leading the show. Langbroek in QLD is a good example. His frontbench is packed with monarchists.

David Byers said...

Thanks readers for your ideas. To "'99 Referendum Veteran" you may be right in that the ALP might let their push for a republic to drop off the agenda, but as you say they wont be doing the Loyal Toast any time soon.
To Neil, I whish it were that simple, you see many Australians vote Labour for other reasons and don’t seem to remember that they are pushing a republic.
A Royal visit from Prince Williams would help the Crown but I can’t see any of our Governments putting out the invitation.
My other fear is the down-playing of the State Governors. They are now so bullied by the ALP I can’t ever see them using their reserve powers.

Neil Welton said...

"A Royal visit from Prince Williams would help the Crown..."

I was going to suggest that but it is worth remembering, especially those in Commonwealth countries, that Prince William only visits Wales once or twice a year (and then to watch the rugby). Prince Harry has visited Wales three times over the past seven years. It is nothing personal, visits are just "expensive".

I guess though in Britain we are quite lucky - all of the main political parties, including The Labour Party, support Monarchy. Funnily enough, out of all people I do rather enjoy watching Socialists having to bow and kneel, especially when it is against their beliefs or ideals. I get this sort kick out of it.

Anonymous said...

Good question, David.

The way I see it is that even though the monarchy is a good system, the fact that it offers nothing in particular to Australian citizens in the UK is always going to be a problem and vice versa.

Looking at the Scandanavian countries, they recognise their differences but also their strong similarities. They have all manner of pan-scandanavian cooperation going on while remaining seperate legal entities.

Even though Australia, Canada, NZ and the UK share a head of state, have similar laws and in many respects similar mentailties to each other there is really bugger all going on between these countries that goes beyond foreign investment and trade.

I think that the only real thing that can preserve the monarchy in these countries is to set up a common "equivalence of citizenship" arrangement such as the UK have with Ireland.

This doesn't mean forming a political union, just recognising that we have something in common to the point that we can put a little trust in each other.

(Yes Ireland is a republic, but the momentum for that passing was of an altogether different origin. I'm saying that WITHOUT the special link being formalised in at least some way, especially since in Britain they now let in anybody with EEA residence a lot of people in NZ, Oz and Canada will think - why is Britain so damned mean to us? Could apply any other way, of course.)

Hope this helps.

LKC said...

what you suggest is right and the foundation for it is already in place. The commonwealth is a good place to start for this but i feel that this union (for lack of a better word) that you talk about should only be in place for countries where the queen is the monarch.

i have an idea for an article for this fine blog. who is it that i should talk to about this?
could you please contact me at lachlan.cassano(at)

Lord Best said...

Part of the problem with not voting Labor is that the alternatives are the Greens, or some other minor party, (insane) or the Liberals (pathetic, pathetic, pathetic. Plus they have a republican leader at present). As vexing as it is Labour is vaguely competent, the Liberals are not, at present.
I find that pointing out to people that a republic would mean more politicians, more elections and more expense is a fine way of putting Australians off the idea. They may profess to dislike the monarchy, but Australians are not exactly fond of politicians and elections, to put it mildly.
I do see far more cause for hope than worry about the situation of the Crown in Australia. This is anecdotal of course, but I asked my sister and some of her friends what they thought about the republic, and they said they liked the idea of Monarchy, that it was nice.

David Byers said...

I would hardly say "Labor is vaguely competent" at all after all they have gotten us into 300 billion dollars of debt in the short time they have been in government. Losing the great surplus left by the former government.
Mr Turnbull has not brought up the idea of a republic since he has been leader of the opposition. Most Liberals and Nationals are against a republic whilst Labor has it as an ideology.
One of the main problems is that the main stream media are in love with Mr Rudd and fail the country in not bring up his many, many short-comings and simply attack the Liberals.
NO thinking person who supports the Crown could vote Labor.

Lord Best said...

Well to be fair, the financial crisis has wiped off $200bn from government revenue, and let us not forget that the previous government frittered away $315bn AUD from the mining boom through unnecessary and profligate welfare payments.
Do not get me wrong, I am not saying Labor are perfect, I am not saying I approve of their spending (infastructure yes, not so much the rest), I merely point out that the Liberals are no better. A damn sign worse given their disunity and lack of new blood, and dare I say, talent.

Lord Best said...

Sign should, of course, be sight.
Some encouraging news from ACM:
What would be nice is a Crown/Monarchist Party. No other platforms or policies, just gives us somewhere to put our votes when the main parties let us down.

Lord B said...

Surely the main difficulty the monarchy faces in Australia (and probably New Zealand too) is that The Queen and her immediate family all live in the UK. The monarchy looks British based and British oriented from an Australia ever less dominated by our historic ties to the UK. The Queen travels only as British Head of State or Head of the Commonwealth except on the relatively rare occasions of her visits to Australia and our Governors General get little coverage even here when they travel overseas - must be almost none elsewhere in the world. With the exception of Sir William Deane and (possibly) Quentin Brice (both appointed by Labour interestingly), the Governors General of Australia have been a pretty lacklustre lot in the last 20 years or so with low public profiles. End result? To more and more Australians, the monarchy is either not noticed as such or appears to belong to the other side of the world. Where is the motivation in most Australians to fight to keep it?
The most recent reputable poll I could find still has a bigger percentage of Australians wanting a republic although it is a near thing and closer than it has been. The 1999 referendum was much more a narrow vote AGAINST the model of republic put up (combined with the fact that our politicians did not agree on the model proposed) than it was a vote FOR the monarchy. And both major parties in Australia are currently led by republicans.
I suggest the best chance for the monarchy continuing in Australia is to somehow create an Australian based version of the system but it doesn't seem very likely.

'99 Referendum Veteran said...

I disagree Lord B. The monarchy does look British-based but in my view the Australian crown has evolved that way because we want it to.

Check out this article:

- and towards the end you find the reader's amazement with the way we kept things like Blue Ensign flags, we still have lots of living knights, etc - that is, more "British". I don't think there would be monarchists that would favour a new flag, for instance.

So too with our GGs. I thought Michael Jeffrey was fantastic precisely because he wasn't a "bleeding heart". Three piece suit for opening Parliament, MC winner, straight back, firm handshake, look you in the eye... compare that to Sir William Deane, the final Keating appointment, dripping in "social justice".

In some ways the debate over monarchy/republic in Australia has adopted small-p political contours. Because our politics is based around deciding the least worst choice in a ballot, Australians when thinking about this issue will revert not to lofty grandeur of the monarchy, but whether the alternative is worse.

Rudd and Turnbull are republicans, it is true - but for different reasons. Turnbull because he is a culturally liberal Sydney plutocrat, Rudd because he can't afford to antagonise the romantic republicans of the ALP. But neither is prepared to invest any more political capital in the issue - so it's dead.

The best way forward for the monarchy in my view is for boomer Liberals to leave the leadership, and for incoming conservative state governments to get into a bit of "rollback" - naming hospitals after royals, bringing back QCs, putting Marie Bashir back into Government House, etc. All achievable and not particularly difficult. My guess is that the appetite for change, let alone support for some sort of abstract "republic" among the punters, will continue to disappear.

The medium-to-long term challenge is to work out how to reclaim Australia's political elite to support the monarchy. No elite support = no initiator of a referendum, let alone a debate. It will take longer but again is certainly not impossible.

'99 Referendum Veteran said...

If Rudd gives the green light to this tour, "the" republic is well and truly sunk:,27574,25745674-401,00.html

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A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary