As the the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s latest tour of Australia has passed its halfway mark and nears its end, it is worth reflecting on the state of the monarchy, the activity of the republican movement and what is required from our side to secure the monarchy’s future.
So, where does this leave the republicans?
The politics of republicanism in Australia are now clear – there is nowhere near enough support to carry the necessary referendum to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic. Australia’s baby-boomer elite have begun to realise that they will die as subjects of the Queen or her successors. This article, by Australia’s pre-eminent political commentator, the Australian’s Paul Kelly, shows how raw this is for them. Kelly (the former husband of a Labor minister from the 1980s) accepts the battle is lost but can’t bear to face the monarchy in its triumph. He is by no means alone.
So what is to be done?
I think the monarchy (preferably the Queen before the end of her reign) needs to reach out to them and bring them into the tent. In no other realm is the “disconnect” between the monarch and local elites so pronounced. While it’s not a tactical problem for the Crown because it will always win an insiders-vs-outsiders referendum, the strategic problem remains. I don’t just want the bomb’s fuse to be extinguished, I want to dismantle the bomb.