Future King: Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth To A Boy

BUCKINGHAM PALACE has formally announced the birth of a son to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; the future King was born at 4.24pm, London time (1.24am Tuesday, AEST) and will be the third in line to the throne to become King of Australia.

The palace said in a statement:

“Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm. The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz.

“The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.

“The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news.

“Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight.”

May we simply say that we extend our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to William and Kate, and to express our delight that the future King has arrived safely and well.

This entire event has been punctuated by the ridiculous, however, with the ubiquitous Fleet Street press pack providing coverage on details extending right down to the stains on the pavement outside the St Mary’s Hospital in London.

Indeed, comment from so-called “royal watchers” overnight (Australian time) has ranged from such lofty themes as an attempt to turn the event into “the people’s pregnancy” (get the sick bucket) to a “debate” over whether Pippa Middleton’s bum would appear “and steal the limelight.”

Some people have nothing better to do, even when being paid to do it…

All that said, however, we are absolutely delighted at the news of the royal birth, and look forward to the formal introduction of the Prince publicly — and learning his name — in coming days.

In the meantime it is to be hoped the Duchess enjoys rest and a speedy recovery from the childbirth she has experienced, and that all of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects share the joy of this exciting news.

God Save The Queen!

BREAKING: Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge, In Labour

A WARM summer day in London is set to be a little warmer today, with news a short time ago that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has entered hospital in the early stages of labour as she prepares to give birth to this country’s future monarch. The Red And The Blue is delighted at this news.

It’s the development a loitering press pack in London has been waiting on for weeks; Buckingham Palace figures have confirmed that the Duchess travelled by car to St. Mary’s Hospital in central London very early this morning, British Summer Time (about 4pm Monday, AEST).

The child will be the first for Kate and Prince William since their marriage two years ago, and the child will — like William — some day be the monarch of Great Britain, Australia, and many other countries around the world including New Zealand and Canada.

Changes to succession laws made by the present Conservative government in the UK (and mirrored by reciprocal legislation in Australia and its states) to abolish the ancient law of primogeniture mean that irrespective of its gender, the child will some day become the monarch.

We wish to minute to William, Kate and their respective families our very best wishes at this special time, and look forward — with the rest of Her Majesty’s subjects — to learning the identity of the newest member of the royal family in the next day or so.

God Save The Queen!

Many Congratulations, Ma’am: God Save The Queen!

Yesterday, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, celebrated 60 years on the throne and her Diamond Jubilee as the constitutional monarch of 16 countries including Australia; her reign has been remarkable, and is second only to Queen Victoria in length.

I would like of course, firstly, to minute my warmest and fondest congratulations to Her Majesty on reaching this milestone; the present Queen is the only monarch I have ever known, being just shy of 40 years of age, and it says much about the constant she has been that even people my parents’ age in their early to mid-60s have little or no memory of her father, King George VI.

As an ardent and lifelong constitutional monarchist I am delighted to be able to see the Queen celebrate this anniversary; common sense dictates that it is unlikely she will be with us long enough to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee in ten years’ time, and so as much as this is a time for festivity and celebration, it is also a time for some reflection. I do wonder in passing if she will live long enough to surpass the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901) to become the longest-serving monarch  of the realm of all time.

Much has been made — in the United Kingdom, in Australia and elsewhere — of the prospect of one day replacing the present arrangement of a constitutional monarchy with a republic and a President, however so derived. The details vary from place to place but the sentiments are the same; even in Canada, where separatism, not republicanism, is the order of the day in Quebec, and the motivation for those French-Canadians to cut their ties with the hated British and strike out alone in their own, localised version of a Gallic republic.

I believe, and I always have believed, that the best interests of our own country at least lie with the present constitutional arrangements remaining in place, and with Australia eschewing republicanism on an indefinite basis.

Australia, along with New Zealand and Canada, are arguably the most successful of the  former British dominions now thriving as modern, vibrant, successful first-world countries; all are free, fair and tolerant, are democratic and stable, and each boasts its own rigorous identity in the world.

And all retain a system of constitutional monarchy, with the present Queen as Head of State.

Whilst Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, she is also Queen of Canada, Queen of New Zealand, Queen of Australia and so forth in the countries that retain the monarchical system. (Courtesy of one Joh Bjelke-Petersen and his antics in 1973, she is also recognised as “Queen of Queensland,” but that is another matter altogether).

When we look across the puddle to our neighbours in New Zealand, do we accuse those we see of tugging the forelock to Britain? When we consider our friends and allies in the splendid country of Canada, do we regard them as kowtowing to a foreign power? If we look around the world at other nations in the Commonwealth — many of which are of less fortunate circumstance than we in Australia — do we dismiss them as being subservient lickspittle?

Of course we don’t.

Yet this is the vituperative atmospheric of the so-called republican debate that went on in this country during the 1990s; its colourful invective — colourfully prosecuted by Paul Keating — may very well have animated many people, but in the end it was based on a false premise.

As was the entire republican case, based as it was on intellectual untruths, sloppy and misleading legalities, a typical attempt at brainwashing from those to the Left of the political spectrum, and an appeal to the subjective vanities rather than the considered sensibilities of the people republicans sought to coerce away from a constitutional monarchy.

And — shamefully — the republican campaign in Australia only ever organised itself in earnest when the opportunity presented to take advantage of problems within the House of Windsor: prior to 1992, and increasingly since the defeat of the referendum on the subject in 1999, the prevailing mood in Australia has not been typically conducive to serious consideration of abandoning the monarchy.

I remember as a very young boy — perhaps of 6 or 7 — being of the opinion that people called “Sir” had been given something by the Queen because they had done very well and she wanted to reward them; I, too, therefore aspired at that delicate age to what I soon enough learnt was a knighthood.

I remember, too, being mightily pissed off as a 14-year-old with Bob Hawke and his government for rescinding the awarding of knighthoods as part of the so-called reforms enacted in the Australia Act 1986 — and Hawke didn’t just rescind knighthoods for Australians under the British and Commonwealth honours system; he rescinded the provisions in the Order of Australia that allowed the granting of knighthoods under a purely Australian honours system, too.

(The Australia Act 1986 also extinguished the right of Australian citizens to exercise a final legal right of appeal beyond the High Court to the Privy Council: this, too, is something I have always viewed as a legal and moral travesty, but more on that — and the flip side — later).

For so many people, the question of monarchy versus republicanism is one based on affection or otherwise for the House of Windsor and the current monarchy, or on dislike for the British, or on half-baked notions of Australian nationalism behind which there is little or no substance and certainly nothing by way of corroboration except a lot of hot air and noise about an Australian-born Head of State. And about a confused concept of “cutting ties with Britain.”

It isn’t a subject I intend to cover at great length tonight: for one, we’d be here long enough for the Platinum Jubilee to roll around; two, I want to turn my comments back to the Queen; and three, the points I do intend to put on the table here are quite sufficient in terms of backing any republican into a corner with no way out. There are others, but these will do quite nicely for starters.

The first — and most obvious — of these is that we do, very simply, have an Australian Head of State: her name is Quentin Bryce and she is the Governor-General, and vice-regal representative, of Australia.

It seems lost on many that whilst the Queen is indeed the nominal Head of State in Australia, she remains so in a ceremonial capacity only; whilst Sections of the Constitution do certainly confer authority on the Queen to act in certain situations (such as the disallowance of a Bill, which we looked at some months ago in relation to the carbon tax), by convention, the Queen would almost certainly refuse to exercise such authority — even on the advice of her ministers.

If anyone doubts this, they should do some research on the former Governor of Queensland, Sir Colin Hannah — another Bjelke-Petersen stooge — including the circumstances in which she refused Bjelke-Petersen’s request to extend the tenure of Hannah’s commission, and the background and events leading to her refusal to do so.

If you’re a republican, it might be quite illuminating (or disheartening, depending on how one looks at it).

Even the “Labor bastard” who turned on Whitlam — Governor-General Sir John Kerr — did more to legitimise the role of Governor-General as the independent Head of State in Australia (as a link in the chain of a system of constitutional monarchy) than he ever did to legitimise republicanism; his actions set a modern precedent in which the Queen learnt of Kerr’s actions only after his termination of the Whitlam commission took effect, and did not subsequently intervene.

The events of 1975 are often held up by republicans as “evidence” and “conclusive proof” that the monarchy must be abandoned. I’ve never really understood why; no British people, and certainly not the Queen herself, were involved. Kerr’s actions represented a legitimate course within his legal responsibilities; were constitutionally sound and valid; and did exactly as was needed: to break a deadlock between the Houses of Parliament that existed at the time.

The constitution, and the monarchy, were not faulty; and to the extent the constitution may have been perceived as defective, it bears remembering that many Labor heroes at the turn of the century were instrumentally involved in its drafting alongside many conservative figures; if it contained or contains fault, those founding fathers share the responsibility.

The numbers in the Senate had certainly been modified in 1975 — by state Premiers in NSW and in Queensland. Of course, those numbers were used by Malcolm Fraser as he worked to smash the Whitlam government from office. But those actions, also, bear no reflection at all on the monarchy.

If the Labor Party and its acolytes did not like the outcome of 1975 and the Dismissal, that’s another matter altogether. But it is not one of constitutional monarchy.

Perhaps most instructive of all, though, are the lessons that lie in the aftermath of the passage of the Australia Act 1986; cursory they may be, but they offer the greatest pointer of all to the dangers of implementing a republic in this country.

What this Act did — according to its packet directions — was to remove forever the power of the UK Parliament to legislate with effect in Australia; never mind the end of knighthoods, and never mind (for now) about the abolition of access to the Privy Council.

The Australia Act 1986 in short achieved everything the republicans who followed some years later said (and say) they wish to achieve; clearly it is a nonsense to achieve the same thing twice, and so it is necessary to dig a little deeper to see what they really want. It is not necessary to dig very far.

The only real argument remaining open to republicans in any practical sense is the “Australian Head of State” one, with the references to “cutting ties to Britain.”

We’ll come back to ties with Britain later.

As I have already pointed out, we already have an Australian Head of State — the Governor-General — who acts independently of the Queen as a cog in the well-oiled machine that is our system of government within a constitutional monarchy.

Starting with the appointment of Sir Paul Hasluck to the role in the late 1960s by then Prime Minister John Gorton, the Governor-Generalship has been held by an Australian ever since. It is true Malcolm Fraser wanted to appoint Prince Charles to the post in 1982, but for obvious reasons that do not warrant the expenditure of space here, he was very quickly disabused of the idea.

The most obvious symbol of what republicans want — an “Australian President” — may in itself be impossible to realise; as the referendum in 1999 showed, those favouring a directly elected President flatly refused to accommodate those favouring a President chosen by Parliament. So trenchant were the two camps, and so strident their opposition to the other, that this conflict alone is likely irreconcilable.

But even if it were to be resolved, the Australia Act 1986 bequeathed this country a gift on account of its inherent abolition of the right of appeal to the Privy Council.

You see, readers, the highest Court in the land now is the High Court of Australia; and whilst its role is to interpret and adjudicate questions of law, its composition is based solely on the discretion of politicians.

For there to be a vacancy on the High Court, somebody has to die or retire; then, it is a simple question of the government of the day nominating a replacement whose appointment is rubber-stamped by Parliament.

Needless to say, the High Court has — at various times — been levelled with accusations of bias, and usually in favour of whoever has most recently spent an extended period in office at the federal level.

And for those readers who think directly elected judges are a good idea as an alternative, there are certain states in America which do precisely that, and are worldwide advertisements to others not to do anything of the kind.

So what if this system — a “President” elected by Parliament, or directly elected — were to be adopted in place of the Governor-General and a ceremonial monarch?

In short, Australia would be headed by either a political puppet or another politician respectively; the very nature of the role is such that it must be, and be seen to be, apolitical.

True, former politicians have held the post, Hasluck being one, and former ALP leader Bill Hayden another; yet neither discharged their duties in a manner inconsistent with the requirements of the office.

And if you look at the High Court, the record of its rulings and its case history, and analyse these in any detail, then you may be in a position to make a valid call on whether or not you think Australia ought to become a republic.

Because if you don’t like what the High Court has done over the past thirty years, the chances are that you won’t like what becomes of this country if it becomes a republic.

I believe everyone is entitled to their view; I am equally entitled to my opinion — which is the whole point this column exists, and those opinions, if they spark debates as they have done to date, have proven to be of value even to those who may disagree.

I do think republicans are wrong at the most basic and fundamental levels; and for as long as this country’s present arrangements continue, with Parliament operating in a constitutional monarchy, then the better off Australia will be.

This brings me back to the Queen.

This remarkable woman has been a distinguished world leader for decades; modest, dignified, strictly apolitical, she has been a source of advice and counsel for many of her Prime Ministers and other Heads of Government (including Australia), and has been a symbol of stability in a world which has, especially in recent years, changed so very much.

She and her family retain great affection for, and great links to, Australia; indeed, the Queen has visited here many times during her reign; the future King Charles even lived in Australia for a time, attending boarding school near Geelong in the 1960s.

And this in turn brings me to that other sacred pillar of republican faith: the “need” to cut ties with Britain.

Why should we ever do that? Modern Australia and modern Britain are very similar in many respects; we share similar societies based on similar systems and traditions, and those societies share the same similar problems that go with them.

Indeed, Britain and the British people are the most like us of anyone else in the world; we share similar cultures and ways of life; we are among each other’s most important trading partners; we share common interests, opportunities and threats.

I’m very much in favour of building ties and relationships in Asia, and especially in maintaining and expanding those we enjoy with the United States; but not at the cost of the existing ties and friendships we already have, and never at the expense of those we share with the United Kingdom, and the history and tradition that accompany them.

As for the Queen herself, once the pomp and pageantry and celebration of the Jubilee has subsided, this splendid lady with her well-known preference for simplicity will no doubt enjoy some time privately with those around her, and reflect too on all she has seen in 60 years on the throne; from the young princess thrust into the role after the death of her father when the free world was struggling to recover from its war effort, to the better yet more dangerously complicated place that world is today.

My hat is off to you, ma’am, and I salute you: many, many congratulations on the achievement of your Diamond Jubilee, and long may you reign over us for many years to come.

God Save The Queen!

Constitutionally Possible: Getting Rid Of The Carbon Tax Without An Election

If the Gillard Government’s so-called “clean energy bills” pass the Senate, and if the Prime Minister refuses to call an election before the resulting carbon tax is implemented next year, is the hoodwinked Australian public bound to cop the fruits of an election lie? Not necessarily…

First, a disclaimer: I’m indebted to Tom Elliott, who is standing in for Derryn Hinch as 3AW Drive host, for the bones of this article; he pointed out on his program this afternoon that sections 58 and 59 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act — the Constitution, in short — still provide for the Queen to disallow any bill passed by both Houses of the Australian Parliament.

I’ve done a little digging around in the hours since Elliott led his program with this; not only is this true, but those sections of the Constitution are unencumbered.

And this got me thinking about our system of government within a Constitutional Monarchy, recourse open to our citizens within that system, and attempts to bastardise it by the Whitlam, Hawke and Keating governments — whilst keeping sight of the arguments of the republican movement from the corner of my eye.

It’s an irony, but no coincidence, that this subject presents on the day Her Majesty has been in Melbourne. Apparently a small band of noisy protesters attended one of the public gatherings with placards reading “Welcome, your Majesty, please dissolve parliament” and “Carbon tax corruption.”

Elliott joined the dots and dug out the relevant sections of the Constitution, and I thank him for that.

However, I’d like to go further.

Before I do, and so readers can see what I’m on about, here are the relevant sections 58 and 59 in full:

S58. When a proposed law passed by both Houses of the Parliament is presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent, (s)he shall declare, according to his/her discretion, but subject to this Constitution, that (s)he assents in the Queen’s name, or that (s)he withholds assent, or that (s)he reserves the law for the Queen’s pleasure. The Governor-General may return to the house in which it originated any proposed law so presented to him/her, and may transmit therewith any amendments which (s)he may recommend, and the Houses may deal with the recommendation.

S59. The Queen may disallow any law within one year from the Governor-General’s assent, and such disallowance on being made known by the Governor-General by speech or message to each of the Houses of the Parliament, or by Proclamation, shall annul the law from the day when the disallowance is so made known.

There are reasons — good reasons — why Australia’s founding fathers embedded so many checks and balances into the Constitution; succinctly put, one of these was to ensure that power in Australia was decentralised, and to ensure that each tier and institution in our structure of governance was accountable to another.

With the Monarch — in this case, the Queen — at the top of the structure.

The merits or otherwise of republican argument are utterly irrelevant to the discussion I’m putting on the table; as it stands, today, the present Constitution represents and underpins the laws of the land.

Mind you, I’m partially surprised to find these sections of the Constitution intact and unchanged; only partially though, which reflects the nigh-impossibility of enacting constitutional change by referendum — the only way that august document may be altered.

My surprise derives from remembering — before thinking the matter through fully — that previous ALP governments have already abolished the right of appeal to the Privy Council; passed the Australia Acts; abandoned knighthoods as part of the national honours; and removed many references to the Monarchy from government and institutional life. Just to name a few that spring to mind.

Yet at the end of the day, we remain a Constitutional Monarchy; the Constitution retains powers for the Queen or her representative to act; and some carbon tax protesters appear to have made the link.

And I think that power in the Constitution should be used in appropriate circumstances.

How could this mechanism be used to overturn the so-called “clean energy bills” once the Senate passes them?

To me it’s a question of making use of the provisions of the Constitution, an exercise in direct democracy, and a challenge for Tony Abbott to utilise his leadership of the Liberal Party to galvanise public opposition to these measures in a tangible and practical fashion.

In Britain, the current Conservative government has introduced a mechanism by which any petition bearing 100,000 signatures from registered voters (whose bona fides are validated against the electoral roll) automatically triggers a vote in Parliament on whether the issue in question ought be put to a referendum.

This happened just this week — 100,000 people signed a petition calling for the UK to leave the EU (something I endorse, but that’s another matter).

The government took the petition and instructed its MPs to vote against it to the man; it was duly voted down, but only after 30% of David Cameron’s MPs crossed the floor of Parliament to vote in support for the referendum.

I think that on the issue of carbon tax, a petition needs to be made, in the first instance, of the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, in her titular role as Head of State and Vice-Regal representative of the Crown.

There’s no point petitioning the Prime Minister, who’s beholden to the lie by her commie mates; nor is there any point in petitioning the Speaker (a member of the ALP) or the Clerk of the Parliament (a public servant).

There are 14,000,000 enrolled voters in Australia; of these, half cast a vote — after preferences — for the Liberal and National parties at last year’s election.

In the 15 months since, their ranks have swollen by as many as another 1.2 million, largely on the back of Julia Gillard’s broken promise on refusing to introduce a carbon tax.

Now, if 100,000 can sign a petition in the UK on an issue of governance, 100,000 signatures in Australia carries three times the weight — our population is 22 million; the population of the UK is 63 million.

But given the depth and intensity of community anger over this issue, the gathering of 100,000 signatures should be child’s play; indeed, I’d be unsurprised if there aren’t hundreds of thousands of people who would sign a petition for the G-G to intervene.

Let’s say half a million signatures are gathered…it’d be the biggest opinion poll ever conducted in Australia outside an election.

The petition would be presented to the Governor-General, who (in the proper execution of her duties) would declare a conflict of interest (her son-in-law, Bill Shorten, is a minister in the Gillard government and thus bound by government policy).

The appropriate course of action in such circumstances would be to send the petition “upstairs” for the Queen to consider.

At this point, the Monarch would be the arbiter. However, such a course of action would likely involve representation from both sides of Australian politics, and with advisors and equerries at Court to minimise the direct involvement of the Queen personally as far as possible.

Does this sound far-fetched?

Well, the Constitution confers the authority on the Queen; clearly, given her family relationships, the Governor-General would be compromised in ruling on such an issue.

In 1975 — when “Labor Man” Sir John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam government to resolve a political deadlock (without consulting the Queen) — “experts” said that convention dictated he could do nothing of the kind; the law won the day, the deadlock was broken, Australia had an election, and Whitlam was swept into the dustbin of history.

I reiterate: the Constitution provides for the Queen to break the deadlock. Just as the “reserve powers” in the Constitution had never been used or explored prior to their employment in 1975, sections 58 and 59 need to be employed now.

This could take the form of a national campaign orchestrated by the Coalition and funded by its donors; backed by a significant media campaign (remembering trade unions threw $13 million at John Howard’s WorkChoices legislation) it could provide a singular focus point for Tony Abbott’s leadership of the Liberal Party — especially considering the fact that once the laws are passed, they’re likely to be forgotten for a while until the tax itself materialises.

This government lied to the people of Australia; its Prime Minister said — unambiguously — that “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead” and then proceeded to introduce one.

It’s completely irrelevant as to whether it was an outright lie, or one told in the process of selling out to the Communist Party Greens, but the fact is that Australians were duped.

It’s made much, much worse by the Labor Party and the Greens already saying they will refuse to recognise any mandate obtained from the people by the Liberals and Nationals at an election to rescind the tax, and will vote any attempt to do so down in the Senate if they collectively retain the numbers to do so.

The Parliament should not be above the people; it should be answerable to them.

This is a special case; it’s been many years since such a flagrant lie was foisted on people, only for them to be told after the event that they would never be able to avail themselves of redress.

People want an election. The clamour for a fresh vote is virtually unprecedented in my own 39-year lifetime. If the government won’t give the people a say, then an appeal to another arbiter — any legal arbiter — must be made.

It turns out that the Constitution provides one.

The law is the law, and the Constitution the ultimate expression of it in Australia.

And if our system of government allows it, then it should be utilised.

God Save The Queen!

“I Did But See Her Passing By…And Yet I’ll Love Her Till I Die”

So said the Prime Minister of Australia; the official State visit of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II of Australia, excited patriotic and nationalistic fervour and pride; and the country basked in the glory of the presence of its monarch.

I speak, of course, of Sir Robert Menzies; Prime Minister of Australia, 1939-1941, and 1949-1966.

And I speak of course of Her Majesty’s first visit to Australia in early 1954, nearly 60 years ago.

How have things changed?

It’s an odd issue; the concept of republicanism barely registered on the political spectrum prior to Paul Keating listing it as an agenda item in 1992.

Even following on from the Dismissal in 1975, based on reputable polling in the years afterwards, an overwhelming majority of Australians remained committed to the monarchy as a constitutional institution.

After Keating placed republicanism on the mainstream agenda, public support rocketed; it reached its zenith at the 1999 referendum on the subject, at which roughly 44% of the country supported change, and roughly 56% preferred the status quo.

And support for a switch to a republic has been slipping ever since.

A Morgan poll today shows support for a switch to a republic at 34%, with 54% supportive of the retention of the constitutional monarchy.

I too saw the Queen “passing by;” in 2006, when working in the advertising division at Fairfax, I’d gone for a cigarette outside our building at the corner of La Trobe and Russell Streets, Melbourne…

…and noticing the streets were clear, and seeing a lot of motorcycle Police and then a Police escort, I saw the Queen’s Rolls-Royce come up La Trobe Street.

I was the only person there; so when the Queen waved to me, I waved back.

I did but see her passing by…some 50-ish years after Menzies did.

And I liked what I saw.

I’m a staunch, committed, and died-in-the-wool constitutional monarchist; it might surprise people that someone from fairly pure Scottish stock would think that way, and I will come back to the point.

But the issue has become topical again, with the 85-year-old Queen Elizabeth on her 16th (and probably last) visit to Australia.

I believe in the monarchy through no particular loyalty to the royal family; to me, the question is constitutional, and not a judgement based on whether you like the family involved or not.

I actually do like (some members of) the royal family though; I’ve always especially had a soft spot for Zara Phillips — Princess Anne’s daughter — and I think Charles will make an excellent King, but I digress.

The problem with a switch to a republican system of government in Australia is that it would be — by necessity — very heavily politicised.

The so-called “minimalist” republican model — where someone is chosen and ratified by two-thirds of the combined numbers of both Houses of federal Parliament — is ridiculous, for the following (simplified) reasons:

  • A constitutional crisis will ensue whenever the 66.7% threshold cannot be met (which, politically, will be almost always based on election results over 110 years);
  • Constitutionally, some states in Australia are entitled to remain (and would choose to remain) sovereign with the monarch as their Head of State, irrespective of what transpires nationally; and
  • The “minimalist” republicans see the Head of State as a purely ceremonial figure, ignoring totally the requirement for an arbiter should something similar to 1975 ever occur again.

The case for direct election of a President is even worse — anyone who thinks such an elected office wouldn’t end up being a tug of war between (read: abused by) the Liberal and Labor parties is utterly delusional.

I’ve said it before, and will say again: I wouldn’t want a Liberal Party politician in such an office, and I’m a 20-year member of the Liberal Party. I certainly wouldn’t want someone from the ALP in the role either.

Sorry Malcolm; sorry Paul.

Plenty of people think like this. There’s no resolving this argument.

And for those who (naively) advocate that Australians would be on their best behaviour in any electoral dealings with a republican head of state, I have one word.

BOLLOCKS.

Politics is politics: there is no such thing as an office voted on by lemmings sitting on their hands, hoping against hope that all things good and nice will flow from their decision, and that everyone will simply play nice because the whole exercise is an effort in touchy-feely niceness.

That’s horse shit, people, and it doesn’t matter how any republican wants to interpret it.

By accident of history, we have a system of government that incorporates some hefty checks and balances; some of these derive directly from the Constitution, and some derive from the system of constitutional monarchy we enjoy.

There is an impartial apex at the summit of the structure: the Crown. Whether people like it or not, it can’t be replaced by an elected republican politician without destroying the integrity of the entire system.

I’d like to welcome Her Majesty back to Australia; it is known that the royal family generally harbours deep and genuine affection for this country, and indeed, many of them have spent protracted periods of time here.

I will see Queen Elizabeth II at a function next week, and I am very much looking forward to it.

And on account of my Scottish heritage — the Union (the real Union between England, Scotland and Wales, not some Trade Union consideration) has been better for Scotland than the alternative; separatist moves by the so-called Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, stand to rob that wonderful country of very, very much if they’re ever successful.

It’s a horrible example, but Salmond backed off during the so-called GFC when it became clear that whilst Westminster might be able to rescue Scottish banks that were in trouble, Holyrood couldn’t.

And of course, once the crisis passed, up came Salmond’s rhetoric yet again.

As someone who identifies as much as being Scottish as I do as a third-generation Australian, I have to say that people like Salmond are, in the big scheme of things, a gigantic red herring.

I did but see her passing by…I have done so already, as others have done before me; and metaphorically speaking, I look forward to she, her heirs and successors, doing so again.

No “royal bashing” folks, but the floor is yours — what do you think?

And if you want to argue for a republican system in government I’m happy to hear your views, but anything that boils down to “we need an Australian head of state” is old news.

We already have one: the Governor-General. There’s a separation already between the Crown and the functional head of state.

I’m interested to hear what people think.