Dr Lee Duffield appears to be like on the media circus surrounding the royal loss of life and succession in England, and asks what it would imply for freedom and good authorities.
CHARLES THE SPEECHMAKER has been having such a mediathon that we have to ask why. His latest speeches have launched a British patriotic theme, as with the “Mummy” speech in June, flanked by a huge nationwide flag. Now, it was pure sufficient that Britain would come to a standstill over the change of Head of State.
Pageantry Down Beneath!?
Was it so regular and to be anticipated to cease the present right here in Australia? Twenty-four hours of round the clock royalism on ABC tv was digestible given the excellence and recognition of the poor girl who handed away and the nominal significance of the simultaneous altering of Australia’s Head of State, Charles III buying us as an additional title.
However, after the Queen’s loss of life early on Friday our time, on 9 September, the ABC was nonetheless doing the royal panel present at 7 PM on the Saturday, nationwide information time. As a substitute of our information, “our ABC” placed on the proclamation of the King, dwell, a stereotypically English affair. Couldn’t the ABC not less than have pushed this gradual occasion onto a secondary channel?
The times of blanket consideration truly soaked up the time of the journalists on the ABC’s London bureau, itself not a great vantage level for watching Europe, particularly with the blinding cultural antagonism there in direction of Europe.
Any information in Australia?
There would have been some Australian information that day and absolutely some European information along with the royalism in the UK, such because the recent counter-attack in Ukraine. The BBC despatched a few of their journalists there.
The ABC as a substitute offered its massive dose of “Girls’s Weekly-ism”, with even the Weekly’s editor on the panel. The ABC might need used extra Australian non-journalist announcers since, other than the Queen’s loss of life, your complete present was pre-set and anticipated, hardly information.
Journalists, deployed on the royal story in drive, may then have been freed to seek out information, even evaluation of the British story a bit deeper than the plodding, if vibrant, narrative of the King’s succession. (See Insiders of 11 September as a great begin – looking and balanced).
With all that pre-setting and pre-arrangement, if not out-and-out media administration by a department of presidency, what sort of dosage of propaganda is the general public getting, how and why?
There’s the odd case of SBS tv continuously operating applications in regards to the British royal household, in any other case English landscapes and trains, the royal servants, safety, their nation homes and so forth. Arrange initially as an ethnic community, SBS is now probably the most anglophile, possibly common with British migrants, however in any other case, is it right now delivering a slap within the face to the ethnic communities?
In the course of the time period of the final authorities, did some form of recommendation exit, that the primary reference to the Head of State ought to be “Her Majesty the Queen“, now “King”? All of them began saying it, routinely, even in present affairs and the information, as a substitute of merely beginning with “the Queen”. The priority is not only that it sounds wordy, fawning and pompous; it’s the doable ordering of it.
In 1975, all ABC broadcast workers acquired a rule ebook for the loss of life of the Monarch. It prescribed a very long time, effectively over 24 hours as I recall, when solely solemn music could be performed, nothing else. With no royal well being scare in proof, folks suspected a sensible joke. Presenters on the brand new Double J service (later Triple J) had nice sport making up their very own playlist of sombre rock music.
Darkish shadow of Governor-Normal Kerr
The darkish hand of the then Governor-Normal, Sir John Kerr, might have been current there. He appeared to consider the ABC as an official outlet of the state the place he may immediate the administration to set out guidelines. Within the uproar resulting in his precise Dismissal of the elected Authorities, the Liberal-Nationwide Opposition within the Senate was blocking the provision of cash to the elected authorities of Gough Whitlam.
An order “got here down” within the ABC to cease referring to the scenario as a “constitutional disaster” — it needed to be known as a “political” disaster. Phrase was that it got here from Kerr.
He secretly made a plan to dismiss Whitlam, colluding with the Liberal Chief Malcolm Fraser, and moving into some correspondence over the problem of his prerogatives with none aside from the person of the current second, Charles III. Precisely how a lot Charles knew and whether or not he nodded calls for recent consideration and when journalists get freed from their duties, “masking” the ceremonial gun firing, proclaiming, marching and the like, in England, they may begin to do extra work on this essential query: Is Charles III in any respect liable to behind-the-scenes meddling in politics, at the same time as only a pale shade of his forbear, Charles I?
That man seditiously sought to rule as an autocrat and waged warfare towards the Parliament, himself ultimately executed, in 1649. (There was a savagely vengeful response when his supporters regained energy, however the die was solid and electoral democracy received established.)
A ‘second authorities’
What might be at stake right here, when it comes to direct royal energy, if the system ought to go rogue? Simply contemplate: The British sovereign already has direct hyperlinks to the key safety companies. They’re technically head of the armed forces, sufficient of a actuality that within the Australian case, there was concern in 1975 that Kerr may attempt to by himself impose martial legislation.
They’ve wealth and a big finances, as seen in the price of the present proceedings in London, together with the media effort. There are assumed powers, as with the royal mail, legislation courts and swearing-in of police. The proclamations on Saturday 10 September had the King “agreeing” to difficulty seals, an evident assertion that ministers in “his” authorities, together with Australian governments, may do their work — in the event that they used his seal.
The sovereign appoints prime ministers and ministers, not essentially after elections, and indicators the laws they put via Parliament. British “nobles” negotiated a everlasting aristocrats’ “voice to parliament”, the Home of Lords. All could also be effectively whereas all people performs the sport however as was seen in 1975, there are assumed “reserve powers” that may conceivably strike towards reliable democratic authorities.
Options? America government presidency, the place the pinnacle of state and head of presidency are the identical, usually as highly effective because the legislature, can produce the catastrophe of a “mad king” — as with Donald Trump. In Eire, the president is elected and has way more scaled-down powers in comparison with the British monarch. In Sweden, the sovereign has nonetheless much less authority, with out the authority to log off on laws — that’s accomplished by ministers. In Australia, the issue is perhaps addressed by the general public electing the governor-general, however nonetheless with out government authority — that might stick with the parliamentarians.
Many potential republican supporters within the 1999 referendum mentioned they needed a president chosen by common vote; some had been maybe influenced by American tv reveals, with out understanding a lot about it. They may have been content material with a much less highly effective president — much less Trump potential within the formulation.
Two Elizabeths: examples for modelling the long run?
Lastly, give due consideration to the truth that good and simply leaders, once they come alongside, in any function, might be a present to historical past. So with the Elizabeths in England. Elizabeth I benefited from the consolidation of royal energy by her murderous and disgusting father Henry VIII, however knew statecraft, so her very long time in workplace noticed the nation and the state develop.
She was brave in warfare:
“…I’m come amongst you… being resolved, within the midst and warmth of the battle, to dwell and die amongst you all…”
Usually sufficient powerful and merciless, possibly seeing that as a necessity, she additionally noticed the genius of William Shakespeare and inspired him. Elizabeth II has had so many phrases spoken about her, together with “smart” (mentioned by the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau) and “particular” (President Emmanuel Macron of France).
Brave in warfare, at a younger age, she joined up. An individual who was to all appearances dutiful, trustworthy and mature, and there for a very long time, she did a lot for calm and civility in politics and authorities in an period of exploding change and mounting disaster worldwide. Whereas holding on to hereditary energy as she acquired it, as far as we might ever know, it was not abused.
Amongst his huge journalistic expertise, Dr Lee Duffield has served because the ABC’s European correspondent. He’s additionally an esteemed tutorial.
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