Albanese and Dutton might cooperate to take away King Charles as our head of state in favour of a republic. As a substitute, early indications sign we’ll proceed bowing to the monarchy for a lot of extra years, writes Stephen Saunders.
WHAT THE HELL simply occurred, Australia? Get a grip, we are able to’t maintain grovelling like this. Can we by no means deliver the curtain down on the 1954 Royal Tour?
As quickly as information emerged of the Balmoral bereavement, wise individuals hit the brace place. It was going to be a rocky week. But it surely’s been extra excessive than my darkest desires. A lot loonier than my silliest satires.
Earlier than the royal coffin has even accomplished its personal royal tour, our manifestly unsuitable new King is already having one other jape on the outdated colony’s expense. In The Every day Telegraph, he’s ‘planning a go to to Australia in one among his first strikes as monarch’. He has a standing invitation from Anthony Albanese — who seems not to be outdone by fanatical royalist Scott Morrison.
Right here’s what they may have mentioned: For years, our sensible leaders and pundits have concurred, hush, be affected person, “wait till the Queen dies”. Nicely, she lastly did, of us. So, we wave an overdue goodbye to her white-British-Christian Palace and urge a immediate transition to a extra acceptable head of state.
As a substitute, their message was, hush, be affected person, don’t you already know the Queen simply died? They created a tsunami of nauseating Palace propaganda and simpering royalist bilge.
Or, as William Faulkner might have written: 1954 is rarely useless. It’s not even previous.
In our faux post-Elizabeth “republican debate”, I shouldn’t single out anyone commentator. As a substitute, let me eyeball two. On their good days, both one can do an entire lot higher.
Take into account this breathtaking perception from SMH’s Peter Hartcher about ‘Why Albanese gained’t race to a republic…’. Earth to Hartcher: Timid Albanese already kicked that may to this point down the highway that it’s now not attainable to discern can or highway.
As Hartcher himself writes, he’s:
‘working in the direction of making a working group to start planning a republic referendum.’
I suppose one might shoehorn a number of extra get-out-of-gaol playing cards into that sentence. However let’s minimize to the chase. Albanese appears to be like scarcely extra more likely to ship an Australian head of state than Morrison.
His larger nationwide precedence (yep, nearly “racing”) appears to be stamping the top of Charles on our cash — following age-old British custom, as one should.
When would we get our personal head of state? On Hartcher’s timetable, about by no means. The Queen, he insists, didn’t make us the ‘coup capital of the western world’. So what? What’s that obtained to do with the anxious apron strings that also bind us to Buckingham Palace?
For 121 years, Australia has been sucking as much as these British royals. No matter variations of the reality John Howard is given go away to repeat on royal lover ABC’s Insiders, the fingerprints of Queen Elizabeth look like throughout The Dismissal. And now comes this contemporary tidal wave of grovelling.
Burbles Hartcher in response, Australia faces ‘deeply severe’ issues, so the top of state should stay a ‘second-order difficulty’. One might advance these nanny cautions any outdated time — there’s by no means a proper time.
Hartcher’s cautionary companion is John Warhurst in The Dialog, claiming (ARM) Australian Republic Motion’s most well-liked mannequin is a “inventive” start line. No, it’s not. It’s bollocks. ARM’s clunky (not directly) elected head of state would seemingly by no means stand up.
A second republican referendum, continues Warhurst, is ‘at greatest 5 to 10 years away… when Charles will likely be near 80’. Gee, as rapidly as that, fortunate us.
Again in 1999, Howard, who had sabotaged the primary republican referendum, had been duly rewarded by his Queen. Lately, as even ARM concedes – and as different polls verify – the final proposition of a “republic” barely wins a voter majority.
Any new head-of-state referendum might simply fall over once more. Except the prime minister and opposition chief converged on a previous deal. I don’t see them agreeing on an elected head of state. What’s in it for them? Their constituents don’t appear mad eager on an “elected president” both.
I’d be stunned if any head-of-state progress emerged below Albanese and Dutton. Despite the fact that the latter’s presumably merciless (however politically wise) circuit-breaker of a postal plebiscite helped deliver on same-sex marriage equality.
Australia, we don’t have to waste ages over “republican debates”. Or so-called “republican fashions”. A commonwealth is ok — even America has them. The important (and troublesome sufficient) step in the direction of a grown-up nation is simply this: laws to unyoke our governor-general from the Palace.
Some would possibly look askance at persevering with with a governor-general position. Morrison’s bungled selection of David Hurley has change into a useless man strolling. The identical occurred to Howard’s poorly chosen Peter Hollingworth.
Decided leaders might flip that argument on its head. Much more cause, they’d say, for parliamentary sign-off on the top of state. Not as luxurious because the prime minister having his or her personal personal decide, however extra protecting of prime ministerial powers than an elected head of state.
Yep, why not revisit the 1999 proposition? Which could nearly have gotten up however for Howard’s perfidy and the republicans fracturing. Have ourselves a head of state (or governor-general) with no antiquated Palace hyperlinks however with the (prime minister’s) nominee requiring endorsement by a two-thirds majority of a joint sitting.
This, I do know, wouldn’t type out our six state governors, doggedly reporting again to the Palace. Or our stubbornly British nationwide flag. Or our stubbornly British nationwide day. However, after 121 years as a royal doormat, we now have to start out someplace to get wherever in any respect.
Stephen Saunders is a former public servant, guide and Canberra Occasions reviewer.
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