The arguments against constitutional monarchy are rooted in ideology, rather than a case, however tenuous, for improved function and practicality. ‘National unity!’ cry republicans, hoping none will notice the divisions they themselves sow and aim to exploit
For 117 years, Australia – along with Canada and New Zealand, has enjoyed unparalleled political stability. Notwithstanding our Western heritage, the reason Australia is considered in the top tier of nations, while being neither militarily nor financially as powerful as our geography might suggest, is because our democratic and cultural infrastructure has allowed our society to flourish. Our quality of life, low levels of corruption and our national ethos of ‘a fair go’ are directly attributable to the representative Westminster model and creed used across federal and state parliaments.
With republicans once again licking their lips at the thought of a second referendum it is critical to understand why a section of society looks with such scorn at the Royal Family being the ultimate guardian of Australian political integrity. The first reason is simple but not trivial: sitting atop the crown there is a cross, an ancient reminder that there is greater power watching, judging and, yes, influencing the actions of the Monarch. Divine Right is not fantastical notion; it is central to the concept of Monarchy. Spiritual power trumps temporal power – which is the first reason why, in post-Christian Australia, monarchy is so often frowned upon by those who no longer have time for God.
The second and more widespread reason why some Australians take issue with constitutional monarchy is because it is British. These are the same flag-hating people inclined to assert against the evidence and record that, rather than sporadic and unrelated skirmishes, organised ‘genocide’ was implemented against Aborigines. These people like to claim the British Empire was a bad thing and that the pink coloured territories on the map between 1650 and 1965 stood for tyranny, rather than civilisation, commerce, industry, democracy, science, health breakthroughs, farming, the arts, the rule of law, an independent judiciary and the abolition of slavery.
Indeed, although over 75% of Australians still have Anglo-Celtic ancestry it is apparently the more diverse migrants from the past 35 years that make this country great. The Orwellian ‘diversity is strength’ mantra is what, apparently, makes Australians Australian. In other words, we are greater and better for renouncing what we had always been until the social engineers stepped in to set things right according to their own metrics.
What makes Australia great is its British heritage. It has shaped our national character, from our now fading irreverence before authority to our non-PC humour, also now all but gone. Then there is our sense of civic duty and our empowerment of the individual. I’m not saying other cultures haven’t contributed to our society, because they obviously have. I’m talking about scale.
Let’s simplify it further: without non-British immigration would Australia still be Australian? Of course it bloody would. But would Australia be Australian without our British heritage? No, it wouldn’t.
The third reason republicans want the removal of the Sovereign and a change in our Constitution is that they simply don’t understand the document itself. As the clamour from the likes of Peter FitzSimons grows louder we will hear the zealots demanding “an Australian Head of State”. Our Governor-General – presently The Honourable General Sir Peter Cosgrove – is our Head of State. The GG appoints the government, grants assent to parliamentary bills, presides in the Queen’s place as supreme commander of the defence forces and has the power to call elections and sack corrupted or ineffectual governments and officials.
Only once in federal politics have reserve powers been invoked, that being the removal of Gough Whitlam in 1973. A controversial action – but one that history, if not Labor partisans, has judged as an example of a Governor-General exercising precisely the duty expected of him when the tawdry venality of party politics plunges the nation into an uncertainty that verges on chaos. The best aspect about the Governor-General’s role it is apolitical, something which none of the republicans’ new and past models cannot be matched. In an age where thepolitical spectrum is so polarised, never before has there been such a need for a unifying, non-partisan Head of State.
The 1999 referendum was lost by the republicans because they exhibited contempt for the simple truths held dear by ordinary people. The people elect politicians to carry out their will, not to decide it for them. Upon the Queen’s death — may that day be far off — republicans will renew their assault, the phalanxes of academia’s cultural Marxists and limelight-lusting ‘enlightened’ celebrities marching out to discredit our history, tarnish our splendid and successful model of governance.
Ask yourself this: do you want to have to vote for a partisan Head of State? Or would you rather retain a system that deliberately and specifically renders the head of state exempt and above the fleeting fashions and passions of the moment? If the answer is not obvious it should be.