As if it were not enough for me to lock swords with authors who write about the “Republic of Heaven”, Thomas Keneally (Australian Irish author and amateur pope) has decided it is time to revive interest in that old furphy, the Australian Republic in today’s edition of The Age.
Seems as if he is still under the illusion that we Aussies are “subjects of Britain”, just because Britian and Australia happen to have the same monarch. Although he complains that “at embassies Canberra, foreign diplomats quite correctly toast the Queen of Australia”, he seems to interpret those toasts as toasting the Queen of Great Britain. Our allegiance is to the former, not to the latter. So we are subjects of the monarch of Australia, not of Great Britain. There is an important distinction here, methinks. Being subject to the Monarch of Australia is hardly being “subjects of Britain”.
I don’t think I am being pedantic here. There is simply nothing in our law that in any sense indicates that we are subject to the nation of Britain.
He pontificates that “the very last of the avowed Queen’s men, John Winston Howard, will soon be passing from power by electoral defeat or party handover.” I am sure that Kevin and Peter will hope that Keneally is right, but surely this is a somewhat premature declaration?
More than that, although he concedes that neither Peter Costello nor Kevin Rudd is likely to agree to bringing the option of a directly elected president to a referendum, he remains hopeful that this model will succeed. True to his Irish nature (what IS it about the Irish? — I put that in for you, Peregrinus!), he not only wishes to be free of the authority of the Monarch, but he also wants to be free of the authority of Parliament. Keneally is not just a democrat, he is a a demagogue. He declares that
The president would be elected to exercise the reserve powers only. He or she would be above politics and thus would often attract a larger endorsement from the people.
Who IS he trying to kid? How can a popularly elected president EVER be “above politics”?
The one thing he is right about is that there will be “a bit of a barney” when and if the issue of a republic is ever raised again. The republican party will never be united in the model they wish to be adopted. In the meantime, the status quo will continue to exist. We will have a Monarch of Australia for some time to come. I predict that the Monarch will even one day be a king.