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Queen Elizabeth II

It is sometimes said, based perhaps on Matthew, that by their words shall ye know them. The words of our Sovereign describe exactly her mission in life, a mission to which she has remained faithful. What is surprising is that it is only now that many in the media and in politics have come to understand that The Queen means what she says.  And unlike many in modern political life, The Queen believes that an oath sworn on the Bible is an act of considerable significance and should be honoured. She has always kept to the promises she made when she came of age and when she was crowned and anointed. She became Queen of Australia - and Her fifteen other Realms on the death of her father King George VI what is called the Accession. This was on the 6th of February 1952 while she was in Kenya with Prince Phillip on their way to Australia and New Zealand.



The Queen was crowned on 2 June 1953 in an ancient ceremony full of meaning. Wearing a gown embroidered with the floral emblems of the nations of the Commonwealth, including wattle from Australia, she swore to uphold our laws.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: "Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia , New Zealand , the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon  and of your Possessions and other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?"

The Queen: "I solemnly promise so to do."
The Archbishop of Canterbury: "Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgments?"
The Queen: "I will."
The Archbishop of Canterbury: "Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?"
The Queen: "All this I promise to do. The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God."[
Once the taking of the oath concludes, an ecclesiastic presented a Bible to The Queen, saying "Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God."


By swearing an oath on the Bible, a person stresses his or her  commitment before God to keep the promise made there. When we are called to give evidence in court, we promise to tell the truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth. ( Other arrangements of equal significance are made for those of other religions. Those who have no religion make an affirmation.)

The Queen is strongly committed to the Oath she made at her coronation. Therefore retirement or more correctly an abdication merely because of age was always out of the question and never contemplated - except in media speculation. 

On her 21st birthday, The Queen indicated how she intended to fulfil her role in life:

“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

More recently, she gave an indication of her strong faith when she said:

 “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example. I believe that the Christian message, in the words of a familiar blessing, remains profoundly important to us all: "Go forth into the world in peace, be of good courage, hold fast that which is good, render to no man evil for evil, strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the afflicted, honour all men… It is a simple message of compassion… and yet as powerful as ever today, two thousand years after Christ's birth.”

And again, after 9/11, she told the American people:

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

The Queen, who has reigned over us for more than one half of the life of the Commonwealth of Australia, attracts, and rightly attracts, the admiration of the people of Australia. The reaction in Melbourne at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games , when the 80,000 or so present joined with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in singing not only Happy Birthday, but in standing to sing the few bars of the Royal Anthem the censorious organizers permitted, is testimony to that. According to the former republican leader, the Hon.Malcolm Turnbull,  another referendum:

 “… should not be put up for another vote unless there is a strong sense in the community that this is an issue to be addressed NOW…In addition, in order to be successful a republic referendum needs to have overwhelming support in the community, bipartisan support politically and, in truth, face modest opposition. A republic referendum should not be attempted again unless the prospects of success are very, very high…… I do struggle to see how a republic referendum could get the level of support it needs to win during the reign of the present Queen.”

We have been blessed with a Sovereign who has never put a foot wrong, who has never embarrassed us, who does her duty, and for whom we do not pay and never will pay. In brief, her service has been impeccable. The Queen is now revered as she was when she first came to Australia.

And yet, it is a little appreciated fact that the Crown, the oldest institution in the nation, remains central to and permeates our constitutional system, which is one of the world’s most successful. Nevertheless, the place of the Crown and therefore The Queen in our constitutional system remains under challenge, but certainly not to the degree the republican media claim and indeed crave.

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