[The picture above was taken by Richard Hatherly at Newman College, Floreat, Perth, on 18 October, 2006. Left to right are 7 years old Sebastian Faugno, 6 years old Harrison Delaporte, 6 years old Catherine Whitely and 6 years old Eloise Krikstolaitis, with the letter they received from Buckingham Palace.]
Monarchy is a romantic concept. We see this when royalty comes to Australia, and the attention this generates. Republicans seem to be affected by royalty too. Professor David Flint, in a light aside to fellow constitutional monarchists, warns them never to stand between visiting royalty, even minor European royalty and republicans, especially Sydney republicans.
“Otherwise you will be at risk of being knocked over in the rush,” he says.
During the 1999 referendum, republicans criticised monarchists for not arguing about the virtues of Queen Elizabeth II. But as ACM National Convenor David Flint said, “Everyone knows we have a most marvellous Sovereign. Republicans agree. And The Queen is taking no part in the debate. Her Majesty says this is a matter for us to decide. The qualities of the monarch are not the issue – the referendum is about the Constitution.”
“It is gracious of the republicans to tell us how to campaign, but we intend to concentrate on the Australian constitution which they are proposing to change so radically.”
The republican movement has always had as its principal aim getting rid of The Queen. In the nineties they devised two models with the sole purpose of achieving this, rather than in any attempt to improve the constitution. Since then they have refused to reveal what republic they are proposing.
Because they are obsessed with removing The Queen, they assume that constitutional monarchists’ principal argument centres on the character of the Sovereign. All constitutional monarchists respect The Queen, as many republicans do.
Many constitutional monarchists feel a personal loyalty to The Queen both personally and to the Australian Crown. Those who have sworn an Oath of Allegiance feel especially bound, regarding this as an important act, just as binding as the Oath sworn in court to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Monarchists are surprised that some politicians are willing to swear their allegiance on the Bible, but then campaign against The Queen and the Australian Crown. After all they were not conscripted to public office.
It is important to stress that for constitutional monarchists, the central defence of our constitutional system relates to the important role the Australian Crown plays in it in providing leadership above politics, and as an effective check and balance against the political branches.
Republicans seem to assume that only elderly people of British origin are constitutional monarchists. This is not so. That monarchy appeals to the young was demonstrated graphically in a West Australian school not so long ago.