Evidence of serious anomalies in government accounting about Royal Visits or Homecomings has been exposed by Harold Schmauze of the Melbourne based lobby group, the Monarchist Alliance.
This seems to indicate that such accounting may be used as a political weapon in the proposed plebiscite about a republic.
The plebiscite is intended to overcome the fact that the republican politicians fear that a referendum would be defeated.
Mr. Schmauze also detected what may have been a protocol breach in a relationship which has been uneasy since the new government took office in Canberra.
“While visiting Japan Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his wife had an audience with the Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on 11th June,” writes Mr. Schmauze.
He is intrigued by a newspaper report "Rudd invited the Emperor and the Empress to visit Australia … and extended the invitation also to the Heir to the throne, Crown Prince Naruhito, and Crown Princess Masako.”
As Mr Rudd was a diplomat we assume that in a country as rigorously polite as Japan is, he was careful to ensure that the invitation to the Emperor as the Japanese Head of State came from the person of equal rank in Australia, the Governor-General.
However if it only came only from Mr. Rudd, our head of government, the Japanese would be too courteous to comment on what the Imperial Household would see as a breach of protocol.
“Mr. Rudd’s predecessor, Mr. John Howard, was criticised for frequently sidelining the Governor-General; it is surprising that no Australian journalist seems to have inquired into what could be similar behaviour by Mr. Rudd,” observes Mr. Schmauze.
“One can only hope that the Prime Minister had consulted his republican backbenchers before inviting the royal guests, since recent visits by members of Royal Families were not welcomed by Labor MPs,” he says.
“ Take Labor MP Daryl Melham as an example: ‘I don't begrudge looking after people, but what the royals cost is a bit over the top,’ he said in September 2006, after a report had revealed that the Queen’s and the Duke of Edinburgh six day stay in Australia had cost “just under $1.5 million”.
“This included the sum of $662,678, spent on travel expenses, $81,800 on accommodation, $61,460 on security and a whopping $644,300 for "other expenses'', including entertainment.
“The same report claimed President George Bush’s brief stay in Sydney cost only $186,000.
“But when George Bush and his entourage spent 24 hours in Germany that year, the cost to the German taxpayer was assessed at € 20 million (Aus$ 32 million) (Der Stern, 6 July, 2006).
“So how did Australia host the US president at a bargain basement cost of $186,000?
“Twelve thousand police shielded him from the German public. Were there none in Sydney? Was security provided free? ( Allan Hall, The Age, “Germans locked down for Bush visit,” 13 July, 2006)
“We assume no compensation was paid to shop owners who had to close their business for security reasons – these unfortunates presumable had to bear the cost themselves.
“And Sydney Airport must have forgotten to hand in the bill for the landing strip that was damaged by the president’s Air Force One plane.
“Another comparison was the six day visit of the Swedish King and Queen (News.com.au 9 November, 2005).
“This was only twice the cost of the one day trip of the Chinese President Hu Jintao to Australia.
“Not unreasonable, it seems if equivalent security was provided. But that would surely have not been the case, “ writes Mr. Schmauze.
What is going on with this accounting?
From Mr Schmauze’s investigation, it is difficult not to conclude that the costs of the Royal Homecomings of our own Queen are being subjected to different accounting standards to that of everybody else.
There is clear evidence that when it comes to The Queen, who receives no allowance from the government, there is an unacceptable degree of creative accounting.
Is this being done for political purposes – to be used to advance the republican cause?
If so, this is a scandal.