In the years leading up to the 1999 referendum, the republican movement, and its supporters in the media, tried to neutralize those who do not want the constitutional system to be overthrown, and the Flag changed.
Their principal weapon was ridicule, and accusing them of un-Australian attachments.
They had some success in that, forcing some into a spiral of silence. But this did not stop the referendum being defeated, and defeated by a landslide.
We should never be embarrassed to defend our heritage against the elites who would denigrate everything Australian.
Nor should we take too much notice of republicans who are so often ill-informed.
During the referendum one senior republican politician asked in a speech at the NSW Public Library:
“Why can’t we become a republic – after all Canada has!”
And when it came to the Commonwealth of Nations, none of them had done their homework. Even the then Attorney-General did not seem to be aware of the procedure required to stay in the Commonwealth.
How then could Australians trust a movement which has had on offer two variations of the Keating-Turnbull republic, and now the Latham model?
Having said no to the Keating Turnbull republic, Australians should rejoice in the institutions which have made us what we are.
In the sermon we introduced in an earlier column, Father Janzen makes a similar plea to Canadians:
“Canadians should stop apologizing for their strengths and take a bit more visible pride in the institutions which have symbolized this country for over 500 years.
As we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Canadians can look back over the last 50 years with a tremendous sense of pride at all that our Queen has represented and dutifully performed as Canada’s Head of State.
In her long reign, The Queen’s impact has been great and varied.
Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau paid tribute in his memoirs to Her Majesty’s role in facilitating patriation of our Constitution in 1982.
When the Premier of Quebec, Jean Lesage, watched the Queen carrying our her duties in face of separatist violence in 1964, he was so moved by Her Majesty’s calmness and courage that he kept breaking into tears.
The Queen has also had an impact on Canada’s U.S. neighbor. After the freeing of some of the American hostages in Iran in 1979 through the efforts of the Canadian Ambassador, the picture of American gratitude that was flashed around the world was the scrawled message “God Save the Queen!” on a bag of U.S. mail bound for Canada.
When The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were guests of President and Mrs. Reagan at their ranch in California, Nancy Reagan was heard to comment that the royal couple were leaving the next day, to which Her Majesty responded: “Yes, we’re going home to Victoria tomorrow.” As Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II and the members of the Royal Family are very much ‘at home’ in this northern Kingdom.
The view of several generations of Canadians on the subject of their Queen was summed up by then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who said: “No Sovereign has served her Canadian subjects with more grace, more concern and more good will than has Queen Elizabeth II.”
The Prime Minister expressed this feeling directly to Her Majesty, saying: “You have stood with Canadians and you have stood by them, and Canadians in turn regard you with loyalty and affection.”
The Queen, in her 1991 Christmas broadcast, responded in kind with the words: “I feel the same obligation to you that I felt in 1952. With your prayers, and your help, and with the love and support of my family, I shall try to serve you in the years to come.”
As it was at the turn of the last century, so too as we entered into the 21st century, Canadians sang “God Save the Queen”; and a monarch of sage years and great respect sits upon the Throne of Canada.
Long may she reign!”
These sentiments undoubtedly apply with equal strength to our Queen, The Queen of Australia.
Until next time,