LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23:  HRH Queen Elizabeth II attends a special 'Celebration of the Arts' event at the Royal Academy of Arts on May 23, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Carl Court - WPA Pool/

Sovereign for 60 years … Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Getty Images

Monarchists will launch a petition today against ABC1's lack of live coverage of the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations.

The main celebrations – marking the Queen's 60 years on the throne – will be held in London next weekend. The event will include a Thames pageant featuring a flotilla of 1000 boats led by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the Royal Barge. There will be an Australian connection with Surf Lifesavers represented at the pageant.

While the British will be celebrating, however, the national broadcaster will be screening the 1975 movie Shampoo, starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn, described as ''social satire about a sexy male hairdresser who does more than just cut hair''.

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Actor Warren Beattie wields a hair dryer as he appears with Julie Christie in a scene from the 1975 movie"Shampoo."   "Shampoo,"  was released on Feb.  22, 1975, the same day that actress Drew Barrymore was born.  (AP Photo/file) WARREN BEATTY

Warren Beattie and Julie Christie in Shampoo. Photo: AP

In protest, the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy will today launch a campaign on its website and Facebook page asking viewers to join a petition ''to show the ABC that they should perform the role and function for which they are funded by the taxpayers of Australia''.

''Instead of broadcasting the events, the ABC will have either closed down the channel or will be showing a rather tired and motley collection of repeat programs, old films, and music videos,'' the group says on its website.

In a letter to the ABC's managing director, Mark Scott, the monarchy group's national convener, David Flint, writes: ''There are a number of events of special moment which many Australians would wish to see, especially the Thames Pageant.''

The chairman of the Monarchist League of Australia, Bryan Stertern-Gill, said the ABC's decision was ''offensive''.

''When you consider that Australia is only 111 years old and [the Queen] has been sovereign for 60 years, then the fact that the national carrier has no live coverage is appalling,'' he said. ''Regardless of your views of the monarchy, she has done a sensational job and I find it offensive that they are not giving it live coverage.''

The ABC said ABC News 24 on its digital channel would provide extensive live coverage, including crosses to the London correspondent, Phil Williams. A spokeswoman said there would also be live coverage on ABC1 news, but the extent of coverage had not been finalised.

But Mr Flint said the coverage ''should be the same as they did for the royal wedding. It should be the full program and on ABC1 because not everyone gets ABC News 24.''

The London celebrations are expected to include the royal family on the Buckingham Palace