The Queen’s Birthday has long been enjoyed by Australians as a celebration of our history, our heritage and our great democracy. Australians have been celebrating this holiday since 1788 when Governor Phillip declared a holiday on the birthday of King George III.
Until 1936 the actual birth date of the reigning monarch was observed. (The Queen’s actual birthday is on 21 April)
But after the death of King George V it was decided to retain the June holiday weekend, apart from Western Australian where it is celebrated in September/October.
The Crown is our oldest institution, dating from the first settlement. It is the institution under which we received self government and under which we then agreed to unite, as the preamble to the Constitution Act records…in "one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown and under this Constitution."
The Crown is not a rubber stamp; it is an important check and balance on the exercise of power.
This year’s celebrations, especially but not only those for the public holiday on 12 June in most states and territories, and in Western Australia on 2 October, are particularly important because this is The Queen’s Eightieth Birthday
It is to be marked in the United Kingdom by a series of events which we outlined in our column on 2 December, 2005;
The UK Royal Mail and the Post office of the Isle of Man will issue special commemorative stamps as we reported in our column of 6 January 2005.
The Australian Post Office will also commemorate both the Queen’s birthday and the Commonwealth Games, as noted in our column of 8 January 2005.
We hope that all of Her Majesty’s nine Australian governments, federal, state and territorial, as well as local government will also commemorate, and commemorate properly The Queen’s 80th birtday.
Our celebrations of the Golden Jubilee were, to be courteous, so minimalist, as to be almost invisible. Contrast that to the celebrations in Canada, which celebrated the occasion with enthusiasm.
Of course the media was taken aback by the enthusiastic celebrations in London, as they were over the honour accorded by the people to the Queen Mother at her funeral.
Readers of the Sydney Morning Herald may recall Mike Carlton, the Fairfax journalist and Southern Cross 2UE talk back presenter, suggesting that the funeral would be almost only noticed by confused Japanese tourists and a few royalists.
(Incidentally, to boost his ratings, Mr. Carlton is this year to be joined by fellow republican Mr. Peter Fitzsimons, on the 2UE breakfast programme. The engagement of these two journalists is an attempt to counter the high ratings of Mr Alan Jones. Mr FitzSimons, it will be recalled, has been labouring for many months to produce that bombshell, the “mate for a head of state campaign”, whose celebrants are to be adorned with yellow ribbons on the Sunday before Australia Day, and every Sunday before Australia Day therafter, until the Australian people give in to their republican demands.)
The point is The Queen’s 8oth Birthday must be celebrated, and celebrated properly across the Commonwealth of Australia.
We have been advised by the Royal Commonwealth Society that the Governor Of New South Wales, Professor Bashir, will attend a church service for The Queen’s Birthday, at St James’ Anglican Church, King Street, Sydney on Sunday, 5 February 2005. (The congregation should be seated before 10.40 AM) We would be interested to know of other celebrations in each of our states and territories. Once we have notice of these, we shall post them to this site.
In particular, clergy of all denominations and faiths should be requested to offer prayers for The Queen.
Mr. Harold Schmautz, who is involved with the Monarchist Alliance in Melbourne has decided to act.
He has drafted a letter he is sending to the Prime Minister and he calls on supporters “to write similar letters to the prime minister, the state premiers, to senators, MPs etc. and ask every one of them what they are planning.
He says, and I agree entirely with him, that the more people enquire the more likely it may be that something will happen.
This is the letter:
“ Dear …
Whilst her actual birthday is the 21st April, we Australians celebrate Queen’s Birthday on 12th June or on 2 October in Western Australia. I note the UK is planning substantial celebrations to occur on her official birthday.
I am wondering what celebrations the government is planning to mark such a major event in Her Majesty’s reign. The Australian public should have the opportunity to celebrate this joyous moment publicly and the elected representatives of the Australian people should take the lead.
Could you please keep me informed of any planned celebrations by the federal government?
Mr. Schmautz is to be commended for this initiative.