Does Australia’s constitutional monarchy have a future beyond the reign of the current monarch? That is the question Peter Westmore, the National President of the National Civic Council, poses in an editorial, “Elizabeth and the future of the monarchy”, in the 1 Apr 2006 edition of News Weekly.
News Weekly was founded six decades ago by the late B.A. Santamaria. It occupies an honourable and distinguished place on the publishing spectrum. Inspired by the teachings of the Catholic Church on communism -but never exclusively Catholic- the journal took the high moral position for many years against the Moscow controlled communists in Australia. Notwithstanding sympathetic programmes in recent years on the ABC which portrayed them as harmless, misguided utopian socialists, the communists planned to turn Australia into a Stalinist Peoples’ Republic on the East European model. Although they had barely any electoral support, they managed to occupy, at least for a time, the commanding heights of the trade union movement, particularly in industries of strategic military and economic importance.
This dominance was achieved mainly through electoral fraud, first exposed by a young articled clerk, Frank McGrath, who later became a judge. (This story is related in Frank Rooney, Dictators within the Labor Party of Australia, edited by Dr Amy McGrath, Towerhouse Publications, Sydney, 2005)
Such is the moral bankruptcy of Australia’s elites that the website Crikey.com, then under a different proprietor, twice reported me for the heinous politically incorrect offence of actually being seen to be reading News Weekly on the shuttle to Canberra!
News Weekly applies traditional Christian principles to social and political issues. On economic matters it represents a position which rejects the endorsement of free trade and globalization. It is influential, and finds supporters in both the Labor Party and the Coalition.
While ACM has no views on issues outside of its mission, the opinions of this journal, which has such a strong adherence to principle, are always worthy of consideration.
Mr. Westmore dismisses the canard spread by a sector of the media that The Queen herself had issued some sort of "coded message", as one English paper put it, that Her Majesty was in favor of Australia becoming a republic. He concludes that a careful reading of her comments showed no such thing.
Mr. Westmore is absolutely correct. I challenge even the most passionate republican journalist precisely which words in the following could possibly convey such a message:
"I hope you will allow me, with a certain sense of perspective as I approach my 80th birthday and on my 15th visit here, to express my conviction that Australia in the course of my lifetime has firmly established itself amongst the most respected nations of the world.
"I thank you above all for this opportunity to reaffirm my confidence in the future of this great country."
Even Richard Butler could not seriously say this was a declaration that Her Majesty favored Australia becoming a republic. But such is the scandalous corruption of elements of the media, including, according to one of our readers, a news bulletin broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
An editor of any standing would discipline journalists who dared fabricate such untruths. If any other profession engaged in such impropriety, the media would descend on them with vehemence. Instead, there is silence. The lies are told. And the media moves on to the next story.
Mr. Westmore does criticize Prince Charles for endangering the Crown as an institution by advancing his political views, which he notes, ironically, are on the whole probably endorsed by Australia’s republicans. In any event, he says, the republicans have yet to come up with a credible alternative constitutional arrangement.
He believes the people understand that Australia is a free and independent nation, and that the Crown represents those institutional structures of government which are independent of any political party or leader. Opposed to the politicization of the office of Governor –General, and having a deep-seated distrust of politicians, the people rejected the republic in 1999
Pointing to the republican argument for an Australian Head of state , Mr. Westmore notes that Sir David Smith, official secretary to five governors-general and later visiting scholar in the faculty of law at the Australian National University, has “cogently argued” that the Governor-General, not the Queen, is Australia’s head of state.
He refers with approval to my observation:
"A Governor-General should have no other agenda than fulfilling his duty, which is in itself a sufficiently onerous burden. Matters of policy are for the government of the day which is responsible to the Parliament, in the first instance, and ultimately to the people."
"The Westminster system provides the political and judicial arms of the state, but requires at its heart an institution above politics and beyond political capture. That is its strength, which has been tested over time. It should not be changed by politicising our viceroys." (Malice in Media Land, 2005).
Mr. Westmore concludes: Australia’s constitutional arrangements have served the nation well for over 100 years. They should not be abandoned in a quest for novelty.