October 2

Editor blunders in spiteful Queen’s Birthday attack

The Herald Sun's Executive Editor thinks Victoria voted "yes" in  the 1999 republican referendum. How embarassing. 

All states, Mr Alan Howe, voted no. 

We assume that the Executive Editor of Melbourne's high ciculating newspaper is merely ignorant and is not trying to misrepresent the facts.

As part of his campaign to turn our crowned republic into a politicans' republic, he is doing what Australians cannot abide- mixing politics with sport.

It is perhaps not surprising that such an ill informed man  would launch the spiteful and very personal attack on the Royal Family which  appeared in the Herald Sun on 2 October, 2008.

Didn't anyone at the Herald Sun check this? 

But before I come to that, let me mention something stirring.

…Western Australia honours The Queen…      


Perth’s Kings Park war memorial shook as the Australian army artillery boomed out a 21-gun salute to celebrate the Queen's Birthday in Western Australia on 26 September.

Troops from the 7 Field Battery gave up their chance to watch the AFL grand final to participate in the traditional ceremony, army spokesman Eric Bateman told John Chan from  the West Australian (“Big guns salute Queen’s Birthday at Kings Park,” West Australian 27 September, 2008.

 Battery commander Major Steve Mathers told Mr. Chan that the Queen's Birthday and Australia Day were the only regular events where a full 21-gun salute was used. 

"We are all giving up the grand final to do this today (and to clean the guns). The blanks they fire cause lots of smoke. The guns get quite dirty and need to be cleaned for sure," said Major Mathers.

 "These guns are normally used in the field to fire high explosive ordinance, smoke, anti-personnel and anti-tank shells and illuminating rounds out to a distance of 11 kilometres. 

"However, for the Queen's Birthday Salute they will be firing six ounce blank cartridges only." Major Mathers said that the unit also looked forward to opening Parliament with a 19-gun salute and supporting the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in their rendition of Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture in December. 

"Instead of the big drums symbolising the canons in the music, the guns actually fire. In the end crescendo, all guns fire at once which will be spectacular at night."

..Melbourne editor tries to mix politics with sport…

But to return to that Executive Editor the Herald Sun, who doesn't know what happened in 1999.

He is campaigning for the name of The Queen’s Birthday holiday in Victoria to be changed and the holiday moved from June to coincide with the coming football final.

Other republican proposals have included abolishing it  altogether or renaming it  “ Children’s Day”.

As with the flag and the constitution, they cannot make up their minds. As Thomas Flynn observes, "Once again the republicans are divided , irreconcilably so.”


Lou Bougias tells me the editor spoke scathingly of the Royal Family on radio station 3AW, erroneously referring to them as “inbred” and “Germanic”.

He also criticised them for changing their name, forgetting that  many Australians have done that.

One lesson from 1999 was that insulting the Royal Family does not go down well.

And while sporting events are very important,  the editor should know better than to mix politics with sport.

He is just using The Queen’s Birthday in a very transparent and  shallow campaign to turn our crowned republic into a politicians’ republic.

Why an editor would want to increase the power of the political class is difficult to understand.

And surely he knows this is the oldest public holiday in the nation, and it is about our oldest institution?

The Australian Crown remains constitutionally relevant, not so much because of the power it wields, but the power it denies others.

Australians understand this. Apparently a poll taken immediately after by 3AW strongly opposed the editor's proposal.

And we trust the Herald Sun will correct their Executive Editor's ignorance of recent events.




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