Australians still benefit from one of the best constitutions in the world, and the Australian flag still flies over our land because a sufficient number of Australians were willing to fight to preserve, to protect and to defend our heritage.
In 1999, the people agreed, overwhelmingly. Yet republicans are still trying to undermine what was a very clear decision.
Fortunately there are Australians who remain vigilant in the defence of our heritage. Armed with modern technology, they can inform and motivate other Australians who are not prepared to see our heritage trampled.
This can even happen, it seems, on Christmas Day.
On 25 December, 2007, The Age reported that Royal Melbourne Women's Hospital was now to be known as “The Women's. “
New signage was installed on Friday after “consultants” said the former name was ”ineffective.” A spokeswoman said the change was “just for branding purposes.” She said the hospital was advised by a “professional way finding signage company who developed the signage package."
A Victorian Greens MP, Greg Barber welcomed the change. The Nationals leader, Peter Ryan, asked why Victorians were not consulted, slamming it as “another example of apparently contemporary political correctness on the part of the thought police," he said.
A Government spokesman denied any involvement or that there were plans to remove the word "royal" from other institutions.
The ever vigilant George Bougias, who played a leading role in encouraging those attending the Commonwealth Games to sing “God Save The Queen,” and who among other positions, is ACM’s International Convener, acted. He protested to the Hospital, and wrote to The Age. Then he circulated all this information to members of the Monarchist Alliance, warning that “the barbarians are at the gate again.”
He told the Royal Melbourne Women’s Hospital of his “profound disappointment” with the hospital management following their decision.
“Having been born at the hospital myself I am especially saddened that the my birth place has chosen to downgrade its role in the community. The title “Royal” proclaimed to the entire world the status and critical role of the hospital in providing maternity and other care for Victorian women.The title also proclaimed the high regard that all Victorians have for the hospital while also reminding us of our system of Government (a Constitutional Monarchy and the envy of the world), our history and culture.
“Importantly, the title also reminded us that we are in the Commonwealth family of nations – a group that is led superbly by Her Majesty The Queen of Australia. Moreover, having been conferred the title by Her Majesty the Queen of Australia, I find it incredibly rude and ungrateful that a few would choose to remove it.”
The fact that the decision was announced so close to the Christmas period (with The Age reporting it on Christmas day!) had not escaped his notice. He said that this “suggests secrecy and an unwillingness to engage with the broader community.”
Asking that the title be reinstated, he also asked to see the consultant’s report. He warned that he would be pursuing the issue with a range of people, including State and Local Government authorities.
His letter to The Age, which he signed as one born at the Royal Melbourne Women’s Hospital, pulled no punches:
“So let's get this straight. Management at a Melbourne icon (The Royal Women's Hospital) decides to drop the "Royal" to increase marketing and "other" "efficiency" on the advice of a sign company? “And does so around Christmas time so no-one notices?
“This is either an April fool's joke (at the wrong time of year) or a poorly-thought out ploy by people who should know better.
“If the Royal Women's management team and their 'consultants' can't leverage the term "Royal" (a title thousands of other organisations would jump at the chance to have) the best thing they could do for the hospital's efficiency would be to sack themselves. “What a joke!”
Brett Hogan, ACM’s Victorian Convener, sent this powerful protest to the Hospital:
“I have just read of your very disappointing decision to put short term marketing before long term credibility by gradually removing the "Royal" from the name of your hospital, just like the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens (now known as just one of three Melbourne zoos) and the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind (now Vision Australia which sounds like a political party) etc…
“You have chosen to dispense with your Royal Charter, which in one word, gives your hospital respect, credibility and status and replace it with yet another boring and bland marketing term which will merge you into the rest of the pack and presumably need to be changed again in a couple of years by new consultants.
“I don't like to be rude, but as well as being a highly political act, to be honest with you, "The Womens" sounds like a toilet. “It sounds to me like Victoria's pre-eminent hospital for women, with the highest standards of governance, integrity and healthcare is really only "just another hospital" after all.
” Harold Schmauze, the moderator of the Monarchist Alliance web pages, then posted the news that the hospital was backtracking. Chris Evans in The Age reported that the hospital was “staying 'royal'”. It “vehemently denied” reports that it is about to discard its 53-year-old royal warrant, despite a large illuminated sign on Friday appearing high up on the side of the hospital's new $250 million building in Parkville.
"Of course we are proud to be The Royal Women's Hospital, but people also know us as just The Women's and that was a consideration in pointing people to our building as opposed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital next door," spokeswoman Ms Frostick said.
The hospital would continue to display its full name at street level, on its flag and throughout its premises.
George Bougias was not impressed , saying that the backtrack was to an extent “smoke and mirrors,” but pointing out the RMH response “shows however what a few can do…..keep the fight going!!!”
He referred to a report in the Herald Sun also on Christams Day that the hospital said it had been inundated with callers upset by a report in the Herald Sun that the hospital was dropping the “Royal” from the name.
"We're getting lots of phone calls this morning from people upset and asking why we are changing the hospital's name," Ms Frostick said.
"We haven't – we've always been known as The Women's but we are still registered as The Royal Women's Hospital."
This story demonstrates the effect vigilant defenders of our system can have. It also shows how the length to which republicans will go to circumvent the people’s wishes.