Australia should remain a constitutional monarchy and not become a republic, author and well known television presenter Clive James told a probably somewhat surprised audience at the Melbourne Writers' Festival last night. In its issue of 25 August, 2007, the Melbourne newspaper The Age said that Mr. James was responding to a question from the audience after delivering the festival's keynote speech at the Melbourne Town Hall. He declared himself a "cultural conservative" who valued and believed in the current constitutional system. "You ask when are you going to be free of the British monarchy.  You are free under the British monarchy. What you have to guarantee is that you are free under the next system. I think it's a very advantageous political system to Australia, to have a connection with the old British monarchy." That is worth repeating, that we are free under the monarchy. As an ACM referendum bumper sticker read, “Freedom wears a Crown.”

 

 In its report headlined “James saves the Queen,” The Age reported Mr. James saying that it was a "generous act of respect" to Britain to keep the Union Jack in the Australian flag. "I know I must be seen as impossibly conservative, but you can be quite on the left, which I am, and still be culturally conservative."Referring to the republic referendum in 1999, he recently said that “there is a danger in Australia constantly of the consensus of the commentariat separating too far from the opinion of the people, to the point where the commentariat becomes contemptuous of the people.” ( see this column on 6 November 2006)