We disagree with Mr Steketee, but he is fair and courteous. Not so Mark Baker writing in The Age on 17 March 2006. He did not care for youth ambassador, 13-year-old Harry White’s wonderful tribute to the Queen:
”Your majesty, during the past 54 years of your reign you have been the glue that has held us all together in the great Commonwealth of nations in good times and bad times.The love and great affection that we all hold for you is spread across one third of the world’s population in our Commonwealth.”
Baker demanded to know who authorised “this tosh? Who presumed so to speak for all Australians, not to mention one-third of humanity?”
Continuing in this style , he writes that “we”, meaning Baker and a handful of cranky old republicans, were” engulfed” with a “cloying” rendition of Happy Birthday. The fact that the audience joined in, and rose as one to sing the truncated version of God Save The Queen the censors would allow only made Baker more irritable. This he whinged , was a “fawning” excerpt from God Save The Queen we “rightly” ditched a generation ago.
Untrue, Mr. Baker. We were asked to choose a National Song, which we did. Then the politicians chose the new National Anthem, cleansing it of any political incorrectness.
( So why would you trust them with a plebiscite?)
Then of course he gave us the same tired old rubbish-our neighbours look on with growing bewilderment at our continuing ties to The Queen. The ones I know are fascinated by this!
And of course John Howard is blamed for splitting the republican movement before the 1999 referendum. If you had spent a few minutes at the Constitutional Convention, Mr Baker, you would have seen they had no need of John Howard to divide them. There was a virtual state of war at the Convention – only the mediation of Lloyd Waddy prevented a walk-out. Baker also blames John Howard for driving the issue off the political agenda despite “a clear majority of Australians favouring a change”. He obviously hasn’t read the latest polls , or Malcolm Turnbull’s admission in his diary before the referendum:”We have Buckley’s chance of winning-nobody’s interested”
He ends , appallingly, with these words:” Send her victorious? Send her packing …”
And in the meantime, The Age continues to publish comment of this quality under a version of the Royal Coat of Arms.