It is an isolationist argument to say that because The Queen of Australia is also Queen of Canada, Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen of New Zealand and of all Her Other Realms and Territories, we must throw out our constitutional system and graft a republic onto the body politic.
The latest argument of the republican movement is, strangely, a rejection of their 1999 politician’s republic.
Under the republican movement’s Latham Plan, they now demand Australians vote for the Latham Republic. In this, they want us to have yet another politician. This politician’s role is to replace both The Queen of Australia and the Governor-General. In doing so the politician is sure to debase those high offices, which are now above politics, dragging them down to be yet another part of the sordid political game.
Instead of being embarrassed that Elizabeth is also Queen of, say, New Zealand, we should rejoice in that.
Father Janzen’s comments on this in the sermon we have been citing in this column apply just as much to Australia as to Canada:
“Canadians can also take a great deal of pride in the fact that our head of state is one of the most recognized and famous people in the world.
There are many monarchies in the world but if you just say “the Queen” to people they immediately think of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen also serves as a direct common link which we have to the dozen or so other countries over which she reigns.
This is in addition to the unifying position she holds as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations with over fifty member states.
The fact that the Sovereign reigns for life provides a continuity, stability and basis of experience which cannot be duplicated. There is also a certain advantage to having a head of state who has been trained for that duty from an early age. In our Queen it has produced a person of formidable experience and abilities.
Canada’s constitutional monarchy also gives this country a distinctiveness which is valuable on the North American continent. The American Republic was created through revolution and at that time they jettisoned the monarchy as representing a symbol of British domination.
Some one hundred years later, Canada became an independent nation through compromise and peaceful evolution, while retaining the monarchy as a symbol of a proud heritage and a guarantee of future independence.”
Father Janzen then refers to some specifically Canadian issues, and his conclusions on these are just as applicable to Australia:
“Many people would say this has made our history somewhat less colourful in comparison to our southern neighbours, but this has contributed to our reputation as a peaceful nation. Becoming a republic would take us one step further toward being indistinguishable from our American cousins.
Some people have suggested that becoming a republic would show the Province of Quebec that we are serious about constitutional change and national unity.
I would counter that there are many more fundamental issues facing Quebec and the rest of Canada than that of the Crown; and indeed, political leaders in Quebec have said as much over and over again. Our quest for national unity will not be achieved by destroying our national heritage nor by grafting on to the body politic a foreign notion of democratic institutions.
Consistently over the years, polls have demonstrated that Canadians wish to retain the Queen as our head of state and the constitutional monarchy as our form of government. We have successfully adapted our national institutions and historic foundations to meet the needs of a modern progressive nation. In this regard, the Crown has served us well.”
As, we must point out, has the Australian Crown.
Until the next time,