January 25

Long Live the King


The Royal Homecoming will emphasise the institution which has been with us for so long.

By Prof David Flint AM



Speaking in Melbourne in late October to the first joint function of monarchists for many a year, I told them of my belief that the King and Queen would soon come to Australia. 

The Royal Homecoming, as the Canadians say, was, I said, likely to be late in 2024, probably in October. 

Citing a diplomatic source, this was soon confirmed by The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

In a recent interview on ADH TV, Rob Jobson, royal editor of the London Evening Standard, referred to a widespread media story that King Charles was concerned about coming to Australia because of a so-called rising tide of “republicanism.”

Henceforth, “republic” in this article refers to the form of government Australia would have adopted if it had severed ties with the British Crown and ended its constitutional monarchy system of governance—a system shared by Canada and New Zealand.

Mr Jobson, in pointing out that he loved Australia and always respected the decision of the people of any country concerning the monarchy, dismissed this media story as baseless. 

As to the date of the Royal Visit, I told the audience that the most influential person in the state of New South Wales (NSW) on this was not Premier Chris Minns, especially after he foolishly blocked the use of the Sydney Opera House sails to honour the Coronation. 

Just as the Sydney Harbour fireworks often feature on the world’s news on New Year’s Day because of the beauty of the harbour and also Australia’s early time zone, Australia could have featured on the world’s news about the Coronation. A missed opportunity indeed.

Then Mr Minns’ excuse that the reason was financial was exposed as untrue by a young politician, Chris Rath. 

The reason was political. It was no more than a childish republican stunt.

The next time the Opera House was featured was when the Minns Labor government failed to restrain an appalling and disgraceful anti-Semitic demonstration there. 

The most influential person about the Royal Visit is not the premier. It is the racing and rugby league supremo, Peter V’Landys, who sought royal approval to the naming of one of the races at Royal Randwick as the King Charles III Stakes. 

This will next be run on Oct. 12, 2024.

In addition, 2024 marks the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the NSW Legislative Council, the oldest deliberative legislative body in Australia, now one of the world’s oldest continuing democracies.

It was established only 36 years after the foundation of the penal colony, an appropriate reason for a Royal Visit.

Chances of Severing Ties to the Monarchy Are Low

As the King is to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa on Oct. 21, it is reasonable to expect that the King could be in Sydney for the King Charles Stakes on Oct. 12, followed by visits to other parts of Australia and the Commonwealth.

As to a politicians’ republic replacing our crowned republic (or as the Constitution Act, 1900 describes it, our “Federal Commonwealth under the Crown”), the reign of Charles III will most likely be followed by those of the future William V and George VII. That should take us well into the next century.

The fact is that in the 1999 republic referendum, the No Case campaign, devised and led by Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM), won nationally, in every state, and 72 per cent of all electorates. 

This prevailed against vast wealth, most sitting politicians, assorted elites, and almost all of the mainstream media, with the prominent exception of commentator Alan Jones.

Only one party with federal representation was opposed, the Nationals. So were NSW’s Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats and Queensland’s One Nation. 

A handful of prominent Liberal MPs led by John Howard, Tony Abbott, Alexander Downer, and Nick Minchin honourably remained loyal to their Oaths of Allegiance.

Even before the recent overwhelming defeat of the Albanese government’s Voice referendum, the leader of the republican media in the last referendum, The Australian’s Editor-in-Chief Paul Kelly, concluded that the republic was already slipping further into oblivion. 

After the defeat, he declared that a second referendum would not be seen for a generation. 

Disinformation on Why the 1999 Referendum Failed

The fact is the chances of a republic referendum were always slim, demonstrated by the fact no government ever tried to put one forward. 

ACM has remained vigilant throughout this period, being, for example, the only body, republican or monarchist, to hold a national conference every year since the referendum. 

In addition, when Australians say No to constitutional change, the record shows they mean it. 

Nevertheless, the media began to circulate myths about the referendum, untruthfully suggesting it was manipulated by John Howard and that had the republic model allowed for popular election, it would have prevailed.

This is as untrue as the long-held republican belief that the monarchy would lose support at the end of the Queen’s reign. The opposite is true.

That a direct election model would not prevail can be demonstrated by examining the electoral support of delegates who favoured direct election at the 1998 Constitutional Convention. 

Two models were supporting direct election, but only one was democratic. This allowed the people, rather than the politicians, to choose the candidates. 

It is inconceivable that Australians wanting direct elections would allow the politicians to choose the candidates.

The fact is the democratic direct election model was supported by elected delegates representing only 2.63 percent of the national vote. 

Let us assume all 2.63 percent voted No in 1999. Had the vote been on their model and all Yes voters supported it—which would not have happened—this was not enough to change the result, 54.87 percent to 45.13 percent.

There are good reasons to oppose direct popular elections.

This is not, as is so often suggested, about the Irish model, unless the constitution is to be subjected to other enormous changes which would only increase the likelihood of defeat. 

Without those changes, we would be importing not the Irish model, but something similar to the French Fifth Republic.

We should remember that the only reason the French have this is because the other four republics, three monarchies, two empires, various revolutionary regimes, and one fascist system did not work.

Because of wide opposition from both republicans and monarchists, direct election is hardly likely to be approved.

The Monarchy Will Live Long and Prosper

On another matter, much of the reporting on the Royal Visit follows the republican line that the King is the Australian head of state. 

As a diplomatic rather than constitutional office, the governor-general has filled the office of head of state since 1926. 

This office is of limited relevance, and relates principally to immunity from the laws of foreign countries when on state visits, and the recognition due to a visiting head of state, including a 21-gun salute.

The term head of state was almost unknown outside of diplomatic and international law circles until republicans decided it must replace their arguments for change, which were unpersuasive and increasingly attracting ridicule. 

This was especially so when a former minister of immigration in the Whitlam Labor government, Al Grassby, argued that becoming a republic would solve the then-unemployment problem for which, he claimed, the monarchy was responsible.

The point is that the Crown, as an institution, has been in Australia since the settlement in 1788, and has been central to governance as the territory evolved from a penal colony under the rule of law, to six self-governing colonies, then to a federation, and finally to an independent nation. 

Simultaneously, the Imperial Crown has evolved into the Australian Crown with the Royal Powers exercised as designated by the King of Australia, the governor-general, and the governors.

The King, as sovereign, is at the centre, maintaining standards, serving as a living model, and giving advice learned from a life dedicated to service.

The Crown will continue to be a significant and indeed crucial institution as Australia faces the unique problems, external and internal, of the 21st century.

As historian Gregory Copley observes in a new book to be released in 2024, “The Noble State”: “The once-fashionable mode of the republic—democratic or otherwise—had become too tired to do what the new constitutional monarchies could do: keep societies unified, stable, and hopeful.”

That is the magic of monarchy, something which we should not abandon in a moment of carelessness brought on by ambitious politicians for their personal advantage. 

The Royal Visit, the Royal Homecoming, will emphasise the institution which has been with us for so long.

Originally printed in the ©The Epoch Times. Reprinted by permission. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author.


Australia, King Charles III, Republic

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