Republicans downplay the fact that it was Australians themselves, and not the British,who decided that our very nation should be created as a constitutional monarchy.
The Australian constitution was not drafted in the British Foreign Office, as Paul Keating once foolishly and wrongly asserted.
When this was exposed as lacking any veracity, he never once withdrew this.
“In 1867, the Fathers of Confederation met to discuss the future of what was then known as ‘British North America’. Their desire was to forge a new nation on the North American continent respectful of its past but looking forward to a future of independent growth and prosperity. The Fathers of Confederation believed strongly in the benefits of constitutional monarchy and, while they desired independence, they also wanted to reaffirm their loyalty to the Crown in a separate and coequal nation.
To effect this, the Fathers of Confederation wanted the new country to be called the ‘Kingdom of Canada’, however the British were concerned about objections from the United States, and instead suggested the name ‘Dominion of Canada’, drawing from Psalm 72. Thus Canada became a self-governing nation, loyal to the Crown, but master of its own destiny.
If we look back in history, we realize that since the European settlement of Canada some 500 years ago, Canadians have never known any other form of government than that of monarchy.
In fact, the Monarchy eased the transition when New France was acquired since it was the form of government with which the inhabitants were most familiar. The Crown was also a strong defender of the language and religious rights of French-Canadians.
In much the same way, the historic relationship between the Aboriginal peoples and the Crown is one still respected to-day. ‘The Queen’s Cowboys’, as the North West Mounted Police were styled, upheld the Queen’s law and enforced the Queen’s justice, for native and non-native alike, as the new Dominion expanded westward. When injustices were done to the Native peoples of our land, it was to the Crown that they appealed; and when justice was done it was the ‘honour of the Crown’ that was seen to have been upheld and preserved.”
There are of course differences between our constitutional systems, perhaps most marked in relation to the powers granted by our Constitution to our Governor-General. But it should never be forgotten that the Crown is Australia’s oldest institution, older than our parliaments.
It was under the Crown that we received self government, it was under the Crown that we federated, and it was under the Crown that we became independent.
The Crown, the Australian Crown. is an integral part of our nation, as Australian as our language, our law, our parliaments-as Australian as Bondi Beach.
Until next time,