In a poll taken in the Ku-ring-gai municipality in Sydney, a majority of 87 per cent of those who voted have indicated that The Queen’s portrait should remain in the council chamber behind the Mayor’s chair, reports Katrina Adamski in the North Shore Times of 5 February, 2009 (“Don’t move our gracious Queen”).
The Mayor, Elaine Malicki, removed the portrait from behind her chair in the chamber less than 24 hours after taking office last October. Acting without the authority of the Council, she had the portrait placed in the councillors’ boardroom.
Following a majority vote of councillors, Cr Malicki was forced to return the portrait, but decided to poll residents about the issue.
They were asked to answer three questions:
* Do you think the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II should be located in its current position, behind the Mayor's chair in the Council Chamber?
* Do you think the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II should be located elsewhere within the Council Chamber?
* Do you think the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II should be located elsewhere in Council's administration building, not in the Council Chamber?
The newspaper calculates that less than half a per cent of Ku-ring-gai’s eligible voters responded. Of these, 223 (87.2 per cent) were in favour of leaving the portrait in its current position, with 33 wanting it moved.
“I had moved the portrait to the councillors’ board room to allow the council’s logo to be given a place of prominence in the chamber,” Cr Malicki told the North Shore Times. “However, as the vast majority of those who took the trouble to respond want the portrait to remain in its position of prominence, then it shall remain.
“I am completely satisfied now that we have consulted the community as that was an omission on my part. I am grateful to those who participated in the survey who obviously felt very strongly on the matter and I hope that now it can be put to rest.”
This is the first time that any government, local, state or federal, has actually asked the people their opinion on whether the symbols of the Australian Crown should be removed. Given that the people voted in 1999 to remain a Federal Commonwealth under the Crown – a crowned republic – the people at least are consistent.
To her credit, the Mayor has respected the people's wishes. So should all politicians.