The Queen’s Birthday on 14 June for most of Australia, 27 September in Western Australia and 4 October in Queensland, annoys many in the political class.
Just the fact that it exists enrages pretend republicans who prefer a fraudulent imitation of the current model, a politicians’ republic, rather than honestly basing theirs on the world’s most successful republic, the United States. Their reluctance is not based on the sound reason that unlike the Westminster system, the US model has never been successfully exported, even to France; it almost always ends in dictatorship and tears.
The media-supported republican campaign in Australia throughout most of the Nineties was based on a model which ensured the president, who could be dismissed by the PM without notice, grounds or right of appeal, would be no more than his poodle. As that truly independent MP, the late Ted Mack told me, this was not unintended. Unsurprisingly, when it came to a vote, the majority smelt a rat. Meanwhile, for most of the decade, the politicians were distracted from priority issues including defence, water harvesting and the dramatic decline in educational standards, all while handing over manufacturing and key assets to the Beijing communists.
The attitude of the elites ignores the fact that not only is the Queen’s Birthday our oldest public holiday, first celebrated on 4 June 1788 with 21-Gun Salutes from men-of-war in Sydney Harbour, pardons, a levee, a parade by the marines and an enormous bonfire. The fact is that the Australian Crown is the oldest, the most successful and, incidentally, the most economical Australian institution, providing a significant check and balance yet also providing that advantage rare in modern countries, leadership beyond politics. This is being increasingly recognised, with the young now established as the strongest supporters of the Australian Crown – a timebomb for the diminishing republican movement .
It is overwhelmingly accepted that our Queen, with the loving and loyal support of her recently departed consort, Prince Philip, has selflessly and consistently fulfilled the solemn promises she made to us. These are not only those sworn at her Coronation, but also in her original statement of intent made on her 21st birthday, 75 long years ago:
‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be dedicated to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.’
How many others in public life have for so long, so consistently, so diligently and without personal benefit, similarly fulfilled their oaths of office?
Now there are those in Australia, always hoping for some elusive silver bullet, who expect that a politicians’ republic will magically fall into their laps at the end of this reign
It is worth recalling that when Australians for Constitutional Monarchy was running the referendum NO case, the pretend republicans charged us with ‘not mentioning the Queen’. While we never would accept Malcolm Turnbull’s instructions on how to campaign, we had decided, from the beginning, to campaign on the Constitution, and not on the Queen’s self-evident virtues.
That campaign, like our campaigns to restore the Governor to Sydney’s Government House, and to get the ABC to broadcast the magnificent Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant in which Australian Lifesavers participated, was successful principally because it was so strongly supported by loyal Australians.
So, ACM concluded, what better way now to celebrate our Queen’s coming seventy years of selfless service than by awarding an Australian Platinum Jubilee Medal For Selfless Service and other commemorations?
A committee of statesmen (e.g. John Howard, Peter Cosgrove) with some powerful media commentators who never jumped on the fake republic bandwagon (e.g., Alan Jones or Michael McLaren) could advise generally especially ensuring the Medal would be awarded to those many Australians who have given (too often unrecognised) selfless service in our defence, in fighting bushfires, floods and the pandemic, in hospitals, lifesaving, policing and in so many other ways across the nation and beyond.
ACM posted a Petition for this at www.change.org/platinumjubilee.
We made a proposal for this to the Morrison government in June 2021.
After a little prodding we received a reply six months later, that is in early January 2022.
Acting on wholly erroneous advice (which we had no opportunity to correct), the government decided not to award a Platinum Service Medal.
The six months delay in replying to our submission, ACM was told, was because of the need to consult within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. That we can now see was a mistake.
The wrong advice was that the only reason we awarded the 1997 Silver Jubilee Medal was we did not have our own honours system then.
That is not only an irrelevant consideration, we already had our own honours system then. This was introduced in 1975. It is common knowledge that this was the work of the Whitlam government.
And the Platinum medal would have been ours with a different medal from the British. We had before us drafts of a medal from expert jewellers who specialise din such work..
The DPM& C advice assumed that the reason we did not award a Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 was because we then had our own honours system.
As the then Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard OM AC ,told ACM at the time, the reason was that it would have coincided with the award of the Australian Centenary Medal. You could not have a competition in awarding two medals at the same time.
That we did not have a Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 was a decision of the Rudd government no doubt related to its commitment to removing the Australian Crown from our constitutional system.
The 2021-2022 decision is disappointing especially when the website of the DPM&C says that : “Our role is to provide fresh thinking and sound advice to government.”.
If such poor advice is typical, and no one noticed the elementary errors of fact on which it was based, governments would be well-advised to be more open in their decision making .
[David Flint Spectator Australia 12 June 2021 with updating]