The swearing in of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister on 24 June 2010 was marred in the same way the 2007 swearing in was marred. This was in the use of a republican oath which was pointless, arrogant and undemocratic.
But before I go on to that, I should mention that Ms. Gillard’s ascent to the office of prime minister before the next election was accurately predicted eighteen months ago.
I was reminded of this by a report on the Australian Conservative website. This prediction, a serious and considered one, was made by John Stone, former Secretary to the Treasury and Senator for Queensland. Mr. Stone, a leading commentator on economic matters and a prominent federalist – and, I might add, a constitutional monarchist – was writing in Australia’s leading political journal, Quadrant.
….missing from the Oath…
But let me return to the deficiency in the swearing in. This was that the Oath of Office contained no reference to her requisite allegiance to her Sovereign.
On 3 December 2007, in “ A seamless transition of power in our ancient democracy,” we reported here that reference to The Queen had been improperly removed from the ministerial Oath after the last election .
ACM was the first to notice this, although Alan Ramsey wrongly attributed this to the Canberra Times. Writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, 8-9 December,2007, he said that the media had all missed the real story –the reversion to the Keating oath removing any effect whatsoever, any reference to the Sovereign.
“Well, almost all,” he claimed “The lone newspaper to twig was the national capital's only daily, The Canberra Times, whose reporter Megan Doherty scooped her colleagues blind with her front-page exclusive "Queen goes missing from family affair". Actually the story first broke on the ACM website and was relayed to subscribers well before the Canberra Times hit the streets.
Using this republican Oath again at Ms.Gillard’s swearing was pointless, arrogant and undemocratic . It was pointless because is no matter how much the republican politicians equivocate, they still remain in allegiance to the Australian Crown. It was arrogant because when they asked the people to end that, the people responded with a deafening No. And it was undemocratic because the republican politicians are flouting the people’s will.
If this were a republic, the media would be outraged if a prime minister were to introduce a monarchist oath. They should condemn this creeping republicanism which has no electoral mandate.
…use of republican oath in 2007 improper….
The use of this Oath at Mr Rudd’s installation was not only pointless arrogant and undemocratic, it was also improper.
This was no doubt done on Mr. Rudd’s advice. But Mr Rudd could not have given that advice until he became an Executive Councillor. Just as the Governor-General did not accept Mr. Howard’s resignation until Mr. Rudd could give him the assurances sought, so the Governor-General could not accept Mr Rudd’s advice on the Oath until he was an Executive Councillor. It is unlikely that Mr. Howard who was still prime minister actually approved this.
This may seem pedantic, but in moments of stress, confusion and crisis, the following of these protocols can be crucial.