In 2008 a former Minister in the New South Wales government was found guilty of 28 offences relating to sexual assault of a minor, indecent assault and supplying heroin and cannabis.
Some of these offences were committed in Parliament House Sydney. None of his parliamentary colleagues and friends was ciriticised. It is reasonable to assume they did not know of his activities.
But if the principles the tabloid press and the republican movement are seeking to apply to Prince Andrew also governed the former NSW Minister, the cabinet should have resigned.
That of course is a ridiculous conclusion.
In the course of performing their duties, diplomats and politicians will come into contact with leading figures in other countries. Some of these will be governed by authoritarian and even dictatorial regimes, and some will be corrupt.
Such contacts will involve social aspects. In many countries it is impossible to do business without receiving and offering hospitality. So it is rare that diplomats and politicians are criticized for contact including social contact with persons who are later found to be unsavoury.
No one is suggesting that the Duke of York knew that Jeffrey Epstein had solicited an underage girl for prostitution, as no New South Wales Minister knew that one of their colleagues was seducing youths by offering them drugs.
Prince Andrew is being accused of errors of judgment; he is expected to have a degree of hindsight not expected of anyone else.
And although the Duke holds no position in Australia, predictably the local republican movement has jumped onto the tabloid defamation bandwagon.
You would think that the republican movement would spend their time more usefully working out what republic and new flag they are proposing.
The Duke is the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. He has served his country in the armed forces, coming under fire during the Falklands war.
He could do nothing but he is trying to achieve something of benefit to the nation. He is not paid for his many duties, but naturally his expenses are covered. He is fourth in the line of succession, but receives no income from the Civil List.
So why is he being criticised when diplomats and politicians usually are not? Why is this criticism being made publicly , and why are commentators and others jumping on the bandwagon? Some of the stories are wrong or exaggerated. Two meetings do not constitute a friendship, and his December meeting with Epstein was the first in four years.
Why is there one standard for Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. Prince Andrew and another for, say, the former Prime Minister Tony Blair?
There may be an argument that children of the Sovereign should not undertake such roles. If they are to be so limited, what should they receive in return?
Prince Andrew receives an annuity from The Queen the terms of which concern only Her Majesty and His Royal Highness.
This "reporting" bears all the signs of a beat-up.