December 1

Prince Charles: a study in media ethics


Readers of the British and Australian press will recall that the
Prince had been savaged not only by the media, but particularly by a politician,
a Minister of the Crown, one Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, who chose
to break the convention that Her Majesty’s Ministers just do not do this.
was all about a private memo, written by the Prince. 
Although privacy is now seen as a fundamental human right, guaranteed in the UK
by the legislation, a convention has been established by the London press and
some of the politicians. 
This is that the right to privacy applies to everyone, even the most humble, but
with one exception.
That exception is the Prince of Wales, and in addition any
other member of the Royal Family.  Everyone else, even journalists are
In any event, a private memo from the Prince was produced last week
with a flourish at an employment tribunal by lawyers for one  Elaine Day, a
former PA at Clarence House. 
  Written in his hand was the comment:
(Quote)What is wrong with everyone nowadays? Why do they all seem to think they
are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities?( End of
He blamed the child-centred education system, which he wrote admits no failure.

According to the London newspaper, The Telegraph, the memo was not for Miss Day,
but was read by her and taken from the correspondence  tray of a Clarence House
official, She interpreted the memorandum to mean that people should not get
above their station.
Note that -Prince Charles never said that. This was the
meaning Miss Day put on the document she stole .
As with anything to do with the
Prince of Wales , the Australian media rushed to play up the interpretation Ms
Day chose to put to support her claim for a generous sum of money over an
employment dispute .
  But the media  ignored or downplayed the Prince’s
response.  As they did the interpretation by MPs and commentators on Mr Clarke’s
intervention.  This was that it was nothing more than a clear leadership bid by
the Education Secretary and, according to the Telegraph, a crude pitch for his
party’s republican block vote.
The Australian media also ignored, or possibly,
although I did not see examples,downplayed his backdown. The Telegraph headline
on 22 November 2004 caught this elegantly:
Then the Prince replied, but I cannot find this in our
press, nor did I see it on TV or hear it on the radio. So here it is, from The

( Quote) I might just add that the idea that I think that people should not try
to rise above their station is a travesty of the truth, nor indeed have I ever
used any such words or anything like them.
For the last 30 years I have done all
I can to give young people who have limited opportunities, usually through no
fault of their own, a chance to succeed.  This is what my Prince’s Trust is all
We have helped more than 500,000 young people to fulfil their potential. 
I happen to believe passionately that everyone has a particular God-given
ability. Often all that is needed is the right help at the right time for them
to make the most of it.
Those we support have often overcome enormous
challenges, such as long-term unemployment, failing at school, illness and
addiction, and criminal records, and have gone on to succeed in education, get
secure long-term jobs, and own their own businesses, or whatever  Each and every
one of them is a success and my pride in them is boundless. What these young
people have in common is not just a natural talent, but the determination to
succeed through hard work.  And that is the combination that breaks down the
barriers to success.
But success can come in many forms.  In my view it is just
as great an achievement to be a plumber or a bricklayer as it is to be a lawyer
or a doctor.  Not everyone has the same talents or abilities, but everyone, with
the right nurturing, can make a real difference to their communities and to the
This is why I am so encouraged by the efforts which are now being made
to recognise vocational skills in our education system and in the wider economy.

I know that my ideas are sometimes portrayed as old-fashioned.  Well, they may
be.  But what I am concerned about are the things that are timeless, regardless
of the age that we live in.  Also I have been around long enough to see what
were at the time thought of as old-fashioned ideas now come into vogue.
is a good thing and should never be constrained by a persons starting point in
life and people must be encouraged to fulfil their aspirations in ways that
recognise their different abilities and talents. Thank God they do and that we
are not all the same( End of quote)
It tells a completely different story, does
it not?. But the Australian media did not balance their original damaging
report, did they?
The media should get over campaigning for a republic.  The worst was and is the
campaign to publish anything which damages Prince Charles.  Another example of
the campaigning media was the fifth anniversary of the referendum.  The ABC news
decided that the entirely predictable call of the ARM for the issue to be back
on the agenda was newsworthy.  So it became a major story on the news. A major
story?  It was a non story.
Everyone knows that the Prime Minister believes the
issue was settled in 1999, and without his support nothing is going to happen. 
Mr Howard is Prime Minister for the foreseeable future. At some point of course
he will leave the office.
Republicans think this will be their moment, their
1789.  Think again, citoyens!
Only a Liberal leader with rocks in his head would revive this issue, at least
while his position is unassailable.  Never be surprised what some politicians in
a panic about his position might do.
But while he or she, is unassailable, they would know that the Liberal rank and
file, the majority of Liberal voters and the National Party and its supporters
are all opposed to change.
The issue would be extremely divisive.
The Liberal republicans walked into trap
laid by Paul Keating once – they surely would not do it again.
And a
conservative republican Liberal leader would not want a plebiscite process which
led to a direct election model.
Conservative republicans fear that result would derail effective government.
likelihood of this eventually dawned on Liberal Senator Marise Payne.
So she changed her mind, putting in a semi dissent to the Senate Committee
report. This report was furtively tabled on the last day of the sittings before
the 2004 election. 
She is now half in favour and half against her very own ARM proposal.  Senator,
they saw you coming when you joined that committee!.
If the ARM would welcome a
new Liberal leader, they are ecstatic about a Labor Prime Minister.
But the likelihood is that the penny will eventually drop with the Labor Party.
The ALP will eventually realize that they must go to the people with a
programme which reflects the wishes of their essentially conservative
To them, elite issues such as the republic, indicate one thing . This is that
their leaders are out of touch. 
Tony  Blair worked out this conundrum.  The result?  He has been the most
successful leader in the history of the British Labour Party.  And by the way,
he is a constitutional monarchist.  As were all the great leaders of the
Australian Labor Party.
Labor leaders should just check with their rank and file.Former Labor government
minister, Peter Walsh made this very point in his recent  Quadrant dinner
address, an edited version of which appeared in The Australian of 2 December,
He recounted a story of a Labor social gathering after the 1999 referendum where
he was accosted by a state MP who said she had heard he had voted No.
Surely it could not be true.
He said it was, adding he wasin pretty good company because of the high No vote
in strong Labor voting booths.
Yes , she replied , but you know better.
You know better!
That sort of reaction
, he says, was common among elites in both the Labor and Liberal Parties. They
were shocked that the people in every state and by a 55:45 per cent margin had
rejected what the elites knew to be good for them.
He brought the house down with this comment
( Quote) Bad losers as usual, they
demanded a referendum every year or two until the people got it right.( End of
But back to the Australian media, particularly the elite end.  They still
want to bat for a republic, any republic, and are quite prepared to sacrifice
their ethical codes to achieve this.  If any other institution in Australia
behaved so unethically, so disgracefully, they would be called to task-
particularly by the media!
Well, one Australian noticed this, and sent a letter
to the Sunday Telegraph.  The newspaper, commendably, published this on 28
November, 2004:

Sir,   It is a sad day when the British media put forward controversial images
of Prince Charles and do not take the time to report on the wonderful,
fulfilling and helpful work he has done with The Princes Trust and his many
other charities.
Through his work, he has helped many thousands of young people to believe in
themselves and to aspire to better themselves, even to greatness. There are many
examples of his very successful work.
‘Is Prince Charles’ former staff member
going to be prosecuted for stealing, then revealing the contents of personal
communications within his own offices?
After all, she signed a confidentiality
undertaking.  She should be prosecuted or the law is an ass!
Yours Sincerely,

Keith Stuart Bales, Birba Lake, WA

Congratulations to Mr Bales for so succinctly pointing out the facts.
And could
the .paparazzi stop inventing stories about Prince Harry. They are using the
technique refined by Kitty Kelley, who writes so called accounts of the lives of
well known people, Ronald Reagan, the Royal Family, the Bush family etc.

Her technique is simple. This is to publish any rumour or allegation, the more
scandalous the better.Do not subject them to an assessment as to whether they
are true. Imagine if our courts worked that way!
The stories about Prince Harry
usually have so many holes in them, no reputable newspaper would publish them.

Just as no reputable publisher would publish Kitty Kelley. It is just that a
number of newspapers and some publishers were once reputable, but they no longer
are. I suppose that is a sign of the times


On the fifth anniversary of the referendum, The Sydney Morning Herald of 6 and 
November 2004, reviewed the republican debate in cybersphere.

Ours, it says, is a predictably regal affair.  It noted what it called an
amazing outpouring of press releases , often several in a single week.  Clearly
they confused Hot News with Press or Media releases – that is why the name of
this column changed .
They also were not persuaded by comparisons.
One typical
breathless example, they wrote, announces that the five leading countries in the
UN’s latest Human Development Index are all constitutional monarchies. 
Coincidence?  Not at all, crows the site.
Actually, I first noticed this
correlation between constitutional monarchy and this index some years ago when I
was looking at the index when I was teaching international law. 
This correlation  has been pretty consistent in each of the published indexes 
since then.  Most of the top countries are constitutional monarchies.  The few
republics in that top group tend to have tried and tested constitutions-the US
and Switzerland.  Neither have ever been successfully copied-unlike the
Westminster system.
We know that republicans watch this site, which does not concern us. We are even
linked to the ARM, advising readers to go there for an alternative view.  The
ARM does not reciprocate, but  we do not complain about that.  That is their
business, not ours.
This has its amusing side. After the referendum, we decided to make our
occasional national conferences an annual event.  Whenever we announced ours,
there would be a flurry of activity at the ARM, announcing theirs.  There was
one difference.  We actually held ours. This year, perhaps fearing that somebody
may have noticed, the ARM did not announce theirs.
We also instituted a major
lecture, the Neville Bonner Oration.  There have been three. I see now the ARM
has a formal Lecture. 
We do not mind the ARM imitating us. But we would be truly  happy when they
finally acknowledge that our constitutional system , a pillar of this nation,
does not need to be tampered with. 
After all, most republicans say they have been finally  reconciled with, and
even love our Flag.

who have a  Hotmail address are still having some difficulties reading receiving
our emails. Hotmail does  not seem to be able to read standard formatting and
punctuation.  For example, it often puts in a swathe of indecipherable symbols
in the place of the apostrophe!  It does the same for inverted commas!  So
please excuse any abnormal interpretations you may find on our emails if you are
on Hotmail.  When we posted it to you, we had it pretty right! until this
problem is overcome, I have taken some liberties with punctuation, going to
lengths to avoid those which Hotmail can’t read. So it is not that we do not
know where to put our apostrophe. It is that Hotmail can not read them.

Until next time,
David Flint

    –  From the National Convenors Desk –

    Defend The Constitution

Level 13 189 Kent
St., Sydney, NSW 2000
Web Site:
[email protected]
Phone: +612 92512500 Fax: +612 92519833


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