Facts are facts. Canada is not a republic. The Constitution was not drafted in the British ForeignOffice. Australia is an independent country. Are these far too frequent republican lapses the result of ignorance, or is our history being rewritten? Ever on guard to defend the truth, Sir David Smith circulated the following in the Canberra Press gallery yesterday:
THE MYTH-MAKERS ARE STILL AT IT
On 1 January 2004, in The Sydney Morning Herald, a story by Tony Stephens about the release of the 1973 Cabinet papers referred to Queen Elizabeth II and added : 3whose title became Queen of Australia that year2. Stephens was wrong – his reference to the Queen was totally incorrect – so I sent a short (109 words) letter to the editor to correct the error. The letter was not published. As there are two more annual releases of Whitlam Cabinet papers to come, and no doubt more stories about that Government 1s achievements, I set out the facts about the Queen’s Australian style and title for the benefit of those who still believe in truth and accuracy. In 1953 Prime Minister Menzies asked the Commonwealth Parliament to pass the Royal Style and Titles Act 1953. The purpose of the Act was to add the word 3Australia2 to the Queen’s Australian style and titles. The Act was reserved for the Queen’s pleasure on 18 March 1953, and received the Queen’s assent on 3 April 1953, on which date the Act came into operation and gave ' the Queen the title of Queen of Australia. In 1973 Prime Minister Whitlam asked the Commonwealth Parliament to pass the Royal Style and Titles Act 1973. The purpose of the Act was to remove the words 3the United Kingdom2 and 3Defender of the Faith2 from the Queen’s Australian style and titles. The Act was reserved for the Queen’s pleasure on 14 September 1973, and received the Queen’s as sent on 19 October 1973. (Whitlam had also wanted to remove the words 3by the Grace of God2 but the Queen would not hear of it.) As the legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament shows, Whitlam removed certain words from the Queen’s Australian style and titles but he added nothing to what was already there, the word 3 Australia 2 having been added by Menzies twenty year earlier.
As so often, it is Sir David who administers the coup de grace. Let us here no more of this particular myth.