May 12

Republicans rebuffed in Wentworth

 In a significant reversal of creeping republicanism in the Sydney inner city electorate of Wentworth, Woollahra Council last night restored the traditional portrait of The Queen to its place in the Council Chamber. No ratepayers’ funds will be expended to do this.

Republicans have long arrogantly refused to abide by the peoples’ decision in 1999, and unilaterally removed the symbols of our constitutional monarchy. . Since 1999, they have usually concealed their plans to shred the flag. This behaviour is sinister, because it tells us what they think of the processes of a democracy.  But people are fighting back.   

                                 

The Council also addressed a practice which has emerged in recent years at formal events where the speaker acknowledges the traditional owners of the land.  

Few graduations are  now held without this formulaic beginning.  Council resolved that should the Mayor of the day embark on a list of such acknowledgments, this should begin with an acknowledgment of the Sovereign of the day. This would appear to be the first time that a Council has addressed this practice.

Speaking to the motions, Councillor Peter Cavanagh said that Australia is a monarchy. “Her Majesty The Queen is one of the most respected and trusted women in the world. Her Majesty has reigned for more than half the time that we have been a federation. She deserves to be treated with respect.” 

He pointed out that in 1999, the people in all states and 72% of electorates rejected a republic.  He called on republicans to abide by the conventions which prevail. “What would republicans say they had won and  in  campaigning for a restoration I tore down the portrait of the President?” 

Councillor Cavanagh has, as they say,  put his money where his mouth is. He will provide the portrait. It was originally proposed the Council would seek a portrait from ACM. When contacted by The Sydney Morning Herald the Executive Director Thomas Flynn correctly reminded the reporter such portraits are provided officially by the local MP, in this case, Mr Malcolm Turnbull.

The Herald need not think this would embarass Mr. Turnbull. He  has graciously supplied a portrait to at least one  constituent who requested this.

….the Council votes…

Both motions were passed 8:5 with two absent. Those in favour were Liberals, Anthony Boskovitz, Lucienne Edelman,Peter Cavanagh, Sean Carmichael, Toni Zeltzer and Andrew Petrie, and Residents First, Susan Wynne, and Malcolm Young. 

Those voting against were Greens, David Shoebridge, Nicola Greive, and Susan Jarnasson ( from another Realm, Canada) , a Liberal, Chris Howe and a Residents First councillor, Ian Plater. 

Councillor  Shoebridge told the ABC  that the symbols of the monarchy belong in the 1950s.

"The picture of the monarch on our town hall, lamb and sodden vegies for dinner, that's the message," he said. "And it's not, as I understand, the view of most of our residents. Most of our residents are far more forward-thinking than that."

The Council has acted commendably. It is unacceptable that republicans not respect the very clear vote of the people in 1999.       

 


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