March 3

Royal Anthem – PM intervenes

The Prime Minister has now expressed the view that it would be discourteous not to play God Save The Queen at the Commonwealth Games. Senator Amanda Vanstone, although a confirmed republican, has expressed a similar view.  

The opening ceremony to the Games is governed by Protocol 22 to the Constitution of the Commonwealth Games. This provides that when the Head of the Commonwealth or her representative mounts the saluting dais, she will be greeted by a salute by the guard of honour and one verse of the national anthem of the host country.

There is thus, to use a technical term, a "renvoi" to the law and protocol of Australia. This is determined by the Proclamation by the Governor -General in 1984 drafted by the Hawke Government which clearly has bipartisan support. This is that the national anthem is Advance Australia Fair but the Royal Anthem is God Save The Queen to be played when The Queen or members of the Royal family are present.

The obvious solution is both should be played. It is not an “either/or” issue.

Because of the curious decision not to play God Save The Queen, the consequence is that the principal media issue about the opening ceremony is whether God Save The Queen is played. If it is not, it will be remarked on around the world. Indeed the international media has already taken notice.

Australia will be portrayed as rude and ill mannered, a conclusion which can so easily be avoided.

The overwhelming view in the country and, to the extent that it has been noticed, overseas, is that God Save The Queen should be played, along with advance Australia Fair.


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