Staunch monarchist Tony Abbott has accused republicans of being bewildered and annoyed, according to Matthew Franklin, The Australian’s chief political correspondent (“Royalty rules OK 'and we like it'” 29/11) in his report on the Neville Bonner Oration at ACM’s 11th National Conference.

Mr. Franklin contined:

He made the accusation because the approaching wedding of Prince William had charmed Australians and shown the monarchy was "evolving and renewing".

The Opposition Leader also criticised republicans for feeling that the public's emotional attachment to the crown was "somehow beneath them".

Mr Abbott made the comments on Saturday night when delivering the Neville Bonner Memorial Lecture in Sydney.

In particular, he targeted The Sydney Morning Herald, noting that a recent editorial had lamented that celebrations over next year's wedding of Prince William and fiancee Kate Middleton might become "a distraction from the need for a republic".

"The subtext of much commentary has been bewilderment at the monarchy's continued hold over the public's imagination and annoyance at the way a wedding can trump argument,' Mr Abbott said.

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  "Its authors have usually managed to sound resentful and superior at the same time.

"On display was the perennial gap between the mainstream and a commentariat that can't quite get an institution with its roots in an earlier time and a different way of thinking.

"Mr Abbott said much of the appeal of the monarchy was "instinctual as much as rational" and that republicans tended to focus on form over substance.

"If republicans could bring themselves to suspend hostilities, they might come to appreciate that what they currently find inexplicable or even offensive is not so for others and perhaps need not always be for them either.

"Mr Abbott said the monarchy was evolving, not through legislation but through "something as natural and as fitting as the marriage of an appealing young man to an attractive woman".

"For better or for worse, whether it's the constitutional crown, the judicial crown, the crown of the armed forces or even the celebrity crown, the monarchy has been a fixture of Australian life," he said.

"Mostly for the good; it's meant something to most people."Sure, it could be removed. But it's far easier to see how we might be different than better for such an excision."