In our columnof 4 May, 2006, we mentioned that The Honourable Bob Carr was speaking at a republican movement fund raising event on Tuesday, 18 April, 2006 in the NSW Parliament House Strangers Room, which has just lost the Royal Portraits which were there for many years. The presiding officers, Speaker John Aquilina and President Meredith Burgann, directed the removal of the Royal Portraits “for their protection.” Mr.Speaker and Madame President did this just before The Queen arrived. Just as they had earlier removed the portrait of The Queen from the foyer because it was being damaged by sunlight. When Dr Burgmann became President, her first act was to remove the portrait of The Queen from the Presidents private office, and to be photographed so doing by a presumably passing photographer from The Sydney Morning Herald.
So we warned readers that if you saw Compañera Presidente La Burgmann de Havana y Ho Chi Min City descending on you with guillotine sharpened knitting needles, accompanied by the press, purring that she is from the government and is there to help you, and wants to take measures for your protection – take fright and just run.
In the meantime, Mr. Speaker and La Compañera Presidente are sending variations of the following standard reply to those who dare enquire about what is officially termed the “permanent relocation of the portraits of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh from the Strangers Dining Room” :
“As noted in your letter, the portraits have been removed …from time to time and later replaced.This process had the potential to cause irreparable damage to the portraits”
(Note: The obvious solution to this would have been to direct those republicans, unwilling to accept the peoples’ 1999 decision, to take their hands off the portraits!)
“In addition due to occupational health and safety requirements, the process of removing and replacing the portraits required the use of ladders and the permanent placement of pulleys where the portraits were located. There were concerns that this equipment was unsightly and should be avoided.”(Note: Once again, it was the taxpayer paid for these demands from republican organisations who can’t accept the fact that the people said NO)
“Furthermore, the view had been expressed to us that the Strangers Dining Room is an inappropriate place for the hanging of portraits of any description. ( Note: we are not told who put this view. Note too, there was no opportunity for anybody else to put a view.)
Accordingly a decision was made to remove the portraits on a permanent basis due to these concerns.”
“The royal portraits are now permanently displayed with dignity in the Parkes Room.” (Note: When one person checked they were behind a screen. Our source says the other paintings in the room are of people no longer in this world.)
“ In the spirit of the State Arms, Symbols and Emblems Act, 2004, the State Crest has been placed in the Strangers Dining Room as a symbol in which all members can take pride.” (Note: That legislation, to remove the Royal Coat of Arms from public buildings, was introduced by Mr Breen who entered parliament as the candidate of a minor party which no longer has party status. Mr Breen has now been admitted to the governing political party.)
So removing the portraits, like the abolition of their oath, was not timed as an infantile insult to the Sovereign as she was about to arrive in the State. It was not a refusal to accept the people’s decision, nor was it another example of republicans charging the taxpayer with the costs of their campaign.
Once again, the New South Wales political establishment leads the nation –not for sophistication or good government – but for the most infantile form of republica