June 21

The Queen’s Birthday: exchange of views

You will have noticed that some people seem to have their letters published regularly in the press.  Sometimes the same letter is published in more than one newspaper, even on different days. And yet, this is supposed to be against the rules of most newspapers.  One regular letter writer to all newspapers, Mr. Con Vaitsas, of Ashbury in New South Wales is, you will not be surprised to know, a republican. Notice the courtesy, the style and the depth of the arguments he uses in this letter which was published by the Daily Telegraph on 12 June, 2007.
”Even though I enjoy having a day off to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, I would be much happier if we got rid of her. We no longer have any need for a royal family consisting of weirdos, drunks and parasites to rule over us in the 21st century. It’s time we cut the umbilical cord from The Queen.”
By way of contrast, R.H.Filmer’s reply from Manly Vale in the same State argued the constitutional monarchist case with commendable restraint, and without any personal abuse:
”Con Vaitsas would like Australia to break away from The Queen and the Royal Family (June 12). He is indeed entitled to his opinion thanks to the Westminster system upon which our parliamentary system is based and the democracy which preserves our freedom of speech.
”As far as I am concerned, long may the royal family reign over us. It would be a sad day, indeed, if we became a republic.”  
This provoked a response- a personal attack on R.H.Filmer.  Senator Vanstone, who is now pursuing a career in diplomacy, in a speech in Mr. Peter Costello’s electorate, once said republicans should stop attacking the Royal Family. She then proceeded to insult The Queen, which led to a walk-out by some of those present.( See this column of 22 January,2006.)
Mr.Colin Clowes of Lidcombe, NSW, did not follow Senator Vanstone’s advice. In a letter published in the Telegraph on 16 June,2007 he suggested that R.H.Hilmer must be English, as if those born in England are precluded from having opinions. He also suggested R.H.Filmer has no pride for putting up with the “embarrassment of having a foreigner have the final say over our laws.”  “For heaven’s sake,’ he fulminated” has The Queen ever made a decision about Australia?”
So I replied in a letter to the editor:
”Rather than suggesting R.H.Filmer has no pride and is English anyway, Mr.Colin Clowes might check his facts.  The Queen of Australia is not a foreigner, as he claims. As for her having the final say on our laws, the final say about our basic law is with us, the people. Remember 1999, Mr. Clowes? And as for her never having made a decision about Australia, in 1986, The Queen personally took the crucial decision which allowed the constitutional system to be wholly Australianised, solving a problem which had eluded politicians since 1901”



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