May 6

The Restoration of the Fijian Crown


Notwithstanding the development of the internet, letters to the editor in  newspapers remain an important forum.  It is surprising how often the role of the Crown seems to come up.  Those advancing the cause of a politicians' republicl frequently put pen to paper to criticise the role of the Crown in our constitutional system.  They rarely indicate what  precisely they have in mind to replace our constitution and our Flag. 

On 3 May 2012 the following letter from Richard Lynch of Waterloo in New South Wales appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald. He  obviously knows nothing of The Queen’s considerable role in relation to the Australia Acts which terminated the relationship of the States with the British Crown, and any residual and benign power of the British Parliament which after all only acted at our request.

"Peter Mendes-Shineberg's suggests a chancellor to oversee Federal Parliament's standards and Don Malcolmson suggests a commissioner to investigate allegations of misconduct and corruption by members. Surely this is the work of a head of state: we need a president. The incumbent is a toothless tiger and has never brought to account a single issue nor defended our constitution in anyway whatsoever. The Queen has remained silent.

"When the constitution of Fiji was tossed aside, its ousted prime minister travelled to Britain to plead for the Queen's help, whereupon she refused him an audience, casting the people into the hands of a dictator. The idea that a constitutional monarchy is somehow a great safety blanket is for those rolled up and asleep in it.


Richard Hallam Coelho of Randwick replied on the following day.

"Richard Lynch (Letters, May 3) criticises the Queen's inaction in Fiji. Yet I assume he did not support the governor-general's dismissal of the Whitlam government either. The important role of non-elected constitutional guarantors has been eroded because people seem terrified that the occasional exercise of extraordinary powers will somehow bring down democracy itself."

…The Queen's defence of constitutional government….

I sent the following letter to point out the significant role the Queen had played in attempting to maintain constitutional government in Fiji. The Herald did not publish this. I wonder why?

"Richard Lynch (3/5) is wrong to say the Queen was inactive after the military coup in Fiji in 1987. She first declared the governor-General to be the sole legitimate source of executive authority. She expressed the hope that the process of restoring Fiji to constitutional normality might be resumed.

"When the Governor-General was unable to preserve constitutional government and was compelled to resign, she then issued a statement saying was "sad to think that the ending of Fijian allegiance to the crown should have been brought about without the people of Fiji being given an opportunity to express their opinion on the proposal'.

"The public declaration by the Queen of Fiji, speaking in the absence of any lawful ministers, remains the authoritative statement on the constitutional situation in Fiji even today."

There is a strong possibility that the Fijian Crown will be restored; the people of Fiji, intensely loyal to the Throne and to the person of The Queen, desire that.  


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