February 7

Vice regal website a hit

…As many hits as Sydney’s highest circulating paper… 

 It seems the Governor-General’s single purpose site actually gets almost as many hits as Sydney’s highest circulating newspaper , the Daily Telegraph with its news, breaking news, opinion blogs, confidential, TV  programmes, sports , gossip , photos etc.

And yet, some in the media tell us nobody knows who the Governor-General is.  ( We would wager that everyone of those beautiful children in the picture above knows who he is. This was at Wiluna in 2006.)  This rubbish about no one knowing who he is  after certain sections of the media studiously avoided reporting him. Or worse, after actually misreporting him.  We'll return to that later

We have to thank the “Strewth” column in The Australian for this information about the Governor-General’s site.  We have to confess that with the front page, the opinion page, Cut and Paste, a quick glance at the letters page, and a cursory look at what the editorials are about, Mr. D D McNicoll’s “Strewth” column has become a “must read.”    

Anyway, in his epistle for 1 February, 2008  “G-G proves a hit,” Mr. McNicoll reveals some interesting facts about the Governor-General in the media. He says, rather tongue in cheek that this was in certain unsolicited information about the Governor-General had fallen “off the back of a passing Rolls-Royce.”

Nudge nudge, wink wink.

An over excited reader would be disappointed. All this would surely be publicly accessible. It’s just that Mr. McNicoll apart, nobody tells us these things.

…even the poachers didn’t notice…

We can’t even recall Mr Anthony Albanese MP nor Senator Faulkner having ever tracked this stuff down in their years and years of trawling and delving into matters vice-regal.

They were once beside themselves over such gems as what happened to Dr Hollingsworth’s altar, or the mileage on the Rolls which brought diplomats up the drive to present their letters of accreditation.  Presumably they didn’t expect Governor-General to  send the vice regal ute to bring in , say, His Excellency the Ambassador for the United States.

 On one occasion on the Senate committee through which they conducted hostilities, appropriate outrage was recorded  when they found someone with the name "Flint" on the board of trustees looking after Commonwealth land on Sydney Harbour. (As far as we know, he is not a relative.)

…but the poachers have become the gamekeepers…

But times have indeed changed. The poachers have become the gamekeepers. Both Mr. Albanese and Senator Faulkner have risen in the world.  They are now elevated to the august rank of “…The Queen’s Ministers of State for the Commonwealth,” as the Constitution so eloquently names them.

Their poaching days are over. They may trawl no longer. The Queen’s Ministers of State, now styled the Honourable Anthony Albanese and Senator the Honourable John Falkner,  now sit in the Federal Executive Council , sagely advising His Excellency in the exercise of the exectutive powers of the Commonwealth.  

 The information Mr. McNicoll has reveals that while the Governor-General may not get “much of a run in major metropolitan newspapers,” he gets good coverage in regional newspapers and on radio and television.  

Mr. McNicoll, also says that the vice regal website, www.gg.gov.au, gets about 600,000 hits a month.   On Australia Day the Governor-General’s site received  more than 100,000 hits. If this were a commercial site, this would be an advertisers dream.

Following the practice of the Monarchist League of Canada, we herby award Mr. McNicoll a crown for this and his earlier splendid piece on titles.

…a punishing schedule…  

We may then conclude that  with 600,000 hits a month, many Australians would know that the Governor-General and Mrs Jeffery have maintained what can only be described as a punishing schedule. Presumably most of these did not respond to the Daily Telegraph’s online poll published on 1 February, 2008.

 

The question was provocative, “ Is our Governor-General a waste of space?”  In the tradition of the Monarchist League of Canada, we award a mace to the Daily Telgraph for its unworthy campaign against the Governor-General.   (That said, we must concede that in that issue of The Telegraph,  Joe Hildebrande  did report our defence of the Governor-General.)

 

But we have to conclude that the people who voted Yes  obviously did not  bother to first look at the Governor-General’s site.  May we suggest to the Telegraph they put in a link to the Governor-General’s site?

 …they must not have read his speech… 

After all the fuss and carry on about the Governor-General’s speech, we do wonder how many of his critics have actually read it.  That is our charitable explanation; being constitutional monarchists we do try to be kind.

It was on 29 January, 2008 at the Sir Donald Bradman Pavillion at Manuka Oval in Canberra. It was for the 1948 Invincibles Dinner.

His Excellency said that the Invincibles had set an example to all that Australia was a place where “playing fairly and showing respect for opposing team members was an intrinsic part of the game, perhaps even more important than winning at all costs.”

 

“Clearly,” he said “the game is never going to stand still as technology continues to improve, the player’s salaries increase, and the format of the game changes.”

In his view, Test players particularly should be aware of the impact of their example, both on young, and on the huge populations of other cricket loving nations of the world. He said the latter recognise very quickly when “robust competition crosses the line to become poor sportsmanship.”

 

His Excellency rightly recalls how reports about poor sportsmanship in the “infamous” Bodyline tour of 1932 and 1933 actually had an adverse on relations between Australia and Britain.

Today, with modern communications the level of sportsmanship our athletes display has a big impact on how Australia as a nation is perceived in other countries.

 

“There may be many of you here who in watching the recent Australian Golf Open, applauded the honesty of that wonderfully talented young American golfer Brandt Snedeker who penalised himself a shot when his ball moved slightly, even though no-one else had noticed…. similarly, I am sure the majority of us here will never forget the extraordinary gesture of John Landy running at the national titles in 1956, when he stopped to help a fallen runner and in a feat of incredible athleticism only beaten by his concern for his competitor — still won the race.” 

He commended the organisers, the Lord’s Taverners, for their work among young cricket players. He noted they are supported by the top players. Cricket, he affirmed, develops character and we learn some very important lessons of life when playing as a team. “And when it’s played with vigour, and backed with grace and good manners, it is both a civilised and civilising sport.”

…a letter to The Telegraph…

It seems however that some people have not actually read the speech. So  we sent this letter to the Telegraph on 2 February, 2007:

“Sir,

“You say ( “G-G is cricket’s etiquette king but he leaves us stumped: So who is this guy?” Lauren Williams, Joe Hildebrand, 2 February 2008 ) that Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson told the Governor-General to lay off Ricky Ponting.

“He did not.

 “If you read General Jeffery’s speech on his popular site (www.gg.gov.au – it gets 600,000 hits a month) you will see nothing about Ricky Ponting.

“The speech is essentially a timely reminder that cricket develops character and when it’s played with vigour, and backed with grace and good manners, it is both a civilised and civilising sport.  “Who could possibly object to that?“A former and highly regarded Governor of Western Australia,  a commanding officer of the SAS, the holder of the Military Cross which is awarded for gallantry during active operations against the enemy,  the Governor-General deserves to be treated better. He and Mrs Marlena Jeffery have undertaken a vigorous schedule across our vast land, as well as fulfilling the core function of his office. They have behaved impeccably.“We, including the press, would  do well to recall one thing which goes to the essence of our extraordnarily successful constitutional system.

“ This is that the office the Governor –General holds as representative of the Australian Crown is important not so much for the power that it wields, but  the power it denies others. “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”     

 


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