Only a fool would ditch the Crown
27 September 2022
The criticism of last week’s National Day of Mourning for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the media coverage of the most-watched news event in history, is emblematic of the petulant pettifoggery of the republican movement and the ignorance of those who promote it.
Queen Elizabeth II reigned for over seventy years and in doing so became the longest serving monarch in Australian and Commonwealth history. Honouring the late Sovereign, who dedicated her life to the service of Australia and our Commonwealth kin, is an entirely appropriate gesture to express our nation’s debt of gratitude for the tranquil glories of the Second Elizabethan Age.
Elizabeth Windsor was a veteran of the second world war who deserves recognition as having been the strength and stay of the Commonwealth through difficult times.
It was the late Queen’s stewardship of the Commonwealth that grew it from a club of eight members at the beginning of her reign to a vibrant, international institution now boasting fifty-six members (and counting), with the recent accession of Gabon and Togo at this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.
More frequently overlooked is the Queen’s pivotal role in African diplomacy and the promotion of racial equality which is most vividly illustrated by the famous photo of the Queen dancing arm-in-arm with Ghanian President Nkrumah in 1961 during a diplomatic mission undertaken contrary to Whitehall’s wishes. The royal visit is widely credited as having prevented Ghana from falling under Soviet hegemony and demonstrating a laudable commitment to racial equality at a time when republican America had descended into civil disorder over the rudimentary question of whether Rosa Parks should be allowed to sit at the front of the bus.
Only a fool would jettison the impeccable and impartial leadership beyond politics provided by the monarchy and its accompanying qualities of dignity, elegance, and rich ceremony developed over the course of the last millennium in favour of a politicians’ republic, where a parade of poll-climbing philistines would compete for yet another public office based on the dubious glories of a misspent youth dedicated to undergraduate branch-stacking of our rapidly decaying political parties. Even worse would be the disposal of the pomp and ceremony of Trooping the Colour and the other major royal events in favour of a smorgasbord of D-grade celebrities twerking and gyrating on national television whilst delivering the sort of tedious political monologues that have made people turn off the Oscars in droves.
Labelling that ‘modern’ or ‘progress’ is laughably absurd, but the gracelessness of the spectacle would probably appeal to an ABC audience.
Degenerating the culture through abolishing one of the few remaining custodians of civilisation and tradition is bad enough, but the most vile republican argument is the assertion that constitutional monarchy is inappropriate due to increased immigration from China and India. The belief that race determines political opinion smacks of the discredited notion of racial determinism that underpinned past advocacy for segregation, and discriminatory immigration policy while it overlooks the reality that immigrants choose Australia over other countries because of the political stability and economic prosperity we enjoy – all of which has been achieved under a constitutional monarchy.
Such hypocrisy is unsurprising, given that Australian republicanism owes its origins to nativist distaste for warming relations between Britain and Japan in the late 19th century and the frustrations encountered when British authorities expressed opposition to the White Australia Policy on account of the British Empire’s multiracial character.
Equally discredited is the suggestion by the likes of Paul Keating that the monarchy is an impediment to engagement and trade with Asia. Having spent a decade doing business in the region, I can assure republicans that supermarket shoppers in Seoul and Shanghai debating the choice between Australian and Argentinian wagyu don’t opt for the latter because they loathe the Crown, nor do the corporate titans in Asian boardrooms fret over the Australian Constitution. The massive accumulation of post-war trade deals commencing with the 1957 Australia-Japan Commerce Agreement during the Menzies/McEwen era through to this century’s free trade agreements with Thailand, Singapore, China, Korea, and Japan have notably all been achieved under the monarchist-led governments of John Howard and Tony Abbott.
Australia’s British heritage comprising the monarchy, the English language, Westminster democracy, and the common law built upon the rights and freedoms of the Magna Carta is a national asset that has enabled us to become one of the world’s oldest continuous democracies, and attracts immigrants from all corners of the globe.
Republicans who doubt its value in the Asian Century should have seen the thousands of Hongkongers who inundated the local British Consulate with an avalanche of floral tributes and queued for over four hours in forty-degree heat during the sacred Mid-Autumn Festival to express gratitude for the Queen’s service and their British past. They would be surprised to learn that Australian republicans consider their race inconsistent with their opinion.