King Charles delivers the obituary
7 January 2023
Once assumed inevitable, elite so-called ‘republicanism’ suffered a landslide defeat at the hands of a nationwide grassroots movement in the 1999 referendum. Long comatose, their republic has just passed away, unmourned.
It has taken elite ‘republicans’ more than two decades to understand that when Australians say NO to questionable constitutional change, they mean NO.
Instead, they have clung to a forlorn hope that the accession of King Charles III would provide a magical silver bullet which would change everything. It has not.
The fact is that their elite ‘republicanism’ has absolutely nothing to do with being a constitutional republic with an Australian head of state. As a ‘commonwealth’ under the crown, we are already a republic, a crowned republic. Moreover, we have long had an internationally recognised Australian head of state, the governor-general.
The ‘republicans’ ignored the fact that the constitution was designed to ensure that the proposers of constitutional change must satisfy the people that what is being proposed is ‘desirable, irresistible, and inevitable’.
They also forgot that however much they had persuaded the mainstream media, the commentariat and other elites that their politicians’ republic had passed that test, they had not persuaded the Australian people.
One of Australia’s greatest political strategists, Rick Brown, described accurately what the ‘republicans’ were offering when he devised the brutally effective ACM referendum slogan, ‘Vote No to the politicians’ republic.’
This succinctly captured the fact that the ‘republic’ on offer guaranteed the president would be the politicians’ puppet.
Despite the 1999 landslide, the ‘republicans’ believed that they had one last silver bullet to fire ─ King Charles’ accession.
There was a widespread but mistaken belief, both at home and abroad, that on his accession, Australia would reject Charles and become a republic, with other realms soon following.
The monarchy would then be mortally wounded, even in the UK.
So are they right?
Has King Charles’ accession opened the gate to some dubious politicians’ ‘republic’?
Not in the slightest.
From his accession speech through to his traditional Christmas message, the King has come through with flying colours.
His highly rated message reached the people and was widely approved. It was elegant, moving, and compassionate.
He has shown that, even with the sorrow of his mother’s passing, he is a great communicator, one of the best.
Standing in what he referred to as ‘this exquisite chapel’, that of St George at Windsor Castle, he recalled that he was close to where his beloved mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, was laid to rest with his dear father.
He recalled also the ‘deeply touching’ letters, cards, and messages which so many of those watching had sent him. Addressing those who had sent them, he said that he could not thank them enough for the ‘love and sympathy’ they had shown ‘our whole family’.
He recalled something we all feel, that Christmas is a particularly poignant time for those who have lost loved ones, feeling their absence at ‘every familiar turn of the season’ and remembering them in each ‘cherished tradition’.
There, he touched on one of his aspirations relating to the Sovereign’s title, Defender of the Faith, originally granted by the pope to Henry VIII.
Charles has long indicated that while not rejecting the title, he would wish to be seen as Defender of Faiths. From those words ‘each cherished tradition’, it was clear that the King was speaking not only to Anglicans or even Christians, but also to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and all others.
He would repeat this aspiration later in mentioning how ‘churches, synagogues, mosques and temples’ were united in feeding the hungry and supporting the disadvantaged.
Despite this, he was not afraid to stress his strong Christian allegiance by reference to the occasion when, in the Church of the Nativity in Jerusalem, he had stood in ‘silent reverence’ by the silver star that is inlaid on the floor and marks the place of ‘our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth’.
That he was able to stand where the Bible tells us, ‘the light that has come into the world’ was born, he explained, meant more to him than he could ‘possibly express’.
While Christmas was, he said, a Christian celebration, the ‘power of light overcoming darkness’ is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief.
His message was strong, that whatever our faith and whether we have none, it is in ‘this life-giving light’, and with the ‘true humility’ that lies in our service to others, that he believes we can find hope for the future.
Especially thanking those who serve others, it was a strong message which was intended to reach out to all. In that, he clearly succeeded.
It was above all a moving speech, filled with compassion.
Charles looks like a monarch and speaks like a monarch. He fills a role important to society and absent in politicians’ republics.
It is unique to constitutional monarchy. It is providing leadership beyond politics
This is important. To understand this, just contrast the president of the United States with our Queen or King. The president, however effective, is always a party politician. The Queen or the King is never one. Indeed, the eminent founders of ACM had originally considered naming the movement as ‘Australians for Leadership beyond Politics’.
The Christmas message has confirmed that as far as we can see, Charles III, William V, and George VII, will reign as Kings of Australia ─ a Royal Century.
It has also confirmed the correctness of John Howard’s assessment of community feelings when he told ACM’s recent 23rd National Conference that the monarchy is more supported and more popular than at the time of the referendum and that consequently, in a second referendum, a republic would, most likely, suffer a greater defeat than in 1999.
Well may we say, God Save the King and Advance Australia Fair.
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