Republican royal-watcher Barry Everingham writes:
very own model of a modern major general will be going to the royal
wedding after all, but he will take a detour via Rome for the Pope’s
funeral. The lines between Yarralumla and Kirribilli House must have
been running hot over this odyssey – the funeral of a Pope is the stuff
that brings tears to the eyes of John and Janette Howard. Imagine the
angst – having to stay at home because of an Asian prime minister – and
the prime minister of a country who isn’t all that happy with the Man
of Steel’s pre emptive strike mentality.
The presence at Windsor
of the Governor General and his wife leave two questions demanding
answers. Who are they representing and will we the taxpayers be footing
the bill for a wedding present? Before I am flooded with emails from
monarchists accusing me of high treason let’s get some perspective.
This is the union of two middle-aged people whose relevance to this
country in their present roles is minimal, to say the least. The recent
Australian visit of Prince Charles was, in terms of royal tours, an
unmitigated disaster and their civil marriage in a local town hall
thousands of kilometres away could frankly be classed as a non-event. Crikey observed
in yesterday’s edition that our High Commissioner in London is well
placed to represent this country at the wedding and that observation
But arch-monarchist David Flint is still on his case:
Readers will not be certain of the status of Mr Everingham’s
contributions, paid or unpaid, to Crikey, but whatever they are, they
are filled with inaccuracies.The correct position is this:
First, the Governor-General will not stay at home. He will represent the nation at the funeral of The Pope.
Second, he will be held out in Rome by our government as our
Head of State, and will be received by the Italian and Vatican
authorities as the Australian Head of State.
Third, he will also attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles.
Fourth, neither our Constitution, nor any of the other
documents of constitutional significance, make any mention whatsoever
of an office of Head of State. This is because the term is one
previously reserved for the purposes of international law and
diplomacy. The term was not even part of common usage in Australia
until recently. It does not appear at all in the first edition of the
Macquarie Dictionary. It was introduced into common parlance in the 90s
by the republican movement which needed to invent a reason for major
constitutional change. They were successful linguistically, but not in
changing our constiutional system.
Fifth, the republican movement had already put the argument to the
people in 1999 that the marriage was reason to change the Constitution.
This was in the mantra, “A No vote is a vote for King Charles and Queen
Camilla”. When used in print, it was accompanied by a very nasty
caricature. It failed. It was probably counterproductive, which is
Fifth, Charles’s wife will never be, as Mr Everingham constantly
and erroneously claims, the Queen of Australia. Under the Constitution
and the Royal Style and Titles Act, this position and this title is
reserved for a reigning Queen. On Prince Charles’s accession, Camilla
will not obviously become a joint reigning Sovereign, she will become
his consort. And both the Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles have clearly
indicated that she will not use the British courtesy title Queen
Consort. No-one is compelled to use a courtesy title which flows from
marriage. (A leading example is the Governor of New South Wales,
Professor Marie Bashir).