The head of state’s viceroy in Australia, Major General Michael
Jeffery, has once more become embroiled in controversy, this time by
moving closer to the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. He has
refused to meet Professor John Warhust – the chair of the
Australian Republican Movement – claiming it would be “inappropriate” –
and has told Warhurst to direct the ARM’s views to “our elected
representatives.”

Warhust has written to Jeffery three times since November 2004 asking
for a meeting and the official secretary at Government House
replied on Jeffery’s behalf last month. In the letter, Jeffery said he
had never met the group Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
but he failed to mention he had agreed to become patron of its funding
arm, the Constitutional Education Fund – Australia.

CEF-A has been given tax deductible status and it operates out the
offices of ACM, and may well pay the salary and expenses of Mrs Kerry
Jones who doubles as both the ACM’s and CEF-A’s executive
director. Michael Jeffery is skating on very thin ice and he’s flying
in the face of his oft repeated mantra that he is here for all
Australians.

Jeffery’s letter also brings another dimension to the controversy – the
ARM has been asked to remove from its website Jeffery’s statement –
made to The Canberra Times in November 2004 – that the Queen of
England is in fact our head of state and he represents her. This
assertion has gone unmentioned until now and Government House denies
the viceroy said it. The Canberra Times will not comment.

The ARM’s national director, Allison Henry, told Crikey that in the absence any correction in The Canberra Times,
the ARM was surprised to receive a request from Government
House to remove the references from its website. Henry said
the ARM had contacted the newspaper to clarify whether they had
missed a retraction or correction concerning the article and said
evidently they hadn’t.