While the 60th birthday of the Prince of Wales will largely go unnoticed in his mother’s colonial outpost, the old dears and young fogeys of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy (ACM) have worked themselves into a frenzy of activity to mark the occasion, functions which ACM cheerleader Professor David Flint is orchestrating.

There are lunches — cost from $28 a head down in Tassie to $70 in some mainland capitals but wherever the event, gentlemen attending were reminded that lounge suits would be the dress of the day, although in Tassie uniforms were okay too.

The main event was the lunch in Sydney’s Parliament House where Senator George Brandis SC (no mention of QC there) delivered the Senator Neville Bonner Oration — an annual event, according to Flint, held on Affirmation Day — November 6. It appears ACM have invented this holiest of days to remind the general population that was the day John Howard broke Australia’s heart by winning through adept and grievous political manipulation and half truths the Referendum which kept us shackled to the English crown.

Brandis and the late Neville Bonner, both Liberal Party senators and Bonner an Aboriginal to boot, both swim and swam against the Party tide which in the main counts a majority of Republicans among its membership. Brandis has nailed his colours to the monarchist mast, which would hardly endear him to Malcolm Turnbull, although the move found favour with Brendan Nelson.

The lunches are for the older dears in ACM but the young fogeys chose to celebrate at a meat market drinks party at Sydney’s Mechanics Institute.

Across the waters the current Australian head of state will celebrate the 60th birthday of the next Australian head of state (God willing and all things being equal) by holding a dinner for 75 European royals — the majority of whom belong to booted out and dispossessed former ruling families.

But they share a common ancestor — the long dead Electress of Hanover and here’s an interesting rub. To be the head of state of Australia one has to be a Protestant descendant of the late Electress which means if the current crop of English royals were wiped out in a crazy balcony terrorist attack, the succession would be intact.

There are close to two thousand living descendants eligible for the job, a fact which allows twenty million of us to sleep soundly in our beds every night of the year knowing there’ll always be a foreigner to fill the nation’s top job.

Peter Fray

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