Prince William and our Head of State:

Thomas Flynn, Executive Director, Australians For Constitutional Monarchy, writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. It seems a little harsh for you to describe the “David Flints of this world” as  “a group of people … whose entire support for the monarchy seems more like something out of a trashy romance novel” and then to make sarcastic comments that “Yes, the Republic issue isn’t nearly as nuanced as, say, discussing the niceties of constitutional reform.”

Professor David Flint and his colleagues at Australians for Constitutional Monarchy are always ready to discuss the niceties of any proposed reform of the Australian crown.

The trouble  — so far as the issue of republicanism is concerned — is that republicans seem utterly unwilling to understand the nuances and niceties of the constitution as it is right now. Chief evidence is their witless invocation of “head of state” a term that does not occur in the constitution (nor does any equivalent) and is not readily applicable to constitutional monarchies.

I’ll spare you the arguments this time except to note that no republican has addressed the High Court’s  description of the Governor General as “Constitutional Head of the Commonwealth” back in 1907 (R v Governor of South Australia [1907] HCA 31 h) nor has anyone refuted the arguments of Sir David Smith’s Head of State.

Aside from Head of State, there is George Williams’ recent astonishing description of the dismissal of the Whitlam government as exercising powers “that had not been known to exist”. Has a professor of law at the University of New South Wales really not heard of the dismissal of Jack Lang?

Our constitutional system has stood us well for 109 years. While other countries endured appalling tyranny and serious disorder Australia has had peaceful government and prosperity. That is no small feat.

Stilgherrian writes: I’ve always suspected that the Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy hadn’t quite caught up with modern times, and Thomas Flynn’s comment (yesterday, comments), “getting Google to change those descriptions seems to be impossible”, confirms it.

The description shown in Google’s search results is EASY to change. Google displays whatever you choose to put in your website’s “description” meta tag.

If the Australian Republican Movement’s description was a plug for prescription drugs, it’s sign their website was, erm, interfered with.

Pamela Papadopoulos writes: While I am not a monarchist by heart I think that Prince William looks like a decent man and displays all the great qualities that a well-educated Generation Y person is from a royal family.

His father’s rainforest project trust and other various environmental/social causes are to be celebrated and are a credible legacy that his family have left him.

If he can continue to support these and carry them through as a modern man, there might be a role for him in today’s world as a global citizen and not just another born to rule aristocrat.

Young LNP Queensland:

Nicholas Higgins writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Monday, item 4). The facts involved in the tip in “Tips and rumours” in Monday’s edition are incorrect. The details of this article are mere rumours only and have no validity or standing. Nicolas Higgins, Tommy Brennan and Rod Schneider have a strong working relationship in the Young LNP. Crikey did not consult any of the names mentioned in the article for verification.

Melting glaciers:

Ian Cameron writes: Re. “Melting glaciers the canary in the mine shaft of global warming” (yesterday, item 3). In 1957 as a schoolboy I spent a week of my winter holidays skiing on the snow cover on the Ball Glacier on Mount Cook — and still have black and white photographs to prove it.  It was a recognised ski-field at the time with a permanent if simple ski-lift.

I vividly remember the distant rumble of an avalanche falling from the mountain on to the upper reaches of the glacier above the ski-field — although I don’t have a black and white photograph to prove that!

Now the glacier doesn’t even exist, let alone the ski-field which sat on top of it.


Ralph McKay writes: Re. “Cyber attacks: we’ve got bigger problems than China” (Monday, item 1). Crikey downplays the China risk as “economic espionage” from just another “friendly” country.

No mention of the authoritarian Chinese government’s shocking human rights record or Google’s statement, “we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists”.

Apparently our “friend” was seeking information on people who respect democratic values. Anyone discovered in China by this “economic espionage” can expect long term imprisonment, torture or execution.

The most powerful bully in the world is now our biggest trading partner. However the bigger problem is our timid silence as our economic partner trashes the values that so many of our young died trying to protect.


Ben Grant writes: Re. “Stick that in your pie hole: ETS won’t inflate prices” (yesterday, item 9). In his letter to Penny Wong, Greg Hunt asks: “Second, under your ETS, how much will be the additional cost on average to heat the home of a single pensioner living in Launceston or Cooma?”

My Dad, retired now at 81 next birthday, lives some 25 km outside Cooma. He using heating and cooling for his home from a thermal heat exchange unit (been in operation for quite some time now), I’m sure he’d be happy to field questions regarding ETS.

Our penal roots:

Shirley Colless writes: Re. “Media briefs: Saudi Prince discusses News Corp alliance …War over Matt’s Brown underpants” (yesterday, item 13). One of the great things about the French is that they never want to see the elephant in their escargot.

The French penal colony of Devils’ Island (Isle du Diable) off the coast of French Guiana was founded in 1852 (thanks to that democratic free thinker Napoleon III) and finally closed in 1952, after hosting, among many others, Captain Alfred Dreyfus.

While the founding of Devil’s Island occurred when some states in Australia still held to the convict system, the French penal colony continued until well over ninety years after the Australian colonies stopped receiving British convicts and fifty years after Australian federation.

Latte watch:

Tony Barrell writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 5). Oh dear an anonymous tipster has infiltrated “Tips and rumours” to feed Crikey its first tray of new year lattes, as in “Labor politicians quietly sniggered into their lattes”.

Like all latte spillers, the tipster’s got it wrong: the Labor right drinks international roast and the Left is on macchiato. Latte? That’s the Liberal safe seat beverage of choice for people who wear sunglasses in their hair.

Where’s the eagle eyed latte watcher? Please switch on your elimination software. It’s a new year. Must try harder

Peter Fray

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