Every school day of my Bjelke-Petersen era Queensland childhood, my classmates and I were lined up for a military-style parade – attention. Stand at Ease! Honour the flag – turn!
Every morning, we watched as the flag was raised and swore to “always honour my Queen, my flag and my country”.
I don’t feel as though I am violating a sacred trust by breaking that oath now, because it was an oath taken under duress. And I’m not sure what not honouring the Queen and the flag would look like, anyway.
But I’ll give it my best shot.
And I’m in good company – Ray Martin and Ron Barrasi want to change our “colonial” flag, and although Barnaby Joyce says that he “loves” the current flag, I am fairly sure that he is “dishonouring” it too, at least by the standards of my primary school headmaster. The flag was not to touch the ground, as it was carried across the parade ground. According to that code, Barnaby’s smelly feet violate the flag every time he wears his favourite pair of thongs.
Honouring the Queen presumably means honouring the heirs to the throne as well. And I had an “emperor has not clothes” moment this week, reading all the descriptions of the “young, handsome prince” who has apparently won the hearts of all Australians and set back the republican cause. The emperor has no clothes! The heir to the throne has no hair! Well, some, but it seems to be disappearing fast!
Of course, physical appearance should not be a relevant factor when choosing a head of state, but given that the monarchy is being marketed on the basis of its younger generation’s glam factor, the prince’s fast-receding hairline would seem a noteworthy feature. But he is a prince, ergo handsome, apparently (not an equation that worked for his father, sadly).
Happy Vege-out for the public holiday…