Republicans Should Put Up or Shut up
The Australian Republican Movement published an email accusing Buckingham Palace of releasing “a misleading statement and issuing ‘spin’. To quote:
“Buckingham Palace responded on Tuesday night with a misleading statement implying the release of the letters showed the Queen supported Australia’s independence (despite doing all they could to stop the release of the letters) and ‘played no role’ in the events of 1975 despite being consulted, effectively forewarned and even advising the Governor-General on his powers. The ARM was quick to call out the Palace for its spin. It’s clear the Palace received more of a hint about what was to come on 11 November 1975 than Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam did.”
The Australian Republican Movement should apologise to both Buckingham Palace and the Australian people for stating that:
- Buckingham Palace responded on Tuesday night with a misleading statement.
- The release was ‘spin’.
- The Palace received more of a hint about what was to come on 11 November 1975 than Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam did
As we know, and as reputable media are reporting, the Queen, through her private secretary, Sir Martin Charteris, acted with complete probity. Of course, the Queen’s representative is going to inform the Queen about the problems he was facing in the conduct of his duties. Of course, he indicated options open to him. Options which were widely being aired in Australian newspapers day after day. Newspapers which politicians, including Gough Whitlam, would be reading. In fact, the letters make it clear that Mr Whitlam knew he could be dismissed at any time.
Furthermore, Sir John consulted widely on the use of his powers. After all, this was the first time an Australian Governor-General had been faced with such a political and economic crisis and this was the first time that a Governor-General was contemplating dismissing the government.
The Kerr letters make it clear that the Queen’s private secretary did not at any time encourage the Governor-General to take action. In fact, at all times, Sir John Kerr was advised not to use his powers, Sir Martin had written, “To use them is a heavy responsibility and it is only at the very end when there is demonstrably no other course that they should be used.”
Sir William Heseltine, an Australian and then deputy private secretary to the Queen, has been interviewed and confirmed that had the Queen known of the action Sir John was taken it was likely she would have cautioned against dismissal. As Sir William said, “I suspect the advice that would have been given to him was that it would have been prudent to hold off a little bit longer.”
The letters make it clear that any action to dismiss the government was taken by the Governor-General using the powers vested in him and that he did not inform the Queen or her staff until after taking the action he did.
Instead of clutching at straws to try and justify the estimated $2 million it is costing taxpayers to fund the case taken by Australian Republic Movement council member, Professor Hocking, and clearly used as a part of its campaign against the Crown, republicans should work out a republic model so all Australians can debate something that is real instead of being subjected to continuously wild and unfounded accusations that really do not serve their cause well.
After all, we have been going backwards and forwards with this type of nonsensical diatribe for over 20 years now. It’s time for republicans to put up or shut up.
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