The Kerr Papers Comments
These are just a few comments on the Dismissal and claims by republicans that the Queen was involved. They were posted in the Australian Newspaper of Saturday July 18 by individuals not know to the Australian Monarchist League
12:00AM JULY 18, 2020
4 comments in the Australian of July 18 2020
David Muir, chairman of Real Republic Australia (Letters, 16/7) wrote, “We need a system of government that adds value to Australia. Having our own directly elected head of state who has an allegiance to our nation alone would deliver that much-needed value.”
I spent the first half of my life as a US citizen and the second half as an Australian citizen. This has enabled me to observe the essentials of the US Constitution-based system and the Australian version of the Westminster system since the days of prime minister Robert Menzies.
The release of the Kerr-Palace letters has clarified in my mind the functioning role of our governor-general. It is a role guided by legal and historical precedent and is free of direction from the Queen. Our governor-general is appointed by the prime minister, who serves at the pleasure of elected parliamentarians.
To do otherwise would move us in the direction of the US system where the titular head of government is directly elected and therefore in a fully political position and driven to make popular decisions. Those who are followers of the various republic-driven organisations need to take heed of this outcome in their wish.
In the meantime, I will be forever grateful that the Australian system chose to allow me to join it.
JB, Perth, WA
I have been fascinated to read the diverse views expressed by readers in response to the Palace-Kerr letters. I would like to add my perspective. I arrived in Australia as a 15-year-old refugee in 1949. I was travelling on an International Refugee Organisation passport issued in the camp. I was stateless and my birth was not even registered.
My citizenship ceremony is the day I acquired for the first time a nationality. I was now an Australian. The second major event in my life was when my name was gazetted on receiving a commission in the Citizens Military Forces (now the Army Reserve) after being called up for national service. I served for 19 years.
In the ensuing years, when my children were in primary and high school, I was involved with the Parents and Citizens Association and received life membership. My wife worked in the canteens of both schools. I was a Rotarian for 31 years, serving as club president and district governor. We volunteered for seven years at the Australian Army Artillery Museum in Sydney and for 22 years at the Powerhouse Museum.
I am still proud of my adopted country and the system of government that we live under.
AS, Sydney, NSW
Paul Kelly has done the republican cause and Australians generally a great favour in exposing the statement by the Australian Republic Movement accusing the crown of deception and complicity in Gough Whitlam’s dismissal (“Inept anti-monarchists have royally lost the plot”, 16/7). The dismissal cannot be profitably considered without a clear understanding of the significance of Whitlam’s flouting of the Constitution in threatening to govern without supply and in refusing to put the question to the people. In the circumstances, John Kerr did his duty.
FP, Brisbane, Qld
In the modern era that thrives on exposure and (in lieu of the facts) speculation, one of the last bastions of intrigue lies with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Countless documentaries, movies and a blockbuster mini-series have had her as the subject and countless interpretations of her actions have manifested in the press and other mediums in her near 70-year reign.
William Heseltine is the latest to opine as to how the Palace may have dealt with the constitutional crisis in 1975 had the Queen been brought into the loop (“Palace would have urged against dismissal: Queen’s top aide”, 17/7). It’s another good guess but only Elizabeth truly knows her own mind, and that element of mystery adds to the appeal of this most remarkable woman.
KK, Fremantle, WA
Comments in the Australian 18/7/20
Edited by Jason Gagliardi
Lauren: “I was a republican but have reverted to being a monarchist largely because of red bandana man!”
Hugh: “If the problem is not the Queen, who is universally respected, it must be FitzSimons, who isn’t.”
Michael: “The ARM is led by a person who insults anyone who doesn’t agree with him and his morally superior views. Australia will never become a republic with people like FitzSimons telling us inferiors how to think.”
Anthony: “There is a wonderful put-down line by Ian Chappel during a Channel 9 sports segment where FitzSimons was airing his knowledge. Looking straight at him Chappel asked, ‘Where is it, where is it?’ FitzSimons replied, ‘What?’. Chappel_replied: ‘That spotlight you’re always searching for.’”
Barry: “OK so we have a republic! How is it better than what we have got? The constitution will need changing. What changes would be made? Will we have to wear red bandannas?”
Ken: “They won’t tell you as they haven’t worked it out themselves yet. And it’s only been 46 years of whinging. But you can trust them to come up with the right republic model. Just vote for us and we’ll work out the detail later.”
Matt: “It’s so bizarre to me that these people, who find it so easy to find fault in everyone who doesn’t 100pc agree with them on everything, find it impossible to recognise when they themselves are mugged by reality. They soldier on blithely and redouble their efforts. I wonder, do they realise just how foolish they look? Stop talking — quit while your behind.”
Rubberduck: “Depends on how the president is elected. If the president is elected by popular vote, it will be someone who was on Young Talent Time 40 years ago. Tina Arena? Dannii Minogue? Either one would be handy in a constitutional crisis. If it’s a parliamentary vote, then other factors will come into play, like the ability to maintain a diplomatic silence and communicate with subtle gestures. I’m tipping Humphrey B Bear.”
Mike: “The ARM response to the release of the papers on the dismissal shows again that the community got it right when the referendum on the republic failed. Listening also to Labor Party leaders on their response to the release of the Kerr-Buckingham Palace documents also showed the great myth is still believed by many who refuse to acknowledge they got it wrong. The Queen continues to display what integrity should mean to all of us, and she continues to be held in high regard by most in the community. Her actions speak louder than words — and certainly surpass the craven words now coming from those supporting the ARM. That magic word integrity has been shown to be lacking from those promoting the creation of an Australian republic.
“ am one who would support a republic — IF the framework for such a dramatic move was proper and not some extension of political power by elitists. We suspect the motives of those in ARM do not serve our country well, and their petulance against the Queen only reinforces our suspicions. Why change a system that works for us now for something proposed by a bunch of self serving opinion makers who want to mimic the great founders of the American Republic? Their hubris is stunning.”
Roger: “The beauty of our constitutional monarchy form of government with an Australian head of state (aka the Governor-General) is that it is underpinned by elegant long standing conventions of which the monarch and monarchy and the principles of service to the public, are the glue. “And, as we saw in 1975, those arrangements work beautifully in the interests of the people which is their fundamental intent. To meddle with the present arrangements would require legislation — i.e. words. These would be written by politicians and driven in turn by politics. We saw what happened last time when that occurs. Politicians will always act in their interests.
“One thing that is for certain is that the path you advocate (which sounds like an answer hunting for a problem) is that it would quickly demonstrate the law of unintended consequences. Our system worked well in 1975. Leave it alone.”
Hugh: “One can appreciate the republicans’ concern about the nationality of the head of state, but, like the professor, they should be careful what (or whom) they wish for. The most prestigious persons in Australia are probably the judges on the High Court. Could we imagine a single one of them as head of state? And who else is there? Australians have grown up since the days when Dick Smith was discussed as a potential head of state. And in those countries where the monarch has been decapitated, murdered in a cellar in Yekaterinburg or deposed at the end of the First World War, the people don’t seem to much like their presidents. Not Angela Merkel, not Macron, not Putin, not Xi Jinping, not Trump enjoy the prestige and respect enjoyed in England by the Queen.”
Bob: “In 1974, Gough Whitlam took Labor to the polls and got the majority of seats in the lower house, the House of Reps, yet couldn’t get the upper house, the Senate. Consequently, next year he couldn’t get his Supply bill through both houses to make it law.
“The end of the financial year arrived, after which the govt had no money to run Australia. It dragged on and on, week after week, with eventually Whitlam talking about using people’s savings in the Commonwealth Bank to pay the public servants and welfare recipients. It was becoming more absurd each passing week in Whitlam trying desperately to keep in power. Something had to give. Australia was becoming ungovernable.
“Eventually, a governor-general installed by Whitlam himself sacked the government of the day and threw the impasse open for the people of Australia to decide. Whether Australia were a Constitutional monarchy or a republic really is beside the point. The fact is Australia’s current constitution made a way through for a crisis of this kind. I wonder if a republican constitution would have been as good?”
Finally: “I have read Paul Kelly’s work for 45 years. His efficiency of language makes for great reading. He is also rarely wrong. His books on the dismissal show a true and detailed knowledge on the subject. As if the Queen was going to embroil herself in the crisis. To what material end? I am a republican, but attempting to embroil the Queen in this is farcical and counter-productive.”
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