Monday, 7 April 2008
The Queen of Australia has been on the throne for 56 years.
Kevin Rudd is a republican – Where’s the surprise?
On the day when the Australian Prime Minister was to have an audience with Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Australia, the media down under could not help themselves reprinting the bits of a BBC interview, in which Rudd answered questions concerning a (!) republic. “I am sure we will get to it in due season," he said in response to persistent questioning in a BBC interview. Asked whether he would be disappointed if he ended his term in office without Australia becoming a republic, Mr Rudd said his party had long been committed to that outcome.
"That remains unchanged," he said. "What I also said prior to the last election is that for us this is not a top-order priority." The Age
Republicanism was included in the ALP’s platform at the 1991 national conference, the chairman observing that the motion had been carried without enthusiasm. Nobody expected Labor to revise their platform after the republican’s defeat at the 1999 referendum, however, not everything that is written into a platform has to become political reality. The Swedish Social Democrats wrote the demand for the abolition of the Monarchy into their platform in the 1920s, instead, every Swedish Prime Minister ever since had good working relations with the highly respected Swedish Kings. There was neither the “popular demand” for a republic, nor the need to abolish the Crown.
The same applies to Australia. With the latest opinion polls showing only 45 p.c. of the Australians want “a” republic, the Kevin Rudd senses that another push for “a” republic in Australia is doomed to fail.
Party policy and policy for the interests of the country and the people are not necessarily the same. Therefore the non-partisan institution of the Monarchy is invaluable. Good to know, that Her Majesty’s Australian Prime Minister does not rush to give into pressure from lobbyists and partisan advocates of “a” republic.
More appalling than Kevin Rudd’s answers were the BBC’s questions, which The Age called “persistent”. Was the reporter trying to create a scoop? Everybody knows the Australian Prime Minister’s position in the republic discussion. Surely the interviewer would have read all his statements in preparing for the interview. Why this stubborn insistence on this question?