Aussie republicans in praise of a Monarch
Both politicians have an established reputation of being staunch republicans. However, when it comes to the praise of a Monarch, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull can choose words as if they were loyal servants of Her Majesty.
King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain paid a visit to Australia from 24th to 26th June 2009. On their arrival in Canberra the Queen's representative, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, received the royal couple at the airport in Canberra. Later that day the King and Queen were officially welcome by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:
"Australia and Spain share more than history though. Both of our nations also bring together a modern story of democracy and development; and of contribution to international affairs.The following sentence was not included in the official transcript that was published on the prime minister's website:
"Your Majesties are renowned patrons of democracy, having overseen, for more than three decades, Spain’s enduring transformation into one of the world’s great democracies."
"And I for one, Your Majesty, recall as a young man, your courageous efforts in those difficult time."
The Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull:
"It is a great honour to welcome Your Majesties this evening to this seat of our national parliament. I join with the prime minister on behalf of the people of Australia in welcoming His Majesty on his first visit since the bicentennial celebration in 1988.Malcolm Turnbull could have added the Queen's brother's efforts to restore democracy in her home country Greece. After all, it was King Constantine who tried in a counter coup in December 1967 to oust the colonels' regime and restore democracy. His efforts failed and he paid a heavy price. He went into exile, of which he has officially not returned. And what is more, a smear campaign has blackened his image in Greece and abroad.
"Her Majesty, of course, joined us as an honoured guest at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Welcome back, Ma’am.
"Tonight the presence of Their Majesties offers an opportunity to reflect on the deepening and the strengthening of the relations between two vibrant and successful modern democracies and to pay tribute to the role of the Spanish Royal Family in promoting freedom and democracy.
"Very few Kings in history could claim to have been as courageous in their defence of democracy as you have been, Sir."
"As we know, His Majesty created a new history for an ancient nation in those eventful days between 1975 and 1978. Not only by reclaiming the role of Head of State after the death of General Franco, but by the relinquishing power to a parliamentarian democracy under a new constitution.
"For many of us the end of totalitarianism in Europe was marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall. Yet in many ways, Sir, it was the advent of the Spanish democracy under your expert stewardship that helped inspire the hunger for freedom and liberty among so many peoples’ and nations’ labouring under the suffocating rule of dictatorship: Democratic elections in June 1977, the promulgation of a new constitution by 1978, ratification in a popular referendum and then subsequently signed into law in a powerful symbolic moment by the King in His parliament.
"So it was that the heir of an ancient dynasty became the father of a modern democracy.
"Only 30 years on no one thinks of Spain as other than a respected member of the community of advanced democracies, a robust and well regulated modern economy, the 9th largest in the world."
King Juan Carlos proposed the following toast:
Ladies and gentlemen,
will you please join me in a toast to Her Majesty the Queen and the people of Australia.
No republican present refused to drink to the Queen of Australia.
And one could ask, why a form of state should be abolished (in Australia) that has produced such a fabulous Monarch.