Monday, 8 June 2009

Where are all those republican writers on Queen's Birthday Holiday?

I have to admit: I was wrong. I expected the united republican media hunt to have a field day on Queen’s Birthday Holiday. I was prepared to read the re-heated phrases from previous years, but the usual suspects, the famous “Melbourne commentators and republicans” must have been occupied elsewhere.

However, The Age fulfilled my expectations and printed an editorial in connection with the Queen’s Birthday’s honours list. “The one truly incongruous note about today's holiday is that officially it marks the Queen's birthday even though the monarch — whose real birth date is April 21 — has precious little to do these days with either the Australian awards system or Australia. The empire is long gone, and widely shared loyalties to the Queen with it; most Australians' allegiance is to the country they live in. Imperial honours were discarded in 1975, yet today's honours are still awarded on a day supposedly devoted to our head of state.

The Imperial honours were dropped by politicians, not by popular demand of the people. France kept the "Légion d'honneur", which was established by the first consul, Napoléon Bonaparte, in 1802. The country went through many changes, but the honours list remained.

And why does The Age claim, Queen's Birthday were “a day supposedly devoted to our head of state”? It is republicans who have to accept a fact they dislike. This day IS devoted to our Queen.

By all means retain a long holiday weekend, but … [t]his holiday requires an identity to match its place and purpose in a country that is already republican at heart.” Wishful thinking: This country’s media are republican oriented, but the country itself is still “Monarchist at heart.” The circles journalists and their employers mingle in are the ones who dream of a republic, but they cannot specify their dreams and tell us, what kind of republic they want.

This year The Age did not run a campaign like the one in 2008, when a “Kids Day” was high on their agenda. “Resurrection Day” might be an option, after a couple of republicans groups decided to resurrect in a newly formed Coalition of Australian Republicans (CAR) the day before Queen’s Birthday Holiday. Or could “CAR Day” be acceptable to our republican media?


Rebecca said...

I wonder if repbuicanism is going underground, since the Queen is long-lived, did a similar thing happen with Queen Victoria?

Barry Kingsley said...

Dear Rebecca, Republicanism is very much "alive and kicking",especially in Britain. Do have a look at "Republic Blog".