Thursday, 18 November 2010

Republicans catch a cold, while the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is in royal wedding fever

Once again The Age demonstrated its mediocre journalism. On day two after the news of the engagement of Prince William and Katherine Middleton The Age’s Europe correspondent Paola Totaro’s report A match fit for the times was placed on the front page, while yesterday’s Age had the news hidden on page 12 as “World News”. Today’s page 14 was exclusively dedicated to “the Royal Wedding”.

Tony Wright, not the usual royal editor of The Age, wrote:
“Julia Gillard could hardly looked more radiant ...: ‘The world awoke this morning to happy news,’ Ms Gillard beamed to the House of Representatives, delivering the glad tidings of a new betrothal.

"No sooner had Ms. Gillard finished gushing and offering the nation’s best wishes than
Tony Abbott was on his feet, declaring himself ‘Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition’. “I rise also to congratulate Prince William, our future king and Miss Kate Middleton on their engagement,” he said. ‘Every Australian should rejoice at their happiness.’

”Malcolm Turnbull, once the most prominent republican in the land, peered into the middle distance.

“Mr. Abbott was so swept away that when Speaker Henry Jenkins childed him a little later for interjecting when normal political combat had resumed, he pleaded ‘royal wedding fever’.”

The Age’s editorial “Here’s to William and Kate” had the usual republican rants like: “The Age, which believes in a republican Australia, can also believe in fairytales. Congratulations!

The printed version contained an opinion piece by Monica Hesse from The Washington Post. Why The Age had to fall back on an American writer remains a mystery. Was an article from the Guardian newspaper not available? What about the usual suspects from the republican Australian journo camp, didn’t they want to spread their well-known hatred of the Australian Monarchy?

It could be asked why The Age did not find a Monarchist columnist who could comment of the good news from Buckingham Palace, but gave space to an article of Klaas Woldring, convenor of Republic Now Association Inc., "Time to breathe life into an archaic constitution". Although he admits that “the republic has been removed from the public policy agenda”, he calls the Australian Constitution “this costly, undemocratic and inflexible document”. And he also states: “A sovereign people can rewrite its Constitution at any time. That is the essence of its sovereignty.” Did he forget that in 1999 the sovereign people of Australia said NO to a republic?

Message from the Governor-General
Your Royal Highness,

on behalf of all Australians, Michael and I send our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to you and Miss Catherine Middleton upon the announcement of your engagement to marry next year.

Australians were delighted, earlier this year, to have the opportunity to welcome you to Australia. Our time with you in Sydney was memorable and thoroughly enjoyable. [Did the Governor-General forget that HRH was also in Melbourne and country Victoria? RR]

Your genuine fondness for Australia and Australians shone through in all your interactions, and I know that these feelings are very much reciprocated.

I am sure that Australians look forward with anticipation and excitement to hearing of your wedding preparations as they unfold. It is a unifying time of much joy and celebration. And, naturally, we will take immense pleasure in welcoming you both on the occasion of your first visit to Australia together some time in the future.

Your Royal Highness, your announcement has warmed our nation’s heart.

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