Saturday, 9 April 2011

Victoria's new Governor was sworn-in

"Ladies and Gentlemen. His Excellency, the Governor, has assumed office."

The Age could not help being cheeky in its report on the inauguration of The Queen’s new representative in Victoria, Alex Chernov: “[He] was sworn in as the state's 28th Governor with all the formality that monarchists would require for such an occasion.” Indeed they do!

Channel Ten was more solemn on this occasion and broadcast Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu’s remark on the Constitutional Monarchy which the Governor represents: “[...] because it reminds us all that the head of our government of state has an independent and respected arbiter who will act without fear or favour.” It goes without saying that ABC Victoria did not include this sentence in its reporting. Unlike the public broadcaster, Channel Ten also included the oath of Allegiance of the new Governor:

And the full Oath of Allegiance can be heard in this video:

Alex Chernov, AO, QC was born in Lithuania in 1938 to Russian parents. His grandfather had held a post there in the imperial administration. But when the Russian revolution came he returned to Russia to become a minister with the white administration, which had monarchist associations and was opposed by the Red Army.

Chernov's grandfather was eventually captured and murdered by the reds, so his grandmother returned to Lithuania. The sanctuary there was shattered when the Soviets moved in in 1940.

"Because of our association with the white government, our family was on what I call the hit list of the communist government. And when the Red Army marched into Lithuania, my family scrambled out and kept going south until they came to Australia," he said.

But his father never made it to safety. Like his father before him, he was murdered by the Red Army.

The family settled in Salzburg for four years, knowing they were safe from the Red Army as the city was in American hands following World War II. When he arrived in Australia as a postwar migrant in 1949 at the age of ten he couldn't speak a word of English.

Alex Chernov was created an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2007 Queen's birthday honours list for service to the law and education. After the Queen appointed him Governor he told The Age: "We live under the constitutional monarchy at the moment. That's the basis on which I was appointed. I'm happy to continue in that role."

In 59 seconds historian Dr Ray Wright explains the Westminster System in the following video . He was Usher of the Black Rod of the Victorian Parliament from 2000 to 2005:

1 comment:

David Votoupal said...

"All the formality"- do "modern" and "progressive" republicans believe formality, pomp and ceremony are somehow unnecessary and outdated, what about republics such as San Marino which are not short of their own pomp and ceremony?

Thank you for pointing out the subtleties. Thinking people can see behind it all.

As an Australian of Czech descent whose father escaped Communist rule, Chernov's story is one many of us can relate to.