Monday 31 December 2007

Republics in Action
Two top news of 31st December 2007 from an African and an Asian republic:
Kenya: Mwai Kibaki, 76, showed a steely core by swearing himself in within an hour of being pronounced victor in an election denounced as fraudulent by opposition challenger Raila Odinga and questioned by international and Kenyan observers.
Kibaki now faces the momentous task of reuniting a country split pretty much down the middle by an election that has brought several dozen deaths, first during campaign rallies and then in an explosion of violence over the results.

Pakistan: The party of assassinated Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto named her 19-year-old son as its new leader Sunday and announced it would contest general elections set for January 8.
"My mother always said that democracy is the best revenge," Bilawal Bhutto told a chaotic press conference in the family's ancestral home in southern Pakistan.
At an emergency party meeting here, officials also named Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, as co-chairman to assist Bilawal.

Do you remember, how the republican system was called in another blog? Rational and fair. The dynastic rule of the Pakistan’s People Party and the rigged presidential elections in Kenya are certainly proof how rational and fair that system works.

Of course we could switch sides and just do as the republicans do, whenever there’s a crisis in a Monarchy: Abolish the whole thing! Get rid of that 2,500 year old republic system, that didn’t work in Rome and certainly is not fit for any country in the 21st century to satisfy the needs of the people! Republics had their time, now we must move on. The change towards the Monarchy is inevitable.

And follow the republicans' own example: Don’t make the mistake to ask the people, just abolish it by simple parliamentary vote. Better: Do away with it by decree. Should you really be forced to hold a referendum, make sure you can paint your opponents as “unpatriotic”, ban them from using the media to transport their point of views on that matter. And once the republic is abolished, ban any political activities to get it back. Just like Comrade Prachandra said in the case of Nepal: “The monarchy will never make a come back in this country”. He keeps threatening to "punish" those who want a Monarchy.

Why bother about the wishes of the people? Republicans always think: "We know better what’s good for them." The Monarchists should adapt an attitude that reflects the thoughts of their republican opponents. 70 percent of the British want the Monarchy? Rubbish, the future is theirs, republicans claim. Deny the facts of such opinion polls, just as the Australian republicans do. Latest polls show only 45 percent want a republic (what model?), but in republican opinion pieces they give the impression as if 75 percent would support their idea. (“It was estimated that 75% of the population would have voted the royals out of existence [in the 1999 referendum].” They even make plans about the republic's inauguration ceremony for whenever their dreams may come true (The Sunday Age, 30th December 2007, “A call to armchairs”). Keep on dreaming!

So, I proclaim the republic of Pakistan a failed state. That’s even admitted by some Pakistani thinkers: The system adopted in 1956 has been unable to be modernised. It must be replaced by a system that functions better. A pretender could be a member of the former Muslim Mughal Dynasty that ruled large parts of India until the mutiny of 1857 and their deposition by the British. Or Pakistan could opt for a model that had been very popular in 19th century Europe: Import a new dynasty that has nothing to do with the internal fights and quarrels. A Pahlavi Prince could serve the country better than a military ruler or a member of the oligarch families that treat Pakistan like their fiefdom, their feudal property. The descendants of the Nizam of Hyderabad could be asked, after all, they lost their throne because they would have joined their state with Pakistan. Should someone be brave enough to accept the Crown of Pakistan, he deserves our support.

The same goes for Kenya that since the golden days of the quasi-Monarch Jomo Kenyatta has gone from disastrous presidential rules to civil unrest after every presidential race.

Make a sharp cut and get a Crowned head of state. Let the government and parliament do their job, but keep the highest position in the country outside party politics.

Get a King!

King Michael makes preparations for his succession

King Michael I of Romania (Regele Mihai I) enacted new Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania to succeed all other Statutes and House Laws from the 30th December 2007, the 60th anniversary of his deposition in Romania.

The Preamble states: “In keeping with His Majesty’s Command and with all modern requirements, these Fundamental Rules, enacted by the hand of King Michael I, Sovereign Head of the Royal House of Romania (Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen), by the Grace of God, Crowned King of Romania and jure sanguinis Grand Master of the Orders and Decorations of the Royal House of Romania, shall … have its validity and power upon signature, by the King’s hand. By this document, all earlier statutes and all privileges, styles, titles, rank and rights of Dynasts or their descendents are revoked.”

Article 1 (2) demonstrates the King’s determination not to recognize the republican regime that was illegally established on 30th December 1947: “The Head of the Royal Family of Romania, by all common practice and convention, is de jure and de facto Sovereign in terms of their authority over the Royal House of Romania, at any time. Immediately upon the death of the Head of the Royal House of Romania, without further proclamation, the Heir Apparent or Heir Presumptive, whichever shall be living and first in line to the succession at that moment in time, shall from that moment assume the rank or style King or Queen, regardless of the Family’s position as a reigning or non-reigning Dynasty and regardless of the fact that they may or may not later choose against the use of such style or designation.”

In Article 1 (6) the new Statutes clarify that no other descendants of King Charles II (Carol) except King Michael had any claims to the throne: “The descendants of the late King Carol II of Romania, by any collateral branch, shall maintain the style and rank accorded to them during the reign of His late Majesty King Carol II. According to the wish and precedence set by His late Majesty, such descendants shall continue to be excluded from the line of succession and shall not be members of the Royal House of Romania.”

According the Fundamental Rules(Article 2 (6) the successor to His Majesty will be his eldest daughter, Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Margarita (*26th March 1949) “shall be henceforth and will remain after my death Custodian of the Romanian Crown (ad personam)”.
In Article 2 (7) the Fundamental Rules name Nicholas of Romania Medforth-Mills, „who shall assume the title, style and rank of Prince of Romania and Royal Highness (jure sanguinis) on 1st April 2010, upon his 25th anniversary, or immediately upon the demise of the current Head of the Royal House of Romania, which ever is sooner and at such a time shall enter the order of succession to the Headship of the Royal House of Romania, with full entitlement upon succeeding”.

It is also interesting to note Article 3 (1), which states that „all members of the Royal House of Romania will be or must seek to become Romanian citizens“. It has been a common practice until recently by all king of republican regimes to strip members of their Royal Families of their nationality and deny them regaining the nationality. Such a move by any Romanian government would not prevent members of the Royal House of Romania to claim their succession rights.

It is ironic that the Communists who had been responsible for the coup d’état in 1947 that sent the King and His family into exile, raise doubts about the legality of the King’s power to issue new Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania, claiming that only a reigning Monarch had the right to do that. But nobody would oppose them in putting the King back into his position, which he without any doubt held legally until 1947. (See: )
“The Abdication of His Majesty King Mihai I has never been made legal in Romania. After King Mihai had been forced into abdicating, in order to save the lives of over 1,000 young people arrested for blackmail, the National Assembly members got together. But the Parliament had no quorum. And even if there had been a quorum, after the abdication had been adopted they were to settle Regency, because of the Constitution. A republic could not be proclaimed via a monarchist Constitution. A new Constitution, a republican one, would have had to be adopted to this end, and people would have had to agree or nor by means of a referendum. No such legislative measure was taken. The servants of Moscow disregarded people's choice for monarchy and defied the Church. King Mihai I was anointed a King, which is clear even to Gigi Becali.”)

The Romanian republicans – from left to right – deny the King’s rights because they hope for the extinction of the male line of the Royal House of Romania. Without the King’s daughters’ rights to the throne, these rights would fall back to the head of the Princely House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, the South German and Catholic branch of the Hohenzollern in Germany. After the republicans failed to promote an illegitimate son of King Carol as “rival pretender” to King Michael, they had hoped for a German pretender who wouldn’t even be able to speak Romanian instead of the popular Crown Princess Margarita who has been unceasingly doing charity work in Romania since she was allowed to return to her home country.

It is characteristic of the visionary mission King Michael has been following all his years that he sets milestones for his succession and the continuity of the Romanian Royal Family. A vision that is lacking in nearly all republics – and all politicians, naturally.

Long Live King Michael of Romania!

PS. Copies of the new Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania are available in Romanian and English. If you are interested in receiving a pdf-file, please send me an e-mail.

Friday 28 December 2007

What is rational and fair?
Here’s a good one: “I am a natural & philosophical supporter of the Presidential Republic as the best, more rational and fair government structure.”

For nearly 200 years this “rational government structure” has been the major form of state in Latin America. And look at the mess all the presidents, caudillos and military dictators have produced. If a republic is such a modern way of how to run a country, why is it that among the ten countries with the highest standard of living seven are Monarchies, in fact the first six countries with the highest record in human development have without exception a crowned head of state:
1. Norway * 0.956
2. Sweden * 0.946
3. Australia * 0.946
4. Canada * 0.943
5. Netherlands * 0.942
6. Belgium * 0.942
7. Iceland 0.941
8. United States 0.939
9. Japan * 0.938
10. Ireland 0.936
Five more monarchies rank among eleven and twenty.
This latest index, the index for 2004, lists 177 countries in order of achievement. Nations ranked from one to 55 are deemed to have ‘High Human Development’, those from 56 to 141 are deemed to have ‘Medium Human Development’ and those from 142 to 177 are deemed to have ‘Low Human Development’.1)

Let’s look how fair republics are. The year 2000 is still on everybody’s memory, when the US citizens elected a new head of state and head of government. Very rational to have both in one hand. And very useful to have one’s brother as governor in one of the key states that finally pushes you into the White House. And it is equally fair if you belong to an influential family that's daddy once had been in the White House and grand dad as a senator paved the ways for his siblings. And of course it is only fair that you start the presidential race not as someone who lives under bridges, but as a boy (!) who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. How else would one be able to raise money to take part in the primaries. The Age, 28 Dec. 2008: “For the first time, the cost of the 2008 presidential race is likely to exceed $US1 billion, ($A1.14 billion) with Democrat frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each expected to spend $US80 million to $US100 million on the primary phase alone.”

Monarchies are branded “expensive”, but how many coronations could you finance with the money spent in this primaries’ circus every four years? Queen Elizabeth's coronation was 54 years ago. The British Monarchy’s budget is a fraction of the money spent in the presidential race. Of course the candidates get donations, but without a sound money basis of their own they would not be able to rent an office in, let’s say, Harlem or Witchita Falls, not to mention Washington DC.

If Hillary Clinton does win the presidency of the United States, next year, and serves four years, the USA will have had 24 years of two family rule in this country. The modern president has immense new power, after leaving office - millions of dollars in book deals, a library, and the ability to attract a hundreds of thousands of dollars from one speech to a special interest.

“Rational & fair” that’s what I call a Monarchy. It is rational to keep politicians away from at least one job in the state. It is a great advantage that the position as the Australian head of state is not up for grabs. Should Rupert Murdoch decide who’d be Australian president? He’s the one who hates our Royal Family – only to put his children into different positions in his media empire. We can’t stop him expanding his acquisitions, but his power hungry attitude shows that we need the Monarchy to keep him out of the presidential race – at least in Australia.

1) Fortunately, there is a reasonably objective way to answer these questions, courtesy of the UN Human Development Programme. We can use its Human Development Index (HDI), which was originally developed by the late Pakistani economist, Mahbub ul Haq. This index uses three dimensions to measure a country’s average human development, as follows:
1. A long and healthy life, as measured by life expectancy at birth;
2. knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate (with two-thirds weight) and the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio (with one-third weight); and
3. a decent standard of living, as measured by Gross Domestic Product per capita expressed in US dollars on a purchasing power parity basis.

Tuesday 25 December 2007

Does dropping "Royal" make a Hospital more efficient?

Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital has axed its reference to the Queen shortly before Christmas. It will now be known as The Women's after advice from consultants that its traditional name was "ineffective". The hospital opened in 1856 and was known as The Women's Hospital from 1884 until Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, conferred the title upon it in 1954, the year after her coronation during a two-month tour of Australia.

Greens MP Greg Barber welcomed the change and encouraged others to follow. "It must be sad for the monarchists," Mr Barber said. "RSPCA, Royal Women's, Royal Lifesaving, I support their cause, it's got nothing to do with them being connected to royalty."

We know, we live in a time, when “spin” rules politics. Now hospitals discovered spin as well. How else could we interpret Mandy Frostick’s defense for dropping the “Royal” of the Women’s Hospital? "We were advised by a professional wayfinding signage company who developed the signage package." And what the hell is "a professional wayfinding signage company"?How much does the hospital spend on new signage instead of investing it into their work? Who is being helped by insulting our Australian Queen?

And concerning Greg Barber’s statement, I am surprised that he dedicates so much of his precious time into discussing Royal attributes, when after being contacted by me concerning hazardous waste he himself wrote to me this year: “Unfortunately we are unable to handle every issue that comes before us and particularly issues of a Federal nature.”

Green issues don’t seem to count, all is spin. Welcome to the virtual world, “Women’s” and Greens.

The same day that the Melburnian media reported the dropping of the "Royal" attribute it caused such a storm that a couple of hours later The Royal Women's Hospital was forced to go public and back down:

Women's hospital staying 'royal'
December 25, 2007 - 12:33PM
Australia's oldest public hospital for women, the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, has today vehemently denied reports that it is about to discard its 53-year-old royal warrant.
It was today reported that the hospital had been advised to discard its royal warrant.
But Royal Women's Hospital spokeswoman Mandy Frostick said the hospital had not changed its name and had no intention of changing it, despite a large illuminated sign on Friday appearing high up on the side of the hospital's new $250 million building in Parkville.
Due to open in June, it will be situated immediately beside the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
"Of course we are proud to be The Royal Women's Hospital, but people also know us as just The Women's and that was a consideration in pointing people to our building as opposed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital next door," Ms Frostick said.
However, she said the hospital would continue to display its full name at street level, on its flag and throughout its premises.
"The most important function of the illuminated signs is to ensure people can quickly and easily identify The Women's - and can clearly distinguish our entrance from the adjacent Royal Melbourne Hospital entrance - particularly at night and during an emergency," Ms Frostick said.
"Signage experts strongly advised against using our full name on the illuminated signs at the top of the building as this would require a significant reduction in the size and consequent impact, rendering it ineffective from a visibility and identification perspective. " 2007/12/25/1198344994971.html

Nothing of the kerfuffle of The Royal Women's Hospital made it into the printed version of The Age. Its edition of 26th December did not contain a single sentence about what had made internet headlines on the 25th. I bet with you it would have been on page one, had The Royal Women's Hospital dropped the "Royal" attribute. To misquote The Age: "If it doesn't matter to us, it has not to matter to you."

Monday 17 December 2007

The Royal Standard for The Queen of Australia

Who has closer ties to Britain?
Isn't it funny, that one of the Australian republicans' "arguments" against the Monarchy is that "the relevance of the English crown to Australia has all but disappeared", but on the other hand, the ties between British and Australian politicians had never been more intense than these days.

"Labor and Labour ... became closer after Mr Rudd ALP leader and look set to deepen during his prime ministership", writes The Age in a report on how the British Labour Party's tactics won Kevin Rudd the federal elections. ("How the British came, saw and helped Rudd", James Button and Katharine Murphy, December 17, 2007

Of course it is not stupidity, when Barry Everingham referred to "the English crown" (in Republican call to arms, December 3, 2007, HeraldSun, Melbourne).

He knew exactly why he had chosen this term, which isn't even correct in the United Kingdom. All that matters in this country is the Australian Crown and Australian Monarchists get no aid from their British counterparts.

I welcome the ALP's move to seek help from the British Labour Party, because I think Australian politics could learn a lot from Europe. Looking to the US for examples of good policy making never got very far. But the ALP could see from many European examples how useful the Crown could be. The Australian Crown remains as beneficial for this country as the British Crown is for the British people and the Canadian Crown for the Canadians.

Thursday 29 November 2007

Sarkozy on the way to Bonapartism

What happens, when a monarchy in a country like, let’s say France, is abolished? Do the people enjoy their “republican freedom” and is there more liberty for the individual? The French people looked for a replacement. François Mitterrand (1981-1995) was called “Le Roi Soleil” because he behaved like King Louis XIV, Jacques Chirac (1995-2007) thought he was the sun king, but his nepotism brought him trouble and he is now being questioned by investigating magistrates about his expenditure, which – according to his mates – is unfair, “after such a long time”.
And what about the new president, Nicolas Sarkozy? He behaves not like a king, but more like an emperor: Bonapartism is back and now known as Sarkozysm. His second wife ran away in September and the couple divorced a month later. Obviously Cécilia was not happy about the criticism of her using the state’s credit cards for her private shopping tours.

Now without a wife, what does the little new emperor do? He is asking mother to accompany him. Madame Andrée was seen in China greeting the Chinese dictator Hu Jintao with a polite: “Pleased to meet you.” («Très heureuse de faire votre connaissance.») while Sarkozy introduced his son Pierre to China’s leader with a doubtful recommendation: “We will send him to you. He needs discipline.” («On va vous l’envoyer, il lui faut de l’autorité.» Well, well, isn’t France’s president able to exercise authority over his son? Obviously Sarkozy’s authority was under scrutiny while he was exchanging pleasantries in China. The suburbs were on fire again and - who knows - perhaps the wannabe authoritarian played with a Chinese solution? Napoléon had no remorse to kill fellow countrymen, especially if they were Royalists. In October of 1795, Napoléon Bonaparte, then an emerging military officer, was placed in charge of troops sent to control a royalist riot in Paris. Though 100 men were killed, Napoléon succeeded in controlling the “mob”, and was soon given command of the French army.(Paris in the 19th century - After returning from his state visit to China, President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed action against rioters. Hopefully he has read Napoléon’s memoirs.

It seems, France is going through troublesome months. Since his election in May, Nicolas Sarkozy has earned a reputation of being omnipresent (Super Sarko otherwise also know as Zorro Sarko). He visited the prisoners of the Arche de Zoë in Chad, he spoke to rioting fisherpeople in the Bretagne, he attended the funeral of two firemen who got killed in an accident. There’s no event, where you cannot expect Sarkozy to turn up. At the same time he doesn’t want to be seen as president whose only duty is to represent the state. His cabinet ministers are sidelined and the Prime Minister was caught talking off camera about his displeasure that he, a personal friend of Sarko, has nothing to say. That changed briefly during Sarkozy’s visit to China, but as soon as he touched ground back home again, he went straight to Villiers-le-Bel, were the latest suburban riots started. The question is: Will his presence calm or upset the rioters? As interior minister in 2005 Sarkozy fuelled the uprising with his remarks.

Sarkozy tires to control everything. That includes his own political friends. Instead of letting the government do its job, he keeps a “kitchen” cabinet separate from the official cabinet making the ministers in charge look like puppets, when they are allowed to accompany their master to one of his frequent trips to a country hot-spot.

With the ever rising ego of Sarkozy the day can’t be far that he will be proclaimed Emperor Nicolas 1er.

A real Monarchy would not face this dilemma. That’s why the number of Royalists is on the rise in France. Before Sarkozy’s election the Royalists got 20 percent of the population behind their ideas. Sarkozy’s Bonapartism will make people realize that there’s something wrong with Bonapartism as well as with republicanism. Vive le roi!

Wednesday 28 November 2007

The Coat of Arms of Barbados was adopted upon independence in 1966 by decree of Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Barbados. Like other former British posessions in the Caribbean, the coat of arms has a helmet with a national symbol on top, and a shield beneath that is supported by two animals.

Republicans are braggarts

Republicans are braggarts. All the time and everywhere. Do you need proof? Here's the latest example for my assertion.

When republicans live in a Monarchy and work for its destruction, they claim the “vast majority” does not identify with the institution, the Monarchy is old fashioned and outdated, nobody is interested in the Royal Family and their duties, etc.

But when it comes to a referendum to introduce a republic, the great reformers suddenly shriek off and turn frightened to use the “r”-word. After all, it IS a frightful word connected with lots of atrocities throughout its history of the past 229 years. Look at all those fabolous republics from Zimbabwe via Pakistan to China.

What do republicans do when they call for a referendum, and when they try to avoid the simple question: “Do you want a Monarchy or a republic?”? They use a manipulative trick which indicates that they aren’t very certain about their cause:

The Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados has announced via the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation that when the country goes to the polls in nine months, a referendum on whether the country should become a republic will be held concurrently. According to an unsourced statement on Wikipedia, the question is to be:
"Do you believe Barbados should have a Barbadian as its head of state?"

A perfidious question because it infers that everyone who votes NO and who wants to retain the Monarchy was Un-Barbadian, anti-national, unpatriotic.

The proposed question is far from a being a fair question if the Barbadians want the Monarchy or a republic. It does not address what relationship there should be between the people of Barbados and the Crown, but it is pure and unashamed populism. It is malicious. How will the Monarchists of Barbados lead their campaign for a “foreign Head of State”. Even though the Queen of Barbados is no foreigner, but as Barbadian as any other Barbadian, the supporters of the Monarchy will have a hard time to organise a referendum campaign.

Once again this example shows that republicans refer to referenda won by republicans as fair and open (Italy 1946 or Greece in 1973/74), however, in cases where the Monarchists won, they were manipulated (Australia 1999, Spain 1947, Greece 1935 and again 1946).

Republicans are bad losers. And never fair players, I may add.

Monday 26 November 2007

The Head of the Commonwealth is the Monarch of the UK and Her/His other Realms and Territories - and not a Politician
Could you imagine the Commonwealth without the Queen as "Head of the Commonwealth"? No one can. Then why is it that such a provocative sentence can be found on the Commonwealth's website:

When the Queen dies or if she abdicates, her heir will not automatically become Head of the Commonwealth. It will be up to the Commonwealth heads of government to decide what they want to do about this symbolic role.

To say that the "Head of the Commonwealth" is a "non-hereditary position" is science fiction or wishful thinking of some politicians who would like to grab the job for themselves.

When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952 she became Head of the Commonwealth and inherited this title from her father, the late King George VI.

To change this tradition would be a revolution, a change of the whole system of how the Commonwealth of Nations works. Should the leaders of the 53 member nations after Her Majesty's death refuse King Charles as new Head of the Commonwealth and elect one out of their own midst, the Commonwealth could end up with a very controversial African leader who happens to find a majority among the members. And I am not talking about someone honourable like Nelson Mandela who is even older than the Queen. And hopefully Robert Mugabe might not be in the race either (at present Zimbabwe is suspended from the Commonwealth). The British Monarch is not only above party lines, but also above nationalism and nepotism.

The Commonwealth with a republican head would be much to the delight of the few British republicans who are desperate to gain some ground, but it would be on the way to decline for lack of unbiased advice from a Monarch.

Look at other associations that were set up by former colonial powers and their colonies. Have you ever heard of the Francophonie, where French speaking countries, not necessarily former French colonies gather once a year to celebrate their language? The Lusitanian Association of the former Portuguese Colonies? The meeting of the former Spanish colonies in South America only gained the public interest because King Juan Carlos of Spain told Hugo Chavez to shut up.

The members of the Commonwealth must ensure the smooth transition of this title after the Queen's death. Her son and heir, Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, will be a respectable and dynamic successor of Her Majesty also as Head of the Commonwealth with a keen interest in development and measures against climate change.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Shame on The Age. On the 60th Wedding Anniversary of the Queen of Australia and Prince Philip all Melbourne's daily newspaper could publish was a "Quote of the Day" on page 18, a remark of Prince Philip on breakfast.

Not a word about the church service in Westminster Abbey, no mentioning of the events that took place around the Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

The Age should be urged to drop its slogan: "If it matters to you, it matters to us." The Age is acting against all journalistic principles. There is no neutral news coverage on the Australian Monarchy. And that the referendum of 1999 was won by the Monarchists obviously does not please the editor and Fairfax, the newspaper's owners. They ignore that at least half of their readers must have voted in favour of the Monarchy. Why do they ignore the monarchist readers completely, treat them like children who cannot make up their own mind, who must be protected from monarchist news? I cannot help thinking that they are trying to impose on us, what matters to them.

Then there is the question: Why are they so insecure? Do they fear that reporting on royal events would lead to a huge increase in Monarchist sentiments in Australia?

Thursday 1 November 2007

Australia and the Queen’s Wedding Jubilee

It is a rare occasion for every one, but for a British Monarch, a Diamond Wedding Jubilee is an exceptional celebration. No other royal couple could look back to 60 years of married life as Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Australia, and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh will be able to do on 20th November 2007.

The Queen of Australia is immensely popular Down Under and leading republican Malcolm Turnbull acknowledged this in a recent interview in The Royalist [sic!]: “According to [Turnbull], the issue [of another referendum on a republic] may only be won following the death or abdication (an unlikely prospect unless Her Majesty suffers significant illness) of the present monarch.”

Despite these facts that Australia will do nothing to commemorate the Queen’s and the Duke’ Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Self-proclaimed monarchist Prime Minister John Howard MP let The Australian Monarchist League know: “…a gift from the Australian people on the occasion of their Diamond Wedding Anniversary … is not the historical practice of Australian Governments.”

Well, there had not been a precedence since there was no other Diamond Wedding Anniversary, or was there one, Mr. Howard?

The Australian Mail has no intention to follow for example New Zealand’s Post to issue a “Royal Wedding Anniversary” stamp. As a reply to my inquiries the Australian Mail stated: “Please note at this stage [9th September 2007] we have not been advised of any new stamp issue for the Diamond Jubilee.”

While the Australian politicians will pursue their electoral campaign the loyal subjects of Her Majesty Down Under can join celebrations organised by Monarchists, for example this one in Sydney:

Tuesday, 20 November , 2007: Luncheon, The Royal Society of ST. George, in the distinguished presence of HE The Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, Parliament House, Sydney to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

Wednesday 29 August 2007

"Many people say the Queen is German, but as a percentage, how German actually is she?"

Strange questions are asked on the internet. The headline above was one of them. A simplistic answer could name all her ancestors and separate them into different nationalities. But this would be nonsense, because the Royal Families of Europe are all related to each other. None of them "belongs" to a particular nation, but all serve the nations they were put in with dedication and passion.

How many generation do you have to live in a country to be recognized as a "native"? Nationalism is a comparatively new concept that came with the French Revolution and has been poisoning international relations ever since.

Kings of the House of Hanover ascended the British throne in 1714, the last direct descendent of the Hanoverian Kings was Queen Victoria who married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Nobody would deny that Queen Victoria was as British as you can get - an era was named after her. The British Empire was mainly created during her reign and reached its greatest extent under her grandson, King George V. Who would deny the services rendered to the British people by these Monarchs? And even the undoubtedly German Prince Albert wholeheartedly dedicated his life to his new country. He became the advocate of Britain's industrialisation, most notably through his dynamic support and work for the 1851 International Exposition, the benefits of which continue to be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum and Royal Albert Hall.

The British Royal Family - and especially Her Majesty - are considered as the living symbols of "Britishness" abroad, strangely enough this is put in doubt by some British nationalists who call them "German". I never noticed that speaking in "Best Queen's English" meant speaking it with a German accent.

Should the nationalists' concept apply to everyone, no migrants or their descendents since the early 18th century would ever stand a chance to be called British, neither the Conservative politicians Michael Portillo and Michael Howard, who are second generation migrants, nor any migrant from the Indian subcontinent, the Caribbeans or Africa. And the only “true” Australians would be the Aboriginal people. All settlers who came after 1788 could never gain the status of “legitimate” citizens if the concept that the die-hard British nationalists try to impose on our Royal Family was applied to the vast majority of the Australians.

Monarchs have served their respective countries very well. The Russian Tsaritsa Catherine the Great was neither born in Russia nor was she a Romanov, yet she was a moderniser of the Russian Empire and her image has been experiencing a renaissance in recent years. That is equally true for "imported" Monarchs in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece or Norway, to name only the best known examples.

The same concept applies for the Queen of Australia, who also holds the office of Queen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea, and other countries. As a Monarch she is neither a citizen of the UK nor of any other of her realms. A Monarch not only is above party lines, but also above borders and frontiers. THAT is globalisation at its best. I want to see more of a world wide co-operation like this one that benefits the peoples of the Commonwealth.

Monday 20 August 2007

The Age - again

You can bet that the Melbourne broad sheet daily The Age never misses an opportunity to denigrate the monarchy. This time they mocked the fact, that 787,000 people watched the documentary "The Queen's Castle" on a commercial channel:

20/8/2007 - HE USED to be Australia's media watchdog, but Professor David Flint isn't much of a tastemaster. The national convener of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy emailed supporters urging them to tune into Channel Eddie's The Queen's Castle last week. But while 1.61 million tuned into Channel Seven's Border Security and Ten's Australian Idol drew a national audience of 1.44 million, just 787,000 Lizzie-lovers watched Nine. Even SBS topped that with Top Gear. And more good news for whoever runs the network, with a Flint suggestion to broadcast Trooping the Colour. "After all," he writes, "German audiences had more than one opportunity to see this, and they live in a republic." Flint pointed out that royal programs rate "very well" and "are probably not expensive to acquire" before giving the Sydney station's phone number. You can watch the The Queen's Castle tonight. Or … not.

My comment to the paper:

I take from you today's comment that you have doubts about David Flint's remarks about the huge success broadcasting "Trooping the Colour" has in Germany.

Since 1977 ARD, the German equivalent of the ABC, has been broadcasting live the parade in honour of Her Majesty with great success . Do you think they'd do that if nobody was interested? It is even repeated twice, once just before midnight and the following day on Phönix, der Ereigniskanal (The Event Channel).

If you know German, have a look yourself:

What a great pity we Australians have less opportunity to watch the Queen of Australia on TV than the citizens of the German republic.

Here's last year's announcement:

But back to The Queen's Castle...only 787,000 viewers.....not bad for a repeat and for a programme available at most good DVD shops!

One wonders if you have ever watched either programme. The Queen's Castle is actually a very interesting documentary about how the royal house is run on a day to day basis. Pity then that the Australian edition is revoiced and cut down from the BBC original!

Monday 30 July 2007

New Victorian Premier swears the Oath of Allegiance ...

... but nobody could see or hear it. The commercial Channel 9 snipped the Oath of Allegiance of Premier John Brumby before he could say "Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, her Heirs and Successors". ABC Victoria mentioned the ceremony at the Governor's Residence, but didn't even go as far as Channel 9 and convince itself to show the start of the Oath of Allegiance.

All too familiar. The Queen is blended out of the political life in Victoria. And even when the new Premier swears the Oath of Allegiance, it is to the public as if it never had happened. Do they think nobody noticed that the Premier will go back to his office and break his Oath of Allegiace? What else is the advocation of a republic?

Saturday 28 July 2007

Pro-republican bias of the Australian media

This is usually an English blog. However, I was asked to explain to a German audience the situation of Monarchists in Australia. The unashamedly pro-republican bias of all Australian media is a phenomenon that is hard to explain to Germans. Republicans may think that the Monarchy is outdated, which is a point of view not shared by Monarchists, who - after all - won the 1999 referendum. However, this victory has never been accepted by the media, Monarchists and the Monarchy hardly get a fair go in the newspaper colums and the TV news. The nearly total 100 percent support Australian journalists give to the cause of a republic is not compatible with an objective and neutral news coverage that a German audience expects from its media.

A slightly shorter version of the article below was published in “Corona No. 12” ( In case you are interested in a translation, please contact me.

Medienpolitik – Politik der Medien

Glaubt man die Aussagen der Anhänger des bundesrepublikanischen Systems, dann fallen einem Grimms Märchen ein: „… und alle lebten glücklich und zufrieden bis an ihr Lebensende.” Die republikanische Staatsform scheint ein perfekt funktionierendes Gemeinwesen hervorgebracht zu haben, zu dem, so wird bestimmt, es keine Alternative gibt. Der Endpunkt der Glückseligkeit.

Wie man ein bestehendes System den Menschen, die eigentlich ganz gut mit ihm gefahren sind, vermiest, zeigt Australien, wo 1999 die Republikaner in einem Referendum den Monarchisten unterlagen. Das hindert sie aber nicht, den Wechsel zu einer Republik als „inevitable“ (unvermeidlich) zu proklamieren. Sie sind sich zwar nicht einig, welche Art von Republik an die Stelle der Monarchie treten soll, aber sie wissen: Sie können immer wieder Anläufe unternehmen, um die Monarchie abzuschaffen. Die Anhänger der Monarchie brauchen nur einmal zu unterliegen und sie erhalten keine zweite Chance.

Deshalb ist es interessant zu untersuchen, wie man die Festung sturmreif schießt.

Grundregel Nummer 1 lautet für die australischen Medien: Berichte nur Negatives über die Monarchie oder die königliche Familie. Wenn die Namen der Mitglieder des Hauses Windsor genannt werden, dann immer nur im Zusammenhang mit Skandalen – oder dem, was die Journalisten glauben, daß die Leser/Zuschauer dafür halten. Jüngst wurde gemeldet, daß Prince Charles im vergangenen Jahr mit seinen wirtschaftlichen Aktivitäten eine Million Pfund mehr eingenommen habe als im Vorjahr. In einer Gesellschaft wie der australischen, wo soviel Wert auf materiellen Verdienst gelegt wird, sollte dies eine positive Nachricht sein. Und daß der Fürst von Wales 40% Steuern bezahlt, müßte eigentlich Mitleid erregen bei allen, die geschickt Schlupflöcher ausnutzen. Doch für den Thronfolger gelten andere Regeln. Zwar wird zugestanden, daß der Prinz nicht vom Steuerzahler für seine Arbeit entlohnt wird, sondern seine Ausgaben mit Einkünften auf dem Herzogtum Lancaster bestreitet, aber dies ruft nur Neid hervor. Dabei wird geflissentlich verschwiegen, daß die Überschüsse, die Prince Charles, seine Frau Camilla und die beiden Söhne William und Harry nicht für ihren Einsatz und Lebensunterhalt aufwenden, in die Stiftungen des Prince of Wales einfließen.

Prince Andrew, der Herzog von York, steht auf der Civil List der Königin, mithin wird er vom Steuerzahler finanziert. Ihm wird zur Last gelegt, er sei ständig unterwegs. Die Medien verliehen ihm dafür den zweifelhaften Titel eines „Meilenkönig“ der königlichen Familie. An den Vorwürfen ist wahr, daß Prince Andrew mehr Flugkilometer zurücklegt als alle anderen und deshalb auch bei den Reisespesen eine Spitzenposition einnimmt. Doch er ist seit 2001 Sonderbeauftragter des Vereinigten Königreichs für internationalen Handel und Investitionen, was natürlich mit vielen Reisen verbunden ist. Ein Blick auf seine Webseite ( könnte den Kritikern zeigen, wohin ihn seine Flüge führen. Um einen solchen Repräsentanten der britischen Wirtschaft würden sich andere Länder reißen. Wem sonst stehen buchstäblich alle Türen offen? Stattdessen werden kleinkrämerisch die Flugkilometer addiert und man blickt neidisch auf die angeflogenen Länder, ganz so, als seien die heruntergerissenen Flüge das Nonplusultra des Vergnügens.

Niederschlag in den australischen Medien fand auch die Bitte Ihrer Majestät, die britische Regierung möge außerhalb der Civil List eine Million Pfund für dringende Renovierungsarbeiten an Buckingham Palace bewilligen. Die Bitte wurde abgeschlagen und ganz flotte Leserbriefschreiber empfahlen der Königin, doch eines ihrer Gemälde auf den Markt zu werfen, als seien sowohl der Palast wie auch die Kunstschätze darinnen ihr Privateigentum. Vielleicht sollte sie Buckingham Palace den Tourismusbehörden anbieten, denn kaum ein Wahrzeichen Londons wird so oft besucht und photographiert wie der Amtssitz (!) der Königin.

Grundregel Nummer 2: Berichte nur Triviales. Ein mitteilungssüchtiger Hausangestellter wird sich leicht finden lassen, der den Medien gegen Bares irgendwelche „Enthüllungsgeschichten“ ausplaudert. Jüngst machte ein Buch des Kochs der Königin Schlagzeilen und wie es sich für klassisches Küchengewäsch gehört, hatte der Herr der Töpfe nichts als Belanglosigkeiten über die kulinarischen Vorlieben und Abneigungen zu berichten. Sicherlich hätte auch der Chefkoch des Weißen Hauses einiges zu sagen, wenn man ihn ließe oder wenn er einen Verleger fände.

Im gleichen Zeitraum, da diese Nichtigkeiten in Australien Schlagzeilen produzierten, eröffnete die Queen die neue Sitzungsperiode des schottischen Parlaments und sie hielt dabei eine bemerkenswerte Rede, über die aber ebenso wenig berichtet wurde wie über ihre Ansprache an die neugewählten Abgeordneten der walisischen Versammlung oder ihren Anteil an der Regierungsbildung ihres neuen Premierministers Gordon Brown. Deshalb lautet Grundregel Nummer 3: Erwähne nie die verfassungsrechtlichen Aufgaben der Monarchin, so daß niemand bemerkt, welche staatspolitischen Aufgaben erfüllt werden.

Bezug zu Australien?
Ist jemandem aufgefallen, wie wenig all diese Themen mit Australien zu tun haben? Macht nichts. Auf jede dieser Veröffentlichungen reagieren LeserInnen mit dem Hinweis: „It’s time to cut ties with Britain. It is time to be independent.“ Niemand in Deutschland würde bezweifeln, daß Australien ein unabhängiger Staat ist. Wenn das Land abhängig ist, dann von den USA, aber nicht von den Anweisungen der Regierung Ihrer Majestät in London. Keiner der Protestierer geht auf die Tatsache ein, daß weder die Königin noch ein Mitglied der königlichen Familie ein Gehalt vom australischen Steuerzahler beziehen. Dem Neidkomplex genügt es, wenn solche Geschichten aus Großbritannien downunder genüßlich breitgetreten werden. Die veröffentlichten Berichte drehen sich um die königlichen Finanzen, Beziehungskrisen – vermeintliche und wirkliche -, Mißgeschicke und Alltagsbanalitäten.

Und wenn wirklich australisches Geld ins Spiel kommt, zum Beispiel bei Aufenthalten der Königin in Australien, wird die Volksseele hochgekocht. Dann rechnen die Kommentatoren jeden Cent nach und wissen doch das Ergebnis im vorhinein: VIEL zu teuer! Gleichzeitig schreiben sie aber auch, daß die Monarchie nicht relevant sei, denn man sehe ja die Königin viel zu selten. Und im übrigen würde sie auch keiner mehr sehen wollen. Bei ihrem letzten Aufenthalt in Australien, im März 2006, nannte kein einziges Print- oder elektronisches Medium Ort und Zeitpunkt, wo die Begegnung der Monarchin mit ihrem Volk möglich war. Es erforderte einiges Suchen im Internet, um an diese Informationen zu gelangen. Die öffentlich-rechtliche ABC schaffte es gar, den mehr als 24-stündigen Aufenthalt Königin Elizabeths in Melbourne auf ganze 15 Sekunden in den Hauptnachrichten einzudampfen. Und davon waren noch 7 Sekunden den protestierenden Aborigines gewidmet, die die königliche Präsenz dazu nutzten, auf ihre Anliegen aufmerksam zu machen. Die Fernsehberichterstattung war meilenweit vom Beispiel des WDR entfernt, der im November 2004 beim Staatsbesuch der Königin in Nordrhein-Westfalen fast ununerbrochen die Königin live ins Haus brachte.

Mit Grundregel Nummer 4 greifen die australischen Medien ganz tief in die Mottenkiste: Werde emotional. “It will break my heart if I don't die in the Republic of Australia.” Es triefte nur so vor Rührung in einem Meinungsbeitrag, den die Melbourner Tageszeitung The Age zwei Tage nach dem Queen’s Birthday Feiertag am 13. Juni 2007 veröffentlichte. “How embarrassing is it that we aren't a republic? I cringe when I meet folks from abroad and they realise that we are still part of the Commonwealth.” Und so schnulzt sich die Dame, deren Namen wir aus Höflichkeit lieber nicht nennen, auf einer Viertelseite durch die Vorurteile. Und träumt im Schlußsatz davon, daß ihr das Herz breche, wenn sie nicht in einer Republik sterben kann. Eigentlich müßte sie ja schon seit Jahrzehnten tot sein, denn Australien kannte seit 1788 nichts anderes, als die monarchische Staatsform.

Rationale Monarchisten versus emotionale Republikaner
Monarchisten argumentieren zu rational mit all den verfassungsrechtlichen Vorteilen, die ein parteiunabhängiges Staatsoberhaupt hat. Republikaner setzen dem nur Ressentiments entgegen. Doch um der Gefahr zu entgehen, daß Republikaner doch von den Einwänden überzeugt werden könnten, greift Grundregel Nummer 5: Laß in Debatten nur Anhänger der Republik zu Wort kommen. Erzeuge damit den Eindruck, die ganze Nation sei ja eigentlich schon auf dem Republiktrip, bloß du begreifst das nicht. Medien und die meisten Politiker marschieren so Arm in Arm der Zukunft zugewandt. Die paar monarchistischen Politiker, die es in der Liberalen oder der Nationalen Partei noch gibt, werden als völlige Reaktionäre dargestellt, die eben nicht auf „das“ Volk hören. Die Australian Labor Party hat keine monarchistischen Dissidenten, denn wer dort gegen die offizielle Parteidisziplin verstößt, wird ausgeschlossen. Soviel zum Thema „innerparteiliche Demokratie“.

Hat man schon das Referendum nicht gewonnen, läßt man die Monarchie in Australien eben leise sterben. Grundregel Nummer 6 empfiehlt, die Symbole der Krone zu entfernen. Sie werden in den Medien nicht mehr erwähnt. Wer noch einen Adelstitel trägt, dem entziehen die Medien den Ritterschlag. Die Krone fehlt nun an Brücken, auf Gedenkplaketten, in offiziellen Büros. Die Landespolizeichefin von Victoria ordnete an, das Portrait der Königin in den Amtsstuben abzuhängen, um stattdessen – eines von sich selbst anzubieten. Den hohen juristischen Rang eines Queen’s Councillors (QC) ersetzte man durch einen Senior Councillor (SC). Klingt ja auch gleich viel bedeutender, nicht wahr? Als ob es nicht schon vor Senior Managern wimmeln würde. Die Medien unterstützen das Abschneiden dieser alten Zöpfe.

Da Monarchisten in Australien keinen Zugang zu den Massenmedien haben, bleibt ihnen als einzig wirksames Gegenmittel die Veröffentlichung eigener Informationsblätter und das Internet. Während sie im Printmedienbereich nicht sehr erfolgreich sind, stellen die elektronischen Medien durchaus ein Gegengewicht dar.

Bei allem Bemühen der Republikaner, die monarchistischen Landsleute ins Aus zu stellen, ist es erstaunlich, daß sich die Zahl der Befürworter der Krone seit dem Referendum 1999 nicht nach unten entwickelte, sondern ganz im Gegenteil sogar stieg. Die Australier haben ein gesundes Mißtrauen gegenüber Politikern, für die sie stimmen müssen, denn es besteht Wahlpflicht. Wenn also die Politiker die Republik unisono für eine grandiose Errungenschaft halten, wecken sie eher die Skepsis des Durchschnittsaustraliers.

Ob diese überkommene Distanz zu den Politikern auch in einem weiteren Referendum zum Tragen kommen wird? Bei den Parlamentswahlen, die in diesem Jahr noch stattfinden müssen, könnte nach zehn Jahren die Labor Party an die Schaltstellen der Macht zurückkehren. Premierminister in spe, Kevin Rudd, erklärte zwar, die Republik sei ganz tief auf seiner Prioritätenliste angesiedelt, doch erwarten alle Beobachter erst ein in der Verfassung nicht vorgesehenes, deshalb unwirksames Plebiszit und anschließend ein Referendum, das die Monarchiefrage endgültig klären soll. Gewinnen dabei erneut die Monarchisten, könnten sie für vielleicht zehn Jahr Frieden haben. Aber die Republikaner werden weiter an ihrer Demontagearbeit festhalten. Die Grundregeln 1 bis 6 erlauben keine Pause.

Tuesday 24 July 2007

The King is dead - Long live the King of Afghanistan

So Hamid Karzai outlived the King.

His Majesty Al-Mutawakkil Allah, Pairaw ud-din-i-Matin-i-Islam Muhammad Zahir Shah, King of the God granted Kingdom of Afghanistan and its dependencies died 23rd July 2007 aged 92. Does this give Mr. Karzai a better legitimacy to rule the country as president? The best he could do to keep the Taliban forces at bay is to declare Crown Prince Ahmad Shah Khan next King of Afghanistan.

Only a monarch of Royal House of Afghanistan has a chance to unite the country. The more ISAF troops will be sent in, and the more efforts to control the country will be taken, the more the Afghans will resist against - as they see it - “foreign invaders and occupiers”.

In the eyes of many Afghans Mr. Karzai is only president in name, because they regard him as an instrument of the Americans. The situation has deteriorated in recent months. What Afghanistan needs is not more troops under the US command, but a really unifying figure: A KING!!

Monday 23 July 2007

The Age: No Scandal? Let's make one!

Melbourne’s newspaper The Age can't help it. Whenever they report on our Royal Family, the paper must do it in a mean and distasteful way.

On 20th July The Daily Mail reported on the gift Prince Charles had presented to his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall: A rare-breed ram and ewe. The Prince of Wales is patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, a very important task in the times of a globalised world market, where more and more local breeds become extinct.

The Age doesn’t provide this background, but instead they ridicule the Prince’s birthday present for his wife and illustrates the article by using a not very favourable photo of Prince Charles.

The Daily Mail’s article was not a very friendly one, but The Age’s editing made the news of the Duchess of Cornwall’s 60th Birthday just another contemptuous jigsaw puzzle in paper’s fight against the Australian Monarchy.

Mean, gentlemen, very mean.

Thursday 19 July 2007

No Scandal - No Coverage

On 17th July 2007, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall celebrated her 60th Birthday. This event was widely ignored by the Australian media. In the daily birthday column The Age celebrated the 55th Birthday of David Hasselhoff, US actor and singer, instead . The wife of the future King of Australia was mentioned nowhere in Melbourne’s leading newspaper.

It is patronising how the media decide what’s of interest to the audience and what isn’t. Although TV ratings demonstrate a constant high level of interest in “royal topics”, print media cover anything positive connected with the Royal Family with silence. If they cannot ignore events like the christening of the Danish Princess Isabella, they do it with obvious uneasiness. The Age: “Princess Isabella, recently christened babe of retired real estate agent Mary Donaldson, and gifted with gilded apple pips by the crown prince of Tamar Ridge – oops, Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon. But also understand that there’s nothing much more meaningful to know about any of them.” (Natasha Cica, The Age, 11th July 2007).

News is not what happens or what people want to know, but news is what some journalists and their bread givers decide is worth knowing. And obviously royal news is not what they want to report.

Australian journalists may not like the monarchy, but they have to accept that in an open and free referendum in 1999 the majority of the Australian people said “No to the republic”. Would that infer that there is at least a certain portion of the subscribers of Melbourne’s only quality newspaper who wish to read news items on the Australian Royal Family? Obviously the daily thinks that any mentioning of the Royal Family could hurt the republicans. Their reaction seems to be so frightful that nobody dares to upset them. Of course scandals, or what some may consider to be scandals, are always worth reporting. “Bad news is good news”’ is the journalists’ motto. And reporting scandals concerning members of the Royal Family doesn’t seem to upset The Age’s agenda.

Long live the freedom of information.

Here are links to reports on the 60th Birthday of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Saturday 27 January 2007

As "un-Australian" as only republicans can be!

As could be expected on Australia Day, The Age gave space to another republican columnist. Ted O'Brian, national chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, tried to portray the Queen of Australia as “un-Australian”. Being of German origin this term reminds me of a not so glorious time in German history when being styled “un-German” could be a death sentence. I am sure Ted O’Brian didn’t have that in mind, because republicans tend to have a rather narrow perspective when it comes to historic parallels.

In his opinion piece ( he doesn't give us a a clue as to what kind of republic he wants for Australia. He could only – and not for the first time – tell the readers why he was against the Australian monarchy.

And of course he didn’t refer to existing republics and their faults.

I recall three recent and very appalling failures of republican rule:

The president of Israel, Moshe Katsav, was asked to step down due to allegations that he raped up to ten women. He refused and instead asked the speaker of parliament to grant him “temporary leave”. So President Katsav is “on leave”.

He is following ingloriously along the same path as his predecessor who also had to step asided over corruption issues.

In France President Jacques Chirac has initiated a new law that would grant a president immunity from all prosecution “except treason”. Isn’t it wonderful, how a president who got 21 percent of the votes with a turnout of 56 percent of the population controls the French congress (a combined sitting by assemblée nationale and senate)? Laws are passed to make it impossible for any prosecutor to call the president to court. Even as a witness (s)he wouldn’t have to face a judge.

The third example is the US president, who is his own prime minister, trying to explain to Congress how to face the challenges of climate change and the war in Iraq.

He gave a helpless speech demonstrating once again how a partisan head of state divides a nation.

Australia Day is the time to reflect the advantages of our Monarchy. Very correctly Christopher Scanlon (The Age, 25 Jan.) lamented “having put everything up for grabs in the economic sphere … governments feel compelled to bolt down the national culture”.

Thankfully the position as the Australian head of state is not up for grabs.

Let’s face facts! In a republic only multi-millionaires can afford to run for the presidency and they need media support.

Should Rupert Murdoch decide who’ll be Australian president?

I will always prefer a monarch to a handpicked "mate" who is to the liking of the rich few.