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.