Sunday 23 December 2012

The Queen’s 2012 Christmas Message in Australia

"This past year has been one of great celebration for many. The enthusiasm which greeted the Diamond Jubilee was, of course, especially memorable for me and my family.

"It was humbling that so many chose to mark the anniversary of a duty which passed to me 60 years ago. People of all ages took the trouble to take part in various ways and in many nations. But perhaps most striking of all was to witness the strength of fellowship and friendship among those who had gathered together on these occasions.

"Prince Philip and I were joined by our family on the River Thames as we paid tribute to those who have shaped the United Kingdom's past and future as a maritime nation, and welcomed a wonderful array of craft, large and small, from across the Commonwealth.

"On the barges and the bridges and the banks of the river there were people who had taken their places to cheer through the mist, undaunted by the rain. That day there was a tremendous sense of common determination to celebrate, triumphing over the elements.

"That same spirit was also in evidence from the moment the Olympic flame arrived on these shores. The flame itself drew hundreds and thousands of people on its journey around the British Isles, and was carried by every kind of deserving individual, many nominated for their own extraordinary service.

"As London hosted a splendid summer of sport, all those who saw the achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes. In pursuing their own sporting goals, they gave the rest of us the opportunity to share something of the excitement and drama.

"We were reminded, too, that the success of these great festivals depended to an enormous degree upon the dedication and effort of an army of volunteers. Those public-spirited people came forward in the great tradition of all those who devote themselves to keeping others safe, supported and comforted.

"For many, Christmas is also a time for coming together. But for others, service will come first. Those serving in our armed forces, in our emergency services and in our hospitals, whose sense of duty takes them away from family and friends, will be missing those they love.

"And those who have lost loved ones may find this day especially full of memories. That's why it's important at this time of year to reach out beyond our familiar relationships to think of those who are on their own.

"At Christmas I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child. From that day on he has inspired people to commit themselves to the best interests of others.

"This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son 'to serve, not to be served'. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ.

"It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.

"The carol, In The Bleak Midwinter, ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: 'What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part'. The carol gives the answer 'Yet what I can I give him - give my heart'.

"I wish you all a very happy Christmas."

The Queen’s Christmas message was broadcast in Australia on Tuesday 25th December as follows:


7TWO - 5.45 pm - 5.59 pm

ABC - 6.52 pm - 6.59 pm

ABC NEWS 24 - 8.24 pm - 8.31 pm

CHANNEL NINE - 11.55 pm - 12.04 am


7TWO - 5.45 pm - 5.59 pm

ABC - 6.52 pm - 6.59 pm

ABC NEWS 24 - 6.54 pm - 7.01 pm

CHANNEL NINE - 11.55 pm - 12.04 am


7TWO - 5.45 pm - 5.59 pm

ABC - 6.52 pm - 6.59 pm

ABC NEWS 24 - 7.24 pm - 7.31 pm

CHANNEL NINE - 11.55 pm - 12.04 am


7TWO - 5.45 pm - 5.59 pm

ABC - 6.52 pm - 6.59 pm

ABC NEWS 24 - 7.54 pm - 8.01 pm

CHANNEL NINE - 11.55 pm - 12.04 am


7TWO - 5.45 pm - 5.59 pm

ABC - 6.52 pm - 6.59 pm

ABC NEWS 24 - 8.24 pm - 8.31 pm

WIN - 11.55 pm - 12.04 am


ABC NEWS 24 - 5.24 pm - 5.31 pm

7TWO - 5.45 pm - 5.59 pm

ABC - 6.52 pm - 6.59 pm

CHANNEL NINE - 11.55 pm - 12.04 am

In the UK The Queen's Christmas message is to be screened in 3D and HD for the first time. The traditional broadcast will go hi-tech to allow viewers to scrutinise the Queen as never before in her Diamond Jubilee year.

However, viewers will also be able to see the 86-year-old monarch in normal definition during the speech, which will be broadcast at 3pm on Christmas Day.

The Queen has watched her 3D Christmas message, produced this year by Sky News, and enjoyed the experience.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the monarch thought the broadcast was 'absolutely lovely'. She added: 'We wanted to do something a bit different and special in this Jubilee year, so doing it for the first time in 3D seemed a good thing, technology wise, to do. The Queen absolutely agreed straight away there was no need for convincing at all, she was absolutely ready to embrace something new in this year.'

Friday 7 December 2012

"How do you know I'm not a radio station?"

The Prince of Wales was asked by an ITV crew about the news that the Duchess was discharged from the King Edward VII Hospital, having spent three nights there being treated for severe pregnancy sickness. Making a reference to the hoax call to the Duchess's hospital, when an Australian DJ pretended to be him, Prince Charles joked: "How do you know I'm not a radio station? I'm thrilled, marvellous. It's a very nice thought to become a grandfather in my old age, if I can say so." The comment was caught on camera and can be watched:

The Australian radio station that made a prank call to the hospital where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was staying had previously caused controversy by forcing a girl to admit she had been raped. (For details see The Daily Telegraph.)

Australia’s media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) carried out an investigation and found the comments were deeply derogatory and offensive and amounted to a breach of the radio code of practice.

The prank was labelled "childish and embarrassing" by almost two-thirds of Australians in an online poll.

The AML issued a statement concerning the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha:
The stress caused by the prank calls of 2DayFM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who telephoned the King Edward VII Hospital posing as the Queen and Prince Charles in an endeavour to actually speak with The Duchess of Cambridge, seems to have resulted in the death, possibly by suicide, of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who was obviously terribly upset by the deception played on her. It is now no longer a 'prank' but a tragedy.

The Australian Monarchist League condemns any person whether in the media or otherwise making phone calls falsely pretending to be someone else, whether the person imitated is The Queen or Mrs Bloggs down the road.

League officials had personally encountered these sorts of hoax calls during the republican debate. It seems that radio presenters think that any monarchist or royal is fair game, regardless of the outcome.

We had already written to the Chief of Staff of the 2DayFM Studios requesting that this practice be banned.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Ms Saldanha and also to The Duchess of Cambridge who must, herself, be so obviously upset at the tragic outcome of this deception.

Philip Benwell

National Chair

Australian Monarchist League

Thursday 6 December 2012

Prince Charles' green credentials reinforced

HRH The Prince of Wales has opened the UK's first commercial scale food waste to biogas anaerobic digestion (AD) facility to inject renewable gas directly into the grid in Dorset.

The facility is owned and operated by J V Energen, a joint venture between local farmers and the Duchy of Cornwall, set up to provide a renewable energy solution for the Duchy's development at Rainbarrow Farm, Poundbury.

Founded in 1337 the Duchy of Cornwall is a crown body principally responsible for managing the land and properties of the eldest son of the reigning monarch - currently Prince Charles.

The plant has already been generating electricity since April 2012, and according to the Duchy over the course of a year will export enough electricity for approximately 500 homes. At maximum capacity it is expected that the plant will provide enough gas for 56,000 new-build homes in the summer and 4000 in the winter.

To clean up the biogas produced by the AD plant and inject the resulting biomethane directly into the gas network, J V Energen contracted Scotia Gas Networks - which runs Southern Gas Networks and is responsible for the local gas distribution network.

Fit for a Prince
The Prince, who takes a keen interest in renewable energy, has been consulted at every stage of the project. His Royal Highness was taken on a tour of the plant, met the people behind the project and also unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.

Addressing guests at the opening ceremony, he said: "As far as I am concerned it is a very exciting and encouraging day. I have been badgering the Duchy and others over the years to find a way of kick-starting the anaerobic digestion sector in this country.

"As we have quite a lot of people here from the Continent, you may well realise that in the Netherlands and Germany they are much further ahead on this front.

"I am particularly pleased and proud that we have been able today to launch this remarkable engineering feat of the first gas-to-grid operation."

The Duchy explained that it started looking at sustainable energy solutions for Poundbury in 2008 and work began work on the AD plant in June 2011.

The project was undertaken in two phases. Phase one was the development of the digester to generate electricity with technology supplied by German company Agraferm. This phase of the plant was completed in February 2012 and electrical generation began at the end of March.

The facility will use approximately 41,000 tonnes of food waste, maize and grass silage each year, which will be sourced from local farms and businesses, including Dorset Cereals and the House of Dorchester Chocolate Factory.

The Duchy claimed that in addition to providing an environmentally friendly waste disposal option and reducing levels of waste being sent to landfill, the plant produces a net carbon saving of around 4435 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions a year.

Well connected
According to Scotia Gas Networks chief executive officer, John Morea, connecting distributed sources of renewable gas to the company's network is key part of its strategy, and central to decarbonising the UK's heat supplies.

"The UK's first successful commercial-scale gas-to-grid plant is an exciting development, demonstrating the ability of the AD industry to deliver large volumes of green gas into the grid for use today," commented Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA).

According to Morton AD has the potential to generate £2 to 3 billion worth of green gas - equivalent to more than 10% of the UK's domestic gas demand - and support 35,000 jobs.

"The Poundbury plant demonstrates that biomethane to grid technology works at commercial scale now. With ten more plants scheduled to come online in the next 12 months, biomethane from AD should be recognised as the serious commercial energy proposition that it is," she added.

David Smith, chief executive of Energy Networks Association, representing the UK electricity and gas transmissions and distribution networks said that the facility represents a positive step towards greater use of green gas. "ENA, Scotia Gas Networks and the rest of our members support the use of biomethane injection but it is essential that barriers faced in many projects like Poundbury across the country are removed," explained Smith.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch dead at 103

In a press release The Australian Monarchist League paid homage to Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, who died peacefully at the garden estate home in Langwarrin in Melbourne's outer southeast:

Australia has lost not merely a great benefactor but what one really may genuinely consider to be one of our greatest treasurers.

Dame Elisabeth could easily have led a life of luxury and idleness, but she dedicated her entire existence to helping others. Did she not she herself say: "If you have money, it's easy to give it away." Something that really is not all that common amongst the seriously wealthy.

She was also a great monarchist and even though at the time she was in her nineties, she vigorously spoke out against constitutional change. She encouraged the Australian Monarchist League in its endeavours and I always felt greatly privileged to receive the notes she sent to me.

Most official accolades go to celebrities and politicians, but if anyone deserves the highest tribute of all, it is to this dear lady whose smile lit up the lives of all those who came into contact with her.

We send our sincere condolences to her family. She will remain always in our hearts.

Philip Benwell

National Chair

Australian Monarchist League
Dame Elisabeth was married to pioneering Australian journalist Sir Keith Murdoch in 1928 and they had four children - Helen, media baron Rupert, Anne and Janet.

Her community work saw the Queen make her a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1963.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

The world rejoices at news of Royal baby

The news that TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby was big news throughout the Commonwealth.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the news "is going to bring joy to many around the world" and wished the Duchess a swift recovery from the morning sickness that triggered official confirmation of the royal pregnancy.

"Clearly it is a time of joy and it can also be a time of challenge," Ms Gillard told reporters. "I'm sure many will be thinking of Kate when she deals with morning sickness and is in hospital. But from the Australian people to Prince William and Kate, delightful news and our congratulations."

The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Australian Opposition, Tony Abbott tweeted: "A royal baby is on the way! Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge."

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key said the news was "fabulous" for the young couple and would make the Queen of New Zealand and Prince Philip extremely pleased. "It is an important day in any young couple's life when a baby is expected and I know that Catherine and William will be as nervous and excited as anyone," he said in a statement.

"We wish them both the very best and hope Catherine's stay in hospital is a short one. On behalf of the people of New Zealand, I congratulate them both."

Meanwhile Australian republicans found back to their usual hatred and used The Age to call for the return of a mass murderer:
LET the bowing, boot licking and forelock tugging begin. Proud, independent nation - don't make me laugh. Bring back Cromwell.
Richard Morris, Frankston South
On the other hand Murdoch's Melbourne tabloid newspaper Herald Sun admitted:
Republican sentiment in Australia waned after the referendum in 1999 that saw Australians decide to retain the monarchy.
The popularity of the monarchy is likely to continue with Prince William to succeed Prince Charles.
A son or daughter to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge will take the monarchy safely towards the end of this century, although not necessarily in Australia.
Australian Monarchists will make sure that the last half sentence will remain Murdoch's wishful thinking.

Saturday 1 December 2012

Prince Philippe's successful visit to New Zealand

HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium, Duke of Brabant, has arrived in New Zealand where he was received by The Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand. His Royal Highness leads the Belgian Economic Mission of 147 businessmen and women, representing 91 companies. The delegation came from Australia, where they held talks in Perth, Port Hedland, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

HRH Prince Philippe was Guest of Honour at a dinner at Government House hosted by HE Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae GNZM QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand.

HRH Prince Philippe visited the Te Papa Tongarewa-Museum of New Zealand on 28th November.At the Museum the heir to the Belgian throne was welcomed with a Maori Ceremony of Welcome by Mr. Michael Houilihan, Chief Executive Te Papa Tongarewa and and was given a tour of Te Papa.

At the Auckland War Memorial Museum HRH Prince Philippe and the official delegation were welcome by Mr Roy Clare, Director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Ms Gail Romano, War Memorial Manager.

As a side note, HRH Prince Philippe left Auckland on a Qantas flight (QF 136) to Melbourne, where he boarded another Qantas flight (QF 9) to London Heathrow with stopover in Singapore.