Anyone who would have thought that Queen Elizabeth II's birthday would be used to push the dwindling circulation figures of the Fairfax media were wrong. In today's print edition of The Age there was not a single line on the significance of this 21st April that marks the 90th birthday of Australia's longest serving Monarch.
This was today's front page:
|The front page of The Age, 21st April 2016|
On page 2 a report of drugs in Melbourne, a crumbling wall (very common in Melbourne), page 3 a case of child snatching of an Australian woman in Lebanon and on page 4 and 5 a "special report" on Muslims in Australia, followed by petty articles on domestic items. Nothing of great interest to anyone outside the suburbs. World news on page 14 had the inevitable report on the US primaries in New York and the retired Cuban dictator "Ailing Castro" who is quoted with saying: "I'll be 90 years old soon." He is not the only one, one is tempted to tell The Age.
However, in the Comment section this time no nasty editorial, no vicious letters to the editor, no guest writer telling the unwilling audience, that in his or her opinion Australia should become a republic.
The total ignorance is a replica. On 2nd August 2000, when the Queen Mother celebrated her 100th birthday, every single newspaper in the UK had front coverage on her life. Not so The Independent, which ignored the Monarch's anniversary. That was certainly not the only reason for dropping sales figures, but an indicator how out of touch The Independent was. In March 2016 it was not longer printed. The Independent can be read only online these days.
The Age's development from a broadsheet to a tabloid newspaper to an internet news point may go faster. It will take not 16 years for The Age to stop the printing machines forever.
To be fair to Fairfax, it has to be mentioned that Mark McGuinness wrote Queen; Happy birthday to our time-share monarch, which lacks to usual attacks on the Australian Royal Family and admits:
Her family, in particular her heirs, have visited regularly and kept the flame alive. The Prince of Wales' affection for the country that (it has been said) made a man of him, is genuine and undimmed and he will make a good king.
Oh yes, and o n e photo in the editor's choice photo section, however,it is the same is in Mark McGuinness' article.
An extraordinary poor coverage on Her Majesty's milestone birthday, but typical for avowed republicans.
|Queen's Birthday stamps 2016|
In 2011, when she returned to Australia, a Palace spokesman said the tour did not have the atmosphere of a final farewell.
It's almost a coming home for the Queen she has a huge fondness for Australia, a lot of Australians have worked in her household.And during her visit David Marr wrote in The Age: "She hasn't been around for years, but we don't feel neglected. If anything, absence has made us a little fonder of this bent figure in a big blue hat."
Former soldier Arthur Pembroke first met the Queen in 1953 when he was decorated for heroism during the Korean War. The former officer, who received the Military Cross from the Queen during a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony, said: "She impressed me a great deal and has right from the time I [first] met her. Her dedication and loyalty and determination to carry out her duty as she sees it, I think it is the sort of thing we have always admire."
The 1954 Royal Visit, particularly given the communications and transport facilities of the day, set a high water mark that has never been matched. It lasted two months from 3rd February to 1st April and, for the duration, dominated the front pages of the nation's newspapers. The Queen's travel schedule involved 33 flights taking 57 hours and covering 16,000km. This paled into insignificance when compared to the airlift required to keep the show on the road. Described as the largest individual civil air operation in history, this involved 257 flights covering more than two million kilometres and carrying over a million pieces of freight. Then there were a further 363 flights by the RAAF.
|During her stay in 2006 she met Her Australian Prime Ministers who were still alavive then, even the promoters of republicans did not decline the invitation.|
|When she last came to Melbourne in 2011 crowds flocked to Federation Square to get a glimps of their Monarch and her husband. Flinder Street Station was blocked.|