Yup, an unelected Englishman advising the Queen’s rep on what is good for the unelected Queen as the first priority – the very image of colonial secretaries in days of yore deciding what will happen in the colonies, well before the wee colonials know the first thing about it!
Beyond that, the idea that there was no one there on the grassy knoll of Buckingham Palace advising Kerr is simply absurd. I would have thought that the exchange of 211 letters between Kerr and the palace on the subject, and the content of those letters, is proof positive that the palace was in it up to its eyeballs. And if the palace itself had the view that the letters showed no involvement, why on earth did it go to such extreme efforts to keep the letters hidden?
As to the notion that we of the ARM have been too critical of the palace and the Queen in our public pronouncements during the week, that we have not displayed the usual cloying care on all matters royal, please. It is that very obsequiousness we Australians have displayed to Buckingham Palace for generations that has been the heart of the problem in the first place!
We have no problem with the Queen personally, and as the fabulous drama The Crown attests, she has lived an extraordinary life, filled with nobly doing the duty she was born and raised to do. She is not the problem.
It is our colonial constitution that is the problem. It meant that 75 years after Federation we still had unelected English people deliberating on the whys, wherefores and hows of bringing down a democratically elected Australian government. And that to this day, our government leaders must still report in to the English and swear fealty to Her Majesty.
As to how the ARM is travelling generally, the answer is: never better, thanks for asking. We have had a wonderful surge in membership this week, a particularly wonderful donation, and record 62 per cent support among Australians for an Australian Head of State. Onwards!
He’s no Lincoln
I can’t resist. This is Donald Trump – who often compares himself to Abraham Lincoln, who wrote and delivered the greatest speech of all time, the Gettysburg Address – speaking on God knows what, in the same week as he has been attacking Joe Biden for being incoherent.
“So shower heads, you take a shower, the water doesn’t come out. You wanna wash your hands, the water doesn’t come out … Dishwashers you didn’t have any water … In most places of the country, water is not a problem. They don’t know what do with it. It’s called rain.” No words.
Joke of the Week
An atheist is out walking in the forest. Such a stunning day! The green trees! The blue skies! The bubbling brook! The rustling of the … actually what is that rustling? He looks around to see a huge grizzly bear emerge from the bushes just behind him. In an instant, the bear has covered the ground between them, knocked the atheist to the ground and is just bringing his mighty jaws down with the clear intent of crushing the atheist’s skull like a grape. All the atheist can do is to moan out a strangled, “Oh my God”.
Time stops. The bear freezes. The forest falls silent, as the clouds part and a bright light shines right down upon him. A voice now comes from the heavens: “You! You deny my existence for decades and ridicule all others who say I exist. And now, only when you need me to save you, do you even utter my name with anything other than derision. Can you really expect me to help you? And if I do, can I count on you to be a believer for the rest of your days?”
The atheist looks directly into the light and says, “Lord, you’re right. Even in these extreme circumstances, it would be hypocritical of me to become a Christian, but … but perhaps you could at least make the bear a Christian?” There is a pause, as God in his heaven reflects. And then He speaks again: “Very well.”
The light disappears, and again the brook bubbles, the rabbits run free and life resumes as normal. And now the bear stills his crushing jaws to bring his massive paws together, bow his head and say, “Lord, bless this food which I am about to receive, and for which I am truly thankful.”
Quotes of the Week
“If Joe Biden drops out and the DNC runs a tomato can, I will vote for the tomato can, because I believe the tomato can will do less harm than our current President.” – Life-time Republican voter Josh, from North Carolina, whose testimonial has been circulated by Republican Voters Against Trump.
“Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” – Such is the title of Mary Trump’s book about her uncle Donald, which sold 950,000 copies in its first day on sale.
“It is extraordinary that a tiny unelected outpost of Britain in Australia should be deciding the fate of a democratically elected prime minister in between comparing notes about the desirability of unofficial trips to Paris and Norfolk.” – Katherine Murphy in The Guardian on the Palace Letters.
“How are we going? Two words: incredibly well. So far, the results of clinical trials have been encouraging: good, strong immune responses.” – Professor Dale Godfrey, head of immunology at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, summing up worldwide efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I was of the opinion that it was better for Her Majesty not to know in advance.” – Sir John Kerr to Sir Martin Charteris, the Queen’s private secretary after Sir John had sacked prime minister Gough Whitlam.
“It’s not going to be Tony.” – Julia Gillard, after being asked to name her favourite prime minister of those who followed her.
“Australia’s relevant law enforcement authorities arbitrarily search Chinese citizens and seize their items, and these circumstances could cause harm to Chinese citizens in Australia, as well as the safety of their assets.” – A warning to travellers from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the third upgrade in as many months after Beijing warned students and tourists that they could face racial discrimination in Australia during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Life in lockdown during coronavirus has been challenging in many ways but personally it’s been one of the most exciting and happy times of my life.” – Instagram announcement from Sam Stosur that her partner Liz has given birth to a baby girl, Genevieve.
“I still love sharks! Sharks are beautiful!” – An unnamed shark documentary filmmaker as she was wheeled into Cairns Hospital with blood loss, a potentially broken left ankle and cuts after a shark attack off Fitzroy Island.
“The guys here in Melbourne, we’ve had a good chat, and we know that there’re rules in quarantine that we’ve got to follow and we also know that we’ve got to stick by … you know, you’ve got to obey the law there.” – Raymond Elise, a former president of the Rebels motorcycle gang’s Victoria branch, promising to obey the rules. Elise was scheduled for deportation to his home country of New Zealand on Tuesday, along with eight others in detention in Melbourne, the Australian city that has been hardest hit by coronavirus.
“They are not relics of the deep past but an integral part of a resilient living, breathing culture that still exists in 2020. These items are sacred representations of our ancestors, stories and deep connection to our sovereign lands and in most cases are the personal and private property of senior Aboriginal landowners. To Aboriginal men they are not commodities and should never have monetary value placed upon them because they are priceless and highly revered.” – Shaun Angeles, from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and a Kungarakany and Arrernte man, one of the people concerned about eleven sacred and secret Aboriginal objects that have now been removed from sale at a Sydney auction house.
“Once in a blue moon, if it looks like fun, I’ll do it. If nothing comes along, I don’t care. I’m well into the fourth quarter, so anything that happens from now on is a bonus.” – Paul Hogan about his life at 80. From the quintessential Aussie bloke in his 30s, he seems lost a little in the mid-Pacific, and maybe just a little up himself?
“It’s a $2 million dud.” – Anthony Albanese dismisses the COVID-19 tracking app.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.