You know, (hi by the way) I felt so happy with myself when I thought of this title for this post. Ummm yeah so, I thought anyways that today I would do a bit of ‘Queen-related’ post as well, it’s clearly a bit of a topic in the world at the moment with her funeral just yesterday and all.
So in this post I wanted to talk a little about the Queen, possibly mention the new King (I’m talking about of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth here, Elizabeth and Charles just in case I wasn’t being clear because there are other Kings and Queens around the world) and basically talk about Australia and the experience of the last two or so weeks here. Because it might surprise those stateside or in other non-Commonwealth countries to know, but actually right now who is the head of state of Australia? Well, it just changed actually. It’s King Charles the Third.
Yes, welcome to Australia’s insanity, the one where we have a Prime Minister, but technically our head of state is an unelected monarch living in their choice of palaces in the United Kingdom. Because although we certainly our own country, being part of the Commonwealth combined with our constitution (ok I’m not sure on all the technicalities here) the King or Queen of England is our head of state. And yes, it’s pretty much a role which involves little to no interference in the running of our country, except in 1975 when the Governor General of Australia Sir John Kerr directed the Queen to sack the Prime Minister and Government, which indeed did happen.
So yeah. I’m not here to trash the Queen or the King really, but I did want a chance to express how insane this country of Australia is at times. We had a referendum in the 1990s about becoming a republic. And guess what, it failed. And of course, why would we want to be 100% our own country? As my neighbour at the time argued, we would have to mint new coins (all our coins have Elizabeth II’s face on them, as does our $5 note) which would just be too time consuming and difficult to do, so you know, best stick with the monarchy.
For the record, I DID vote to become a republic, as did the majority of people in Victoria. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for any other state in Australia. And I still to this day don’t understand why. Some reasoned the concept of how the republic would work was why they voted to stick with what we had and still have. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, you can adjust and get rid of the chinks along the way. Frankly, to this day I remain embarrassed by the choice Australia made on that day.
Fast forward to September 2022 and Queen Elizabeth II has passed away at the stately age of 96. I never really understood what power she held even in the United Kingdom, aside from the fact that her family takes a lot of money from its people and likes to alternate between at least three castles, Balmoral, Windsor and of course Buckingham Palace. Her job, apart from sacking governments in other countries, seemed to be mostly meeting a lot of people. In many ways the royal family is the United Kingdom’s biggest tourist drawcard. Through their image people come to know something about the UK.
I mean, the UK is mostly a democracy. Albeit a strange one. And I think we forget that as opposed to Australia or the USA, where we have two houses of elected officials passing laws and bills, the UK only has ONE. There are two houses, the House of Commons, who ARE elected officials (and honestly England, you need a much bigger room for them they always seem to be crammed up so tight) and then there is the House of LORDS. This house is populated by people of title. Not sure how much power it actually wields, but combined with the royals these people seem to be untouchable (in a good sense) and derive their power according to birth or station. Or both.
It’s therefore strange to me that the same people who get angry at our elected government for this or that on the basis that we don’t have free speech, are the same people in many instances who think the monarchy is sacrosanct. And so it has been here an unimaginable outpouring of love and indeed grief at the passing of Queen Elizabeth. TV channels are STILL running close to 24 hour coverage on her death. News flash – she is still dead, and has remained so since she passed.
Look, I don’t HATE the royals. Well, let’s be honest some of them are pretty suss, and I am not even including Prince Andrew (I used to think when I was very young it was so cool to have the same name as a Prince! Things have changed) who frankly should be behind bars and proves that the royals are too protected from the law. I know that the Queen actually visited Australia SIXTEEN times, and that King Charles actually went to school for six months here in Victoria. And sure, it’s pretty typical of all royals to do some national service, although I wonder if they have so much protection when they do it makes it far more costly than if they just stayed at home and listened to the Goons on phonograph all day. But it just seems mad that we as a country who categorically is not part of the United Kingdom still is a monarchy ruled, albeit almost completely passively, from the other side of the world. Frankly, it’s a joke. And when I see how people, and I’m talking a fair chunk of the population here (albeit mostly the over 70s) so devoted to people who had the fortunate break in life to be born into a certain family and not much else, well, I am flabbergasted.
Okay. There’s my rant for you. Hopefully normal TV service will soon resume and who knows, we might someday get another referendum as it’s been around 25 years or more and many said that once the Queen passes, Australia will feel differently.
What are your thoughts? Let me know. In the comments. Below.
Thanks again for this indulgence.
May the Journey Never End.