Saturday, June 02, 2012

Are you a subject of the Queen?

from w
With celebrations this week for the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, people are asking about her relevance to people in Australia. Here are some responses to an internet question posed by the Sun Herald and at the bottom - my response..

As Australians we owe no allegiance to any crown. She is not my Queen and we are not British, we are Aussies and should learn to grow up as a nation. This woman has nothing to do with Australia. A republic and Aussie head of state would make people even prouder to call themselves true-blue. Until then we will be nothing more than a colony and this mentality will slow our national progress. The day cannot come soon enough when the people of Australia vote yes to a republic.
Kevin Chan, Eastlakes
Yes, she is our Queen, and will be until such time as we hold a referendum and she is voted out. Anyway, our system works and has done for 100-plus years. Why change it? Imagine if pollies were to pick a head of state? Also she doesn't interfere in our affairs and all we have to do is pay a few bucks out when she visits.
Michael Schrier, Dulwich Hill
One fundamental requirement for our head of state should be unequivocal support for Australians in contests against other nations, be it in the commercial or sporting arenas. For example, at the coming Olympics, will our athletes get the Queen's 100 per cent support? Not likely; she is head of state of 16 countries including Australia, and if that doesn't give her conflicts of interest, then it's a fair bet that she will be cheering for her homeland, Great Britain. How can we put up with a system where our head of state will - publicly or privately - support the adversaries of Australians? Grow up, Australia, and move forward.
Simon Pratt, Bangkok
From my perspective as a Generation Xer, she could hardly be anything else but my Queen. She has reigned during my entire life and the office she holds is infinitely older. To some, this stability is unfashionable, but to me it is both a great asset and a reassuring constant in a world of constant change. Not everything new is better. Her life of service is in stark contrast to a world becoming more self-centred and less giving. You bet she is my Queen! May she be so for many more years to come.
Alexander Drake, Middle Cove
I do not consider myself as anyone's ''subject'', but neither do I want a president of Australia. The monarch is a position, not a person. The monarch does not have to get elected and therefore does not owe favours to anyone. Could we say the same for a president, however you chose one? Not having much faith in the integrity of our self-serving politicians, it's a comfort to know that they have to go to the monarch's representative to be given the legitimacy of governing us. In all honesty, I can't make a good case for a family in Britain being our monarchs, but the alternatives are a lot worse.
Roger Wilkinson, Randwick
Technically, yes (to say otherwise is still treasonous). The question should be: Should she be your queen? The answer: a resounding NO. The very concept of a hereditary monarchy, even one without teeth, is an anachronism and Australia as an egalitarian nation should have no part of it. Unearned privilege can never be respected.
Robert Hogan, Hornsby
I admire the Queen, her lifelong dedication to her position. But the Queen is an English queen, not, I believe, our queen.
Roger Mika, Lake Cathie
I've just reached my 40th year and I'm proud to say Queen Elizabeth is my queen. I remember lining up in Parliament House to see her the day that Paul Keating dared to put his arm around her. While waiting I chatted with the leader of the opposition, Mr Hewson, and was ever so proud when I shook her majesty's hand. She brings some sparkle to a dull and warring world and I believe that few people appreciate how hard her job is. I look forward to celebrating the day when she becomes our longest-reigning monarch.
Matthew Erickson, Kempsey
I certainly consider myself a subject of Queen Elizabeth II. In fact, as a child I remember my mother telling me as I stood in the living room of our little home in Forsyth Street, Wagga Wagga, when it was announced on the wireless that King George had passed away: ''We have a new Queen.'' From that point on I have been a devout follower of her majesty. A most gracious monarch and long may we say, God save the Queen.
Peter Reedman, Northbridge
As someone who is deeply ashamed of the terrible things done to Australia's indigenous people since 1788, I am very happy to have Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia. That nice old lady in London prevents greedy white politicians from making the final symbolic act of ownership over this continent. Having an absentee Queen reminds everyone who has come here in the last 200 years that we are guests.
Angus Harker, Camperdown
I accept her as the constitutional head of state and have some affection for her as she has reigned throughout my entire life, and visited my country town in 1977 when I was 10 and probably susceptible to pageantry. I don't think of her so much as ''my'' queen, but ''the Queen''. But then again, I don't think of Julia Gillard as ''my'' prime minister either (I think she has actually made public statements marginalising the likes of me from her list of favoured constituents), but I am forced to accept her as ''the Prime Minister''.
Peter Walker, Katoomba
One-hundred-and-fifty words you say … I only need one … NO.
Dave Scorpecci, Ryde

Read more:

and from me:
I am not happy with the 'royal family' getting enormous privileges just because of their birth, though Elizabeth certainly has worked hard to be a dutiful Queen and symbol of order in a fragile world.  She's an admirable person, but as Queen of Australia, not really what I think is okay. There's too much history of British colonialism that isn't kind to indigenous peoples and other cultural groups. For example - some letters signed by Queen Victoria and so on assumed that British men and women could just take land from other people. And so on. And I am not one to bow or bend the knee, but rather look at people at eye level.


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