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Neville Bonner Memorial Prize 2013 Print E-mail
Written by Luke Hantzis   
Monday, 21 October 2013

The Neville Bonner Memorial Prize is a public-speaking competition for students in years 9 and 10, set up by Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM). It honours our first indigenous Senator, Neville Bonner AO, who firmly believed more Australians should have an understanding of their Constitution.

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The competition aims to develop students’ understanding of the Constitution through a 10 minute prepared speech, drawing on the knowledge they have attained through ACM’s educational website, www.crownedrepublic.com.au, as well as other sources.  This is followed by a 3 minute impromptu speech.

This year's topic for the prepared speech was "What, in your view, is the most important function of the Australian Crown".  The impromptu topic was "What impact, if any, do you think the Royal Baby had on the monarchy/republic debate".

This year, ACM held the competition in August and September. Competitors from Sydney and Hobart delivered their speeches in front of an eminent panel of judges in New South Wales and Tasmania Parliament House respectively.

Himaushu Hardikar of Year 10 at The Hutchins School placed first in the Tasmanian Division of the competition and Amy Ngov of Year 10 at Cabramatta High School placed first in New South Wales. Ms. Elise Archer MP and The Hon. Rev Fred Nile MLC attended the respective State Finals.

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Winners were presented with a cheque for $250 and their schools were awarded the prestigious Neville Bonner Memorial Shield.

Each participant’s ranking was based on the average score of their performance in the prepared and impromptu speeches.

Congratulations to each of this year’s contestants.

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Queen opens Opera House Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 21 October 2013

 

Forty years ago The Queen opened the Opera House, the incomparable design of  Jørn Oberg Utzon, AC.

The Opera House was  the dream of a humble man of remarkable vision, the great Joe Cahill, Labor Premier and  a dedicated supporter of the constitutional monarchy.

Without Joe Cahill there would be no Opera House; without Jørn Oberg Utzon, AC, it would not be so spectacularly beautiful.

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 The inscription on a plaque records Joe Cahill's thoughts "If we in our lifetime did nothing more than express our love of the arts by providing a building worthy of them, even when names are forgotten, the building will always remain as a testimony to what was done in the year 1954 by a group of citizens for the encouragement of talent and culture."

 

 
The Queen's message to NSW bushfire victims Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Queen has sent a personal message to NSW Governor Marie Bashir, saying her thoughts are with those affected by the bushfires.

'I would like to convey my heartfelt sympathies to all those who have been affected by the devastating bushfires across New South Wales,' The Queen said.

'My thoughts are with the many people who have lost their homes or livelihoods in the fires and I have the greatest admiration for the firefighters, volunteers and emergency services officers who are working tirelessly to control the situation.'

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Unexpected meeting with Prince Harry made young Levi's McCormack's day Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The following touching report appeared in yesterday's The Daily Telegraph

Nine-year-old Levi McCormack was living out his dream to stay at a plush hotel when something even better happened - he got a visit from Prince Harry.

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The Rouse Hill boy, who was born with half a heart, was staying at the Shangri-La Hotel as part of a special visit funded by local charities. He had been invited to the hotel's rooftop during the International Fleet Review fireworks for a VIP-only viewing.

Prince Harry was also attending the event and didn't miss his chance to stop by and meet Levi. The prince crouched down to Levi's level in the wheelchair and began talking with him, his mum Karina McCormack said.

Read more...
 
Australia's Modest Constitutional Monarchy - what it is and what it is not Print E-mail
Written by The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG   
Thursday, 10 October 2013

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The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG with
Ralph Heimans Portrait of The Queen 2012, NPG Canberra.

A time for celebration

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is a moment for celebration.  Even those who would change the Australian Constitution to a republican form must acknowledge the faithful service of the Queen.  Her life has been one of six decades of obedience to duty.  Six decades, not out. 

In an age when such a life is comparatively rare, it acts as a symbol, and a valuable one.  It demands a combination of good genes, good living and good luck.  Only two other monarchs have reached such an anniversary, King George III and Queen Victoria.    King George III lost the American colonies.  Queen Victoria presided over the massive expansion of the British Empire, much of it won by force of arms.  On the other hand, Queen Elizabeth II has been a monarch of national independence.  In her reign millions of British subjects became free citizens of their own countries.  Mostly they did so peacefully and in accordance with law.  Throughout it all, the Queen has remained, as The Economist recently put it, the “still centre” of the constitutional order over which she presides . 

I doubt that there is another head of state in the world who would have participated, as she did, in the events that marked the opening of the recent Olympic Games in London.  I could not imagine for example, the Chinese President taking part in an apparent helicopter leap, in pink dress, in a single take pretend to collaboration with a movie character like the fictional James Bond.  Only the self confidence of a millennium would agree to do that.  And in the process, to take the mickey gently out of the Games and out of the Diamond Jubilee itself.

I must concede that because Queen Elizabeth has accompanied my life’s journey, over so many years, she constitutes a personal reason for respect and affection towards the system of constitutional monarchy that we have in Australia.  I remember the day on 6 February 1952 when she became Queen.  It was announced at our school assembly that the King had died.  We were all sent home.  Burned into my consciousness is the image of her returning, to London from Kenya, wearing pre-packed black mourning robes, to be greeted at the foot of the plane’s steps by Winston Churchill, the aged Prime Minister, and Clement Attlee, the leader of the Opposition in Britain.  That symbolism has always remained potent for me.  At certain moments a people can be one.  The Crown is a symbol that can help to bring them together. 

Over the years, I have seen, and participated in, events of such symbolism.  When my long relationship with my partner, Johan van Vloten, became public, politians mostly ran a mile.  But it was a soldier, Michael Jeffrey, then Governor of Western Australia and temporarily Administrator of the Commonwealth, who invited Johan and me to Government House in Canberra, as was appropriate to the partner of a Justice of the High Court of Australia.  He and Marlena Jeffrey did so for a dinner on the eve of ANZAC day, when all his other guests were his colleagues, the senior service personnel of the nation.  It happened also to be Johan’s sixtieth birthday.  So we celebrated in style.  What politians would not do, the Crown’s representative undertook effortlessly, with understatement and with grace .  Instinctively, vice regal representatives have generally known the duties of non-discrimination and inclusiveness.  Although the first Prime Minister during my public service was Mr Whitlam, and there have been seven of them in all, I have never been invited as a guest at the Lodge.  Still less, has Johan.  I am not complaining.  It is just a contrasting fact about the way our system of government operates.

In the States of Australia, the vice regal representatives are ordinarily foremost in reaching out to minorities, welcoming them, encouraging them, and participating appropriately in their activities.  I know this because I have frequently been their guest and sometimes their host and so has Johan.  This is a central idea of a constitutional monarchy.  The politicians have their contests.  That is right and proper and is as envisaged in our Constitution.  However, there are other elements in our government in Australia that are permanent, unelected, unwavering and that serve all the people:  the Crown, the judiciary, the public service and the military.  The bargain that is struck permits these officials to share the power of government on the footing that they partisan political entanglements.

Read more...
 
Jai Martinkovits on Prince Harry in Australia Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Wednesday, 09 October 2013

Speaking on ABC24's Capital Hill, Jai Martinkovits discusses the relevance and impact of Prince Harry's visit to Australia for the International Fleet Review 2013.

 
Rusty Priest homage Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 08 October 2013

THE state funeral for Rusty Priest; World War II veteran, RSL president and keeper of the Anzac flame, was magnificent. Dignitaries and old soldiers gathered at St Mary’s Cathedral and followed the gun carriage carrying his coffin across a sun-drenched Hyde Park to the Anzac memorial, writes Miranda Devine.

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A grand tribute to a humble soldier who did so much to boost Anzac Day and the Kokoda Track.

Priest did not crave the spotlight. So it was fitting that a poem read by former Army Chief Ken Gillespie paid homage to the soldiers whose welfare Priest made his life’s work.

“It is the soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

“It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

“It is the Soldier, not the campus organiser, who has given us freedom to protest.

“It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

“It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

“It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

 
Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 03 October 2013

Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith is leaving the Army after 17 years of service and will head back to university to undertake business studies, according to this report from the national television news service, Sky News Australia.

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Corporal Roberts-Smith, Australia's most decorated modern soldier who also received a Medal for Gallantry for extreme heroism under fire, will continue to serve in the Army Reserve, the Australian Defence Force says.

The ABC reported that he will begin studying part-time for a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Queensland next year, with a view to a future corporate career. 

Corporal Roberts-Smith says he has achieved his goals in the military and it is "the right time" for him to pursue a long-held desire to further his education.




...greatest honour...

 

 

"It has been a great honour to serve my country for the last 17 years," he said in a statement."I have been extremely privileged to serve alongside some of the best men and women in Australia.

"My time within the Special Air Service Regiment has been the highlight of my military career and I will always look back on my service without regret, and proud to be able to count myself among their number.

"Having been fortunate enough to achieve my goals within Defence, I have decided that now is the right time to pursue other opportunities including further education, which is something I have always been keen to do."

He thanked his wife, Emma, and daughters Eve and Elizabeth, saying that "none of the experiences I have had would have been possible without their support".

 

He said he looked forward to continuing to serve in the Army Reserve, and working with various Defence Force charities.

Having enlisted in the Australian Army in 1996, Corporal Roberts-Smith was chosen for the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in 2003 and over the next decade deployed to South-East Asia, Fiji, Iraq and Afghanistan.




...Victoria Cross...


 

He was awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia in 2011 for his role in assaulting enemy machine gun positions in Afghanistan while the rest of his squad was pinned down.

Read more...
 
Royal Australian Navy 4 October 1913 Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Thursday, 03 October 2013

The centrepiece of Australia's new Fleet Unit, the Indefatigable class battlecruiser HMAS Australia, were commissioned at Portsmouth on 21 June 1913.

Two days later she hoisted the flag of Rear-Admiral (later Admiral Sir) George Patey, RN, already destined to become the first Flag Officer Commanding the Australian Fleet, according to the official site for the International Fleet Review 2013 .  The site continues: 

Before sailing for Australia, Rear Admiral Patey hosted an inspection by King George V and, in a ceremony not seen since the time of Sir Francis Drake, he knighted the Sir Georgel on Australia's quarterdeck.

 

   

 

Read more...
 
''Rusty'' Priest [1927 - 2013] Servant of the Nation Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 03 October 2013

Godfrey Eugene ''Rusty'' Priest was born in Melbourne in June 1927, one of three sons of William Priest and his wife, Patricia (nee O'Keeffe). Patricia died when the boys were young and William raised them.

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As soon as he turned 18, he enlisted in the 2nd AIF, but just as he finished his training at Cowra, Japan surrendered and the war ended. He served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces Signals Regiment, 8th US Army Signals Corps and “A” Field Battery Royal Australian Army in Japan from April 1946 until December 1948, and stayed in the Army over the next 22 years moving through artillery, infantry and combined operations. In 1955, he married his wife, Merle. 

 


...more service...

 

He finished his time in the army with a promotion to Warrant Officer Class I and a posting to the Directorate of Artillery at Army Headquarters in Canberra, and retired in September 1967.

The Priests moved to Revesby in Sydney and Rusty took an administration position at the University of Sydney, where he stayed until he retired again, in 1990. He was to play a significant role in the Returned Servicemen's League holding the position of state president of the NSW RSL from 1993 to 2002 and deputy national president of the RSL from 1997 to 2002. He also played a significant volunteer role in a number of organisations including the office of chairman of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway Committee from 1995.

In 1997, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded a Centenary Medal.

 

...champion..

 

 

He was a champion for the those who served, and he played a significant role in restoring ANZAC Day as a central national observation, and raising the Kokoda Track   as the a sacred memorial to those who served in the Second World War. On his proposal, the ANZAC Bridge was so named honouring the diggers of the First and Second World Wars. He was always a strong supporter of the Australian Flag and of the Crown.

His service was recognized by the State and Nation at a State Funeral in St. Mary's Cathedral Sydney on 1 October , and in a service at the ANZAC  Memorial in Hyde Park. 

This video report was broadcast over the national news network, SKY News Australia.

 
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