|The Internationalism of the Crown|
|Written by George Bourgias|
|Thursday, 23 October 2003|
The YWCA Hotel Conference Centre
Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education
“Parliamentary monarchy fulfils a role which an elected president never can. It formally limits the politicians’ thirst for power because with it the supreme office of the state is occupied once and for all.”
Max Weber, German economist.
“I notice that the constitutional monarchies are the most democratic countries of Europe. I can’t understand how there could be any debate about it.”
Jack Lang, French Minister of Culture, October 1993.
“For every monarchy overthrown the sky becomes less brilliant, because it loses a star. A republic is ugliness set free.”
Anatole France , first winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1921.
This paper discusses the qualities, role and continuing contribution of Constitutional Monarchies throughout history and around the world today.
It contends that the Australian Crown is the key to our freedom and central to our democratic, social, political and cultural institutions and traditions – a characteristic shared by other nations and their Constitutional Monarchies. It also challenges many of the central, and often contradictory, beliefs of the Crown’s opponents who also object to key elements of our shared heritage and common traditions.
The argument that the Australian Crown is ‘outdated’ and ‘defunct’, in particular, is refuted in light of Australian and international evidence that shows that the traditions of Constitutional Monarchy are enjoying renewed awareness and popularity globally. This is particularly the case in Eastern Europe which, after the fall of Communism, has seen a ‘second velvet revolution’ characterised by a rediscovered love and respect for Constitutional Monarchy and other ancient, but timeless, national and cultural institutions.
Constitutional Monarchy now fulfils an important role in 21st century democracies in many nations around the world. In an age where change is continual but continuity is also important, and where an international outlook is important in building bridges to the world and to the ‘other’, Constitutional Monarchies continue to serve their people and the wider global community. Today, Constitutional Monarchies are cosmopolitan, dynamic, responsive and open. Most importantly, Constitutional Monarchies continue to be essential defenders of freedom and democracy and guardians of pluralism and diversity. It is a fitting tribute that Constitutional Monarchies are also recognised as ‘Crowned Democracies.’
Our Australian Constitutional Monarchy, like those of other nations, is a living expression of many aspects of our nation and unique place in the world. The Crown is at the heart of our national identity, our historical and cultural continuity, our sense of community, family, compassion and service, our cosmopolitan, multicultural and international character, and, of course, our love for Queen and Country regardless of our background.
Finally, parallels between recent attacks on the Crown of Australia and that of other nations are compared. Efforts against the Australian and other Crowns of the world are often also attacks on national identity and community. This is especially ironic given the ongoing pronouncements by many of the Crown’s opponents for greater ‘social capital’ and ‘community’! It is suggested that these individuals could begin to promote community by, first, ceasing their dishonourable and destructive attacks on the Australian Crown and other national institutions.
The recent pattern of aggression and slander against the Australian Constitutional Monarchy, it is argued, is not dissimilar to that seen throughout history in other countries in one other important way. Attempts to remove the Crown in nations’ social, cultural and political lives were often promulgated by specific individuals and groups. These individuals and groups were often totalitarian in nature, sought greater power for themselves and were misguided through their adherence, to varying degrees, of what are now widely recognised as defunct and outdated ideologies. Significantly, these groups sought to also ‘reengineer’ national cultures and societies, sometimes almost overnight, by whatever means available including stealth, deceit and violence.
It is important to understand the historical, cultural, political and other roles of the Australian Crown and its continuing relevance to modern Australian society. However, it is also important to understand the historical, ideological and ‘cultural’ background (if not ‘baggage’!) of the Crown’s current adversaries and how this past underpins their most recent attacks on our ‘Crowned Democracy.’
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