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Richard Butler Misquotes The Queen Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Monday, 18 August 2003

August 19, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

“As Mr Richard Butler prepares himself to swear the Oath of Allegiance to The Queen, and become Her Representative in the State of Tasmania, he seems to be having second thoughts” said ACM National Convenor, Professor David Flint.

“But he should not, indeed he should never, attribute to his Sovereign words for which there is not a tittle of evidence she ever uttered.

In justification for his belief that Australians were wrong to “rather overwhelmingly” say no in 1999, he tried to suggest The Queen shared his disappointment!

He said on the 7.30 Report on 18 August, 2003:

“The Queen herself made clear she expected Australia to become a republic and was rather non-plussed when we didn’t.” On the Richard Glover program on ABC Sydney Radio, Mr Butler went one step further-He even claimed the Queen had supported Australia becoming a republic!”

When was this said? Where? To whom? In whose presence? Where is it recorded? The answer is that it is a figment of someone’s imagination. A “report” of an alleged and obviously imagined conversation about the referendum between The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh appears in an English gossip book but the writer does not explain when where and how he overheard this. Prior to the 1999 referendum the Queen always made it clear that she would respect the result of the democratic vote of the Australian people. On her two subsequent visits to Australia the Queen made it clear that she was delighted that she would remain the Queen of Australia.

It is reassuring that Mr Butler and other republicans now agree that Australians wrote their constitution, and chose the sort of government they thought most appropriate. And that the Oath of Allegiance to The Queen is, in effect, to the people, the Crown serving as the check and balance against abuse of power and acting thus as their trustee. These are views long held by constitutional monarchists - so why change the Constitution?

And in adopting the arguments of constitutional monarchists, they are at last rejecting some of Mr Keating’s bizarre assertions about our history, founded as they were more in imagination than fact.

All that is encouraging. But it is not at all acceptable that The Queen’s representative - of all people - would put words in her mouth.

Mr Butler should withdraw this baseless assertion.

 
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