Constitution Day falls on 9 July each year. This is the day when Queen Victoria assented to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900, which brought to a successful conclusion the unusually peaceful and democratic process to unite the six self governing Australian colonies.
We Australians federated under the Crown; the Crown has been with us from the settlement in 1788, and has been intimately involved on every significant occasion in the life of the nation.
The Commonwealth of AustraliaConstitution Act provided that it should take effect on a date to be proclaimed by The Queen. This is was done on 17 September, 1900 at Balmoral, Her Majesty declaring that she was then satisfied that the people of Western Australia had indicated in a referendum that they too wished to join the Commonwealth of Australia.
The Queen then signified that the new Australian nation should come into being on the first day of the new year and the first day of the new century.
In the first video below, you may see the swearing in of the first Governor-General, Lord Hopetown, who then proceeds to swear in the first ministry under Prime Minister Edmund Barton. (This and other videos mentioned in this column are not the newly produced ones launched on Thursday.)
This significant event took place on 1 January 1901 in a pavillion in Centennial Park Sydney. The Governor-General,and The Queen's Ministers of State for the Commonwealth, as the Constitution describes them, used the same desk on which The Queen had assented to the Act.
The second video shows scenes of the Federation parade in Sydney.
It was with shock that I learnt of the sudden death of the Tasmanian Governor, The Honourable Justice Peter Underwood AC who died at the Royal Hobart Hospital after complications following surgery removing a tumour from his kidney.
Justice Underwood was appointed to the Tasmanian Supreme Court in 1984 and was in his second term as governor which would have finished in 2016. He was 76 years of age. Although a proud Tasmanian he was actually born in Great Britain, migrating here in 1950 as 13 year old child.
[Tasmanian Convenor, Reg Watson, with daughter Kylie at a recent reception at Government House, hosted by the late Justice Peter Underwood AC, Governor of Tasmania.]
I knew the Governor of Tasmania quite well. He was Patron of the Council of United Commonwealth Societies which ACM (Tasmania) is a member. When past President I entertained him at dinner and lunch. Recently I attended the June reception at Government House in honour of the birthday of Her Majesty, expecting to see the Governor as host, but in turn, we were entertained by the Lieutenant Governor, Justice Allan Blow as Peter Underwood was ill in hospital.
I always found the Governor attentive and respectful. He also had a good sense of humour, but I had the opinion that he would not suffer fools easy. I was interviewed by ABC Radio news this afternoon and was asked what would be his legacy. I replied that he served the Office of Governor with dignity and respect and undertook his duties very well. He was our 27th Governor and successfully followed on the heels of William (Bill) Cox, who was popular and very good. At times it can be very difficult in continuing a role that was so successfully undertaken, but Justice Underwood did so. Occasionally I would write to His Excellency through the email system regarding particular matters to which he would personally reply. On one occasion he wrote me a long hand note received in the post, which I still have in my files.
Yes, he was a good Governor, leaving his wife, Francis, four children and three step children. His family was at his side during his last moments. It will be hard to replace him. The State Government has offered the family a State funeral.
The Governor-General, Sir Peter Crosgrove, as would be expected, spoke highly of the late Governor of Tasmania.
Our good friends at the Commonwealth Day Council of NSW have kindly extended an invitation to all members and friends of ACM, to attend a special function to farewell their Patron, Her Excellency The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Governor of NSW.
The function will also celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the Commonwealth Day Council of NSW.
This was Professor Marcia Langton's call to anyone who doesn't endorse some form of politicians' republic. She was in the republican team with Bob Carr in the BBC/ABC IQ2 debate on 24 June 2014 "The Queen should be the last Australian monarch"\
According to the latest polling, only about 42% overall and 28% of young people support Australia becoming a politicians' republic.
Former Premier Bob Carr seemed to experience a lapse of memory concerning a crucial matter while speaking for the republican Yes case in the BBC/ABC IQ2 debate on 24 June 2014 "The Queen should be the last Australian monarch".
He denied that he had very clearly and publicly revealed that the reason he expelled NSW Governors from Government House in 1996 was that he objected to the Crown's reserved powers.
Launching the 3rd edition of EG Whitlam's book ''The truth of the matter'' in 2005, he had said that one lesson from Mr Whitlam's dismissal by the Governor-General in 1975 was the potentially corrupting role of the vice-regal office.
In a surprise admission, he then said that this was the reason he had decided the NSW governor would not live in Government House.
His speech at a book launch was reported in the press. He did not deny this at the time. Nor did he complain to the Press Council .
The issue arose after Professor Flint pointed out that David Aaronovich, an English journalist appointed by the organisers as one of the two speakers against the motion, had based the high level of support for the monarchy only on its magic and on various light and amusing news items.
But the case argued consistently by Australian constitutional monarchists frm the nineties has been about power, that is, the role of the Australian Crown as a significant check and balance over the political arm.
Professor Flint had reminded Mr Carr that he had admitted in 2005 that he had expelled the Governors because of the reserve powers. In denying that he had said this, Mr Carr lamented the fact that the Governor had returned to Government House.
Happy Birthday to Prince William Duke of Cambridge, who turned 32 on 21 June, 2008. For his birthday The Queen has given him access to a leased Agusta A109S Grand helicopter, according to Kirsty McCormack from the London Daily Express.
It will also be used to transport other members of the Royal Family.
...no cost to taxpayers....
Before republicans make yet another false claim, British taxpayers will pay nothing. Nothing. The rent will be paid for by The Queen from the Sovereign Grant. This is the fancy name for what is left of the income from the Crown Estate, a portfolio of properties and other investments.
The Queen in effect pays a super tax on the Crown Estate income of around 85% - the only person in the country who pays this special high rate. ( see the section on Royal Finances on our site)
As for the helicopter, Kirsty McCormack says Prince William probably can't wait to take it out for a spin, but point out it's unlikely the qualified helicopter pilot will actually be flying the helicopter which was built in 2008 and has had no previous owners.
She explains that with William now being a father, the helicopter will be a great way for him and his wife Kate to nip between official engagements and still be able to spend quality time with their son Prince George.
The helicopter – which is manufactured by Anglo-Italian company AgustaWestland – will also be used to transport other members of the Royal Family too.
"It has been leased for a fixed number of hours per year," a spokesman for the Queen told the Express.
"It has been leased in this way because it offers good value for money and because it provides for better safety and security than taking a diverse number of short term leases."
The aircraft will be paid for by the Sovereign Grant – public funds given to the Monarch by the Government every year - and will be based alongside the Queen's other private helicopter at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.
"The word is that this new chopper will be used mostly for William and Kate, although other family members can use it too," a royal source explained.
"But with William and Kate stepping up their official duties in the next few years it is expected they will spend a lot of time in it.
"At the moment the Queen has her helicopter which is used by other royals but sometimes there is also a need to hire a different aircraft."
Actor and monarchist Russell Crowe recently bought out nearly all of the Sydney Antique Centre's collection of historical memorabilia relating to the British royal family – including china marking the coronation of King George in 1911, reports Julie Power from Sydney's Sun Herald and other newspapers in Fairfax Media.
Clearly an excellent journalist, Ms Power checked with us and our site to satisfy herself that Mr Crowe can be properly described as a monarchist.
He is seen here at the charity premiere of Master and Commander. A noted actor and film producer he has been denied Australian citizenship not once but twice.
Why? Because he has done what great film actors do - spent time in other countries.
Put aside his monarchism - what on earth is going on if we deny citizenship to such a man who shows such interest in our country?
Glance at the red line in the graph below and rejoice. Support for a republic among the young has well and truly collapsed.
Although the ARM hasn't, the media may at last have woken up to something we have been pointing out here for years.
This is that the strongest support for a politicians' republic has been almost always among the middle aged, and not the young. The red line shows that.
Interest among our youth has been falling significantly over an extended period of time, and from well before the young royals came on to the scene as personalities in their own right.
In the 90s, as we campaigned against the attempt to impose some form of politicians' republic on the nation, the various pollsters began to pay increasing attention to the issue. But most in the media and curiously, in the Australian Republican Movement, missed or glossed over the data about youth support.
Was it because they wanted to believe that our youth were dreaming about the advent of a politicians' republic ?
When the official Vote Yes and Vote No Referendum Committees were appointed, the Vote No Committee undertook its own polling. (It was chaired by ACM's executive director, Kerry Jones, and all members but two independent republicans were from ACM.)
One thing caught my eye in both the public and the No Committee polls whenever the ages of the respondents were shown.
...republicans in denial...
As you would expect the older voters were the most opposed.
Bu tit was not the young who were the most republican. It was the middle-aged (and especially males in inner city electorates) .
The ARM still hasn't caught up with this crucial fact.
Recently in a debate broadcast on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 ( podcast 260314) on Neil Mitchell's program on Melbourne's highest rating talkback station 3AW, ACM's Jai Martinkovits said that support for a politicians' republic among the young was low and that this was a time bomb for the republicans.
The current leader of the republican movement, David Morris, replied by saying:"Young people are the most republican and Jai knows that every poll in the last 30 years has shown that."