Republicanism is not dead - at least in the media
Written by ACM   
Monday, 05 January 2015

The strongly denied claims made about various well known men, including Prince Andrew, resulted in the Melbourne Herald  Sun issuing a strongly republican editorial on 5 January 2014. The editorial dismisses the referendum result which whatever gloss is put on it was clear. It was a landslide by the rank-and –file against the best model the republican majority was able to produce. That model was  strongly supported by the political class including the media.

The newspaper ignores the fact that support for a politicians' has been falling significantly since the referendum and now is weakest among the nation's youth. 

The newspaper is entitled to its views, and properly offered ACM and the ARM space to comment, an offer which ACM immediately seized

.Glance at the following graph which shows quite clearly the state of support for change to a politicians' republic before you read the text of the editorial below.



THE Republican movement in Australia has shown a faint, but strengthening, heartbeat following rumours the Queen might abdicate in favour of Prince Charles and now the allegations of underage sex surrounding Prince Andrew.  

The Queen, in her Christmas message, did not announce that she was stepping down, despite bookmakers setting odds on her doing so and the Prince of Wales finally ascending to the throne. The allegations naming Prince Andrew are not easily dismissed and revive past scandals involving the royal family. 

The problem with Charles becoming king is tied to his future queen, the former Camilla Parker Bowles, whom he married following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car accident in Paris.

 Princess Di, as she was known and loved by the millions who turned her death into one of the greatest outpourings of grief in the turbulent history of the British royal family, described Ms Parker Bowles as the “third’’ person in her marriage.

 Prince Charles’ crude conversations with her were revealed in hacked telephone conversations. It was decided she would be known as the Duchess of Cornwall rather than Princess of Wales and any future reference to her as Queen Camilla will be only as a courtesy title. 

Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, has proved similarly scandal prone, his marriage to Sarah Ferguson ending in divorce and scandal. The Duke of York was accused of dubious business dealings and had to stand down as Britain’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.

 In 2010, he was strongly condemned for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, an American businessman who was convicted for soliciting a minor for prostitution. It has now been alleged in a Florida court that Virginia Roberts, who later moved to Australia to escape Epstein’s abuse, “was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor”. 

Ms Roberts alleges sex with Prince Andrew took place between 1999 and 2002 and that she was treated “as a sex slave’’ at Epstein’s Florida mansion when Prince Andrew was a guest. Buckingham Palace has felt the need to issue two denials. 

The first stated that Florida court documents “relate to longstanding and ongoing civil proceedings in the United States to which the Duke of York is not a party’’. 

The second stated that it was “emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship’’ with the woman said to have been involved. But to the millions who will wonder just what did take place and whether Prince Andrew is being protected, there remains questions of impropriety that may never be answered. 

The seriousness in which the allegations are held is confirmed by Prince Andrew’s expected return from a skiing holiday in Switzerland. None of this will assist the aspirations of Prince Charles to succeed the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth.

Many Australians, as well as Britons and citizens of other Commonwealth countries, would prefer to see the monarchy skip a generation. This would put Prince William on the throne alongside Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as his queen and would almost certainly ensure the survival of the monarchy in Australia. 

Sex abuse, as is alleged against Prince Andrew, involving public figures arouses community anger. Rolf Harris is in jail and unlikely to be released on parole until 2017 because of sex offences against young girls.

 Jimmy Savile, another entertainer accused of sex crimes, also misled a trusting and adoring public. 

The allegations against Prince Andrew may never be proved, but the sense of scandal will add to a resurgence of republicanism when the Queen ends her reign. 

The republican referendum in 1999 was defeated not because Australians favoured retaining the monarchy, which was obvious from polling before the referendum, but because they could not decide on how to proceed. What is certain following the reign of Elizabeth II is that the question of Australia becoming a republic will return.