Extravagant royal PR jaunts solidify need for Australian Republic

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"[T]he Monarchy and their extravagant royal visits are illogical and absurd," says Carey Moore. “We must cut ties to the monarchy and put a stop to this wasteful nonsense.”

According to The Courier Mail, The Queen of the United Kingdom and her husband, tired of their stressful life of aristocratic opulence, are planning a getaway to Australia — for which, of course, we will be footing the expensive bill.

The Queen does visit Australia a lot. And while it is flattering that she chooses this corner of the globe to spend her time (a sentiment just about every media source runs with) the real reason she most likely visits is to try and keep the monarchy relevant in a nation that no longer wants it. While monarchists will come out and declare this is a celebration of our culture and will uplift our spirits, really it is nothing more than a publicly-paid PR exercise. And while it might improve the monarchy’s image, it actually just solidifies the argument for a republic.

Imagine, if you will, that, instead of the Queen, we had an unpopular Prime Minister. Conveniently, we actually have one of those. Let’s pretend that Prime Minister Gillard, decided that, in order to try and reclaim some popularity amongst Australians – let’s say, particularly in Queensland and Western Australia, where she is poison, and maybe Victoria, where her vote was way too high last time and runs the risk of tumbling back to earth – she decides to go on a national tour. Sure, PMs do that all the time.

However, rather than it being a policy tour, it is a holiday. And on top of that, we pay for this holiday. Not just minor transport, security and logistical costs but for everything. Imagine that Ms Gillard and her partner don’t live cheap. They enjoy the finest things. Also, it wouldn’t be a tour involving a lot of walking and greeting. The most many will get to see of her, is a glimpse of her in her car, as she drives past crowds of adoring supporters. And, other than a few photo ops involving patting some koalas, observing an Indigenous ceremony, showing interest in some local industry and pretending to enjoy consuming some local food, she remains aloof and unreachable.

Now, imagine that her biggest supporters where completely open about the fact that the tour is just to improve Labor’s image. Imagine that politicians from both sides will be welcoming her with reverence. Imagine all the news outlets covering how popular “our Prime Minister” is, using a grab of an interview with some older woman who is clearly a life-long supporter of Labor to act as the typical sample of how Australians are feeling right now. Imagine during that same news broadcast, one dissenting voice is heard but, rather than their views being treated as valid, they are portrayed as a sour crackpot. Imagine also, the next round of polling says something to the effect of “30 per cent want to keep the PM, 55 per cent want her gone” but that is interpreted as the PM being popular, because only 55% want to get rid of her. And finally, imagine, when asked to justify all of this extravagance, the PM’s supporters all just say that it’s because “it’s who we are!” and “it’s tradition!”

Sound like a horrible scenario? Replace Gillard with the Queen and the ALP with the Crown and this is exactly what happens every time the Queen or another member of the royal family comes to visit Australia. You wouldn’t tolerate such behaviour from the PM and you definitely wouldn’t tolerate it from a republican head of state.

In a nation that prides itself on being vigilant against excesses enjoyed by those in power, the Monarchy and their extravagant royal visits are illogical and absurd. We must cut ties to the monarchy and put a stop to this wasteful nonsense. Then, if the Queen wants to visit, she and the UK government can pay for it, just like every other visiting Head of State.

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