The magic of an Australian Republic: a reply to Neil Brown

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  Neil Brown suggests that the NO case should send a DVD of the film The King's Speech to every household to guarantee victory for monarchists. John Warhurst says "he's dreaming".

SOME monarchists have jumped on the film The King's Speech as evidence of the superiority of the monarchy. Such a reaction is not new. Monarchists often act like this when they want to personalise the constitutional debate by concentrating on a member of the Royal family with attractive features. One important difference between republicans and monarchists is that republicans are egalitarians and believe that virtues like humanity and service are widespread throughout the community. Monarchists on the other hand see such virtues concentrated in monarchs and members of their Royal families. That is why republicans believe in democracy and in democratic political structures. We see magic in such democracy and in the people while monarchists talk of the magic of the monarchy.

Neil Brown

Fraser Government Federal Minister Neil Brown, writing in the current issue of The Spectator Australia, claims  that the evident humanity and commitment to service of King George VI will be a knockout blow in any future referendum on an Australian republic. Indeed he suggests that the NO case should send a DVD of the film to every household to guarantee victory for the monarchy. He is dreaming. Monarchs and members of Royal families can be humane, brave and/or dedicated to service. Of course they can. But so can many or even most people. We see it demonstrated around Australia every day. Republicans believe in the sovereignty of people and in their virtues. We don't  believe that members of the Royal Family, whether it is Princess Anne  in her contribution at the Victorian bush fires memorial service (lauded by Brown) or Prince William, to name just two, have special features not found among the Australian community or among our elected representatives. Humanity is a good thing wherever it is found. Of course it is. But no amount of humanity in any member of the Royal family will change the  constitutional  argument in favour of Australia becoming a republic. The argument for an Australian republic does not depend upon monarchs being indifferent or uncaring as Brown suggests. Brown misunderstands. The issue is more important than that. The argument is not personal but based on the virtues of egalitarianism and democracy. Australians understand that and no film about members of the British Royal Family, no matter how humane and personable they are, will change their preference for an Australian republic at a future referendum.  
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