Deep down, you love the monarchy. You accept that it’s impractical, you know it runs on tax payers’ money, you’re jealous of Kate Middleton, but you love them. The reason you love them is because of this very impracticality.
If you judge the monarchy and Australia’s place beneath it based on its ‘practicality’, you miss the point. Australia’s head of state is not there to be efficient – quite the opposite. The Queen is there to be a figurehead, to command respect, and personify Australia’s – and a quarter of the world’s – history. History matters because we are just living on the next page of it. If history doesn’t matter, today doesn’t matter – so we must value history. And so, the monarchy matters.
I challenge you to fault the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Your head of state literally fought the Nazis in World War II. She entertains presidents and has to shake hands with dirty school children. She is the longest ruling monarch and a great-grandmother. What have you done today?
Indeed, I agree that Australian politics has lost the trust of the Australian people. I am, after all, an Australian citizen, and I just witnessed a disgustingly low vote for the Natural Party of Government (the Coalition (obviously)).
But, my fellow Australians, you are heading down the wrong path if you believe that throwing away a lot of what makes Australia great will revolutionise the Australian political system overnight. A half-hearted Republican push is not going to improve the Australian system. Think of this as Australia’s Brexit.
Australia’s history is the history of discovery, of bravery, and of expansion. The rock through the good and the bad has been the monarchy – and it now serves as a history which should be used to inspire the future. Change for the sake of change is inefficient, but change out of desperation is dangerous.
Some, of course, disagree. Some will point to atrocities committed against the indigenous peoples of the new world and argue that this mismanagement outweighs any good our ancestors achieved. I am not arguing for the glorification of the dark pages of our history, I am arguing for the good ones. The Monarchy should mould to current day opinion, and reflect its subjects. Indigenous Australians and Australians from abroad ought not feel uninvited from the party that is the Monarchy, but should rally towards its open doors. The monarchy should be a source of pride for all who live beneath it.
I agree the monarchy is not perfect, but we should not deem it beyond repair. Many Australian’s feel disconnected, or even just uninformed, about our head of State. I would advocate for a renewed push of pride for the monarchy – the type of push that led Australians to name states after Queen Victoria, to volunteer and die to serve the empire against evils, and to build statues of our leaders.
In classic millennial style, my readers are asking themselves what can they get out of it. I would reply, ask not what your monarchy can do for you, but what you can do for your monarchy.
If the past doesn’t convince you, perhaps the dystopian future will. Picture a future with Tony Abbott as President of Australia. That phrase was hard to type. If you’re telling yourself you’d never elect him, you already did in 2013. Far better to live under an unelected but dignified monarchy with no real power, than under an elected but humiliating President with executive authority.
So, Australia, vote no for a republic. If Australia replaces the monarchy with a power hungry Australian president, I guarantee you will wake up the next day and feel as if a little bit of you has died.