The myth treatment of the monarchy’s power

Cathy WilcoxCredit:.

Sean Kelly says the late Queen “is still a myth, with all that entails” (Comment, 12/9). In fact that’s the monarchy’s greatest strength: not so much the power of the position, but its ability to fill the void in each individual’s imagination to suit changing circumstances. We can invest the person of the monarch with whatever attributes we want, and believe they’re true, no matter how contradictory they may be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s also quite compatible with moving towards a republic. The only worry is that we may end up confusing the idea of a constitutional monarchy with what we expect from an elected president – a different myth altogether.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

Death will not prove a catalyst
It is difficult to see how the death of Queen Elizabeth II will be the catalyst for a fresh debate on an Australian republic.
The nature of politics, particularly progressive politics, has changed significantly since the 1999 referendum on the matter. The politics of the individual and the section of society with which they identify has become much more prominent at the expense of broader national categories such as ″⁣citizen″⁣ or ″⁣republican″⁣. We will soon get used to, or forget, that Charles is now King of Australia.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

Let the reign fall over England
We were very fortunate to have had Queen Elizabeth II as our constitutional monarch over the past 70 years. She earned both our respect and our affection through her actions, her demeanor and her unwavering commitment to duty to the very end. She was the rock that held her family together, not only through what she described as her ″⁣annus horribilis″⁣ of 1992, but through a seemingly endless progression of scandals and feuds. Looking at the history of the monarchy it’s clear that Elizabeth II was quite different to the ″⁣normal″⁣ royal that has been served up over time. Now the Queen is gone and we, as subjects, are left with her family.
Long may King Charles III reign – over England.
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool

King should move swiftly on the environment
The editorial (11/9) refers to the new king’s passion for the environment. King Charles III understands that in his new role he must remain apolitical and this I understand. However, what I do not understand is why caring for the environment is now considered political. I have read many books on climate change and why we have failed to act appropriately. The best I can proffer about its politicisation is that the Republican Party in the US made it so because in the 1980s and early 1990s Republican voters were as concerned about climate change as Democrat voters. The Republican elite and their backers knew this was untenable as far as climate change denialism was concerned and set out to politicise the issue to mitigate the power of the truth of climate change power. They successfully made the climate change a ″⁣progressive″⁣ issue thereby dividing the nation. This they did by aligning climate change denialism with other conservative beliefs.
The king should not be beholden to the ruse that the environment is a political matter. The editorial says the king needs ″⁣skill and restraint″⁣ in dealing with the matter. The time for restraint is long gone.
Phil Labrum, Flemington

There will still be inequality
Your correspondent (Letters, 11/9) is at best naive if, as the letter would seem to imply, they believe that a republican Australia will wipe out the inequality between rich and poor and the powerful and the powerless. If this view is indicative of the republican ethos then we are in for a bumpy ride. Despite being a dyed in the wool royalist, I’m not against an independent Australia by any means but this view of what it means is dangerous.
Colin Wilson-Evered, Forest Hill


‘Obedience’ is wrong
In the proclamation of King Charles III, the Governor-General David Hurley said (inter alia), “We promise him faith and obedience.“
“Faith”, yes. There is no doubt we trust and are confident that he will fulfil the role with diligence. But “obedience”? That word means, in plain English, that we will comply with “any order, request, or law” he makes. The wording of the statement may be said to have been prescribed by “protocol”, but surely a caveat should have been added, – “subject to the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth and states of Australia”.
I do not consider myself a republican, but the statement was just wrong.
Paul Nisselle, AM, Middle Park

Empirical evidence
I am sure many people will be dismayed at Karen Attiah’s article ″⁣We must speak the ugly truth about empire″⁣ (12/9). However she does speak to many truths: not only about the British Empire but highlights the atrocities of other empires eg, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese. Think of the British and French empires and how they carved up the Levant, the consequences of which are still with us today. They all bear responsibility for death, dispossession, war and poverty. We need only to look to the colonisation of Australia and its disastrous impact on our First Nations people.
Judith Morrison, Nunawading

Independent head
It is possible to support the British monarchy and to support Australia being a republic at the same time.
Constitutional monarchy has shown itself to be an excellent system of government in many countries, including Australia, however, I support an Australian republic because I believe Australia should have its own, independent, head of state.
James Proctor, Maiden Gully

Not reassuring
John Howard, a staunch monarchist who sabotaged the republic referendum, found the late Queen a ″⁣reassuring presence″⁣ (Comment, 10/9). The Queen may have been well read and informed and dedicated to her role and I admired her for the way she carried out her duties, but how was she reassuring? She could not influence Australian politics, she could not intervene if something went astray in our body politic. In fact she could no more influence or have practical impact than any other celebrity, which if taking the current emotion out of the discussion, is all she really was.
The simple fact is she was a woman who, by accident of birth, became the head of state of England and a host of other countries including Australia. It matters little that she held a stated affection for Australia and visited here many times. The fact remains she was not an Australian citizen and the least this country deserves is an Australian citizen to be our head of state.
Ross Hudson,
Mount Martha

Nostalgia’s lens
Such an outpouring of nostalgia for the demise of the Queen. My own view would be that she would be vastly amused by the retrospective view of her long reign. I think she always showed herself to be very much aware of today’s world in her demeanour. Looking at the media coverage which I have seen, it seems to be so backward looking in the service of nostalgia.
It’s almost embarrassing to be made aware of the degree of forelock tugging and cultural cringe that was endemic at the time. It’s a time that is long past and we are well rid of these prejudices and attitudes of so long ago.
Her long reign embraced a huge cultural change of attitudes in many areas of which she was no doubt aware. It’s now very easy to use her death for many to bring up all those political issues during her time which were controversial at the time. Any politicisation of her death should be greatly regretted.
John Paine, Kew East

A joyous ride
As a young lad of 12 I was excited to hear the Queen was visiting the Yarra Valley (1954) to stay at Warburton. I set all our gates open and prepared my route on our property that ran alongside the train tracks.
I saddled “Norrie” (my horse) and waited. Upon the train meeting our place I galloped the full length of our boundary 200 metres, waving to the Queen. She came out onto the carriage observation deck and waved back.
Reflecting upon this, I hope she enjoyed my jubilation and horsemanship. It was a joyous event.
Neil Stoney, Woori Yallock

No points for AFLW
I’m no monarchist. And I love my AFL. Indeed our family have pored over the AFLW fixtures to decide which games we’ll go to this season, as well as tuning in to watch every game of the opening. But the decision to not honour the Queen at the weekend’s games has left a bad taste in my mouth. In fact it has made me question our support of this season if this is what ″⁣inclusion″⁣ looks like. It’s not too late AFLW to admit you made a mistake.
Andrew Laird,

Flaws in the Loop
Western suburbs residents are justified in their anger over inadequate spending on public transport in their suburbs (“Trains in outer west not on track”, 12/9).
The Suburban Rail Loop is Victoria’s largest infrastructure project and is set to cost a generation’s worth of spending.
Forecast patronage rates are flawed. One expert on the matter states, “Despite going nowhere near the densely populated centre of Melbourne, the Suburban Rail Loop Authority [government agency tasked with planning and delivering the project] predicts that the SRL in 2056 on a single line will carry almost as many passengers as the entire network does now.
″⁣If this forecast were to materialise it would make Melbourne an extraordinarily unusual city – possibly the only city in the world with a rail network whose busiest line goes nowhere near its centre or most densely populated area.“
The federal government has not committed as much money to SRL as was anticipated. The state government refuses to explain where the shortfall in funding will come from. With the Loop costing so much and benefiting so few, many Victorians will be left worse off.
Yvonne Bowyer,
Surrey Hills

Wattle it be, Australia?
There are an amazing variety of beautiful wattles blooming around Victoria and Royal Park is one place to see them in all their glory for the next few weeks.
When I was young, we celebrated September 1 at school as Wattle Day and were issued with a little badge depicting a spray of wattle to wear.
Apparently there is always somewhere in Australia where wattles are blooming. Our national flower is the Golden Wattle and our sporting colours are the green and gold of the wattle.
So wouldn’t Wattle Day be the perfect day to celebrate as Australia Day.
Ann Kriegler,

Too much greenery
I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, however, it seems as though VicRoads is trying to merge with Parks Victoria. Given the vegetation growing from roads, road separators, traffic islands, gutters, and so on, one can only assume this is its intention.
Surely some preventative maintenance is in order to prevent costly repair works and flooding. I’ve seen flower beds and trees growing out of concrete.
Jarrod Hall, Bentleigh

Glued to our Queen
Sorry, (Letters, 12/9) but football is not the glue that binds everyone together. I, and many people I know, both family members and friends, past and present, have no interest in football whatsoever.
Many thousands of people around Australia, in fact around the world, are bound together by music, be it singing in choirs or playing in instrumental groups, both large and small. But these rarely make it onto the front page of the newspaper.
Articles and photos relating to the death of the Queen are quite rightly (albeit sadly) front page news at present.
Joy Hayman, Blackburn North

Ay, there’s the rub
We had the privilege of seeing Hamlet, performed by the Met Opera in the cinema. Brett Dean’s music is incredible, a total masterpiece. However, what also struck me was that Shakespeare’s observations are still relevant. My quick Hamlet interpretation is:
1) A man wants to be a king.
2) He’ll do anything, even kill his brother, to get what he wants.
3) Consequently everyone else’s life and the civilisation turns to misery.
(Even the poor jester Yorick dies a non-comic hurtful death.)
Politics power, revenge, corruption, fake news.
Replacing the title role of King Claudius with “ex-president” or “ex-prime minister″⁣ modernises the 419-year-old tragic play perfectly.
Nothing ever really seems to change.
David Farrands, Box Hill South

No delights next year
Max Gawn declared a ″⁣Demon Dynasty″⁣ 10 minutes after the 2021 grand final. I was hoping for something less than the Ming of 276 years and sure enough the Demon one lasted for all of 350 days. Dynasties are not frequent things so sorry (Letters, 12/9), I don’t think the Dees will be back next year.
Paul Gooley, Ringwood East

Clash in the air
But what will happen to the traditional Queen’s Birthday Melbourne-Collingwood clash?
David Johnston, Healesville

Whet your knowledge
If I never knew what was meant by the term saturation coverage I do now.
John Walsh, Watsonia


The Queen
The British parliament is not shutting its doors for 15 days after the Queen’s death. Why is our parliament following such an absurd protocol? The Queen herself wouldn’t shut up shop at the palace at her passing.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

Surely, Australia could become a republic and remain in the Commonwealth, thus satisfying everyone.
Jacki Burgess, Port Melbourne

Karen Attiah (Comment, 12/9) enumerates the more recent colonial brutality in Kenya in 1952. Elizabeth II “presided” over that period. Context and truth telling is all important whenever an occupation occurs.
Peter Russo, West Brunswick

Your correspondent (Letters, 12/9) says a republic gave America Donald Trump. Well, the monarchy gave Britain Boris Johnson.
Malcolm Fraser, Oakleigh South

Republic discussion: if not now, when?
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

Will the Queen’s reign of 70 years or age of 96 eclipse Sir Donald Bradman’s Test batting average of 99.94 as the figure most enshrined in the national psyche?
Mark Cherny, Caulfield North

Yes, (Letters, 12/9), climate change is “a global existential crisis”; it is also a matter of science and justice, never the politics into which it was twisted.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

The magnificent sweeping curves of the Southern Cross Station roof are beautiful (Letters, 12/9). The judges of the architectural competition probably did not need to find a train, carrying heavy luggage, during the rush-hour.
John Hughes, Mentone

One of the most long-standing, prolific, insightful and entertaining commentators to The Age has revealed herself as being aged 91. Long may you continue to write Myra.
Edward Combes, Wheelers Hill

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