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Australia's future monarchy: a view from the Republic of France

By Alan Austin - posted Monday, 4 June 2012


Queen Elizabeth's 60th jubilee celebrations this week are stirring debate on the monarchy worldwide.

Australian ex-pats in Europe are in a powerful position to judge. We live near several monarchies and close to many republics. We live in one of them.

So the way forward for Australia – a unique visionary future – should come from one of us. Specifically, me.

All Europeans I have spoken with are surprised to hear Australia is a monarchy still. After Australia's Tour de France win, amazing economic management in tough times, success as Olympic host in 2000, prominence in international wine shows and having given the world Fosters Lager, Torquay surf wear and Hugh Jackman, Australia is seen as a progressive, independent, no-nonsense New World nation.

Surprise turns to shock and dismay when it is revealed that Australia's royals are in fact not Australian, but a German family living in England. And it doesn't seem to alleviate the consternation when it is pointed out that this status is shared with Belize, Tuvalu, Grenada, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

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Aussie expats here have a range of views on the way forward. We agree change ought not come while the present monarch is still with us. But after that?

Shall Australia continue with the next in line in the Haice of Windsor – Prince Charles? Well, yes, there have been speculative calls for the succession to skip a generation to the more marketable Prince William. The more decisive strategy – for a complete genetic break via the enthronement of Prince Harry – does not have widespread support.

The problem with continuation, of course, is that on the hottest issue of the day in Australia – the sanctity of traditional Judeo-Christian marriage – the Saxe-Coburg-Windsors have been no help whatsoever.

That and whenever Her Majesty opens a British Parliament she vows to build England's economy by destroying Australia's and New Zealand's.

Another option is the move made already by most former colonies to a republic with a home-grown head of state. But there are two persuasive arguments against: the necessity of ties to Old Europe and the sad reality of Australia's immaturity.

Fortunately there is a third alternative. One yet to receive the analysis and accolades it deserves. This enables Australians to cling to the apron strings of an archaic European dynasty and at the same time have an Aussie king. Win-win.

All Australia has to do is simply switch allegiance from the British royal family to that of Denmark!

Admittedly the present ruler, Margrethe II, is Danish. The next, Prince Frederik, is Danish as a pastry also. But after that? Third in line is Prince Christian – son of Frederik and Mary of Hobart – who is half Aussie.

With Mary's regular visits home, it's highly likely young Chris will in due course also marry a strapping Tassie lass. So fourth in line will be three quarters Australian. And so on.

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The upside of this is enormous. Australia will be elevated to the same status as Greenland and the Faroe Islands, with which it has so much in common.

Links to the Old World are not only retained but fortified; the Danish royal lineage goes back to the 10th century Viking kings Harald Bluetooth and Gorm the Old.

The Danish monarch still has reserve powers to exert executive authority over the government. So King Chris, and then eventually Queen Kylie or King Jayden, can still turf out any future Whitlamesque upstart.

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About the Author

Alan Austin is an Australian freelance journalist currently based in Nīmes in the South of France. His special interests are overseas development, Indigenous affairs and the interface between the religious communities and secular government. As a freelance writer, Alan has worked for many media outlets over the years and been published in most Australian newspapers. He worked for eight years with ABC Radio and Television’s religious broadcasts unit and seven years with World Vision. His most recent part-time appointment was with the Uniting Church magazine Crosslight.

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