Tag Archives: Tony Abbott

IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!

queen-elizabeth-parliament-opening

According to the BBC’s website:   “Almost all of Australia’s state and territory leaders have signed a document in support of the country becoming a republic.”

This follows republican Malcolm Turnbull replacing monarchist Tony Abbot as prime minister of Australia.   Both men are Liberals.  The Liberal Party in Australia is actually the nation’s conservative party.  Mr. Turnbull feels that this is not the time for a republic – it would be best to wait until the Queen’s reign ends.

Elizabeth II has been Queen of Australia for more than half the country’s existence as an independent nation.   Nobody speaks ill of the Queen, who has been a conscientious monarch, serving the country well.   But Australia has changed in the fifty years since the queen’s first Australian prime minister, Sir Robert Menzies, was in charge.   Sir Robert was an ardent monarchist who attended the coronation of the monarch in 1953.

At the time, Sir Winston Churchill was the British prime minister.  When the nine Commonwealth prime ministers met for their bi-annual conference, they spent a great deal of their time discussing defense matters.   The Korean War was ending and there were serious threats to the British Empire in Egypt, where the new radical government of Gamal Abdul Nasser wanted to gain control of the Suez Canal, a move that would later deal a fatal blow to the whole idea of empire.

Today, the Commonwealth has 53 members, almost all of whom are non-white and mostly have different ideals and priorities to the mother country.

Trade ties have declined with Britain’s industrial decline.  Australia now has closer ties with Asia than with Britain.

Demographic trends also mean that there are less people of British descent in Australia.

It’s interesting to note that the new Canadian prime minister feels very differently to Mr. Turnbull.  In December, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was in Malta for the latest Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.   The BBC asked him if he had any plans to make Canada a republic, something his father favored when he was PM.  Justin Trudeau, thirty years later, replied:  “No, we are very happy with our Queen, the Queen of Canada.”   Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party is a left-wing party, so very different from Mr. Turnbull’s Liberal Party.

Why the difference in attitudes toward the Crown?

I suspect the answer lies in the word “identity.”

Canada was founded by Loyalists who did not want to be a part of the new American Republic after the American Revolution.   They asked for independence in 1864 while the US was fighting a Civil War.  They did not think much of the American form of government, adopting a system more in line with Great Britain.   They wanted to retain the British Head of State, Queen Victoria, as their own monarch.   They laid the foundation of the Commonwealth.  Australia, New Zealand and South Africa followed their example.   These nations were the mainstays of the British Commonwealth until after World War II, when India, Pakistan and Ceylon joined the club.

Canada’s identity, dwarfed by its more powerful southern neighbor, is bound up in the monarchy.   It needs to retain the link in order to maintain its sovereignty, separate and distinct from the United States.

The same dynamics do not apply in Australia, though a case can certainly be made for preserving Australia’s distinctly unique way of life, separate from other nations in the region.  The link with the Crown is a part of Australia’s cultural heritage, which sets it apart from most other countries in the region.

magazine has been in favor of an Australian republic ever since the issue was first raised, describing the queen as “Elizabeth the Last.” But even The Economist admits that it will lead to ten years of political instability, as the ripple effects will require a number of constitutional changes.   Perhaps now is not a good time to change the system.

It should also be pointed out that, approximately half the population remains very loyal to the monarchy, so any change could be divisive.

Interestingly, whereas many Australians who favor a republic would prefer the US system, it’s not likely to happen.   Politicians prefer the German or Irish system, replacing the Queen with a figurehead president appointed by parliament.   This is not a very good system.   While the monarch is above politics, any political appointee inevitably won’t be.   It should also be remembered that, when the German president, Paul von Hindenburg, died in office, the new Chancellor did away with the office and had himself proclaimed Fuhrer.   The rest, as they say, is history!

It’s also interesting to note that the Toronto based organization “Democracy Watch” recently listed the seven most democratic countries in the world.   All were constitutional monarchies, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.   The United States was not in the top seven.   Sadly, America has become less democratic in recent decades, as big business together with lobbyists seem to determine everything in politics.   Add to that the influence of the media – elections are increasingly just personality contests.  Reality TV has taken over.

An additional factor for Australia to consider is that constitutional monarchy is the cheapest political system.

Christians should also remember I Peter 2:17 – “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the king.”

It might be good for everyone to ponder on the old maxim:   “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

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INTERNATIONAL REPORT

Lindt Cafe

Katrina Dawson was 38-years-old. She was described by the London Daily Mail as a “brilliant young barrister (lawyer) and mother of three.” She was one of the hostages who died in the Sydney café that was held up by a deranged cleric from Iran. Another hostage, Tori Johnson, 34, the café manager, also died, shot while trying to wrestle a shotgun out of the hostage-takers’ hands.

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott apologized to Australians for the failure of security services, in not preventing the incident. The man had a history of violence and was known to be an Islamic extremist.

The perpetrator of this awful crime was an immigrant from Iran, given refuge through the generosity and benevolence of the Australian government and people. Australia’s immigration policies are the root cause of the problem here.   Not even the very conservative Mr. Abbott was ready to call for change.

That means more Australians will die at the hands of Islamic extremists.

Quick to capitalize on the situation, left-wingers started a twitter campaign.

#Illridewithyou was the hashtag, in a campaign to encourage Australians to “adopt” a Muslim on the way to work, so they wouldn’t be attacked by angry mobs.

But . . . there were no angry mobs.

Australians are, in the main, an easy-going people who welcome strangers, including Muslim immigrants. There was absolutely no need for a campaign to accompany Muslims to work.

There is, however, a serious need for changes to immigration policy – and not just in Australia!

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There seems to be a greater awareness of the threat posed by Muslim immigration in Germany, where another demonstration took place last weekend, this time in Dresden. Fears of “Islamization” prompted the demonstration, which some claim was driven by neo-Nazis.

At this point, that is questionable.

But one thing is for sure – if nothing is done to curtail Muslim immigration, modern day Nazis will capitalize on the public’s anxiety and we could see a repeat of the 1930’s.

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The 1950s were very much in the news in the United States this week, as news programs remembered the Cuban revolution and Fidel Castro’s coming to power.

It’s been 55 years since Castro came to power, presiding over the first communist government in the western hemisphere. In 1962, tension over Soviet plans to place nuclear weapons on the island, only 500 miles from Florida, led to a major confrontation between Washington and Moscow and threatened a nuclear conflict.

In 1960, economic sanctions were placed on Cuba by the United States. Those sanctions remained in effect for over 50 years. This week, President Obama announced his intention to restore diplomatic relations with the island nation and request Congress to lift the embargo. Pope Francis had used his influence to broker a deal between the two countries, which included the release of long-time prisoners by both nations.

The sanctions have not made sense for a long time. If the US can trade with communist China and communist Vietnam, then why not Cuba?

However, the president seems to have missed out on an opportunity to push for some concessions from Cuba. Although American companies may benefit from investment and trade opportunities, the greater benefit will be to the Cuban people, who should see greater job opportunities and an eventual rise in their standard of living.

 

PRINCE HARRY’S VISIT TO AUSTRALIA

Prince Harry and Aus

Prince Harry reviewed the Australian fleet last Saturday.  It was the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy’s first entry into Sydney Harbour.  On the same trip, the prince made a surprise visit to Perth to meet members of the SAS who have served in Afghanistan, where the prince himself has also served.

Prince Harry is now fourth in line to the throne following the birth of his nephew, Prince George.

The new Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is a committed royalist, having expressed the view that the monarchy has served Australia well.  The two prime ministers before him, both socialists, were in favor of an Australian republic, replacing the Queen with a figurehead president appointed by parliament, a change that would only give the politicians more power.  Even the pro-republic Economist magazine said that such a significant change would be followed by at least ten years of political instability.

While Australia is a fairly new country, having attained independence in 1901, it is interesting to note that it is the world’s seventh oldest democracy.

Australia, Canada and New Zealand are all constitutional monarchies, sometimes referred to as Commonwealth Realms, nations within the Commonwealth that retain a direct link with the Crown.  There are sixteen Commonwealth Realms.  The other 37 members of the Commonwealth, an organization made up of former British colonies, are republics, with their own presidents.  Many of these have had a politically volatile history.

Australia, Canada and New Zealand are nations that have been truly blessed in modern history – blessed with political stability, which has enabled them to enjoy great prosperity.  That political stability owes a great deal to the continued royal link.

Canada was the first to seek independence from Great Britain, back in 1864, at a time when its neighbor, the United States, was fighting a Civil War.  There was no temptation to adopt the US model of government.  Indeed, Canada was founded by royalists fleeing the US after the Revolutionary War.  In the War of 1812, Canadians remained loyal to Britain, asserting their right to follow a different path from the United States.

Canadians wanted independence under the Crown.  They became the Dominion of Canada, the term dominion inspired by Psalm 72:8:  ‘“He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.”

Australia, New Zealand and South Africa all followed, becoming dominions in 1901, 1905 and 1910 respectively.  South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961 over its apartheid policies but joined again after apartheid as an independent republic within the organization.

These dominions were a major military force, fighting with Britain in a number of conflicts, including both world wars.  They are amongst the most stable of all the world’s countries and act as magnets for immigrants from less fortunate countries.  Sadly, many of those immigrants fail to understand or appreciate the constitutional arrangement that has contributed so greatly to the stability of these nations.