Another royal visit is upon us and the media is in its customary spin cycle. There will be wall to wall coverage of Will and Kate shaking hands with politicians, waving at the small crowd of royal watchers and giving dull and predictable speeches about the mutual love and respect Britain and Australia have for one another. The odd article or sound bite will be given to a token republican trying to spoil the party by pointing out the sheer lunacy of it all. In this case Australian Republican Movement national director, David Morris wrote an excellent piece for the Herald. And then we are back to normal. Gushing colonials eager to name another road or hospital after our British betters.
I don’t want to be a Grinch. If Australia was an independent republic and people wanted to fawn over the royals and follow every minute detail of their celebrity lives, I would be all for it. People love gossip and celebrity culture and making heroes out of people who can kick a ball well, sing a song or in this case live in a castle and help charity (by turning up at expensive dinners and such). It’s all fine with me. Some Americans are equally interested in royal events and sit glued to the screen watching the pomp and ceremony of births, deaths and marriages. We are a free country and people can obsess about whatever they like.
All I’ve ever wanted is my nation to have the honour and dignity it deserves with a constitution that enshrines equality and allows any of our children to rise to the top rather than the colonial document we currently have that actively discriminates against our own citizens. British royals are always welcome in Australia but like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who visited in January, they should pay their own way, not take from our tax payers. Visiting royals should be welcomed as guests not as our superiors and in this case future sovereigns.
The whole point of Project Republic was to remind Australians that the job is not yet done. It is easy to wave a flag and claim to love your country, but real patriotism involves hard work. Sometimes it requires sacrifice. If you truly love Australia and believe this is an exceptional country, every bit the equal of countries around the world, then you must raise your voice and demand a constitution worthy of a free people. A constitution that does not rely on a foreign country for leadership (even symbolic leadership) but that has faith and confidence in itself. If you believe any Australian child should be able to become our head of state rather than only the children of the British royal family, then join our cause. If you want to live in a nation that does not bend the knee to any other then get active. If you want our prime minister to pledge allegiance to the Australian people not the British Queen, then embrace the republican cause.
During this royal tour, I encourage anyone who loves Australia and wants to see it thrive and given the respect it deserves to buy a copy of Project Republic. Familiarise yourself with the arguments. Educate yourself about what our constitution currently says and what it should say. Only a groundswell of grass roots momentum will motivate our polls driven politicians to action. Let us send them a message that this is our country and we want to be free. We want a constitution that respects democracy and egalitarianism not one governed by elitism and birthright. Until the day comes when an Indigenous person, a recent migrant or a white Australian can all aim to be our head of state, the fight must go on. Our constitution must be for us not against us. Until then, it is broken – let’s fix it!