Another Generation of an Enduring Institution

The birth of any baby is a significant event that should be celebrated. When that child is destined to be a future King the celebration takes on a broader significance. While being of royal lineage doesn’t make one baby any better than another, it is the role expected of the new Prince that is cause for reflection.

There are many who deem the role of the Crown an anachronism only worthy of maintenance as a tourist attraction for visitors to England. Certainly those involved with the Australian Republican Movement see little to recommend its continued presence in the Australian Constitution. Incredibly, these proponents maintain that the role of the Crown in our constitutional affairs is minor, trivial or worse and yet they seek to replicate its function in almost every one of the models they put forward. This suggests that the Crown, however minor its role may be perceived to be in our national governance, is important.

In short, the Crown acts as a safety valve. In times of constitutional crisis, rather than a quick draw of the guns of dismissal between the Prime Minister and the Governor-General, the Crown can obtain advice – thereby delaying an overzealous Prime Minister from acting for purely political reasons.

As such, the Crown acts above the political machinations of the day and provides a further limit on power being vested in a single individual.

Whether by quirk of fate, deliberate design or blind luck, the framers of our Constitution have provided an enduring model that is the envy of democratic nations across the globe. Our Constitution was written by Australians, for Australians and endorsed by the populace in a series of referenda. They recognised then what many conservatives still do today; that the Crown is a vital part of our system of national governance. Accordingly it shouldn’t be dispensed with lightly; the wisdom of which was reflected by the Australian people in the 1999 republic referendum.

We now have three generations of successors to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Therein lies a further appeal of the enduring nature of the Monarchy; there are few surprises. The hereditary lineage provides an opportunity to foresee, with a limited degree of certainty, what is to come. If, for example, you are not inspired by the impending rule of Charles then the prospect of King William may give you hope and optimism for the future.

For many people, it is the eternal truths and enduring institutions that provide a sense of structure in an increasingly chaotic world. For Australians, the constitutional monarchy is part of that structure. Today marks the arrival of a baby boy who provides further strength to one of the world’s strongest, most dignified and most enduring institutions.

So while our congratulations are extended to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, we should be celebrating the birth of the new Prince as a lasting benefit to our nation.

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