House debates

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


Succession to the Crown Bill 2015; Second Reading

5:33 pm

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I grew up during my childhood watching the great Australia-England Ashes test matches, watching Geoffrey Boycott bat. That gave me a distinct dislike of the English! I was originally in Germany when I first visited the UK. I flew across from Germany into London airport. That was the first time I, as a young man, was going to England where my heritage and roots were and where the British monarchy was.

I remember going through Customs and there was one line for EU residents. As I was on the plane from Germany I was about the only person who was a non-EU resident. All the Germans went straight through Customs there in London. I was in another queue that basically had the sign 'Aliens.' I was in a queue with South Americans, Africans and people who hardly spoke English, thinking, 'Hang on a minute, I'm actually going to where my Queen lives.'

It made me question and think about the legitimacy and whether we actually should have a constitutional monarchy in this country. After a lot of thought, I came to realise that we truly have the best system and that we are very lucky.

There is an old saying: 'If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.' Our constitutional monarchy has served us well for well over a century. I remember a few years ago when the Queen visited our parliament here, in the Great Hall. We were there with our wives and friends. Many staffers were there and the Great Hall was full of people. Everyone was mingling in the middle of the hall. The Queen made her entrance and walked up through the middle where the official platform was. Everyone basically had to part way. I can remember at the time being pushed and shoved to the back by all those avid republicans. They were so keen to get to the front of the line—elbowing, shoving and stamping on people's feet so they could get to the front of the line to ensure they could see their Queen. In fact, it was the most avid republicans who were pushing to the front.

I heard the member for Griffith speak in this debate. I hope I do not misquote her here and I apologise if I do. I believe the words she used were: 'Labor have a clear platform for a republic.' We know that the Labor Party have a great hang-up on this issue, going back to the dismissal of their great hero Gough Whitlam. They see that his reign as Prime Minister was somehow stolen by the Governor-General. But of course they forget our history, that the Governor-General basically brought on an election. We know that, at that election, the people of this country said that the Governor-General was right and voted out the Whitlam government in one of the biggest landslides in this country's history.

The member for Griffith said that Labor have a clear platform for a republic. I say it is as clear as mud. Firstly, what type of republic are you proposing? If you think that there is a better system than we have here in our constitutional monarchy, stand up and tell us what type of republic you would like. Whether we call them the President of the head of state, how would that person be selected? Would it be a popular vote? If it is a popular vote, it simply then becomes a political contest. If we have a political contest with popular vote, we simply elect another politician. Do we want another elected politician in a popular contest to be the President of this country? What powers would they have? To those that think it would be better to have another elected politician, Margaret Thatcher said:

Those who imagine that a politician would make a better figurehead than a hereditary monarch might perhaps make the acquaintance of more politicians.

As I said, if it simply ain't broke, you don't try and fix it. We should be looking for whether there is a better system. If we look through our history, in fact, if we look around the world today at all the countries in turmoil, we realise—


Gerrtit Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.
Posted on 4 Apr 2015 7:10 pm