No need to look overseas for history and ceremony

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Constitutional monarchy
There will be an opportune time, once Queen Elizabeth II has been laid to rest, to engage in a serious and mature debate about our place beyond the parameters and confines associated with the British monarchy. We are witnessing a splendid spectacle, as only the Brits can do, to honour the life of the Queen and to welcome King Charles III to the throne, demonstrating enduring relevance and meaning for the peoples of the United Kingdom.

Inevitably, the Queen’s dedicated and lengthy rule also leaves a sense of loss within and outside of the Commonwealth. Beyond that, there is little meaningful relevance for our own entwined Indigenous heritage and more recent multicultural influences that give rise to uniquely Australian values and aspirations.

We are blessed with an Indigenous culture deeply rooted in rituals and ceremonies developed over a continuity of many tens of thousands of years. That heritage may not display the same colourful pageantry as with the more short-lived British monarchy, but has a deeper spiritual significance that defines, together with our multicultural society, who we are as Australians, distinguishing us from our British counterparts.
Edward Combes, Wheelers Hill

Glorification of war
The military aesthetic, the gun salutes and parade, and even at the most personal event in their lives – their marriage – when the blokes wear weighty military garb, is the chosen public picture of the British monarchy. In this picture, the symbols of power and might, and the glorifying of war, are a fundamental truth.
Wilcox’s illustration of Uncle Jack Charles (14/9) paints the way forward: a truth we need. Let’s celebrate the culture of reconciliation, and peace and repair of the land instead.
Ceci Cairns, North Carlton

Government machinery can replace head of state
Geoffrey Robertson hits the nail on the head, as it were (“Can we do without a head of state”, The Age, 14/9). We already have in place all the machinery of government, like the High Court, Chief Justice etc to deal with so-called “constitutional crises”. Public notaries can perform the myriad ceremonial duties.
The role of Governor-General David Hurley in Morrison’s multi-ministerial madness during the previous government revealed how compromised and impotent a head of state can be. They have tended to act when they shouldn’t and didn’t act when they should. Not a good track record as we navigate life under freshly minted King Charles III.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

Worthy honour for a High Court judge
Why do we need a head of state? As the role of head of state is, desirably, titular and constitutional, the appointment of a High Court judge would seem to be a practical alternative to the concept of a popularly elected figure, where the candidates inevitably would be from the (far from popular) political sphere.
They would bring a level of legal and constitutional gravitas, removed from political or military overtones. At present, this country requires High Court judges to retire at the relatively early age of 70. The experience and judgment lost to the High Court would be most appropriate if brought to the role of a head of state.
Brian Kidd, Mt Waverley

System failed us
Your correspondent (Letters, 14/9) states that one of the main strengths of our constitutional monarchy is that is denies excessive power to politicians. I wholeheartedly agree, in theory. However, in practice, the system failed us through the duration of the previous federal parliament.
Robert Niall, North Fitzroy

Figurehead better than being dictated to
While supporting an Australian republic, I still wonder if it’s worse to have a figurehead foreign monarch or our foreign policy actively tied to and dictated by the United States?
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn


Duties sidelined
It seems ironic that Queen Elizabeth II carried on her duties at the age of 96 until a day or so before her death, yet our national parliament, at a time of urgent legislation, has seen fit to suspend sitting, putting back their agenda by several days, potentially delaying some legislation until next year.
I suspect that Her Majesty would be appalled.
Ralph Lewis, Canterbury

Undermining the cause
Let us respect the 10 days of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. As your correspondent (Letters, 12/9) eloquently expressed it, the Queen demonstrated “unwavering commitment to duty to the very end”. This centre-left, moderate republican finds the opportunistic rush to debate the republican question during a period of mourning extremely disrespectful and disappointing. At the very least it is a gross misreading of the prevailing public sentiment and could achieve the opposite effect those presently advocating hope for.
Janine McDougall, Riddells Creek

Shut down
Imagine living in a tyrannical despotic state where holding up a sign saying “Not My King” gets you threatened with arrest (“Heckler wearing Melbourne City FC shirt arrested after shouting ‘sick old man’ at Prince Andrew”, 13/9). Oh, sorry, welcome to the UK.
Brandon Mack, Deepdene

Ties unravelling
When I was born in Zeehan, Tasmania, to Australian parents it said British citizen on my birth certificate. I can remember Empire Day and cracker night. I can remember God Save the Queen being played before the feature film at the picture theatre and before footy games. I remember having to stand – and then a slow unravelling. First of all sitting. Then our own national anthem. Then our own honours. We no longer see ourselves as part of the British Empire. We are not British. We are Australian.

By all means mourn the passing of the Queen. Her death is a significant mark in time. For us in particular it represents the last vestige of loyalty to the living symbol of our colonial past. King Charles is not my King. He does not command my obedience. The monarchy is an anachronism that has served its time for Australia. Viva la Republic.
Tony Newport, Hillwood

Time to talk
To all those people who said we couldn’t talk about an Australian republic while the Queen was on the throne, time’s up, start talking.
Tim Durbridge, Brunswick

No need to change
With the Queen, we had her unbroken, high standard of service for 70 years, and our new King promises us the same. We had a person who we respected, was always polite, well-behaved, and keen to serve us for her lifetime. If we became a republic, would you like a president similar to some recent examples?

Imagine the massive amount of our taxes needed to change to a republic, and the time-wasting, inefficient period to do so. All to have a boss instead of a team.
We would do away with the King’s Birthday holiday, the “Royal” from Royal Botanic Gardens, Royal Australian Surgeons and many more organisations. More taxes spent on new coins and banknotes. And, to me, worst of all to worry about … a new flag. A republic or not? I vote No.
Lance Ross, Kooyong

Gap year
What with COVID, the Ukraine war and now the death of Her Majesty, will anything get done this year?
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South

Obeying about respect
Confusion is apparent as to what swearing to obey the King means. Some seem to suggest that it is inappropriate for Australians to say that they will obey King Charles. That, however, is to misconstrue the matter. The promise to obey the Crown is simply one of the two sides to the key constitutional principle of allegiance. The other is the Crown’s duty to protect a subject.

The obedience to which allegiance refers is to the Australian Crown as a body politic. It simply means that the law will be obeyed. With limited exceptions, the Crown as head of the executive has no power to direct anyone to do anything unless Parliament has empowered it to do so; in other words, according to law. It makes sense as a system: parliament makes laws, people are obliged to obey them and the executive enforces this. The judiciary resolves disputes in this and other respects.

To the extent that I promise to obey the law so also does my neighbour; I can then expect my property and person to be protected against depredations by my neighbour.
I would not want to live in a society where people were not explicitly obligated to obey the law.
David Wishart, Eltham

Reconciliation required
I agree with Mohammad Chowdhury that blaming the late Queen for the excesses of the empire is inappropriate (“Hate the empire, not the Queen”, 14/9). However, we must not forget the fact that she headed an institution that historically oversaw slavery, dispossession, displacement of millions and looting of national treasures. Decolonisation was not by choice but forced upon the empire through post-war geopolitical realities.

Winston Churchill lamented the loss of British India and even hurled abuse at Mahatma Gandhi for his audacity and disobedience. There was no acknowledgment of past horrors, let alone an apology. The British establishment used the Queen and institutions like the Commonwealth of Nations as instruments of soft power to gloss over colonial era atrocities.
Let’s hope the new king will take a difference path in reconciling with the empire’s former colonies. Siraj Perera, Camberwell

Collateral damage
Your correspondent who quotes novelist Paul Scott to suggest imperialism produced as much love as hate (Letters, 14/9) would do well to read instead literature published by the colonised rather than the coloniser. In his brilliant one-man play, written with John Romeril, Uncle Jack Charles, for example, described so-called settlement: “a protracted Never Declared War of Occupation [that] was/has been/is being waged across your backyard and mine … We are all the collateral damage.” We would do well in this country to think together of the diverse groups who live here, rather than assuming everyone shares a simple grief at the Queen’s death.
Clare Corbould, Armadale

We can be better
I wish in no way to minimise the crimes Jack Charles committed on society, due largely to displacement, homelessness and drug addiction, but I can’t help wondering how different his life would have been had he not been forcibly institutionalised by government policies in Australia (“What I can, and can’t, tell you about the stories of Uncle Jack Charles”, 14/9).
We recognise now that people do to society, what society does to them, but Uncle Jack has paid his debt, not just in prison, but through mentoring, writing, acting and storytelling. Deservedly so, he was one of our finest, most beloved Elders, and we are the beneficiaries of his humility, generosity of spirit and forgiveness.
We need more people in our world like you, Uncle Jack. You have shown us how we can all do better. We still have a long way to go, but thank you for nudging us a little further down the path of bringing our country together.
Linda Grace, Mitcham

Time to prepare
Communities across Australia are reeling from the compounding effects of fires, floods, cyclones and the global pandemic, and there can be no doubt that more challenges will emerge. Australian Red Cross is urging people to act now to prepare for the inevitable disasters ahead.
We encourage people to prepare ahead for disasters, because preparedness has been found to improve how people experience disasters and how they recover. Resources on the Red Cross website include steps to create your own emergency plan, download our app, prepare a survival kit, emergency contacts list, and keepsake list, and understand ways to help manage stress.
Lisa Devlin, Director, Australian Red Cross, Victoria

Support the children
It’s about time that government schools identify children with reading difficulties (“Phonics check to help young readers”, The Age, 14/9). When I was teaching a year seven English class I made the students read out loud to assess their reading abilities. Not surprising, a couple of them had trouble reading and were often the students who misbehaved in the classroom.
When I approached the year co-ordinator, I was told that they had passed their NAPLAN tests, which left me in disbelief. Schools didn’t want this reported as the students were bound to get assistance thus blowing out their budgets.
Early screening of students is vital to pick up issues such as dyslexia, eye problems as well as hearing problems. We cannot let these children down.
Name supplied

Rates couldn’t stay so low
Anybody who took out a mortgage in the past couple of years would have been dreaming to think interest rates would not rise. They have been incredibly lucky to have had historically low rates for a sustained period but would realise they couldn’t stay that way.
Prudent budgeting would have factored that in. And I am sure their parents would have advised that to be the case.
Michael McKenna, Warragul

AFL tribunal
The decision by the AFL Tribunal clearing Jarrod Berry of intentional eye contact with Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver said “Berry had been under “real and forceful” pressure when Oliver’s forearm was applied to Berry’s throat region”. “There was a justifiable reason for the reaction” suggests that the wrong player was charged.
These wrestling incidents must be stamped out.
Maurice Critchley, Mangrove Mountain, NSW

And another thing

If as your correspondent suggests (Letters, 14/9), we put our own people on our currency, surely we run the risk of having to change it every time such prominent persons are cancelled?
Tony O’Brien, South Melbourne

We need a new $3 bill for Charles III.
Greg Walsh, Black Rock

The saving grace in losing Archie Roach, Judith Durham, Queen Elizabeth II and Uncle Jack Charles this year comes when hearing how much love, joy and gratitude they inspired in others.
David Mackay, Macleod

Why was the Queen’s coffin transported to London by plane rather than rail? Travelling by train from Edinburgh to London is a journey fit for a queen, even a dead one.
John Byrne, Randwick

Naming conventions
Of course the difference between Camilla, Queen Consort, and the former Queen Mother is obvious (Letters, 14/9). The latter was neither a divorcee nor a mistress.
Dorothy Galloway, Mentone

Isn’t “Consorting” a crime?
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool

Do we have to now rename Queensland, Kingsland? Or just wait for Republicland?
Brian Cullum, Cremorne

The new king should be simply King Charles as Australia never had a previous Charles. Better still King Charles the Last.
Fergus McDonald, Riddells Creek

Now the Elizabethan reign is over, is it the Charlatan reign?
Jean James, Northcote

Perhaps governments should be hiring investigative journalists rather than bureaucrats for the role of regulators (“Star threw away its ‘moral compass’”, 14/9).
Erica Grebler, Caulfield North

Is Alan Joyce the Basil Fawlty of airline executives? (Editorial, 14/9). “I’m trying to run an airline and all these bloody customers keep getting in the way!”
David Mitchell, Moe

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