Features Australia

Aux bien pensants

25 November 2017

9:00 AM

25 November 2017

9:00 AM

Dat’s a nice bottom

With so many stories about sexual harassment, I should reveal my experience decades ago. Looking up a phone number in the faculty office, I felt a hand caressing my body, with a husky foreign voice saying ‘Dat’s a nice bottom!’ It was Ingrid, the statuesque Swedish temporary receptionist. I subsequently considered complaining to the Dean on the ground that, although I had often gone into the office since that event, the harassment had never been repeated. I thought of this during a recent dinner, when a lady wondered whether starlets were still queuing for a place on the ubiquitous theatrical casting couch.

The same sex survey results were greeted with appalling hypocrisy by those who had so vehemently opposed Tony Abbott’s plebiscite. Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, who even predicted the campaign would be plagued by gay suicide, both spoke as if the vote were their idea. Senator Wong’s tears did not wipe away the fact that for many years she blocked the change. All this demonstrates that, unlike the elites, conservatives trust the people. Indeed, that most conservative country, Switzerland, not only gave us the real referendum, she is the home of direct democracy. Incidentally, why do the politicians who campaigned for same-sex marriage turn off their consciences when self-funded retirees are targeted, the defence budget raided for political purposes and energy prices made so expensive the poor can afford neither heating nor cooling and businesses and farmers are unfairly burdened? Abbott’s plebiscite would have been far better than the ABS survey, the glaringly obvious flaws in which have been almost totally ignored. Apart from better security and scrutiny, the Abbott plebiscite would have contained the crucially essential referendum principle that the draft legislation would be on the table before the people voted, not revealed afterwards. With this principle deliberately absent, the politicians have been able to retreat from their assurances to voters about protecting existing freedoms, with Turnbull in the lead. What is essential now is to do what Senator James Paterson’s suppressed bill would have achieved. The answer is not in incorporating ‘rights’ under UN treaties; this will only give activist judges a blank cheque to do even worse. And thanks to David Sergeant on this magazine’s excellent Flat White blog, we have an inkling from the British Isles of what the post-SSM agenda could be. This includes allowing ‘gender’ change by statutory declaration, recognising asylum seekers’ polygamous marriages, instructing schools to allow gender change without parental consent and threatening people with prosecution and schools with closure.

Just as it was Abbott’s idea to hand over the marriage issue to the people for decision, so it was John Howard’s that the people decide whether to adopt the republic Turnbull and Keating proposed. Howard not only called an election for a convention, but when their model just failed to get the required absolute majority there, to the great delight of the republicans including the media, he still put it to a referendum. But when the people overwhelmingly rejected this, the republican elites turned on Howard, blaming him for their failure. John Hewson is the latest to do this. In a piece in the Fairfax press attacking the Abbott plebiscite before the results were announced, he repeated the republican lie that Howard designed the referendum question so that it would fail. The question was actually drafted by the Attorney-General, a leading republican. It was approved by a parliamentary committee which rejected proposed amendments from me and Malcolm Turnbull. (His were to remove two words, ‘president’ and, believe it or not, ’republic’). It was then approved by both houses, two thirds of whom were republicans. John Howard had nothing to do with it, but Fairfax would not publish my letter saying so.

Senator James Paterson has done well by producing the draft legislation Turnbull should have tabled before the SSM vote. To be berated by the Member for Beijing Sam Dastyari and by an alliance from the Turnbull Left faction to Labor and the Greens only enhances his reputation. In introducing the Senator at a recent conference (YouTube Monarchy Australia), I recalled that while it has been said of the House of Lords that it is living proof of life after death, looking at the young senator was an assurance that the same could not be said of the Australian Senate. While man naturally craves, if not eternal youth, at least immortality, I now have an assurance of the latter. It is not that I have acquired a portfolio of indulgences; my recent extensive interview with the UK’s ITV has been consigned to the vaults until the proclamation of our next sovereign. I gave them three reasons why I am a constitutional monarchist. First, the Crown remains an essential check and balance in our crowned republic. The Keating-Turnbull model would fill the vacuum left by the Crown with more politicians and more power and more influence for the political elites. Second, the oath of allegiance; unlike most politicians, I believe my swearing the oath before God has deep and eternal significance. Third, like most of our monarchs, back to at least Victoria, the Queen has been a paradigm of duty, service and virtue, never putting a foot wrong. Above all, unlike republican politicians, she is a woman of her word. On her 21st birthday, she promised that her ‘whole life, whether it be long or short’ should be devoted to our service and the service of the ‘great imperial family to which we all belong’. At her Coronation, she promised to govern her peoples ‘according to their respective laws and customs’. Seventy years ago she promised to take Philip as her wedded husband, ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death do us part…’. All these things she has done, and more. On the 70th anniversary of her wedding and the 65th year of her reign, well may we say, ‘God Save The Queen’.

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