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14 April 2021
The national reaction to the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at 99 and the follow-up stories of reflection and intrigue has been staggering in its diversity.
Public response has been everything from embracing love and sentimentalism to an opportunity for many to launch into sarcastic and disrespectful, albeit in some cases clever, jokes. Digital-media enthusiasts have had a field day.
Sitting somewhere in the middle has been a response of fleeting interest or collective indifference.
Some have simply been impressed that the Prince’s marriage to Queen Elizabeth had been so enduring. The broad reaction to the royal death represents the latest chapter in a story of polarising Australian views regarding the monarchy.
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For some, their position is clear and concise. Dug in on one side of the fence sits monarchists, staunch believers in the value of a ‘tried and true’ process that places a standard-setting royal sovereign at the head of a democratic process.
On the other are determined republicans, who struggle to see any value for an evolving country to have a head of state established by historic birthright in a far-away foreign land.
Sitting on the fence, dismissive of the arguments of both camps, are many who simply don’t care.
They rub shoulders with others who, while believing they have little if any connection with historic British ideals, are also worried about the implications of ‘fixing something that isn’t broken’.
What does it all mean for the regional and rural communities of the Wimmera, Mallee and Western District? Apart from a distraction and an opportunity to sprout idealistic philosophies, not much – for the moment at least.
While out in western Victoria we might feel far removed from the issue, there is a sense of inevitability that a future government will ask us again to play our part in debate regarding our constitution and head of state.
The death of Prince Philip might represent little more than a bump on the seismograph measuring the story of Australia’s dedication to British royalty.
But we suspect when the time finally comes for Queen Elizabeth, the needle will go off the chart. The Queen has been a rock for the monarchy, a figurehead that, perhaps unlike some other members of her family, many Australians adore.
What happens to our connection when she dies?
Ultimately, we will steer our system of governance to reflect how we see ourselves as Australians.
This will reflect an evolution that started thousands of years ago with many cultures developing from the arrival of the first Australians, the dramatic change that came with the appearance of the British and then and now, the flood of immigrants from around the world.
The entire April 14, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!