A shining jubilee but time for a home-grown head of state

by David Muir

DIAMONDS may not be forever, but Queen Elizabeth II and Great Britain have shone in her Diamond Jubilee year.

The skit of the Queen teaming up with James Bond to parachute into the London Olympic arena for the opening ceremony could well serve as a parody of Australia’s relationship with our head of state.

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It presented our head of state as a person who was born into a world of privilege, who lives in a palace about 16,000km away, and whose primary focus is on Britain and things British.

The Queen and her family have embodied “Team GB”.

They have captured the essence of how good it is to be British and enhanced the “Made in Great Britain” brand.

Team GB competed against Team Australia at the London Olympics and Team GB won medals at the expense of Australian competitors.

It is only right that the Queen and the royal family support Team GB. After all, they are British.

It is about time that the “Made in Australia” brand was enhanced by having our own home-grown head of state.

During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, Australian political leaders have been unpatriotically quiet on the question of our national identity.

Even worse, some political leaders have taken the path of the cultural cringe in naming public buildings after Queen Elizabeth in her Diamond Jubilee year. Recently, the Queensland Government named the new Supreme and District courts building in Brisbane the “Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law”.

Naming rights to the court complex would have been more appropriately given to an eminent Australian jurist who lived his life in Brisbane.

Naming the complex after Sir Samuel Griffith would have been more appropriate and more Australian.

Sir Samuel Griffith drafted the Queensland Criminal Code, as well as the Australian Constitution. He was one of the founding fathers of our nation.

He was a premier of the state of Queensland and was the first chief justice of the High Court of Australia. He attended school in Ipswich and is buried at the Toowong cemetery.

The naming of the court complex in Brisbane illustrates how a cultural cringe may erode our national identity and history.

The Queen and the royal family have a much sharper focus with respect to their responsibilities and commitment to Great Britain.

The head of state of Australia role is merely incidental to this and other duties.

The Queen is head of state in 16 Commonwealth countries, countries, such as Barbados, Belize, the Solomon Islands, as well as Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Her Majesty is also head of the Commonwealth of Nations, which includes 53 countries, although the majority of these countries are now Republics.

Our head of state should have Australia as the primary focus. It is clear that this is not the case where our monarch also has head of state responsibility in 15 other countries, as well as numerous other roles she fulfils.

In fact, the recent short fuel stop by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge at Brisbane Airport during an overseas tour to other countries by the royal couple is an indicator of the incidental involvement of Australia in some of the activities of the royal family.

Diamonds are durable and of great value and the jubilee’s 60 years is worth celebrating, but a British queen will not, and should not, last forever here.

It is time for Australians not only to call Australia home, but also to have a head of state who we can call our own.

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