This article by a member of the Republican Movement in the Sydney Morning Herald puts forward one of the stupidist arguments I’ve ever heard for abolishing our Constitution Monarchy: Prince William cannot marry a Catholic, therefore we should have a President instead. Talk about a non-sequitur:
Succession to the throne is determined by a 1701 English statute. It…states that should Prince William convert to Catholicism or marry a Catholic, he will be ”for ever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Crown”. As the head of the Catholic Church in England has said, ”he can marry by law a Hindu, a Buddhist, anyone, but not a Roman Catholic”. [What’s that a quotation from?]
…[S]ection 116 of the Australian constitution [reads]: ”no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth”. There is a glaring inconsistency between this and the fact our monarch is known as the ”Defender of the Faith” as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. In person, Queen Elizabeth II professes religious toleration, but in law she represents a centuries old institution that maintains a special, privileged role for only one religion, and actively discriminates against another.
Okay, so the logical conclusion would be to change the law – something that the Brits themselves are considering, from what I have heard. Or even change the Australian law (something about “If the heir to the throne marries a Catholic, he can still be King of Australia even if he isn’t King of the United Kingdom” should do it). But it surely doesn’t follow that we should abolish the Monarchy! That’s like someone selling their car because it has a rattle somewhere rather than taking it to get fixed.
And the non-sequitur’s don’t end there either. The writer goes on:
Nor is being a monarchy a certain recipe for constitutional stability. That depends much more on the character of a nation’s people and the quality of their leaders. Nations with better drafted constitutions than ours, both republics and monarchies, have seen governments disintegrate through revolution or the unscrupulous exercise of power.
So? Surely this is an argument for leaving our constitution as it is, and working on improving our “character” and the “quality of our leaders”? To change the constitution when the problem isn’t the constitution is like a bad driver who changes their car in the hope it will make them a better driver.
All this excitement among the Republican camp is due to one fact currently in the news: the people of Australia like Prince William. They wouldn’t mind having him for a king. This is the worst news that they could ever hear. They thought Charles’ woes were playing directly into their agenda, but now the House of Windsor pulls an ace out of its pocket and follows up a wildly popular Queen with a wildly popular second-in-line to the throne.
Poor, poor Republicans. Reminds me of “The Dance of the Cucumber”, only replace Bob the Tomato with George Williams the Republican.