New Australian PM swears an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II.

Tony Abbott was officially sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia on Wednesday. While he grabbed headlines for appointing just one woman to his cabinet, there was another subtle change that caught my eye as he was sworn in.

Under Prime Minister’s Paul Keating, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, the oath of allegience for ministers was changed from swearing an oath to Queen Elizabeth to;

I, (Insert name), do swear that I will well and truly serve the Commonwealth of Australia, her land and her people, in the office of the prime minister, so help me God.

However, all that changed on Wednesday as Tony Abbott changed the oath to include;

I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the second, the Queen of Australia.

On the one hand it’s nice to see that the obsession with symbolism is not confined to just Northern Ireland but that these debates are also going on in Australia too.

Abbott was a key figure in the No campaign during the 1999 Australian republic referendum (interestingly the leader of the Yes side Malcolm Turnbull is a minister in Abbott’s cabinet). The issue of a republic in Australia became a major issue in 1995 when the then Prime Minister, Paul Keating, declared that the country should become a republic by the year 2001.

When the referendum was defeated in 1999, it was not done so on the basis of love of Queen and country. Rather, the Australian electorate rejected the fact that the proposed republican model allowed the parliament to choose the President rather than the people. It alway’s amazed me that the republican groups did not point to Ireland as an example of how an elected President can transcend party politics.

This debate has gone on in the background of Australian politics ever since with a general consensus that once Queen Elizabeth dies the government will revist this issue.  Currently six of the last eight Australian Prime Minister’s have supported changing the head of state. Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are in favour, whereas, John Howard and Tony Abbott are opposed.

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  • Alias

    “It alway’s amazed me that the republican groups did not point to Ireland as an example of how an elected President can transcend party politics.”

    Or for an example of how an ‘also-ran’ can win when the voters are fed fraudulent information about the front runner by a sectarian mass murderer from another state who, bizarrely, is also allowed to run for the office.

    If it was just a detail that prevent a win for the anti-monarchist crowd in 1999 the referendum could have been easily re-run with the detail amended.

  • Alias,

    It wasn’t the ‘info’ that killed Gallagher, it was his apparent admission of guilt while fumbling his response. If he had said “put up or shut up” it could all have been different.

    This shows the problem with referenda – you only get one question. Sure, it could have been re-run with a modified question but a) it costs money and b) one can easily be accused of refusing to accept the result (Lisbon treaty, anyone?)

  • Greenflag

    ‘with a general consensus that once Queen Elizabeth dies the government will revist this issue. ‘

    Sensitive souls the Aussies eh ? This Abbott was a priest in his early years . Has he commented on why he gave up the religious mammon for the political variety or some other reason ?

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    “…who, bizarrely [sic], is also allowed to run for the office.”

    Read Bunreacht na hÉireann old boy, and if you don’t like it then, well, tough titties.

    By the way, did you feel the same way about Mary McAleese or, closer to home for you, Chaim Herzog?

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Just to save you having to write a response to an urchin like me, I’ll do one for you:

    [Insert narrow and incorrect interpretation of Irish constitutional sovereignty here].

  • Red Lion

    “”The issue of a republic in Australia became a major issue in 1995 when the then Prime Minister, Paul Keating, declared that the country should become a republic by the year 2001. “”

    Its really not that much a current major issue, otherwise why would a nominally pro-republic Australia vote in a pro-monarchy head of state?

    The issue is well down the pecking order.

  • Rory Carr

    Never mind Mary McAleese, Tir Chonaill Gael, what about those truly foreign interlopers who were found suitable for the presidency ,the gunman and jail-breaker, Eamonn DeValera (born New York City, USA) and the son of the an English gun-runner executed after being caught in arms against the Irish Free State, Erskine H Childers (born London, England) ?

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Indeed Mr Carr! And God help our Alias, our non-indigenous friend, when the Constitutional Convention recommends giving northerners the vote in presidential elections: and I don’t mean people from Donegal.

  • socaire

    Who is the sectarian mass murderer that Alias refers to?

  • BluesJazz

    “Who is the sectarian mass murderer that Alias refers to?”

    perhaps the one who, like Hannibal Lecter, has a propensity for eliminating census collectors.
    Especially if they’re young female protestant and had the temerity to live in (L)/Derry.

    Want any more clues?

  • socaire

    This is game-changing!! I think it is obvious that alias has no option but to go – and go immediately – to his nearest police station and share his evidence with them so that this person may face the full rigour of the law. He has delayed long enough already.

  • BluesJazz

    socaire
    MI5 decide who is to be prosecuted. not the PSNI.

    If MI5 decide it’s ‘not in the public interest’ or ‘for security reasons’ then the law goes in to a black hole.

    The security services trump the police in any investigation.
    That’s the way the cookie crumbles in all states, not just our little UK hamlet.

  • socaire

    Now BluesJazz, you know that is not true. You know it is scurrilous lies and anti-British propaganda. It is one of the foundation stones of our Britishness – that the guilty shall not prosper. How dare you hint otherwise. Next you will try to make us believe that there was corruption in the RUC. Away with you,you false prophet.

  • JH

    Gas.

    Good for republicans here though (by ‘here’ I mean general area. The north and in Britain).

    By the time they do the business and get rid of the monarchy in Oz it’ll be the start of the next fella’s reign. Since he’s profoundly unpopular and republican actions are inherently contagious it should come at just the right time to have maximum impact.

    Could kick the British Republic campaign (or whatever’s left of Britain at that stage) up a notch and is bound to legitimise the debate elsewhere.

  • jagmaster

    Only doing what he was instructed to do by Murdoch.

  • Harry Flashman

    Prime Minister swears allegiance to democratically mandated head of state shocker, hold the front page.

  • tuatha

    GreenFlag – the Mad Monk didn’t finish his priest training because he “wasn’t as celibate as I ought to be” in his own words.
    In fact he thought that he got one girlfriend pregnant and agreed to marry her until getting cold feet and having his mother ring the bride to tell her it was off” so it is a good indication of his moral/ethical standards, if any.

  • Rory Carr

    I see, Tuatha, a bit of a mummy’s boy. Well that explains his taste for sycophancy towards the Great White Mother.

    Still, the good news is that the unfortunate girl managed a blessed escape.

  • Greenflag

    @ tuatha ,

    Thanks for the heads up -on the other hand it might be better to keep the head down on this one 😉

    Cogito ergo sum twas and not Cogito maritus sum ,

    Rory’s dry humour has me chuckling but I’ll say no more !

  • Reader

    tuatha: In fact he thought that he got one girlfriend pregnant and agreed to marry her until getting cold feet and having his mother ring the bride to tell her it was off” so it is a good indication of his moral/ethical standards, if any.
    Best to save it for the next election.
    It didn’t work this time round but maybe the Labour party will look a bit better next time.

  • Seamuscamp

    Greenflag:
    TA went to a seminary in his mid-twenties but was never a priest. He said recently in a television interview:
    “The Jesuits had helped to instil in me this thought that our calling in life was to be, to use the phrase: ‘a man for others’. And I thought then that the best way in which I could be a ‘man for others’ was to become a priest. I discovered pretty soon that I was a bit of a square peg in a round hole… eventually working out that, I’m afraid, I just didn’t have what it took to be an effective priest.”

    Tuatha
    It’s interesting that a 19 year-old thought he was the father of an illegitimate child (though he wasn’t), but I’m not sure it’s relevant to the man’s moral state 40 years later. I hope noone judges me by what I was and what I believed aged 19. Perhaps you are the one who can cast the first stone?

  • Kevsterino

    Interesting point, Seamuscamp. My own ‘moral state’ at 19 was, er, different than now (not quite 40 years difference).

    Really different.

  • IJP

    I’m not sure there’s much interest in re-visiting it at the moment, David.

    What I personally find more amazing is the lack of interest in changing the Flag (the way Canada did in the ’60s). All polls I’ve seen show even less thirst for that than for abolishing the monarchy.

    Of direct interest from the 1999 referendum is the near universal truth, in the democratic world anyway, that “change referendums” almost never pass. A year from now, we’ll reflect on that in Scotland too…

  • Greenflag

    Only for them Jesuits even this reprobate cudda been a Pope
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TgCkTVtjHU.

    I gave up on Australia when they chose ‘Advance Australia Fair ‘ ahead of Waltzing Matilda as the country’s national anthem 😉

    I don’t think I could spell morality when I was 19 and I blame them hormones 😉

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Harry

    ‘…democratically mandated head of state…’

    Wow, did I ever get that one wrong! But I suppose you live and learn.

    Can you post a link to reports of ER2’s election victory? I must admit, I completely missed it.

    Who was her opponent? Was it a landslide or a close-run thing?

    When’s she up for re-election?

    Does anyone think that a sixty-one-year term (and counting) is a wee bit on the long side?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Greenflag

    Lol. I wonder what Jack would have chosen as his papal name?

  • HeinzGuderian

    Royal watch.
    More viewers each and every day ! 🙂

  • David McCann

    Wee side note-apparently Prince Phillip said when the referendum was defeated in Australia ‘Don’t those bloody people know what’s good for them.’