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Thursday, 23 August 1973
Page: 355


Mr KILLEN (Moreton) - When this matter was last before the House I was talking about the juridical position which will be imposed upon the monarchy by the entry of the United Kingdom into Europe. I was dealing with the effect upon this country. I must confess a measure of dismay that the mechanics of this place are such that a debate upon the future position of the monarchy should be broken by a mechanical device. At 10.15 p.m. last night you, Sir, with your impeccable sense of courtesy said that the debate is to be adjourned. One is obliged to try to recapture the fragrant moments of 24 hours ago, but I do not intend to do that, I hope, at least to the relief of honourable members.

We are talking about a Bill which in my view represents a landmark in our existence. The last occasion on which this Parliament debated a Bill relating to the royal style and title was in 1953. At that time sitting at the table where my friend the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Lionel Bowen) now sits was the then Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Kooyong, and he dealt with the subject with a command of industry and understanding and his own impeccable command of interest in the whole of the British experience. I can recall what he said, I believe, almost to the word when it was suggested that the royal style and title should be changed to some territorial expression, Queen of Australia. He said: 'No, this is not to be the case'.


Mr Enderby - How many years ago was that?


Mr KILLEN - Look, my dear friend, time rambles by and I often wonder whether we are accoutred to meet it. In 1953 the then right honourable member for Kooyong was sitting there and he said: 'It has been suggested that the United Kingdom be left out of the description of the royal style and title'. He described that as being fantastic. Yet here today it has been left out. Does this not underline, in politics, how true it is that the resolution of today is not necessarily the camping place of tomorrow? The other amendment proposed by this Bill is to take out of the description of the royal style and title the words 'Defender of the Faith'. I think that this was included during the time of Henry VIII, when Pope Leo X, if my febrile memory serves me right, conferred on him the title 'Defender of the Faith' because he had written a treatise against the alleged heresy of Luther.


Mr Beazley - Do you know who really wrote it? It was Thomas More.


Mr KILLEN - If authenticity of documents is to be our study, there will be some interesting revelations. Ever since William Rufus had been crowned King of England there had always been the description 'By the Grace of God.'


Mr Enderby - This is Australia 1973.


Mr KILLEN - My dear friend, if we are to forget the cradle in which we were nurtured and nursed then there is nothing to commend us at all. The whole of our being goes back to these great centuries. For a 100 years after William of Rufus had been declared by the Grace of God, this had continued. The challenge to this Parliament today is to acknowledge the fact that the great waves of history have washed against us. One may not necessarily lament this, but I think that it shows a very shallow understanding of our circumstance if we do not at least pause to acknowledge it. This is what I put to this Parliament today.

I confessed with a sense of no shame last evening the effect that the disintegration of the old Commonwealth had had upon me; the fact that I had looked with a measure of anxiety, a measure of unfeigned hope, for the Commonwealth to be given a role between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. If I was wrong in imagining that to be a worthwhile and purposeful role, I hope that I will not be condemned by those who sit around me. At least it was a hope, at least it was a dream and at least it is something for which I am not ashamed. Here we are brought by dint of circumstance to the realisation that the Queen is in our everyday existence. If one looks at section 1 of our Constitution one sees reference to the Queen in Parliament. This is not something that is to be whistled aside by any declaration of doctrinaire policy, no matter how enfevered it may be. This is something which is there and is not to be disturbed other than by the will of the people.

It would not be out of place, in the words of a man who has given great hope to our people, to observe that, as far as the old British Empire and Commonwealth is concerned, this is the occasion to acknowledge the fact that it may well be that the gulfs will wash us down. It may well be that we shall be washed down and shall touch the Happy Isles. It may well be that all that will occur. But, in the minds, the hearts and the spirits of the people who have looked upon this great gathering of nations, this is something not to be ignored as we walk by. This is a very great occasion on which to acknowledge the fact that the Crown has served a serious purpose in our existence and, despite the clamours and the anxieties of some second rate socialists, it will continue to do so.







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