To get rich is glorious!

by on 30 May, 2016

Chris Rath

 

Chris Rath outlines how the rise of China came about as a result of market liberalisation and the move away from the Mao era policies.

When Chinese Leader Deng Xiaoping commenced liberalisation of the Chinese economy in 1978 neither he nor a single foreign policy analyst would have predicted four decades of remarkable economic growth.

 

Comments attributed to Deng Xiaoping, that “to get rich is glorious” was a clear break with the economic communism of Mao Zedong which left China weaker and more poverty stricken in 1978 than it had been at the time of the communist revolution in 1949. China has not experienced its recent huge economic growth in spite of Western capitalism but rather because it has appropriated Western capitalism.

 

I have recently been fortunate enough to participate in a bipartisan political delegation to China, selected by Federal Director Tony Nutt to represent the Liberal Party. The program was an endless saga of economic and political meetings and decadent banquets with high-ranking Government and Party officials in Beijing, collaboration with the Australian Embassy, and briefings by South China Sea foreign policy analysts and academics in Hainan. Needless to say that it was a jammed packed seven days and an amazing opportunity of which I am deeply honoured to have participated.

 

This article is a response to the unfair criticism China has received by certain quarters in Australia and America, especially in terms of trade and foreign investment. China is no longer an economically communist country. It’s not just that its shopping malls are bejeweled with the omnipresent glowing lights of Louis Vuitton, Apple, McDonalds, and Nike, but the fact that they have legalised Uber before most Australian states is a salutary reminder of how far they’ve come. The widespread competitive Chinese capitalism I viewed far exceeds that of Australia and would certainly leave Chairman Mao turning in his grave. Indeed perhaps the rampant materialism and consumerism in China has problematically become a substitute for religion and spirituality, the vacuum left behind from the communist era.

 

In any case “to get rich is glorious” and China has become very rich very quickly. Instead of admonishing China we should celebrate what I call the three cheers for China.

 

The first cheer for China is humanitarian; you know the things the left pretend they care about with their good intentions but never suggest anything practical. The positive humanitarian impact of capitalism on the Chinese economy is incredible. The World Bank argues it best:

Since initiating market reforms in 1978, China has shifted from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy and has experienced rapid economic and social development. GDP growth has averaged nearly 10 percent a year—the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history—and has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty.”

 

When you put into perspective that Australia is only a nation of 23 million people, the fact that 800 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty as a result of economic globalisation and liberalisation since 1978 is unfathomable.

 

And how was this colossal humanitarian feat achieved? It wasn’t through foreign aid or twitter hashtags. It wasn’t through the United Nations or NGOs. Nope, it was almost entirely the result of Western multinational corporations acting out of their self interest by lowering their business costs and maximising profit through employing cheap Chinese labour. It’s a shame the supposed guardians of equality and human rights on the left have not embraced this undeniable fact. It is also a win-win situation as western corporations have become more profitable meaning higher dividends and higher returns on our superannuation.

 

The second cheer for China is that consumer goods are now relatively cheaper for all Australians, resulting in a better quality of life and higher disposable incomes in real terms. We should celebrate rather than recoil when we see ‘made in China’ as we may not have been able to afford a comparable item in the 1950s when such consumer goods were made in high cost developed economies. Unsurprisingly, Australia’s main imports from China are telecommunications, electronics, computers, furniture, prams, toys, games, sporting goods, textiles, clothing and footwear. The Institute of Public Affairs published research in 2014 outlining how consumer goods are bigger, better and cheaper today than in the 1970s, a direct result of capitalism and trade with low cost economies like China. The average Australian would have to work 194.9 hours to buy a television in the 1970s but now a mere 9.7 hours. A microwave would have cost you 83.8 hours of hard earned cash back then and now only 2.7 hours, and a refrigerator 86.4 hours in the 1970s but today only 21.8 hours of labour. Indeed if China has become rich then certainly as a result so have we.

 

The third cheer for China is that Australia more so than any other Western nation has directly benefited from its huge economic growth due to its purchase of our exports. Australia has a comparative advantage in our largest exports such as iron ore, coal, natural gas, education, gold, copper, wool, wine, beef, dairy, and tourism. We’re not just the quarry and the food bowl for China but we’re now also its university and its holiday destination. Australian exports to China now account for over $98bn per year, making China not only our largest export market but also larger than our next three highest ranking markets combined- Japan, the USA and South Korea. We were weathered from the global financial crisis in part because of China. We have experienced 25 years of continuous unbroken economic growth in part because of China. No doubt those Australians who attack Chinese trade and investment must either be mislead by shock jocks or are happy to see a poorer Australia if it means their xenophobic concerns are alleviated. Figures from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) show that contrary to the view that Chinese investment is taking over our farms, the largest investment sources in agriculture in Australia are from developed Western nations. However, we should want more Chinese investment in agriculture, not less, because more investment means capital flowing to Australia, it means jobs, growth, productivity and economic development.

 

The trade unions are wrong to attack the free trade agreement with China. Donald Trump is wrong to argue for a 45% tariff on China. Faux conservatives who support Trump and the CFMEU are wrong. Indeed you could easily argue that the most important reform and achievement of this Government has been the free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea together with the transpacific partnership, brokered by Andrew Robb and never delivered under Labor. Certainly it is a huge motivating factor behind my zeal to campaign this election.

 

However, this article shouldn’t be viewed as hyperbolic praise for China. As a staunch Anglophile and a defender of Western Civilisation I’m still very concerned about several issues facing China. Of course China is an authoritarian single party state which still has a lot of work to do in improving its basic freedoms and liberties. Too often we hear of human rights abuses, censorship, and political prisoners. Similarly China’s position on the South China Sea and disputed “islands” is aggressive, inflexible and nonsensical. Furthermore, the 1,600 missiles pointed at Taiwan does not play well on the world stage.

 

But again the solution here is more trade, more globalisation, more economic integration and more capitalism. The statement ‘nations that trade together don’t go to war together’ might not be a truism, but it’s pretty close. Similarly remarkably close to being a truism is the golden arches theory that ‘no two countries with McDonald’s have ever fought a war against each other’. China of course has 2,200 McDonalds restaurants and recently announced plans to add a further 1,300 restaurants over the next five years, a positive sign for the future.

 

There are indeed many positive signs for China in the future. It is upon us to embrace the huge economic opportunities ahead and to educate Australians of these opportunities. The best days for China and Australia are still ahead of us. Together we can get rich and it will be glorious!

 

Christopher Rath is a member of the State Executive of the NSW Liberal Party and a Young Liberal Branch President. He has a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Management from the University of Sydney and currently works as the Government Relations Manager at IAG, Australia’s largest general insurance company.

That NBN Article You Missed

by on 7 May, 2016

By Dean Hamstead

In a sea of non-sense and articles from punters with no technical, no financial and, possibly no life experience – the SMH quietly published perhaps the most sensible article on NBN to date.

“The original vision of the NBN, “FTTP everywhere”, was laudable. Private monopolies are notoriously bad at deploying new technologies and have been in the USA and most other countries. That seems to have been the case in Australia as well. In frustration, the government launched the NBN to fix the problem.

But government monopoly programs are rarely any better than private ones — especially in dynamic sectors like telecom. True to form, it seems that execution of the original NBN did not measure up to the admirable vision. But the new government appears to have kept the flawed execution mechanism (government monopoly) while discarding the admirable all-fibre goal. Seems like the worst of both worlds to us.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There is no need for monopolies of any kind to build state-of-the-art FTTP infrastructure. In fact, contrary to common mythology, economies of scale are small in this sector and need not be a barrier to FTTP development. Profitable companies as small as 1000 customers are being built entirely with private capital in circumstances more difficult than you have in Oz…

“Nor are these networks rocket science. As we look around, we see plenty of people in Australia with the energy and talent to build them. If you are smart and enterprising enough to build and run a farm or small business in rural Australia you are smart enough to build and run a local FTTP network as well.”

My personal view has been near complete regulation and handing powers back to residents to decide what cabling is run in their street. With the pits and poles owned by councils, then access leased to any and sundry to run broadband services, pipe gas or whatever they can dream up.

Sadly, in Australia we have embraced that Canberra knows best. Got an idea that might work in your area? Are you willing to risk your own money or someone willing to back you? Too bad it’s illegal.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/removing-nbns-artificial-barriers-could-stop-our-system-being-worst-of-both-worlds-20160427-gog22i.html

“Let’s Make Driving Illegal” said the QLD Katter Party

by on 22 April, 2016

By Henry Innis

At some stage, you’ve got to call bullshit on the Bob Katter party. Not only does the ‘Force from the North’ still literally live in the stone age, but they’ve now decided they’d like to send us back to the legislative equivalent.

It all started in September 2015 when “all round good bloke” Rob (not to be confused with Bob) figured he’d introduce a bill to see Uber drivers penalised with demerit points. His logic? “Our taxi drivers are small business owners… who have followed each and every one of the regulations”.

Hang on a minute there, mates.

This bloke is literally justifying proposing a law to further support people who obey the law. Rather than think “gee is our economy changing?” Rob Katter would rather us have literally no progress, ever.

“I will not see another industry slaughtered by deregulation”, he says. Well, we suppose Mr Katter doesn’t want IKEA furniture, lego or any form of imported good ever.

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Of course, you’d think that they’d at least be able to get the legislation right. But on April 21 they passed legislation not only upping the fines and broadening the definition of “pre-booked passenger services”, but they accidentally made all pre-booked services illegal.

You really couldn’t make this up if you tried.

The LNP seems to have (quietly) supported this too. QLD opposition Transport guy, Scott Emerson, may win the crown for Most Thoroughly Illiberal Statement Ever Made when his justification for such a bill was “We have issued more than $170,000 in fines to 62 drivers”. C’mon Scott, you can do better, we’re sure. And do something about that hair.

hair

To cap it off, Jim Pearce, supposed “union advocate” is no longer all about listening to his constituents it appears. The Queensland Government not only got flooded with complaints, but they appeared to be deciding that no, we don’t want to listen to our constituents, as they’re wrong. So they found a way to block all the Uber emails.

quote

It’s a sad day when our representatives deem that we’re no longer worth listening to. But then again, we all know what happens when they ignore us for too long, don’t we?

trump 2016

 

Media Release: Unprecedented Assault on Democracy and Freedom of Political Communication.

by on 22 April, 2016

22 April 2016

Media Release: Unprecedented Assault on Democracy and Freedom of Political Communication.

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance today condemned the Queensland government for an unconstitutional breach of freedom of political communication and an assault on representative democracy. This follows a statement by Queensland Legislative Assembly Speaker The Hon Peter Wellington that the QLD Parliament has blocked all emails in support of ridesharing from being delivered to Queensland MPs.

“The unprecedented decision by the Queensland Legislative Assembly to block Queenslanders from contacting their elected representatives is an assault on the very principles of representative democracy” said Tim Andrews, Executive Director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.

“To prevent constituents from contacting their MP in support of a policy is an absolute disgrace. These actions demonstrate the hubris of the Queensland government, and the contempt in which they hold the people of Queensland. In addition, this is a flagrant violation of the Constitutional provisions on freedom of political communication and would be successfully challenged in the High Court – at great expense to QLD taxpayers.

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From Mr Jim Pearce MP himself

“In a statement to the Legislative Assembly, Jim Pearce MP, Member for Mirani said he did not want to hear from his constituents because he “was trying to have a bit of relaxation” while in the Chamber. If Mr Pearce wants to “have a bit of relaxation” and not be bothered the residents of his electorate, he should find another line of work – a decision the voters in his electorate will be happy to make for him at the next election.

“This is the latest example this week of policymaking on the run by the QLD government descending into farce. From rejecting the calls of consumers to open up ridesharing to accidentally making hire cars and buses illegal, to now refusing to listen to the concerns of their voters, the QLD government has demonstrated itself unfit to govern.

“Today’s unconstitutional and undemocratic actions have cemented the Queensland’s government as an international laughing stock. They should apologise and remove the ban before any further damage is done”

MEDIA CONTACT:

Tim Andrews Executive Director Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance

(m) 0434064934

(e) tandrews@taxpayers.org.au

(w) www.taxpayers.org.au

The Biggest Pro-Liberty Event In The Asia Pacific Region!

by on 18 April, 2016

I am delighted to invite all Menzies House readers to attend the 4th ALS Friedman Conference! Held in Sydney on May 13-15 at the award-winning Aerial Function Centre, the Friedman Conference is the largest free market conference in the Asia-Pacific Region tackling the biggest economic and policy challenges facing Australia.

With over 300 participants, 8 international special guests, and 35 presenters from politics, business, universities, think tanks, and activist groups, this is one conference you do not wish to miss! Topics to be discussed include Industrial Relations reform, tax reform, the regulatory challenges to businesses, the 2016 Commonwealth Budget, and many more.

As a special offer, Menzies House readers are entitled to a 15% discount on the standard conference price by using the coupon code: ATA! 

Conference speakers include:

*North Korean escappee, activist and best-selling author Yeonmi Park
*Former French Cabinet Minister Herve Novelli
*NSW Finance Minister Dom Perrottet
*Professor Chris Lewis, Director Centre for Labour Market Research, University of Canberra
*Former Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson
*Senators James Paterson, David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day
*Chris Berg and Simon Brehney from the IPA
*Professor Sinclair Davidson from RMIT University
*John Osborn from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
*Matt Barrie, CEO, Freelancer.com

And many more!

For a full program and speaker list please visit www.friedman16.org.

A full conference package entitles you to the Friday Night Pre-Conference reception and launch of Chris Berg’s new book at the Hard Rock Cafe overlooking Darling Harbour, 2 days of conference, tea, coffee, delicious lunches,  a 3 course meal with drinks for the Gala Dinner and Award Presentation with keynote speaker Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com, and aSunday evening post-conference movie night.

As someone who believes in free enterprise, and a prosperous society, I hope you will be able to join the 2016 Friedman Conference for what shall be a truly historic weekend!

To register, please visit www.friedman16.org. We look forward to seeing you there!

How Tax Havens Help Us All

by on 14 April, 2016

MH photo

Tax havens reduce poverty and help average and below income earners, argues Mark Hornshaw:

Tax is the price we pay for failing to build a civilised society. The greater the level of taxation, the greater the degree to which the brute force of confiscation has supplanted voluntary and peaceful interaction. So from that point of view, a tax haven is like a safe house, a Sherwood Forest, so to speak, where honest people can band together to shield themselves from the depredations of the greedy Prince and his cronies (see note below).

If you want to be a bit softer on governments than that, then tax havens can be seen as interjurisdictional tax competition. If governments want to attract businesses to set up headquarters in their territory, some may boast a nice climate, or an educated workforce, or an enclave of high tech suppliers and partners. But the governments of some smaller and poorer nations can offer none of those, and can only ‘compete on price’ in the form of lower taxes. By supporting tax havens, global companies are helping to close the gap between rich countries and developing countries. Meanwhile those who oppose tax havens are attempting to cartelise the tax collecting powers of large nations, by thuggishly forcing out the competition from smaller nations.

But for the average tax payer, that all seems a bit aloof and moralistic. You might be thinking “surely tax havens only serve rich people and big corporations, so why should I be concerned?”

Well I would argue that average or below average income earners benefit a lot more from tax havens than most people realise.

We’re back!

by on 14 April, 2016

We are delighted to announce that following a lengthy absence caused by some sophisticated hacking attempts on our server, Menzies House is back!

Thank you for your patience, and please once again start submitting articles!

Asylum Seekers, Waleed Aly and the Folly of Good Intentions

by on 6 February, 2016

John Slater

One of the few constants of Australian politics is the left’s bleating over the offshore processing of asylum seekers.

Indeed, the fact that the Coalition’s policies have stopped the deluge of unauthorized boat arrivals experienced under the former Labor government appears to have done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of open-border zealots.

That said, the last few years has seen a shift in tone. Now that the bare facts of reality have given the lie to the claim that the number of boats coming to Australia is based on world asylum seeker flows – not our immigration policies – critics have taken to seizing on any minor detail or happenstance as evidence of our moral bankruptcy.

The grand folly of this approach is that while it’s easy to paint offshore processing as callous and cold-hearted, we can’t pretend that this issue exists in a vacuum. That was the mistake of the Rudd Government when it dismantled John Howard’s pacific solution in an attempt to make Australia seem more ‘humane’ and ‘compassionate.’ Even a cynic shouldn’t doubt that most people in the Labor party had the best intentions at heart when they abandoned offshore processing.

Unfortunately, these good intentions did nothing to stop 1200 asylum seekers drowning off the Australian coastline, 50 000 unauthorized asylum seekers arriving on our shores and Australia’s humanitarian refugee intake being overrun with economic migrants. Nor did this desire to do good change the fact that in order to stem this seemingly unending flow of undocumented arrivals, more than 2000 children ended up in detention before people smugglers started taking Australia’s policies seriously (again).

The point is that you can’t fairly criticize Australia’s policy of processing unauthorised arrivals offshore before realistically considering the alternatives.

In other words, we shouldn’t buy into the naïve myth that adopting a kinder, gentler approach comes without costs. Australia has a generous annual humanitarian intake, but it can’t take all of the world’s needy and suffering. If Australia once again decides to grant migrants asylum based on the fact that they’ve managed to reach our territorial waters, we shouldn’t be surprised if our quota is consumed largely by those with the financial means to do just that.

Given Australia’s relative isolation and the enormous expense of paying people smugglers (the cost is known to exceed $50 000 for a family; a fortune for those in war-torn developing nations), we can’t pretend that an open door policy creates the distinct possibility that the most needy candidates miss out.

Waleed Aly – one of the best known banner carriers for the open doors lobby – provides a prime example of this tendency to lecture about the grave inhumanity of offshore processing while stopping short of offering any kind of realistic alternative.

His latest Fairfax column is a masterclass in sanctimonious verbiage:

“But perhaps the greatest horror is that as a nation, we’ve now become so hopelessly addicted to the fictions that justify it. It’s not just the fiction of Nauru. It’s also the fiction of Australia, which you might recall we’ve declared simply doesn’t exist if you’re coming here by boat. You can dock in Sydney Harbour if you like, and as far as the law is concerned, you simply never arrived here. But there’s also the fiction that Nauru and Papua New Guinea were ever anything more than a dumping ground for us… At some point, the clock runs out. And on that day, maybe the alarm will sound on these mighty fictions that have been sustaining us. Then who will we be?”

As a columnist and TV personality, saying this type of thing has the benefit of giving Waleed an appearance of empathy as opposed to our morally impoverished political class. The difference is that unlike Waleed, the Prime Minister, cabinet and parliament don’t have the luxury of being able to live off the grace of their good intentions: they also have to wear the consequences.

Perhaps a more simple way we can put this is that incentives matter. If you know you have a good shot at permanent resettlement in Australia by travelling through multiple countries and paying a people smuggler take you to Australia, chances are you’ll opt for that over throwing your lot in with the international refugee resettlement bureaucracy.

As we saw just this week, incentives also operate on a much smaller level. A reliable favourite of the open-border activists is that offshore detention centres are so awful that asylum seekers are driven to self-harm. In a move that enraged many, Dutton ordered that if self-harming asylum seekers required medical treatment in Australia, their family would not be allowed to join them.

Was this another example of the kind of gratuitous act of mean-minded malice we’ve come to expect from the government?

Not so fast. As soon as Dutton’s order came into effect, the self-harming on Nauru stopped. Immediately. What changed was that there was no longer any incentive to use self-harm as a way for asylum seekers to bring their families to the Australia.

To be sure, this kind of measure can seem a bit heavy-handed. But lets put it in perspective. No one is being denied medical care. Asylum Seekers on Nauru are given a reasonable allowance and they’re free to roam a peaceful island. Clearly the standard of living in Nauru falls well short of what we enjoy in Australia. Yet for people fleeing the threat of persecution and violence, this must surely count as some improvement.

As Chris Kenny put it following his trip to Nauru late last year
“Nauru has become a vortex of political and personal agendas conspiring to mask the truth. Even simple facts and obvious realities can be difficult to discern or expose. Happiness is disguised, secrets are kept, identities are hidden, allegations are made and politics are played.”

Like any complex area of policy, there’s little doubt Australia’s asylum seeker processing policies and practices can be improved. There isn’t a single politician who doesn’t want to reduce the number of children in detention. That said, there’s a difference between constructive criticism and high-minded pontification without any realistic consideration of the practical alternatives available.

If Waleed Aly, Julian Burnside and Sarah Hansen-Young are genuinely interested in improving how Australia deals with asylum seekers as opposed to burnishing their credentials amongst Australia’s human rights industry, they should spend more time on the the former and less on the latter.

Please Don’t Feed The Trolls

by on 3 February, 2016

satya pic

Satyajeet Marar is a nutella conneisseur and law/arts student at Macquarie University

Satyajeet Marar explains why feeding the trolls isn’t such a good idea.

So, there is a dude who plans on holding a ‘neomasculinist” gathering at Hyde park. The same dude who has written articles saying that rape on private property should be legalised and that women are meant to follow the orders of men. I won’t mention his name or alias for reasons that will become clear as you read more of this article.

Let’s consider what actually happened here.

Until yesterday when the story broke, you had probably never heard of this person before. You wouldn’t know his face from a bar of soap with hairs stuck to it. He could’ve been just some other blogger writing random articles no one or few people read.

Anyone can go online and write an inflammatory article that would upset a large group of people. It’s quite easy, I often manage to write things that piss off people without even trying. In his case, the formula was simple. Find a highly touchy topic with 99% of the human race on one side of the fence and write a seemingly sincere defense of the morally indefensible other side. Do it in a way that at least attempts to sound like an attempt at a serious argument.

Step #2, sit back and watch the fireworks. Love and admiration are great, but they don’t generate hits. Hate on the other hand, works wonders. How else do you explain how an article more than a year old has gained international attention?

This guy doesn’t seem like an idiot – malicious sexist perhaps. But idiot? nope. He’d be a fool to think that he could make a public announcement about a meeting at a public place given all the heat on him. He insists that he’ll be Sydney in a few days, yet Peter Dutton clarifies that he has made no attempt to apply for a visa. What gives? Something smells strongly of shenanigans.

Because the people feeding this guy’s machine and helping him attract followers aren’t the dudes in fedoras with an ax to grind with women. They are actually the feminists, male allies, newspaper journalists and anyone else who has, with perfectly good intentions (except for some of the journalists), made this dude a target. I’m sorry to say ladies and gents, but you’ve been royally duped and you’ve given an internet troll exactly what he wants – helping him sell more books and website views in the process to jaded, disenchanted and bitter men on the fringe of society. Men who until now, did not know this guy existed and who were predisposed to endorse his misguided, bigoted views assuming they did not already.

Making things even more complicated, are the lines being rather unsubtly toe’d by his legions of detractors. Many have quite literally come out to say that him and his followers should be banned by police force from meeting publicly or privately to socialise or discuss their views in order to protect those to whom these views are offensive i.e. society as a whole. Though the views are offensive and I don’t have much sympathy for these sycophants, this again plays into their narrative of oppressed individuals threatened with a denial of their ‘freedoms’. This not only places an even greater focus on their views, but ironically affords them a degree of legitimacy they would not have gained on their own.

troll

One single article and an announcement about a meeting – a total cost of a few cents, are all it took to give this man international press coverage with even the Immigration minister of our country adding to the mix following demands from (ironically) the same people who want to shut him down. The public outrage machine, though perfectly justified, has given him something private companies pay millions for.

So let these dudes have their little boys club. Treat them as you would the drunken guy yelling obscenities about Zionist conspiracies outside the kebab shop. Once the trolls are no longer being fed, they will return back to their homes – under bridges and in the basements of disappointed parents.

Queen & Country: Elizabeth II’s place in post-colonial Australia

by on 27 January, 2016

Jack Wilkie-Jans writes on the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II

In Australia there is much social political discussion (or a resurgence of) around the topics of Australia becoming a republic and of changing its national flag, as well as the growing movements of Aboriginal sovereignty versus the proposed changes to the Australian constitution to officially include First Peoples of Australia. Such topics seem mostly- if not only- prevalent on or near January 26th.  While such discussions continue to take place and precedence in the mainstream, populist press there also remains a great deal of war and famine around the globe and we are seeing a continuing and growing humanitarian crisis stemming from the Middle East.

Over decades we’ve seen historic paradigm changes in regards to numerous social conventions, such as race relations and most recently positive challenges around the issue of sexuality and marriage equality, taboos which have otherwise stood for centuries. We’ve also been witness to the resistance- some of it savage- such change often meets. The world has also seen in recent years the passing of so many great international leaders and great personalities who have helped shape the 20th and 21st Centuries. Through all of this and through all of the upheavals and positive changes over the past 89 years, 63 years and 11 months, there is one person representing an institution who and which remains a steadfast icon of stability, trust, diplomacy as well as tradition & progressiveness alike: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

 

While several Commonwealth nations no longer have the Queen as their Head of State, she still remains the Head of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth, of course, is perhaps one of the Queen’s most magnificent jewels in her long career. A diplomatic feat unheard of in a world where monarchies are overthrown and republicanism has swept into the populist nationalistic discourse; transitioning the British Crown’s kingdom (upon which the sun never set- a remarkable feat of the Queen’s Great-Great-Grandmother, Queen Victoria) peacefully and sustainably into the Commonwealth would have seemed impossible under any other reigning monarch.

 

Her Majesty’s altruism, insight and unmatched experience in world affairs has ensured the successful maintenance, albeit morphed, of not only the “empire” but more significantly her own House. Like in Australia, calls for a republic and independence have been heard loudly from the United Kingdom. The Queen weathered the storm of both Scottish and Irish secession, made it through the other side in one piece while also being able to not simply survive as the Head of State but also thrive due to her ability to heal and ‘make better’ as opposed to merely ‘making do’, ensuring her subjects gained more out of having her maintain. Arguably the two main benefits of maintaining the Queen as the Head of State ensures a nation’s stability and strategic ally in Great Britain amidst a world of turbulence; the other main benefit is the income generated by tourism to estates and also the general interest level there is in such a withstanding institution. Removing the Queen as the Head of State doesn’t so much gain something as it loses something never attainable again and the fact that places like Australia are reluctant to try out a new structure of governance/rule adds to the confidence in the understandable and manageable role of the Queen. Unlike a President of a republic, Vice Regals or the Queen, while assenting to legislative changes, do not sign executive orders. Unlike presidents, Monarchs and their Vice Regals are bound by conventions and preside above politics. The comfort in this security and unknowing of potential abuses of executive power by possibly elected figure heads is what keeps a minimally drafted republic at bay here in Australia.