Australian Movement

* To see Tom Keneally's smiling face peering from your editorial pages June 9 was a pleasure, so to quibble about what you say in that editorial seems uncharitable. But two points need correction, although I have to admit they are areas many Australians do not understand fully.

Federation in 1901 did not mark independence for Australia. That came separately for each of Australia's colonies during the preceding century. Some would say it was not complete until the 1980s, when the opportunity for Australians to appeal to the Britain's Privy Council, as Australia's highest court, was removed. We did not have the defining moment that creates a nation, although some would say that Gallipoli, which you mention, was such an event. You also suggest that Britain appoints the governor-general, while in fact the queen of Australia, and certainly not the British government, makes that appointment on the advice of the Australian prime minister. The constitutional issue raised by the 1975 dismissal of the then prime minister had nothing to do with Britain or the queen, although you are correct in saying that the events gave impetus to the republican movement.

The issue at its simplest is to make Australia's head of state an Australian. At present, the queen of Australia is English, lives in London and spends little time in Australia. And for the rest of the world, she is more closely associated with her other jobs including, of course, being queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other members of the United Nations.


Consul General of Australia

Los Angeles

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