So we have abandoned the 2026 Commonwealth Games on the grounds that we Australians can no longer afford to support a sporting competition when we need cash for homes and hospitals.
Are we really too poor to pay for bowling and badminton?
Or – the question remains – is this the key document for Australia’s final push towards republicanism?
With royalty already discarded in former Commonwealth kingdoms like Barbados, with the not-so-brilliant Charles and Camilla at the helm, plus a general disenchantment with the Poms over cricket, it is reasonable to speculate.
The late Queen Elizabeth was popular in Australia despite the burgeoning republican movement. Here she is seen waving to the crowd in Sydney in 2006.
King Charles and Queen Camilla after their coronation. Charles was never going to be as popular in Australia as his mother had been.
The Australian netball team celebrates silver at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the last time they were held in Australia. The state of Victoria has just withdrawn from the 2026 organization, causing some to doubt the future of the games.
Australian supermarket shelves are filled with magazines covering the British royal family. Younger Australians love ‘tears and tantrums’, says Angela Mollard
According to Philip Benwell of the Australian Monarchist League, “we are seeing a lot of stealth republicanism from the Prime Minister.”
Benwell cites not only the removal of the Commonwealth Games, but also the removal of King Charles from our five-dollar bill and the lackluster political engagement with the recent Coronation as evidence that our leaders are distancing themselves from the Motherland.
And in an article published this weekend in The Australian newspaper, columnist Nikki Gemmell challenged King Charles to delve into his own “enormous wealth” if he is so attached to the concept of the Games.
The Commonwealth Games, he suggested, “are rooted in old certainties of empire, monarchy and colonies; certainties that are collapsing, and seemingly rapidly, in this post-Elizabethan era.
According to Gemmell, furthermore, we are not particularly enthusiastic about the new Carolean era.
‘Recent royal appearances on balconies show the incredible missing family. Physically and also in our minds.’
‘Charles does not have the brilliance of his mother, and the resistance of the monarchy depends on charm; or in other words, mass deception.
“We just don’t get it with the new guy, and the cancellation of games seems like a symptom of this.”
This is all pretty typical.
But I do not agree. I don’t think abandoning the Games suggests we are about to sever our relationship with the UK.
The good news for Charles is that we’re too consumed by internal problems right now to think about it much.
In particular, we are facing a different (and highly controversial) referendum to enshrine the Indigenous Voice to Parliament in our constitution.
With the nation polarized, the Republican movement has wisely set aside its ambitions until they disappear later this year.
Australian dollars feature a portrait of Queen Elizabeth. However, the new editions will not include King Charles: another sign of growing detachment from the Crown.
There were moments of acrimony in the recent Ashes series, most notably when Jonny Bairstow was controversially dismissed when he thought the ball was dead.
Furthermore, post-Covid and with interest rates rising, we are more concerned about the prosaic business of paying our mortgages than about questions of sovereignty and governance.
Note also that the nation is keen to take part in the Brisbane Olympics in 2032. Having ushered in the new millennium with a capping event in Sydney in 2000, we expect more of the same.
The poor old Commonwealth Games pale in comparison.
But even without all these distractions, I don’t think Australia is planning a divorce anytime soon.
Yes, some want us to believe that we are about to do a Barbados. That a republican conspiracy is underway to jilt royalty.
However, we are captivated by tantrums and tiaras.
We may not have the reverence we gave to the late Queen Elizabeth, but Megxit, Spare and The Crown have repositioned the royals as light entertainment for a generation that engages more with drama and less with history.
As disrespectful as it may seem, the royal family is the Kardashians in crowns to many younger Australians.
Our tabloid industry certainly still sees them as a source of income (just look at the supermarket shelves) and, as a royal commentator on two of our popular television networks, I am routinely stopped by members of the public asking about some real story or other. .
‘What do you think will happen to Meghan and Harry?’ has replaced house prices as the staple topic of barbecue conversation, particularly as Sydney enjoys unseasonably warm winter temperatures of 25 degrees.
Furthermore, it is questionable whether the figures for a republic add up.
A poll taken after the Queen’s death indicated that only 43 per cent supported Australia becoming a republic, down from the 45.13 per cent who voted in favor when the last major referendum was held in 1999.
Part of the problem was the presidential model that was offered.
When we scan the world for hard-working republics, we are hardly encouraged by countries like China, Iran, Russia, or even the United States.
Prince Harry remains a source of interest for young Australians following his memoir, Spare
Harry and Meghan to appear on Oprah show in 2021. Royal family increasingly seen as ‘Kardashians in crowns’, says Angela Mollard
A ‘Wrinkled and Worn King’? But better than the alternative, maybe
It is not easy to get rid of a despot, or even a Trump, once they have tasted power.
And we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone we’d be willing to elevate.
As a nation committed to “tall poppy syndrome”, forced to eliminate anyone we deem too big for their boots, the only candidate I can think of, thanks to their lifelong ability to drive pompoms crazy, It’s Shane Warne, sadly not anymore. with us.
In his absence I suspect we would continue with a rather wrinkled and worn-out King.