Australia is suspending normal operations because a 96-year-old foreigner on the other side of the world has passed away peacefully and not unexpectedly.
It’s absurd that Australian commerce and governing are shutting down to mark the Queen’s death.
Australia locked down for too long during COVID-19, and now it’s falling in to the same trap again.
By many accounts, Queen Elizabeth II was a great lady. Her passing is an historic event. We should pay our respects, celebrate her life and mourn if we choose to.
But the local institutional arrangements in response to her death are an overreaction in a modern-day Australia.
Australia is suspending normal operations because a 96-year-old foreigner on the other side of the world has passed away peacefully and not unexpectedly. She lived a fulfilling life.
Yet, Parliament in Canberra has been suspended for 15 days, including a scheduled sitting period this week being called off.
Important parliamentary debates on legislation, such as introducing a national anti-corruption commission, have been delayed.
Political debate will not occur because apparently it would not be appropriate.
A senior government minister privately nods in agreement about the absurdity of it all, but they cannot possibly say so publicly because it would be politically incorrect.
The public holiday for a national day of mourning on September 22 is unnecessary.
Medical patients with scheduled surgeries, doctor appointments and check-ups face delays.
We are risking the lives of the sick and vulnerable to indulge over a royal who had access to the very best health care to live for almost a century.
Public holiday is unnecessary
After two years of medical interruptions during the pandemic, surely immediate cancer treatment and checkups for potentially serious diseases should trump commemorating a deceased foreign Queen?
School children, after enduring two years of interrupted education during COVID-19, will miss another day of school. It comes on top of two “pupil free” days each term in jurisdictions such as the Australian Capital Territory.
The Australian Securities Exchange will close, while stocks on Wall Street will keep trading. The New York Stock Exchange’s moment of silence to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II was more befitting.
Victorians will have consecutive public holidays on September 22 and 23, the latter on the eve of the AFL grand final.
Both public holidays are unnecessary.
Victoria will hold 13 public holidays this year – an average of more than one a month.
Taxpayer-funded politicians and bureaucrats are impinging on the economic rights of business to engage in free enterprise, by imposing trading restrictions and penalty rates for workers.
Workers funded by the taxpayer will still get paid for not going to work.
After two years of lockdowns in Victoria, why would entrepreneurs want to take a risk and start a small business when the government is constantly imposing stop-start rules and making it harder to earn a living?
Western Australia will observe two public holidays within five days – one to mourn the Queen’s passing on Thursday, September 22 and, ironically, another day off on Monday, September 26 for the Queen’s birthday.
Admittedly, it’s a relative minor inconvenience compared to the two years of the WA border being closed.
The absurdity of suspending normal political, business, medical and education operations should embolden republicans who want to break free from the outdated monarchy.
80pc of young Aussies don’t know the head of state
The United Kingdom remains one of Australia’s closest allies, but our links to the monarchy are dwindling.
Only 3.8 per cent of Australians were born in England, down from 4.4 per cent in 2011, according to the 2021 national census.
More Australians combined were born in China and India. India achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.
Republican advocate and writer Ankon Rahman argues in an upcoming, yet-to-be-published essay that the Queen “might be loved and respected worldwide as the Queen of the United Kingdom, but, to most of those people, she’d be unknown as the Head of State for Australia.
“Even in Australia, two-thirds of Australians don’t know she is our Head of State – this spikes to 78 per cent for people aged 18-34,” Rahman notes.
“In 1954, and even more so in the preceding decades, our nation’s psyche was British,” when about 1 million Australians reportedly lined the shore of Sydney harbour to witness the 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth II reach our shores.
“The symbolism of having the British monarch as our head of state was appropriate, unifying and fit-for-purpose.
“Over the subsequent decades, as our nation’s psyche became decidedly Australian rather than British, it has ceased to be.
Rahman adds that there is a cost of “apathy and numbness felt by Australians towards the Head of State for Australia – that makes this issue so important.
“We miss out on the enormous benefit that an evocative unifying symbol brings to a nation.
“The cost is missed community cohesion – paid through reduced civic solidarity. The result is civic apathy.
“The indisputable reality is that Australia’s Head of State is not a symbol for Australia.
“Under the present arrangement, it never will be. Moreover, the problem is not merely the symbol’s hollowness and what it lacks, an equally large issue is the presence of stains in the symbolism.
“Entitlement, deference based on lineage, aristocracy, classism, sexism, snobbery, royal prerogative and the lavish pampering of courtiers, butlers, and valets are all grotesque eyesores.”
Moreover, after living in the United States for almost five years, I returned to Australia convinced we were saner than the Americans on issues like gun rights and societal divisions.
As crazy as America can sometimes seem, it was ahead of its time in achieving independence from the English motherland.
The nonsensical events in Australia instigated by the Queen’s historic passing should energise Australians to break free from the monarchy.