11 May 2023

Monarchists say ACT Government 'misjudged the mood' in lacklustre coronation celebrations

| James Coleman
Join the conversation
Parliament House

The 21-gun salute for King Charles III at Parliament House on Sunday (7 May). Photo: Parliament House.

The spine-tingling chorus of ‘Zadok the Priest’ and ground-shaking cries of ‘God save the King’ heralded a new era over the weekend.

Not everyone may have recited the ‘homage to the people’ and sworn to “pay true allegiance to Your Majesty and to your heirs and successors according to law, so help me God”, but Australia still celebrated a new head of state during the coronation ceremony for King Charles III, or to use the official title, His Majesty The King, Charles the Third, by the Grace of God King of Australia and his other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.

In Canberra, everything from light rail stops to Government House, Questacon to the National Carillon lit up royal purple. A 21-gun salute was fired outside Parliament House on Sunday afternoon as RAAF planes soared overhead.

READ ALSO It’s snow joke: cold front brings flurries of snow and hail to the ACT and surroundings

The pomp and procedure won’t be quickly forgotten, but Deputy Chairman of the ACT and District Branch of the Australian Monarchist League Scott Coleman reckons there was one notable absence.

“In this case, I think the ACT Government has really misjudged the mood of the people,” he says.

King Charles and Queen Camilla

King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the coronation ceremony. Photo: BBC.

Apart from assisting the National Capital Authority (NCA) with the purple illuminations (and posting about it on social media), the local government has been near silent on the coronation.

On the Chief Minister’s official Twitter page, the first post since 2 May told of a new statue to celebrate Susan Ryan, former federal politician under Bob Hawke’s government. And the pages of the other local politicians and directorates follow a similar pattern, with many doing more to mark May 4 as ‘Star Wars Day’ than the coronation on 6 May.

Scott says it ultimately comes down to political leanings, with “those who are more conservative” tending to support the monarchy.

“I think this is a deliberate move by the government to downplay the significance of an event which is pivotal at the start of the reign of every sovereign.”

READ ALSO Canberrans could be fined up to $32,000 for possession of e-cigarettes under Government vaping crackdown

The Australian republicans have become more prominent at various times since Federation, but Scott doesn’t expect this start of a new chapter (or beginning of the ‘New Carolean’ era) will rekindle much desire to leave the Commonwealth.

“The late Queen … had an incredible bond with her people, but that developed over time. Charles has had such a long time to prepare for his role. I think he will do a splendid job. And whenever he comes to this country – his Australian realm – the public enthusiasm will be immense.”

Like it or lump it, it seems we Australians also can’t get enough of tradition.

“You only have to turn up at a Dawn Service on Anzac Day to see the public enthusiasm for tradition,” Scott says.

Scott Coleman

Scott Coleman holding replicas of the Crown Jewels. Photo: Australian Monarchist League.

He believes that if we held another referendum for independence tomorrow, “it would fail”.

“I don’t think it’s high on the priority list for Australians,” he says.

“Costs of living, inadequate health care, rising interest rates – these are the things the government can be attending to, rather than spending billions on replacing a system that doesn’t really need replacing.

“Monarchy has stood the test of time. We take the stability it brings for granted. We see instability in other countries, many of which are republics, because they don’t have the benefits of this system … It’s important to have a non-partisan figure as the head of our country.”

The ACT Chief Minister Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD) affirms they arranged for the light rail stops, Canberra Times Fountain in Civic, and the Malcom Fraser Bridge to be illuminated in royal purple over the weekend as “ACT Government owned assets”.

“The ACT Government Facebook and Twitter accounts each ran two posts in the lead up to the weekend about the coronation and what events were happening in Canberra,” the spokesperson says.

Scott Coleman bears no relation to the author of this article.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
HiddenDragon7:47 pm 10 May 23

There’s no shortage of reasons to be critical of/disappointed with the ACT government, but this isn’t one of them – particularly in a jurisdiction which does not even have an explicit vice-regal role in its system of government.

To the extent that they are interested in a change of the guard in other countries, most Canberrans are probably far more concerned about who will be getting sworn-in at the next US presidential inaugural.

The cohort of inbred royals have become little more than circus performers. They are a curiosity with no actual function.
The only one trying to escape is that red headed one.
The rest are classic comics in the style of Monty python. Priceless comedy as they all pretend to be important. Gold.

“You only have to turn up at a Dawn Service on Anzac Day to see the public enthusiasm for tradition”
So this muppet (Scott Coleman) thinks that Aussies afford the non-Australian-citizen monarch, we are forced to accept, the same honour and respect as our ANZACs!!!

A Republic with a President and a Prime Minister. The President will just be some toff living on the lake in the same digs as the GG. Instead of the Kings Cypher, it will be El Presidento’s. Still going to cost a fortune with servants and lackies

Quite the opposite. Too much attention was wasted on an increasingly irrelevant institution. There is no room in a modern world for the mediocrity that comes from the concept of hereditary heads of state.

Only obscenely rich people can become president of the USA. Most of those rich people inherited their money.
Not a lot of difference really.

We are talking about Australia, not the USA. In particular, the ACT. Rich Americans are irrelevant to this discussion.

There’s no room for the trappings of a President. Ditch the idea and save money

Given at the last referendum the people of the ACT voted clearly for a republic (63%), I don’t think the government has misjudged the mood of the people at all.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.