A dinki-di Australian solution to the republican question

An Imaginary OzRoyal Family

for an OzRoypublic

My vote is that Australia should not be afraid of being a pioneer in constitutional matters. We can satisfy almost everyone if we have a republican Ozmonarchy, in which the royalty is characters in a television series, who can also play their part whenever ceremony, rituals and tourist-attractions are required.

It would please

The current unseemly debate on whether to be a colonial republic or a banana monarchy diverts divert attention from the real independence we are rapidly losing as our foreign debt and overseas ownership increases, and as our capacity to control our own destiny and quality of life is disappearing. So what about a Roypublic as the solution for the recession and foreign debt and possibly a lot of other things.

A solution to the issue of republic or monarchy should avoid the disadvantages of both, and should not be a cultural cringe to other countries' political systems. It could lead the world in innovation, bring in tourist dollars, cost taxpayers nothing, be above politics, and create more distinctively Australian culture every minute.

If 50% of Australians want a Republic, and 50% want a Monarchy, the democratic non-cringing solution is an Imaginary OzRoyal Family - an ongoing TV serial, whose characters also play Ozroyalty in real ceremonies and pageantry. This will suit republicans who want no expensive foreign hereditary elitism, and monarchists with a strong psychological need to enjoy a cohesive non-political multi-generational multi-cultural personal focus to the nation, a family everybody knows, with annual royal wedding, royal baby and royal amazing scandal. Salaries and costs from tourists, TV, magazines, appearance fees and royalties.

The key to the OzRoyal Family is that it is Imaginary and yet it would exist - as an ongoing multimedia comedy series, while live people play the parts wherever ceremonial and pageantry would draw tourist dollars - or any dollars. Our Royal Family would have amazing adventures to satisfy our wildest dreams, upstaging anything any real-life Top People can be supposed to be doing, and it can stop the voyeurs getting their kicks out of the miseries and tabloid excesses imposed on real human beings. A cast of hundreds, with the Royal FigureHead of State elected democratically at every federal election, and a Coronation when the Royrepublic is proclaimed. Instead of voyeurism, we can have royeurism with a conscience.

The Ozroyal TV characters' cast of dozens increases with new topical relatives, each boosting an industry and patron of a worthy cause. They could be listened to on an 008 number, and videos, family trees, and confessions sell world-wide.

The Royal FigureHead of State is elected democratically at federal elections, and theOzrepublic is proclaimed at the first Coronation.

In constitutional crises, a TV Royal would be no better than a hereditary one, and at all times would be safer and less expensive than an American-style President. There would be no expensive elections, and abdications would occur in the usual way they happen on TV shows.

The OzRoyal Family could start as TV or radio series, and multiply as needed. Almost anyone could be co-opted. Tourist Attractions would include the Proclamation of the Royal Republic of Australia. We could enjoy flashbacks and side-kicks, as well as the ongoing story. Every member of the family would have special episodes. Each Ozroyal has a hobby that boosts little-known Australian industries and crafts, and is a Patron of a Worthy Cause. Each has a different bee in its bonnet. Many of their adventures and revelations could be related to current issues and events, and sold to tabloids for great sums. Books, magazine articles, Australian souvenirs etc. could become flourishing industries, and boost exports. Children's books like 'Princess Dipsy goes Riding' and airport steamers like 'Under the Royal Robes' ....

The Oz Court. Australia has already led the world in having a Mega-Aunt, and Professor Knowles, and Sir Murray Rivers. They already await the Ozcourt.

Members of the Royal Ozzes would perform public ceremonies like opening this and shutting that, some genuine, some less so. They would be so colorful that they would be good media occasions, and they would take the burden off public figures with better things to do, such as politicians and Vice-Chancellors. There is a special Message to the People from the OzQueen, every April 1, April 26, February 29 and Mayday. They would be Above Politics, and fun could be had out of that.

The salary and costs of Australia's Royals would come from TV, magazines, books, films, songs, fees for opening and shutting things, other appearances, etc. None from taxes. Once they were really popular, media references to them longer than 500 words or 5 seconds or bigger than 5cm x 10 cm could pay a small royalty at going rates.

The clothes of the Ozroyals set international fashions. 'Let er rip!' could be the motto. When international fashion decrees anorexic figures with agonizing footwear, unhealthy underwear, and expressions to match, Ozroyal fashion dictates happy curves, dashing and comfortable shoes, pretty and washable clothes.

At Christmas, on sale are Royal Family OzTrees, one up on the old European Christmas trees. You can buy Royal OzStockings,for men and women as well as children. Different sorts of Honours can be bestowed on very different people. Usually for doing things worth doing.Like inventing, and solving social problems, and using public transport. Charities and good causes can be helped by Ozroyal patronage and matronage. Ozroyals appear clad in or using products of Australian-owned industry and invention, which could then carry Oz-patronage Arms.

An Annual Royal Wedding, each time at a different venue, linked to a different culture and ceremony. The Annual Royal Baby would link to some particular hospital and health interest. Australians vote for the names of the babies, at $5 a shot, and this goes into Federal Revenue, as an alternative to payroll tax. Every city can have a Royal Bus, as well as if possible a Royal Train, Tram and Taxi, integrated with normal transport, so it is a matter of luck if you catch one - and get souvenir tickets as you leave. The decorations and decor are what you might call imaginative.

Annual Competitions with entrance fees could be money-spinners, such as the Competition for a Royal Standard, and for Royal Positions, such as Chief Floater, Grand Doubter, Champion of the Whingeing Room, etc. 'Top-Life, Be in It!' Annual OzTournaments and Royal Ozolympics would turn on events and sports never seen before, with competitions to think them up. Royal Balls ..... Royal Rages... like Uncle Wattleberry's,who is another relation.

I think this would beat Neighbours and Hard Copy and Sylvania Waters. Of course the OzRoyals could always appear in guest episodes of such series, and we could have Royal Copy, Royal Neighbours, Royal Waters, R.P. , Royal Practice and so on. I would prefer to watch Ozroyals than yet another police or crime show. It could prove a better way of getting off drugs than methadone.

Fun and Scandal for the Gossip Media

Some introductory gossip

Anything the British Royals or the U.S. Presidents or other international figures get up to, the Ozroyals can upstage with something even more agonizing or scandalous. They can be listened to on an 008 number. They have a Royal Anthems. Australian sports include Royal Races. Confessions are frequent. Tapes and videos, and family trees are for sale through ABC shops.

Some Personae. Queen Norma-lene of Oz and her consort Prince Normal from Erehwon have twins, possibly Bruce and Marjareen, and an extended and elastic family of live-in cousins, such as Kevin, Premier, Sharleen and Collingwood. They have picturesques and multicultural romances and marriages with Ng, Zaibatsu, Lillipilli, Sugar-Gum Eucalypt, Status Grapolopolous, and Swanni. The OzRoyal Family would have an assortment of sons, daughters, aunts, matriarchs, Ozdukes and Ozduchesses, Ghosts, etc. Father Ozmas and the Easter Bilby are royal-blooded. Every now and then some closet Royal is unmasked, or comes out of the skeleton cupboard. Anastasia fits in somewhere (a famous pig?)

Their pets are a Royal Bunyip and several Oztriches. They have a Royal Compost, and a Sustainable LifeStyle. Every now and then one of them learns how to do something useful, which makes a good and popular Learning Video.

They are visited by Royals from Foreign Parts and Pasts, which makes possible episodes with Dracula, Queen Victoria, the Sun King, Emperor Ming, and the Caliph of Baghdad, and often an excuse for a Parade in some regional centre which is having something on for tourists and people to enjoy. But they are not snooty. They don't need bodyguards and armoured cars, and they can turn up anywhere. The Ozroyals holiday at Economically Sustainable Holiday Homes needing a tourist boost.

Television episodes could use some palatial places like Victorian Government House, the Luna Park end of the Casino, Treasury Place, Como, etc. for domestic settings.

The Ozroyals could even fulfil a past function of royalty - to dispense justice that was quick, unchallengeable, cost-free and not open to bribery. Civil litigants who both agreed to present their cases briefly before the Ozroyal Magister would bind themselves to abide by the decision. The advantages would be no cost, minimum delay, no advantage to the rich against the poorer, and a decision that would be no more arbitrary than legal decisions now are. There would be no winning a case in one court and then being driven broke by your richer opponents' appeal to the next higher court. (Lawyers will often admit that the outcomes of cases are no more predictable than tossing a coin.)

I am serious. When you look at all the ridiculous things going on that would make Jonathan Swift despair - this seems to me an admirably Australian way to deal with matters of reality and image at the highest level.

How sad if something so sensible is unlikely to be taken seriously because Australians of all people are too stuffy to be innovative.