By Robert Macklin
The timing of the royal imbroglio could hardly be more exquisite, coming as it does in the wake of the pivotal Grace Tame speech and the announcement this week of a Truth-telling Commission by the Victorian Government.
All three are about power. All confront the injustice of its application at a time when the ancient shibboleths have driven the planet to the brink of destruction. The status quo has brought us the death of 2.5 million human beings from the coronavirus. That together with the extinction of billions of fellow creatures from bushfires and bulldozers is merely a foretaste unless we raise our voices and our votes against the atavists.
The forces of change will no longer be silenced. Aggressive paternalism and racism are now intolerable. At stake is the survival of the species. Perhaps I’m an optimist but right now, I suspect, we’re at a turning point.
It almost seems that the reactionaries are goading us to respond. How else to explain the woeful surrender by Gladys Berejklian’s NSW Liberals to the Barilaro bullies on protection for koalas. Henceforth, all our Blinkie Bills in Sydney’s CBD will be offered protection while those living in the bush remain at the mercy of the land clearers and the developers.
It really is that wacky.
In Canberra, the call for action from the Australian of the Year against the paedophiles and perpetrators of unwanted sexual encounters, met stolid resistance from some of the highest pinnacles in the political firmament. There were even suggestions that the ‘rule of law’ itself was being called into question.
On top of all that, Harry and Meghan’s precious remonstrance on the Oprah Show seemed at first like a squabble among the regal remnants of an ancient pantomime. But that was before the subject of baby Archie’s colour sprang unbidden from his mother’s lips. One member of the royals, she said, had raised the issue in a not very empathetic manner.
Oprah was struck dumb by the revelation. The rest of the world had exactly the opposite reaction. When an English TV panellist questioned Meghan’s veracity, 41,000 callers fired up their mobiles; an American President added his five cents; and days later cartoons and caricatures were still fizzing round the internet.
In a remarkable piece of serendipity, Victoria’s Labor Government chose this time to announce the formation of Truth-telling commission with virtually unlimited powers to take testimony of the horrors visited upon the First Australians under the aegis of that self-same royal line.
At last, it seems, the hostile invaders of the Australian continent will have their crimes against humanity exposed, at least in Victoria. And while the current Commonwealth Government looks the other way, we can expect similar initiatives from the other States and Territories. The ACT House of Assembly recently voted $317,000 for a similar purpose; Queensland and the Northern Territory are next in line.
The inevitable result will be a Makarrata leading to the long- awaited Treaty; and almost as important, a renewed drive for an Australian Republic. This time its organisers will not be fooled by John Howard’s clever ‘divide and conquer’ tactic on the means of electing/appointing the non-political Head of the Republic.
This time, perhaps, we can finally cut the ties with the royal colonisers and the scoundrels they let loose on the people who owned and cared for this great south land.
Robert Macklin has carved out a unique place among Australia’s literary biographers and historians. His Dark Paradise swept aside the curtain of euphemism to expose the horror of colonial sadism on the penal colony of Norfolk Island. His monumental history of Australia’s Special Forces – Warrior Elite – is required reading in the fields of Military Security and Intelligence. His best-selling biography, SAS Sniper revealed as never before the battles against Islamist fanatics. And these are just a few of the highlights among his 28 respected and popular works of fiction and non-fiction.
He has won numerous literary prizes including the 2009 Blake Dawson award for business literature with Peter Thompson for their classic THE BIG FELLA – the Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton. His Kevin Rudd: The Biography was shortlisted for the ACT Book of the Year; and he has won three Critics Circle Awards for his military biographies and histories. He has completed a lecture tour of three Chinese universities based on his works and is presently writing a history of Australia/China relations over the last 200 years.
Queensland born, he has been a journalist at the highest level, a confidant and biographer of two Australian prime ministers; a documentary filmmaker in 32 countries of Asia and the Pacific; and is also political columnist and commentator in the nation’s capital. He presently divides his writing time on fiction, non-fiction and screenplays between Canberra and Tuross Head on the NSW South Coast. https://robertmacklin.com/