Well, Her Upstairs has just had a big Saturday.
Not the jubilee, which was underscored by being organised by the worst British government since Ethelred the Unready, but passing the late King Bhumibol of Thailand in the "longest-reigning monarch" stakes. Seventy years and 127 days on the throne! Second-longest ever! Now there's just the GOAT to crack, Louis XIV, at 72 years and 110 days - and anyone who thinks she's going to abdicate for Charles before then is deluded.
It's got to be more exciting than her birthday. I mean, you or I value our birthday because it only comes once a year, like Christmas or Logies night, but ER has birthdays the way the Mallee has mice.
Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Tasmania (and Papua New Guinea) celebrate her birthday on the second Monday in June. In WA it's the last Monday of September, and in Queensland the first Monday of October. On Norfolk Island it's the Monday after the second Saturday in June. New Zealand, the first Monday in June. Canada, the last Monday before May 25. In her own little corner, the UK has the second Saturday of June. And in the Falkland Islands, for some reason, revellers hit the streets on April 21, the day she was actually born. At that rate she's got to be opening gift-wrapped socks and saying "Oh, how nice, just what I wanted," more or less continuously.
I'm willing to wait almost another two years, then, but after that ... well, the federal government is setting up another go at the republic for its second term, so it's time for me to present my compromise solution to the "Which model?" problem that screwed up the last referendum.
Why don't we have a monarch chosen by computer randomly from Australians who've scored a mention in the honours list over the years? That way we know they're worthy, we know they're not entirely selfish, and we know they're comfortable representing Australia's vast and wonderful voluntary sector. If we wanted to be even more confident we could exclude the upper grades, the ones politicians aspire to, and choose only from the ranks of the OAMs (which are also much less biased towards men).
The thing about monarching is that it's unskilled work. After all, Louis XIV took it on at the age of five, without even the hint of a competitive examination - sheer nepotism, if you ask me. We could even leave the governor-general in Government House to do the work, such as it is, which would combine Australia's twin passions of demanding sweeping reform and not wanting anything to actually change.
And to guard against the possibility that fate might mischievously hand us Peta Credlin as queen, I'd have the computer not release the name at all. That way every awardee would have the satisfaction of thinking they could well be the king or queen, without the risk of being spoiled by success.
This solution would certainly pique people's interest in nominating their favourites for Australian awards, something about which we are regrettably slack. We all know someone we admire, but only a few of us try to give them a leg up in the award stakes. The G-G's office could certainly make the process easier, but it's not that hard now, and your chances of getting your choice up are in fact pretty good. Why don't you start a list of possibles today?
MORE DENIS MORIARTY:
Moving on from the Queen would have the extra advantage of freeing up naming rights for an annual holiday. Myself, I'd go for Community Day, an annual celebration of all the concerned citizens who put their hand up for unpaid drudgery in Australia's thousands of not-for-profits. Then we could hand out community awards on Community Day; what could be more appropriate?
Community awards, and Community Day, would ideally celebrate people who were putting in good deeds over and above their job description. Which is, when you come to look at it, more than the Queen is doing. Indeed, her main achievement to date, jubilee-wise, does seem to be not dying.
I feel rather like that Chicago bartender pronouncing on Victoria's somewhat earlier jubilee.
"Great happenin's have me an' Queen Victorya seen in these 60 years ...," Mr Dooley said.
"Glory be, when I look back from this day of general rejoicin' in me rhinestone jubilee, and see what changes has taken place an' how many people have died an' how much better off the world is, I'm proud of myself. War and pestilence an' famine have occurred in my time, but I count them light compared with the benefits that have fallen to the race since I come on the Earth."
"What are you talking about?" cried Mr. Hennessy, in deep disgust. "All this time ye've been standing behind this bar, an' you haven't been as far east as Michigan Avenue in 20 years. What have you had to do with all these things?"
"Well," said Mr. Dooley, "I had as much to do with thim as th' queen."
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